Things to See & Things to Do in Doha Qatar – An A-Z Guide!

Having lived in Doha, Qatar for almost four years we have got to know it pretty well! I know there are a lot of misconceptions about Qatar and people think there aren’t many things to do in Doha, Qatar but there are lots to of things to see and things to do in Doha Qatar if you know where to look for them.  So here I have compiled all my years  of local  knowledge into the ultimate A-Z Guide of Things to See in Doha and Things to Do in Qatar! 

Things to See and  Things to Do in Doha Qatar

A  is for Visiting al Khor & Purple Island Qatar 

One of my favourite places to go outside of the city is Purple Island. Purple Island is located in al Khor and is called Purple Island because of the small snails found there which are said to create the color of the Qatar national flag when crushed.

You can read our post about why Purple Island is the perfect desert experience for kids here! In the winter you can see flamingoes but it is a great spot for bird watchers all year round.

And as an added bonus there are so many ways to see Al Khor! My favorite way is to take a Kayak Tour but for those more adventurous you can take a helicopter tour over the mangroves!

It’s also worth remembering that Al Khor has a great public park for children.

Purple Island  is proof that there are plenty of things to see and do in Qatar outside of Doha City!

 B is for Barzan Towers 

I love history and historical sites and Qatar has some great forts located in the north but for those unwilling to travel Barzan is even closer – right near IKEA in fact! It should be definitely on your list of things to see and do in Doha.

C is for the Walking the Doha Corniche in Qatar 

Anyone who visits Doha has to visit the Corniche! You can walk around the whole corniche from the Museum of Islamic Arts to West Bay with great views of each. Al mourjan is a good place to stop to have lunch right on the water front. I love walking by night where you can get great views of the city.

Iconic fanir center from the Corniche Qatar

Iconic fanir center from the Corniche Qatar

West bay from the Corniche, Qatar

West bay from the Corniche, Qatar

D is for taking a Dhow Cruise Qatar 

Dhows are a great way to see the skyline and catch some rays. There are some great trips from the dhow port opposite the souq.  You can do a day or night trip and have a BBQ on the boat. We even enjoyed jumping in the salty sea to cool down. Taking a Dhow Cruise in Qatar is a must do for tourists and residents alike..

Taking a Dhow Cruise Qatar in front of the West Bay skyline

Taking a Dhow Cruise Qatar in front of the West Bay skyline

E is for East meets West, Richard Serra Qatar desert artwork

East Meets West is the famous Richard Serra sculpture in the desert at Zekreet. It’s size in such a barren landscape is an awe striking scene. Nb you will require a 4×4 to visit! If you don’t have a 4×4 or access to your own vehicle you can take this tour out to see the sculptures and Zekreet!

East meets West - one of the best things to see and things to do in Qatar

East meets West – one of the best things to see and things to do in Qatar

Nearby you can enjoy a beach day at zekreet and see the amazing mushroom rocks.

One of the best things to see and things to do in Qatar

One of the best things to see and things to do in Qatar

There is also a film city with a reconstructed village which is worth a look.

F is for Fuwairit Beach Qatar

Fuwarit Beach Qatar is a beach just to the north of Doha. One of the few powdery beaches in Qatar it offers a great place for a weekend day trip. It also is a breeding site for turtles.

Fuwairit Beach Qatar

Fuwairit Beach Qatar

G  is for the Grand Mosque Qatar

A beautiful structure in the center of Doha. It’s worth a drive past at night to see it in its full splendor.

H is for al Hazm mall 

The newest mall opening in Doha. The mall is a great architectural nod to the malls of Milan and Naples. Located near West Bay, al hazm mall is really easy to get to and offers great outdoor dining options.

I is for the Inland Sea Qatar

A remarkable geological feat. The inland sea is a great place to go dune bashing. It is really important to go with a  good company for desert safaris as you need to have a good driver to navigate the dunes! We recommend using this company! 

Dune bashing at the inland sea

J is for al Jassasiya rock carvings 

The al Jassasiya rock carvings comprise of 874 petroglyphs, you can see carvings showing boats, stars and rosettes amongst others. A great site for the archaeology lover!

K is for Katara Cultural Village Doha 

Katara cultural village Doha has lots of great restaurants, (one is on my list of dohas best restaurants from a-z), is a great space for art with and exhibition space run by Qatar museums, and performance space. There is also a stamp museum specializing in stamps from the region and is a lovely place to go for a walk. In the winter, katara hosts a series of festivals the most well known is the show festival which takes place in November. It is a must for any cultural visit to Qatar! 

Art at katara

Mosque at katara

L is for lusail 

The must see for sports enthusiasts. At the moment it is a city under dvelopment but it is worthwhile to try and get an event at the lusail arena.

