7 Things to do and see in Doha, Qatar
Staying in Doha for a short stop over, a few days of business or visiting before moving to Qatar as an expat?
Here is a list of the top 7 things to do and some of our favourite attractions in Doha, Qatar
Qatar is considered to be the pearl of the Arab world with beautiful modern cities, thousands of years of history and the highest per-capita income in the world. With so much to offer, Qatar is the perfect spot for those wanting a luxurious vacation. Whether visiting the capital city of Doha or one of Qatar’s famous beaches, this country is the perfect Middle East getaway.
1) Souq Waqif
If you only have time for one thing in Doha visiting Souq Waqif should be it. Reincarnated in the last decade as the social heart of Doha, Souq Waqif is a wonderful place to explore, shop, have dinner or simply idle time away in one of the many attractive cafes.
Popular with both locals and expats as one of Doha’s top attractions with over 20 restaurants in addition to hundreds of small shops selling everything from souvenirs, swords, perfumes, clothing, jewelry, pets, spices, even falcons.
2) Museum of Islamic Art
Near Souq Waqif is another must-see attraction, the Museum of Islamic Art. An extensive beautiful building accompanied by an excellent park and world-class exhibits. Admission is free.
The museum houses the largest collection of Islamic art in the world, collected from three continents. Exquisite textiles, ceramics, enamel work and glass are showcased conceptually: a single motif, for example, is illustrated in the weave of a carpet, in a ceramic floor tile or adapted in a piece of gold jewellery in neighbouring display cases allowing visitors to gain a sense of the homogeneity of Islamic art.
3)Corniche, the Pearl, and Katara
Corniche: One of the highlights of Doha is unquestionably the Corniche. Doha Bay was carefully constructed to make an attractive crescent, along which runs shaded footpaths and cycling tracks, this is typically the busiest of the three with tons of walkers and joggers, or people sitting on the grass watching their kids play.
Take a cruise on a traditional boat known as “Dhow” or an exclusive yacht cruise, the skyline of Doha is simply breath-taking.
The Pearl: Another popular place in Doha to go for a stroll. At ground level there are wide walkways and plenty of shops and cafés. As you stroll around you’ll see some of the nicest yachts in Qatar parked at the Marina.
The Katara Cultural Village is a large area with restaurants, art centres, interesting mosques, an amphitheatre, and a beach. It's worth spending a couple of hours wandering around and seeing what's there. Check their website for activities or exhibitions.
4) Visit the Islamic Cultural Center
The Islamic Cultural Center, also known as FANAR, is a spiral mosque - in a few years one of Doha's most famous landmarks. This is not a traditional Qatari mosque but a replica of the Great Mosque of Al-Mutawwakil in Samarra in Iraq. It is located Close to Souq Waqif and Corniche.
Fanar Center is open from 7.30am to 10pm
5) Tour the Sand Dunes in the South
Embark on a Desert Safari adventure to the beautiful landscape where the Inland sea meets the desert. It involves a drive out of the city to the edge of the desert with the use of 4 x 4 jeeps where you will be welcomed to Bedouin style tents. Strap yourself and get ready for an adrenaline pumped action drive through sand dunes and smooth sandy mountains.
A short drive further takes you to the inland sea where the deep blue waters contrast with the sweeping golden dunes. An amazing sight not to miss.
The desert trip usually involves going over the dunes to a camp set up by the tour company. Depending on how long your tour is you may have a few stops along the way for pictures. At the camp meals will be served.
6) Camel races & Sheikh Faisal’s Museum
Camel racing is one of the few vestiges left of Qatar’s heritage. The sport, which traces its historical roots to the Early Islamic Period, more than 1,000 years ago, helps Qataris preserve and remember their folklore, legends, and identity amidst a rapidly globalizing environment.
About 25 km west of Doha is the town of Shahaniya, where there is a camel track and camel races are held.
The best time to go would be Saturday since that is the only time you can visit Sheikh Faisal’s Museum, which is nearby.
The Sheikh Faisal Museum is a private museum owned by one of the royal members Sheikh Faisal. The museum contains an extensive collection of traditional Qatari artifacts.
7) Visit the Abandoned Villages and Fort Al Zubara
Up in the far northwest corner of the country (a little over an hour drive) is a fort that was created around the 1930s, Fort Zubara.
Al Zubara Fort & Museum is one of the oldest museums in Qatar and the oldest archeological site famous for its fort. It features a host of antiques that showcase the history of Doha.
Doha Fort is home to many of Qatar's traditional handcrafts, exhibits including Bedouin Sadu, fishing boats, handcrafts, gypsum and wooden ornaments which showcase the daily life of craft workers in the past.
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