Qatar is famous for its superior and welcoming hospitality with 51 five-star hotels, guests can expect nothing less than world-class amenities in opulent surroundings.
Located in the east of Arabia, Doha is the capital and main destination to visit with two or three centre destinations being popular and often combined with Thailand, Oman, the Maldives and more.
Doha has a glittering, futurist skyline with glass towers and bold architecture which lights up at night and the best view is at sunset from the water where hues of orange light up the Arabian Gulf.
Hire a boat or opt for a 3-4 hour cruise with dinner, traditional music and entertainment. Day cruises also stop at nearby Al Safliya Island for a swim, jet-skiing and fishing. Check out the best photo opportunities whilst your there including the Shangri-La helipad for breathtaking city views.
There’s lots of ways to get around whether it’s an organised excursion, taxi (reasonably priced), bus service or West Bay shuttle there are plenty of options.
Qatar offers a world of Middle Eastern flavours to experience – from wandering the Souq Waqif to sampling the sophisticated restaurant scene.
Qatar won the bid for the FIFA World Cup 2022 which helped put it on the map of places to visit and kicked off a frenzy of growth where cutting-edge technology is being used to build a city of luxury hotels, shopping malls and world-class restaurants.
With over 560 km of pristine coastline and over 320 days of sunshine per year, Qatar attracts visitors far and wide.
Winter is the best time to visit; summers are extremely hot and can reach over 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Check the local cultural requirements as behaviour and dress needs to be modest in public with shoulders and knees covered and no PDA’s.
There are plenty of activities to sample, a desert 4 x 4 safari being one of the most popular; an exhilarating dune bashing adventure. Try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding or surfing, visit the State Grand Mosque, Museum of Islamic Art and Katara Cultural Village.
Kids have their own Angry Birds theme park along with Kidzania whilst other attractions include the local Souqs packed with stalls where wafts of spices fill the air and there are an abundance of souvenirs to choose from.
A guided tour of Doha City is a convenient way to make sure you don’t miss all the sights and sounds of this fascinating city with a visit to the impressive Pearl-Qatar – a manmade island of luxury residences and designer brands built to resemble a string of pearls. Doha has a four mile long waterfront promenade known as the Corniche; a popular tourist hotspot. It stretches from the Sheraton Hotel to the Museum of Islamic Art with great viewpoints and harbour from which you can take a dhow cruise. Many concerts, shows and exhibitions are held year-round at the purpose-built cultural centre in Katara, a cultural village in Doha.
There is also a public beach featuring water sports, restaurants, cafes and markets to explore. The Doha Museum of Islamic Art has become one of Doha’s most iconic sights with its own on-site three Michelin-starred restaurant.
Just half an hour or so of Doha is Al Khor, a laid-back city with beautiful beaches, family park and zoo, along with Qatar’s largest dairy farm with a petting zoo, obstacle course, horse riding and playground.
The Doha Souq Waqif is the place to practice your bartering skills with an array of Middle Eastern merchandise on display from perfumes to spices. Inside is a traditional falconry market, a mix of good restaurants and visitor centre hosting cultural shows.
The desert provides spectacular clear night skies and sunrises with fun adventures including a surfboard and quad bikes; there’s nothing quite like whizzing over the miles of sand on your own quad bike. The impressive Khor Al Adaid is where the sea spills into the desert with a diverse range of flora and fauna; book an overnight tour to enjoy its breathtaking beauty at sunset and sunrise.
Eating out in Qatar is a diner’s delight with national dishes, richly spiced rice, meat and aromatic ingredients. Luxury hotels feature fine dining particularly, with international cuisine and Friday/Saturday brunch being an experience to savour. Hotels compete to layout the widest and most varied choice of food; booking is essential.
Souq Waqif is an excellent place to eat with a variety of Middle Eastern-themed eateries to choose from or simply order a coffee and watch the world go by.
With a host of gourmet restaurants, including 37 restaurants with Michelin-Starred chefs and superior service across the hospitality industry, Qatari hospitality will leave you and your loved ones with lasting memories of incredible cuisine and unrivalled service.
