There are opportunities for desert-based adventures, shopping expeditions and days filled with water sports. The country boasts state-of-the-art sporting facilities, fascinating museums, luxurious accommodations and fine dining venues.
Doha is the capital of Qatar and is situated on the midpoint of east coast of the country’s peninsular shape. It is the heart of Qatari culture and is a striking blend of old and new.
The beautifully-landscaped Corniche stretches out for several miles, providing the perfect location for a walk by the sea and the chance to enjoy the sights of Doha's interesting skyline.
The atmosphere in the city is quite laid-back, despite its modern commercial appearance, as Doha is still drenched in tradition.
There are a number of interesting attractions in the city. The main port is part of the Corniche, where you’ll see a wide array of sailing vessels set against the dramatic backdrop of the city skyline.
Nearby, Al Bida Park is also set on the waterfront and is home to various shops, eateries and sporting facilities.
The city’s Ethnographic Museum, also known as the Wind Tower House, is a very unusual structure in the Gulf region, having an enormous tower with open arches for ventilation. Exhibitions chronicling the evolution of Doha and Qatari life are often held here.
Palm Tree Island
Palm Tree Island is situated about 10 minutes from the Corniche and features amenities for children and their families, including restaurants, cafés, beaches and water sports facilities. The Island is open daily from 09:00-21:30.
Half-way between Doha and Umm Said, you will find the town of Al Wakra. Originally this was a tiny fishing and pearl-fishing centre; it has developed into a small town of about 30,000 inhabitants.
The Al Wakra Museum is housed in one of town’s old forts and features displays of the area’s natural history and marine life. A number of fine examples of typical art and architecture are included in the exhibits.
Although Umm Said is the centre of industry in Qatar, there are some fine beaches here. The city is situated just over 25 miles south of Doha on the east coast of the peninsula, and is home to important commercial port facilities as well.
Khor Al Udaid
Located around 50 miles south of Doha, Khor Al Udaid is most often visited for its beach, which boasts fine sand dunes that reach heights of almost 150 feet in some spots. Other fine beaches in the area include those at Fuwairit and Dukhan.
Al Khor, on the east coast, is noted for its busy harbour filled with fishing boats and other small craft. The beaches here are also excellent, and you’ll find a tower of historical interest, as well as a number of architecturally-interesting mosques.
Of interest at Al Jassasiya is the range of rocky hills overlooking Qatar’s northeastern coast, situated between the villages of Al Huwailah and Fuwairit. The hills are famous for the many stone carvings and engravings, some of which date from prehistoric times.
Al Ruwais is a small fishing village, located at the northern tip of the Qatar peninsula, and historically was an important base for pearl fishing. It provides a fine example of the traditional Bedouin lifestyle and is worth a visit, particularly to see the integration of the traditional culture into the modern world.
About 60 miles northwest of the capital is the town of Al Zubara, which is an important archaeological site known for its old fort. It now houses a museum that was constructed in 1938 by Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani.
The fort is a square-shaped structure, having circular towers at three of its corners and a rectangular tower at the fourth. Its walls are high and quite thick: the fort served at one time as a coast guard station and continued to be used by the military into the 1980s.
Across the peninsula and approximately 50 miles from Doha, Dukhan has become important because of the oil that was found in the surrounding area. Like Umm Said and Al-Wakrah, the town has fine beaches which are the reason that most people choose to visit.
Top Things to Do
Enjoy a Desert Safari
A trip to the inland sea, which is a huge salt-water inlet that reaches the middle of the desert, is undoubtedly one the most popular things to do when visiting Qatar. The ‘sea’ is surrounded by towering dunes, and is best appreciated in the late afternoon to early evening. Many visitors choose to spend the night here as well.
Tours are available with experienced operators enhancing the adventure in four-wheel drive vehicles that travel up and down the gigantic dunes. Even if you choose to make this a day trip, you can have lunch and swim in the warm waters of the inland sea before heading back to Doha.
Stroll along the Corniche
A stroll along the Corniche is highly recommended during your stay in Doha. This five mile expanse of coastline runs parallel to the waters of the Arabian Gulf and is enjoyed by locals for walking, jogging and rollerblading. The landscaping is stunning and there’s a nearby park for children.
Go to the Cinema
Going to the cinema is a popular pastime and most show latest blockbuster films at. As evening entertainment can be somewhat limited in Qatar, you might find yourself taking advantage of the theatres at the Landmark and at the Mall or the Gulf Cinema on C-Ring Road.
Relax in a Coffee Shop/Nightclub or Bar
Public entertainment is not a normal part of Islamic life and you’ll find that most evening entertainment options are limited to hotels.
Coffee shops are a good place to relax after a day of sightseeing and as they have extended hours, there’s also the opportunity to unwind after a night’s entertainment at your hotel. Most Doha hotels feature nightclubs and bars, where alcohol is served and live entertainment is on offer.
Qatar is surrounded by the waters of the Arabian Gulf and as you might expect, there are lots of opportunities for enjoying water sports and sailing.
Two artificial reefs have been built to encourage the development of marine life and to entice scuba divers. Sailing is quite popular and you’ll find a number of private operators offering dinghies and windsurfers for hire, as well as sailing lessons for beginners and more experienced sailors.
In the evening, there are sunset cruises on traditional dhows, where you’ll have striking views of Doha city by night.
You can also hire fully-equipped luxury yachts for half and full-day fishing trips. Jet-ski and water-ski equipment, kayaks, pedal boats and water cycles are all available for hire or if you’d like a bit more adventure, you can try your hand at parasailing or wind-surfing.
Visit the country’s museums
A number of museums are located around the country, containing a variety of interesting collections and exhibits.
The Qatar National Museum and the Weaponry Museum are two choices worth a visit, with the latter featuring collections of ancient daggers and gilt-handled swords.
For those interested in the history of Qatar, travelling outside Doha to the various forts and towers found around the country will provide a better look at the country’s past and at Jebel Jassassiyeh, you’ll see close to a thousand carvings dating back several millennia.