13 Reasons to Visit Qatar
Qatar is a small country on the Arabian Gulf that attracts many tourists for its beautiful scenery, unique cultural experience and long and storied history. Qatar is full of Middle Eastern charm, luxurious atmosphere, mouth-watering food and rich cultural atmosphere, which is sure to make you unforgettable. Read on to learn about Qatar And why the capital Doha is worth a visit.
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Many globetrotters look for a destination where the weather won’t delay a well-planned itinerary due to constant rain, and Qatar , with its year-round sunshine, is just that. While the summers here can be hot at times, the winters are generally mild; no matter which season it rains very little, you can be sure to get enough vitamin D.
The rapid development of the capital
Qatar ‘s capital city, Doha, has rapidly developed into a destination like no other, with its vibrant nightlife and culinary delights, attracting tourists from all over the world. In addition to its own man-made island, The Pearl, Qatar is a fast-growing metropolis with magnificent shopping malls, renowned museums, tantalizing restaurants and a stunning skyline that will keep you coming back for more.
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Affordable travel to Qatar
As one might expect, luxury hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants abound in Qatar , although they can be unwittingly expensive; lesser known is that Qatar is ideal for budget travellers, too. Dine in the convivial atmosphere of the food court, enjoy a range of free outdoor activities, and visit top attractions like Doha ‘s Katara Cultural Village, an arts and cultural hub with free entry to galleries, theaters and more.
Numerous historical treasures await your appreciation
Qatar ‘s landmarks evoke its vibrant heritage, a country rich in history dating back nearly four thousand years. Tourists can experience the frozen ancient times through its historical sites: Visit Al Zubarah Fort, Al Jumail Fishing Village, Doha ‘s famous market Souq Waqif, and ancient buildings such as Bin Jelmood House, learn about the history of Islam and its origins, and go back to ancient Qatar .
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Street art contends
Fascinating street art abounds in Doha , with incredible local artists leaving their mark on the cityscape. In addition to street art festivals, even simply strolling in the alleys and alleyways can experience the vitality of the city. The walls are dotted with various murals and paintings, which inspire people to contemplate art, culture and life itself.
Katara Mosque full of mystery
The Katara Mosque is located in the Katara Cultural Village in the west of Qatar. It is sometimes called the Katara Blue Mosque. This building is very beautiful and its appearance is quite magnificent. Designed by Turkish designer Zeynep Fadillioglu , this mosque features brightly colored Persian and Turkish tiles and painted shiny glass Mosaic pattern. It is known as one of the most striking and exquisite mosques in the region.
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Immerse yourself in the artistic atmosphere of the Katara Amphitheatre
Located in Katara Cultural Village, the Katara Amphitheater is clad in marble strips inspired by classical Greek architecture and Islamic styles. Opened in 2011, the majestic 3,275-square-meter landmark now hosts open-air movies, dance performances and concerts for up to 5,000 people.
Wilderness scenery is worth savoring carefully
Natural beauty abounds in the idyllic setting of Qatar and its surroundings, from giant sand dunes to mangroves, salt flats, seas and deserts, to complement your holiday itinerary. From the rolling sand dunes of the south to the breathtaking sapphire coastline, these natural wonders are sure to keep you coming back.
Variety of local delicacies
Qatari cuisine draws inspiration from the Indian subcontinent, Levantine, North African and Arabic cuisines, with bold colors and flavours. A myriad of spices and hearty meats, breads and sauces, Qatari cuisine runs the gamut from street food to fine dining, from heavy stews to grilled meats to light lunches with olives, yoghurt and cheese.
Luxury shopping at Katara Cultural Village
Katara Cultural Village at 21 High Street is the ultimate destination for retail lovers and window shoppers, and a luxury destination for travelers looking for luxury and elegance, with retail outlets mixing art, culture and great cafés. Stay cool with a full-bodied beer and shop in a quaint neighborhood with outdoor air conditioning.
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Enjoy the sun, sand and surf at Katara Beach. There are speed boats, paragliding, water skiing, jet skiing and many other sports for adventurous players to choose from. Stretching 1.5 kilometers of beautiful untouched beach, this stretch of white sand is an idyllic haven for sunny afternoons.