Food is varied with influences from North Africa, the Levant, Iran and Indian Subcontinent with a variety of side dishes usually accompanying the main course. Dessert consists of fresh fruit, halwa, Umm Ali and locally grown dates. The national dish must be sampled at some point during your stay; Machboos – slow-cooked mutton or seafood served with yogurt, simply delicious.
The most popular drink in Qatar is most likely coffee, served in small cups, sweetened with sugar or served with dates. Karak Chai is also popular, a black tea infused with crushed cardamom and sweetened with evaporated milk.
Alcohol is available in hotels, most top-end restaurants and some clubs only (drinking age is 21). Many of Doha’s luxury hotels also act as nightlife venues; the Crystal Lounge at W Doha is the place to be seen. For a more laid back vibe try the Jazz Club at Oryx Rotana or Lincoln Centre at St Regis. Drinking alcohol outside these establishments is prohibited. A service charge is often added to bills otherwise 10% is appropriate.
Qatar is renowned for luxury living with no less than 51 five-star hotels, each featuring a long list of amenities, unparalleled service and opulent surroundings.
The stunning Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel & Villas is set in beautiful gardens and on one of Doha’s largest private beaches with gorgeous views designed to wow guests at every turn. Located on a private beach in the West Bay diplomatic area of Doha, the Hilton is within easy reach of Souq Wagif, the Museum of Islamic Art and The Pearl.
The Hilton Doha has an enviable location where days can be spent exploring local designer shops or on one of the exciting Doha excursions or simply laze by the sparkling pool and relax without a care in the world. Spend quality time at the spa with treatments ranging from Volcanic Stone Massage to facials, wraps and more.
Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara is a five star island destination with golden beaches and over water villas just off the coast of downtown Doha. Arrive in style by private catamaran and prepare for an adventure out of the ordinary with every luxury imaginable.
Conveniently located in The Pearl-Qatar, Marsa Malaz Kempinski has great access to Doha’s main landmarks and attractions. The resort is stunning, located on a beautiful sandy beach with sea views as far as the eye can see; the setting is idyllic.
Sharq Village & Spa is a Ritz Carlton Hotel and sets a high standard nestled on its own private beach with award-winning dining, luxurious accommodations and fine amenities for all age groups and tastes. Close to local attractions including the National Museum of Qatar and Souq Wagif this is a great location to enjoy the sights and sounds of Doha.
Qatar offers breath-taking natural beauty with a diverse range of ever-changing culture, rapid development and a dedication to cultural sites, history and future endeavours. Rich in culture and first occupied 50,000 years ago with a focus on the pearl trade of the 8th century, Qatar is a dynamic destination filled with places to visit, dazzling cuisine, shopping and varied cultural sites.
One of the most popular sites is Al Zubarah consisting of the restored Zubarah Fort and small museum. One of the most important pearl-diving hubs this 60-hectare site is one of the best preserved settlements from the 18th century in the Gulf region; a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Al Koot Fort (known as Doha fort) has one of the best views in the country and is located next to Souq Wagif; originally built in 1927 as a police station and jail. Al Wajba Fort is another popular site and witnessed an important battle in which Qatar defeated the Ottomans in 1893.
There are several museums to explore, Msheirib Museum in the heart of Doha, Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Al Wakra Museum located in a traditional fort in a former fishing hub and Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum displaying treasure that capture a sense of nostalgia and pride.
The Al Jassasiya Rock Carvings is always open and under protection so adhere to the strict rules; don’t leave rubbish or take anything from the site. There are around 874 rare rock carvings called petroglyphs that resemble patterns, animals, ships and plants. They still remain a mystery to historians and archaeologists today with many theories attempting to explain the carvings.
To the north of Doha lie the Barzan Towers; a fort always open to visitors and worth a trip to visit. Utilized more as a lookout to watch pearl-divers or water sources or as a place to observe the moon for the lunar calendar; Barzan is translated to “the high place”.
The Cultural Village of Doha, Katara, is a daring and modern take on traditional architecture, amphitheatres and mosques. It features young local artists and many celebrations take place throughout the year. International cuisine, festivals, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and lectures can all be found here so don’t miss visiting whilst you’re in Qatar.