M – museum of Islamic art 

One of  the most iconic buildings in Doha. The Museum of Islamic Art was designed by I.M. Pei. It has a great collection of Islamic Art comprising of jewelry, astrolabes and carpets amongst others and home to great temporary exhibitions such as the recent Treasures of China exhibition containing five terra-cotta army.

MIA

The park is also a beautiful place to go for a walk and has the cafe with the best views in Doha.

Mia park cafe

The park also has the al Riwaq exhibition space which houses exhibitions such as the Damien Hurst retrospective.  Check the QM website for current exhibition details.

Al Riwaq

The museum is a must visit see cultural attraction in Qatar!


N is for the Qatar National museum 

Although not open yet it is worth driving by the Qatar National Museum. An architectural gem in the making. Designed to resemble a desert rose, a geological feature of a Qatar, it will reopen to show the history of the country.

O is for Oryx

Qatar’s national animal. Unfortunately I’ve only seen as statues at the st Regis or on the tail of a Qatar Airways plane but there are apparently some in the wild. I would love to see one.

P is for Visiting the Pearl Doha

Doha’s answer to  the Palm. The Pearl Doha has Great shopping and even better restaurants (see my a-z of Doha’s best restaurants for more information). We love strolling around the marina and looking at all the boats.

Boats at the Pearl


Q is for the qanat quarter 

A largely residential area of the Pearl made to look like Venice. It even has its own Rialto bridge. A great place to walk around especially now more shops and restaurants are opening. I personally can’t wait to try the Breakfast Club.

Rialto bridge

 

Qanat quarter

R is for al ruwais 

A town in northern Qatar. Known for its port, it has a lovely park and is a great jumping off point to see the forts of northern Qatar. You can read about our experience of al ruwais and forts here.

S is for Souq Waqif

Meaning standing market Souq Waqif is Doha’s main souq. It is a great place to experience local culture. Don’t miss the gold Souq and handicraft market. It is a great place to walk around! If you want a guided tour CLICK HERE

Souq Waqif

Why not check out our Souq waqif series to find out more about visiting with a baby and our favourite restaurants in the Souq!

T is for the Torch

The torch

A striking building in the aspire zone. You can have dinner and view the city from above. Then why not take a stroll around the aspire zone park!

U is for under the stars kayaking 

Kayaking under  the stars is definitely one for any Doha bucket list! This sunset Kayak is the absolutely perfect way to see the best of Qatar’s natural environment!

V is for villagio 

A mall modelled on Venice with gondolas running through the center. Can be visited at the same time as the torch.

Villagio

W is for al wakra 

The old pearling center of Qatar. Today, it is known for having the second souq of Qatar, located on the waterfront.

Z is zubarah 

Qatar’s only UNESCO world heritage site. A fort and museum that is worth the drive out of Doha to visiti! You can read all about how to get there and out experience here.

Al zubarah

If you want to visit the forts of Northern Qatar and don’t have a vehicle we recommend taking this tour – CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 

How many have you done? What do you think are the best things to see and best things to do in Qatar? 

Planning to visit Qatar why not check out hotel reviews from our staycations or check out our Great Middle Eastern Hotels 2016 Round-up

 

62 Comments

  1. January 2, 2017 / 8:57 am

    There’s so much to do!! I’ve never really thought about visiting before but it looks quite family friendly and like there’s plenty on offer for all. If I ever go I’m taking this list with me 🙂 #mondayescapes

    • January 2, 2017 / 8:58 am

      Aww thanks! Yes there is plenty to see and do especially if you are willing to
      Leave the city!

  2. January 2, 2017 / 3:38 pm

    I never knew Qatar had its own Venice! It sounds like a fascinating place to visit – and I bet the dune driving is massively exhilarating. #MondayEscapes

    • January 2, 2017 / 3:43 pm

      The pearl ha several quarters the Venetian is only one – they also have areas replicating Cannes, Spain and soon San Francisco! Dune bashing is amazing but definitely wouldn’t want to do on my own

  3. January 2, 2017 / 7:04 pm

    Thanks for the education on all things Qatar! If I have to pick favorites, I would choose The Torch, the Qanat Quarter and the Villagio (looks a lot like the one in Vegas). #MondayEscapes

    • January 3, 2017 / 4:22 am

      I’ve not been to vegas but you are not the first person to say that

  4. January 2, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    I would SO love to give dune driving a go! Great guide – thanks for sharing. #mondayescapes

    • January 3, 2017 / 4:22 am

      Thank you – it is great fun but I wouldn’t like to be doing the driving myself

    • January 3, 2017 / 4:23 am

      There’s plenty especially if
      You get out of the city

  5. January 3, 2017 / 3:45 pm

    What surprising and wonderful architecture. I’d love to see the skyline from a dhow and have a cooling drink outside the museum’s cafe. What a view! Great A-Z of your home city! #MondayEscapes

  6. January 3, 2017 / 7:13 pm

    Qatar sounds like such a fantastic destination and one that is high on our bucket list. We love traveling with the kids and this ABC list is a great way to give the kids an idea of what they’ll be seeing in Qatar. Giving kids a foundation of information about what they’ll see gives them something to build upon to help make lasting travel memories. The whole world is a classroom!