A museum that reflects Qatar’s rich heritage
In Doha , you will stumble across a museum or gallery on almost every block you walk through. From traditional Islamic crafts to exhibits celebrating the region’s rich history to its extensive collection of modern art, Doha is a true culture lover’s paradise. A visit to Katara Cultural Village is sure to visit the Katara Art Centre, dedicated to interdisciplinary creative work, as well as the many other galleries, public art programs and exhibition areas scattered throughout the cultural centre.
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An oasis of tranquility at Katara Chedi Resort
Looking for a base from which to explore all that Doha has to offer? The Chedi Katara Resort in Doha, Qatar is located in the heart of the Katara Cultural Village, where cultural and culinary activities are rich and colorful, with suites and villas inside, it is a unique luxury resort. Immerse yourself in a pristine seaside setting, explore concert halls, galleries, restaurants, boutiques, parks and mosques, all accessible on foot or by ATV from the hotel, and then revel in unrivaled luxury at the end of the day. rest.
The Chedi Katara in Doha, Qatar will be GHM ‘s landmark opening in the Middle East this year, ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
What to do in Doha?
No need to leave the capital of Qatar to experience what this small Arabian peninsula has to offer. Visiting Doha can be surprisingly rich, especially because of the many museums and galleries that dot the streets of the city. Whether you are there for 24, 48 or 72 hours, visiting Doha promises not to be boring.
1. Take a walk on the ledge
The cornice, an eye-catching projection, is without a doubt one of Doha’s most distinctive landmarks. Along the Persian Gulf, it is the perfect place to stroll calmly between West Bay and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. In winter, you will meet Qataris, expatriates and tourists, all come to enjoy the unique panorama offered by the corniche.
2. Soak up culture in the Katara Cultural Village
Esthetes, this one is for you. Dedicated to art and culture, the Katara district is home to an amphitheater, an opera house, two theatres, two mosques — one in gold and one adorned with blue-glazed tiles — and six art galleries, where exhibits are the works of many local and international artists. There is even a vast public beach of more than two kilometers where you can indulge in various water activities. But be careful: you will have to wear shorts and t-shirts. Bikinis are not tolerated.
Katara Cultural Village
3. Shopping in Souq Waqif
Saffron scents, chirping birds, colorful abayas. Souq Waqif, one of Doha’s most iconic neighborhoods, promises a true sensory experience. Forget the GPS and stroll through the small winding and picturesque streets according to your desires. If you have space left in your suitcases, do not hesitate to get your hands on spices, dates or even honey, favorite foodstuffs of the locals. And since haggling is common, try to negotiate the price of your favorite items. You will come back with a thousand and one treasures worthy of Ali Baba’s cave.
4. Visit the Falcon Market
A stay in Doha would not be as interesting without a visit to the side of the falcon market. As falconry is a traditional sport in Qatar, you can observe (and touch!) these majestic birds in the dedicated market, under the watchful eye of the trader. You can even get one for 30,000 Qatari riyals, or nearly 1,000 euros, and take it to the falcon hospital if it is sick… Or if it needs to be plumped up.
5. Drink coffee and play Dama in a Majlis
The Majlis plays a key role in the lives of Qataris. Located near the house, this room is where members of the community are normally welcomed when they meet to discuss. But also existing in the public sphere, no need to wait for the invitation of a Qatari to visit this traditional place. You only have to go to the Souq Waqif to cross the doors of the Majlis al Dama, emblematic café where all are welcome, and let yourself be tempted by an Arabic coffee and a game of Dama, a traditional board game. How do we play? Ask the barista, who will be happy to explain everything to you!
6. Stroll through the picturesque Qanat Quartier
The Qanat Quartier, also known as La Petite Venise, is located in the emblematic The-Pearl-Qatar, an artificial island whose development dates back only fifteen years. We stroll through the picturesque little streets – with exclusively Italian names -, we stroll along the marinas lined with yachts and we admire the many residential towers and villas where expatriates generally live.
7. Stroll through Education City
Founded in 1996 to offer a better education system to citizens, Education City is now home to universities, libraries, hospitals and conference centers with a completely… Disruptive architecture. Although the architects behind these monuments hail from places as varied as Japan, Mexico and the Netherlands, their buildings hide, among the heavy limestone stones and the gleaming windows, subtle references to the traditional Islamic architecture and culture.
