by ALI MOHAMMADI
Muscat as the capital of Oman boasts a beautiful skyline with surrounding mountains as well as numerous cultural and architectural attractions, ranging from a number of beautiful mosques to the stunning Royal Opera House. However, Muscat’s stunning coastline is sometimes overlooked by visitors who often only visit the city as a stop-over while exploring the Omani mountains and wadis outside the capital. Here are five places to visit along Muscat’s beautiful coastline.
1. Qantab Beach
Qantab village is a fishing village on the rugged Eastern coastline of Muscat, nestled between the mountains with a small sandy beach just off the village and plenty of rocky beaches surrounding it. The village has always been popular with Muscat locals, where you can go and catch a boat ride to some of the local beaches around or simply for a ‘cruise’ along the coastline with one of the small fishing boats docked in the village. If you have not been offered a boat-ride by some of the local fishermen as soon as you enter the village, then do feel free to approach them to ask for one and you can also ask them to drop you at a private beach and pick you up at a later time if you want to do a picnic – prices have to be negotiated but it should be in the range of 10-15 OMR for the entire ride.
I used to come to Qantab beach as a kid quite often, as there used to be a longer sandy beach that was popular with Muscatis many years ago (unfortunately, that has now been closed-off as it is now part of the Muscat Bay development project). However, I still really love coming to Qantab beach, and I especially like walking up the small hill overlooking the village and the sandy beach – this is also a fantastic location to see the sunset and the main reason why I have Qantab Beach in my top 5 list of Muscat Coastline places to visit!
2. Yiti Beach
Number 4 on my list of top Muscat Coastline places is Yiti Beach which is a bit of a drive further from Qantab Beach on the Eastern coastline of Muscat. Yiti village is another fishing village with a long sandy beach that is worth visiting, but the Yiti Beach that I like is the one with the artificial water channels dug and flat areas leading up to some sort of an incomplete marina – remnants of a tourism project that was abandoned years ago. You can see the fishing boats and part of Yiti village across the creek separating this part of Yiti beach from the other – but the drive to that side requires a detour of >10km drive.
I love visiting Yiti Beach because of the beautiful views you can see from the shoreline (including views of the arched-rock) as well as the stunning rock feature jutting out of the landscape across the creek. The beach also has plenty of space for a picnic or if you want to wander around and do off-road driving – just keep in mind that it is on a graded road with no street lighting – go with a 4WD!
3. Muttrah Corniche
The 3rd place on my list of top Muscat Coastline places does not need much of an intro as it is one of the most popular tourist places in all of Muscat – and that is Muttrah Corniche! Besides exploring the alleys of Souq Muttrah (click here for ideas on what to purchase at Muttrah Souq), walking along Muttrah Corniche is one of my favourite activities when visiting Muttrah.
Despite how busy Muttrah Corniche can get, I just love how it still feels like a sea of calmness and quiet with the various dhows, yacht of HM Sultan Qaboos and visiting Cruise ships heaving by the gentle movement of the waves, and despite the hustle and bustle of Souq Muttrah just across on the other side. I also love the beautiful architecture along the corniche starting some of the finest examples of traditional Omani architectural styles are on display, continuing onto the beautiful Mosque of the Great Prophet (Al Rasool Al Azam mosque with its blue dome, Muttrah Fort perching on a hill nearby and concluding with the more modern (recently reconstructed) Muttrah Fish Market at the end of the corniche.
4. Bandar Al Khayran
Number 2 on my list of top Muscat Coastline places to visit is Bandar Al Khayran. The word ‘Bandar‘ in Arabic means ‘port’ or ‘city by the port’ – even though Bandar Al Khayran is literally a rocky beachhead with no port or any buildings nearby the name probably comes due to the natural ‘harbour’ formed along the coastline (anyone has an idea if this was ever used as a harbour/port?)
Bandar Al Khayran is a gorgeous view-point that is a great example of the natural beauty of the landscape in this part of Muscat: sand-coloured jagged mountains contrasted with crystal clear blue waters. The view-point alone is enough for me, but it is also possible to trek down to the shoreline and swim in the water or explore further by walking along the cliff-side edges – just be very careful because the rocks are quite sharp and can be quite slippery!
5. Shatti Al Qurum
Despite being one of the most popular beaches in Muscat (and I am someone who really values quiet places), Al Qurum Beach still tops my Muscat Coastline list of places to visit! There might be some childhood memories bias in this selection, but the combination of its central location and long stretches of beautiful golden sands make Al Qurum beach such an amazing place to visit.
I really love visiting Al Qurum Beach, and I come here quite often – whether it is for an after-work walk/run, to have a swim at the beach, or simply to catch the sunset! It is a great place for a photowalk and is also one of my favourite places in Muscat to catch up with friends for coffee (although I still believe we lack a good selection of good cafes here, unfortunately!)
About the Contributor: Ali Mohammadi is a blogger and tour guide who has been running Oman Tripper since 2012. His blog was founded in order for him to showcase and share some of the fantastic places worth visiting in Oman. Ali is also a licensed tour guide and conducts customised tours and hiking trips whenever time permits. Read more stories at OmanTripper.com and follow him on social media at OmanTripper.