We visited Muscat, Oman on a repositioning cruise last year and wrote a Port Profile for talkExplore group https://www.facebook.com/groups/talkExplore/ which is worth a read if you’re headed that way on cruise. I really like Muscat,it’s clean air and low rise buildings are a real change from Dubai. If you have a chance to visit then grab it!
This years cruise only had a relatively short six hour stop in port and with sunset falling about 4 hours after arrival we really weren’t sure what to do. Som discussion in talkExplore Facebook group led to a suggestion from group member David Innes on the best spot for a bit of exploring and a perfect sunset view. I’m happy to report that he was spot on with his advice so am sharing her for you too!
Muttrah is the area of Muscat nearest to the ship and within easy, flat walking distance of the port gate. We docked at 14.00 so had lunch on board before taking a leisurely walk along the Corniche (sea front) to the shops and Souks of Muttrah.
The markets which we had visited last year were firmly closed but we found shops aimed at visiting cruisers and other tourists were all open in and around the Souk even though those aimed more at the local market didn’t open until 16.00.
Wandering the lanes of the Gold Souk and the more general Grand Souk is a great way to spend an hour or so soaking up local culture even if you don’t want to actually spend any money! There are nice cafes (no alcohol) just outside the Souks and all along the Corniche – we enjoyed fresh coconut water straight from the nut for less than 50p – very refreshing!
David’s advice was to head to Muttrah Fort which is at the opposite end of the Corniche – about 20 minutes walk from the port gate. Built by the Portuguese in 1580 the fort is a wonderful spot to look down on the port and the town – especially as the sun sets.
The 300 odd steps to the very top of the fort are achievable and well maintained but there are good views even from the lower levels.
As the sun goes down it becomes easier to spot the guard towers in the mountains above which formed a protective ring around the port. David advised us to wait until the muezzin begin the call to prayer from all the mosques below, it bounces off the surrounding hills and you seem to be in the centre of a 360* wall of sound!!
There is a ticket office which was closed (apparently it usually is!) but the fort itself was open so we didn’t pay anything at all for a really lovely experience. Thanks for the recommendation David, we loved it as much as you did!