8. Immerse yourself in history at the National Museum of Qatar
Designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel, this museum — which opened in 2008 — now houses 11 galleries, all telling different moments in Qatar’s long history. Its design evokes not only the rose of the sands, emblem of the desert so closely linked to the past of the peninsula, but also the modernity and audacity that have disrupted the lives of Qataris, following the advent of oil and, more recently, gas.
National Museum of Qatar
9. Cycling in Lusail
Lusail, the district of superlatives. Between skyscrapers, water park and colossal stadiums, this city – which did not yet exist fifteen years ago – knows how to make an impression. Weather permitting, rent a bike and explore the Lusail International Circuit, which is more than five kilometers long, to discover the city from a new angle.
10. Sail near the coast in a Dhow
Sail along the coast and contemplate the Doha skyline aboard a Dhow, a small traditional wooden boat with one or more masts. Originally for fishing, trading or transporting pearls, Dhows are now mainly used to attract tourists and curious people. Climb aboard for a short one-hour tour, or spend the evening there for dinner of authentic Arabic dishes.
11. Go see a local exhibition at M7
Hosting numerous exhibitions, educational programs and various public debates throughout the year, M7 aims to be the cultural, educational and entrepreneurial center of Msheireb Downtown. Located in a five-storey building, it houses a café, a concept store, a co-working space, a multimedia gallery and two exhibition galleries.
What to do around Doha?
Visit Doha… and then what? Set sail for the adjoining desert, where multiple activities, adventures and cultural sites await you.
12. Go on a desert safari
As Bedouin tribes moved through the desert hundreds of years ago, the desert is now an integral part of the local culture. For an authentic experience, nothing beats a camel ride over the dunes, before embarking on an exhilarating safari on the dunes of Khor Al Adaid. Sensitive hearts, abstain.
13. Swim in the Inland Sea
The Inland Sea, or Khor Al Adaid as the Qataris call it, is one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches on the desert. Home to important terrestrial and marine flora and fauna, turtles, flamingos, dugongs, oryx, camels and more can be seen here. When the sun shines brightly, we do not hesitate to dive into it. As the water exceeds 32 degrees in summer, even the most cautious will throw themselves into it. Don’t want to leave? Book a camping trip and spend the night in a Bedouin camp. An impressive starry spectacle awaits you.
14. Visit the fortified coastal town of Al Zubarah
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the walled coastal town of Al Zubarah offers an important insight into Qatar’s history. Once a thriving center of the pearl trade, it was destroyed and abandoned in 1811, to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Center in 2013. As a layer of sand protected the remains of palaces, mosques, souks, houses and cemeteries, the city allows to better understand how the Qataris lived hundreds of years ago.
Where to eat in Doha?
Parisa Souq Waqif
This restaurant will dazzle you even before you have received your plate. Boasting sumptuous hand-painted Persian artwork, impressive mosaics in shades of blue, ornate chandeliers and thousands of small mirrors hand-selected in Iran and assembled in Doha over nearly four years, this gourmet address can only impress. Psst. Be sure to book a few hours in advance and ask for a table in one of the alcoves decorated with murals depicting ancient Persian legends.
Recognized for its traditional interiors and authentic Syrian dishes accompanied by shisha, Damasca One is one of the essential addresses of Souq Waqif. Combining oriental flavors and Syrian heritage, the dishes bring together the flavors of the past and the spirit of the present. You will be received there with delicious traditional platters, shishas with multiple flavors and tasty desserts. To your forks!
Rather modest, this small restaurant allows you to immerse yourself in the gastronomic culture of Qatar. You will enjoy traditional dishes in a setting that is both simple and atypical. The walls are adorned with pictures of Sham, chef and owner, along with multiple notable guests, including Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar. As the restaurant features a typical Qatari essence in every corner, it offers a unique cultural experience.
Foodies, watch out. This restaurant, as delightful as it is delectable, promises to delight the eyes and the taste buds. Harira soup, falafel and hummus, quinoa salad, calamari, harissa shrimp, seafood risotto. The menu features Middle Eastern dishes enhanced with local flavors and a modern presentation.
MAMIG Armenian & Lebanese
Offering – as its name suggests – Armenian and Lebanese-inspired cuisine, the MAMIG promises a flavorful experience. Located in the Katara Cultural Village, it is the ideal place to stop after spending the afternoon visiting the various galleries of Doha. The terrace offers a sumptuous view of the Persian Gulf.