Doha is a certainly a shoppers dream destination with a mix of sleek shopping centres, traditional markets and diverse range of entertainment choices. Some of the best shopping experiences in Doha are often unexpected gems you find as you wander the warren like souqs like the Bedouin nomads of centuries past.
From gold jewellery to fierce falcons there’s goods for sale for all tastes and with entertainment along the way the whole family can enjoy shopping in Qatar. Luxury fashion brands, exquisite jewellery and sophisticated restaurants adorn this destination; few places are better than Doha for world-class shopping.
Browse the designer stores at the marble-clad Al Hazam and take a gondola ride down the Italianate-themed Villagio Mall’s indoor canal.
Souq Waqif is a shopping extravaganza; pick up gifts for home in the labyrinth of market stalls brimming with textiles, jewellery, spices and local handicrafts. One of the oldest markets in Qatar, this was once a busy trading centre for the Bedouin who traded camels and essential goods. Avoid the daytime heat and shop early morning or later in the evening with refreshing tea served throughout. Cooks of the home will enjoy a browse around the Wholesale Market brimming with produce including an animal section with live animals for sale (possibly avoid if it’s not quite your thing).
The Gold Souq is the place to explore for a bit of bling with finely crafted gold jewellery and precious gems for sale. Local holidays are busy as its tradition for men to buy 22-carat gold bangles for the women in the family as a holiday gift.
Omani Souq is a small market in Doha, but it’s worth a visit just to soak up its colourful tableau of spices, clay pots, perfumes, and baskets. Unlike some of Doha’s tourist-orientated markets, Omani Souq is mostly visited by locals in need of a household item or some fresh fruits and vegetables.
From the jumble of stalls, look for tasty Saudi dates and local honey, while those in need of refreshment could stop for a cup of Karak – a traditional Qatari tea.
If browsing retails outlets is your favourite pastime then Doha Festival City is filled with them alongside brilliant entertainment options including the Angry Birds park with bumper cars, trampoline park, go kart track and zip lines. Snow Dune has an indoor snow slide and snow-covered hills (a break from the desert heat). Whizz around on heart-racing rides after a bit of shopping; a brilliant family day out.
Lafayette Galleries covers around 15,000 square metres of retail space in Doha’s Katara Cultural Village. Also called Galleries Lafayette, the department store brings Parisian-style shopping to local and international shoppers, with 400 international brands and plenty of dining options. You can find the likes of Chanel, Berluti, Karl Lagerfeld, and Marc Jacobs.
For luxury fashion brands, exquisite jewelry and sophisticated restaurants,few places are better than Doha for world-class shopping.
Browse the designer stores at the marble-clad Al Hazam and take a gondola ride down the Italianate-themed Villagio Mall’s indoor canal. Kids have their own Angry Birds theme park and Kidzania and visit the local Souk packed with stalls where wafts of spices fill the air and there are an abundance of souvenirs to choose from.
Qatar offers breath-taking natural beauty to take in with your loved one, like the Ras Abrouq Rock Formation, the Al Thakira mangroves and the desert dunes.
If you’re feeling peckish after all that shopping, head over to Musk for afternoon tea at its shaded terrace or enjoy Café Pouchkine’s extensive menu of Russian and French dishes. Lafayette Galleries in Katara Cultural Village is located between West Bay and The Pearl Qatar in Doha.
Fancy haggling for a bargain then the colourful Souq Al Deira offers high-quality fabrics, lace, cashmere, pashminas and silk. Expect to negotiate on the price as this is the norm. Skilled tailors can custom-make outfits, a popular place for locals to shop.
Head to the Corniche Fish Market and watch the early morning fishermen bring in their daily catch. Wander down the jetty and see rows of seafood on display with busy fishermen repairing nets for the next day’s fishing expedition.
City Centre Doha has dozens of shops and restaurants to keep you busy for hours with ice skating, bowling, kids play area and cinemas. Located in the busy West Bay business district and connected to three major hotels including the Shangri-La Doha. It is one of the older malls of Doha and still popular to this day.
Every weekend the grounds of the Museum of Islamic Art hosts the MIA Park Bazaar, a more updated version of the traditional souq with a good variety of goods and culinary creations for sale. Held during September – April only there are as many as 150 market stalls buzzing with activity. A great combination with a visit to the museum.