Three Sixty at The Torch
Want to get high and admire Doha from the sky? Ascend to the 47th floor of the hotel’s panoramic restaurant The Torch, and delight in Mediterranean-inspired cuisine while watching the capital’s buildings glow with their dazzling lights after dark. At 300 meters, it is the tallest restaurant in Doha.
Accommodation in Qatar
Located in Al Wakrah, 9 km from the airport and 14 km from Doha, Souq Al Wakra Hotel Qatar By Tivoli pampers its guests with a fitness center, several restaurants, seaside access, a garden, and complimentary breakfast.
The luxurious Kempinski The Pearl, located on the pearl-shaped artificial island for which Doha is famous, is ideal for families who want to enjoy the many swimming facilities.
Across from the shores of the Arabian Gulf sits one of Doha’s newest five-star hotels – Saraya Corniche Hotel. It offers unparalleled luxury and plush comfort in the proximity of Doha’s most famous landmarks such as the waterside promenade (Corniche), traditional market (Souq Wakif), and the Museum of Islamic Arts.
For those looking for accommodation in the proximity of the airport, several affordable options are available, such as the Premier Inn Doha Airport.
Also handpicked, here are the finest luxury hotels in Doha available from suitespot Hotels’ ever-growing portfolio.
An intimate and stylish urban retreat centrally located in Msheireb Downtown, Mandarin Oriental, Doha is one of the capital’s most fashionable addresses. Everywhere, small decorative touches recall the rich past of Qatar. The carpet and porticoes recall the sand dunes, while the light fixtures recall those found in the narrow alleys of Souq Waquif. The 249 rooms and suites, for their part, have been designed to reflect “understated elegance”, the motto of the Mandarin Oriental. The shades of beige evoke the desert, while the pearl elements echo the last century.
With its roof terrace offering sumptuous views of the capital, its vast wellness area, its seven bars and restaurants, its bakery and its picturesque gelateria, this five-star hotel promises an ecstatic stay.
Reflecting the luxury and riches of a majestic Arab palace, the Marsa Malaz Kempinski — which is located on an artificial island, in the heart of The-Pearl-Doha — is a kingdom where opulence reigns supreme. Its location alone makes it one of the most notorious hotels in the city. As most of the 281 rooms and suites have a private terrace (only two do not), you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Persian Gulf or the city in complete privacy.
But opulence isn’t the only thing you’ll experience when staying at Marsa Malaz Kempinski, as its seven restaurants and four bars promise true culinary delights. Arabic cuisine, Spanish tapas, American burgers, Japanese sushi. You will go around the world without even changing your address. Want to rest? Head to the vast wellness area or the private white sand beach, from where you can relax on a deckchair, take part in various water sports or simply dive into the water.
Nestled in the tallest tower in Msheireb Downtown, the Banyan Tree Doha stands out as one of the most sumptuous addresses in the city. Whether you are in one of the 126 rooms and suites or one of the five restaurants, you can only be amazed by the breathtaking view of the capital of Qatar and the Persian Gulf, the large bay windows offering a grandiose and unique spectacle.
In the Doha Oasis, which houses a cinema and an amusement park, the Banyan Tree Doha promises a most thrilling stay… And a most relaxing one. Because its vast wellness area, which has different spas for men and women equipped with heated beds, a vitality pool with Jacuzzi, relaxation areas, a brine hammam, a herbal sauna , is a veritable sanctuary dedicated to well-being. We do not hesitate to let ourselves be tempted by a treatment or a massage.
The oldest hotel in the country, the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel is one of the most important emblems of Doha, particularly due to its inimitable triangular shape. Open since 1982, this must-see address is located on the corniche crescent, making it a prime location for visiting Doha.
With 321 guest rooms and suites, nine restaurants, bars and lounges, including the Atrium Lounge, a casual lounge serving the best Um Ali in town, as well as an expansive 24-hour fitness center, a room dedicated to yoga, a swimming pool and a private beach, the Sheraton has everything you need for a sports, gourmet and relaxing stay. Because it is even possible to book different treatments there. Deep tissue massage, Balinese or Swedish massage, anti-stress neck massage… Well-being is probably the watchword here.