    • January 3, 2017 / 7:18 pm

      Completely agree – travel is such an educational experience no matter the age. Qatar is such a family friendly place and can be combined on a trip to so many other places

  7. January 3, 2017 / 7:54 pm

    I know so little about Qatar, this is such a great introduction- lots more there than I realised. You make it sound very tempting too. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • January 4, 2017 / 4:22 am

      Thanks- it’s a great stopover destination too!

  8. January 3, 2017 / 8:09 pm

    A very informative post and incredibly handy for anyone visiting (or living) in Qatar. The dune bashing looks like lots of fun and I do like the architecture. I would love to have dinner at The Torch. #citytripping

    • January 4, 2017 / 4:22 am

      Thanks – definitely lots to do – dune bashing is great fun

  9. January 3, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    I don’t really know much about Qatar so it’s interesting to read this. The sand dune driving sounds exciting! #Mondayescapes

  10. January 4, 2017 / 5:42 am

    That’s a comprehensive list of things to do in Qatar! I would love to try the dune bashing adventure in the inland sea area. #CityTripping

    • January 4, 2017 / 6:00 am

      Thank you – dune bashing is great fun – though I wouldn’t want to be doing the driving

  11. January 4, 2017 / 8:45 am

    How very interesting! I haven’t read much on Qatar, but there seems to be some pretty cool things to do! I’m a little surprised to see a replica of the Rialto Bridge but the qanat quarter is definitely beautiful! The indoor area with gondolas reminds me of the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas! #CityTripping

    • January 4, 2017 / 9:19 am

      A few people have mentioned vegas but I have yet to go! It is quite a unique place

  12. January 5, 2017 / 9:27 am

    We are yet to explore the Middle East properly and there is so much inspiration here. I am drawn to the Fuwarit beaches and the souks. It’s so fascinating to learn about places that have been the subject of such negative press in the western media. I am so glad you joined #FarawayFiles – I’m learning so much about the Middle East and its many unique cultures

    • January 5, 2017 / 9:38 am

      Aww thank you. I think it’s important to show the other side of life here. There are lots of really great things to see here and I hope people will see there is more to qatar than the World Cup

  13. January 5, 2017 / 1:41 pm

    Such an interesting mix of ancient and modern in Qatar, thank you for sharing. The architecture is soo cool. And I love that there is so much nature and outdoor opportunities to explore as well! Cheers from much chillier Copenhagen! Thanks for linking up with the first #FarawayFiles of 2017! Erin

    • January 5, 2017 / 1:51 pm

      Thank you – yes it is quite the city of contradictions

  14. January 5, 2017 / 5:39 pm

    Wow. It looks like Qatar has everything. As I was looking through all of the pictures I kept thinking about how hot it would be. I love your pictures of the Qanat quarter and the inland sea! #farawayfiles

    • January 5, 2017 / 5:42 pm

      It is pretty hot in the summer – can reach 50 but at the minute it is a pretty perfect Temperature

  15. January 5, 2017 / 6:09 pm

    Gosh the torch looks amazing. What a great way to set out all the fab things to do in Qutar, I’d never have thought that there was so much to do! #MondayEscapes

    • January 5, 2017 / 7:29 pm

      Yes lots more than people think and its a perfect stopover destination

  16. January 5, 2017 / 7:47 pm

    Fantastic photos! I love the one of the Museum of Islamic Art in particular. This is a great introduction to a country I know so little about. The perfect share for this week’s #FarawayFiles

    • January 5, 2017 / 7:57 pm

      Thank you. Yes I find that it is often overlooked so hope this will help people get to know it better

  17. January 5, 2017 / 8:38 pm

    I’ve been to Dubai and it was just too hot in the height of summer so it kind of put me off the middle east but I would love to see the Richard Serra sculpture and you’ve listed so many other wonderful things to do I might just have to change my mind! #citytripping

    • January 6, 2017 / 6:53 am

      The summer can be unbearable- it does reach 50 degrees but winter is perfect temperature wise

  18. January 6, 2017 / 3:08 am

    Fascinating..such a world away from where I am. Just saw your Richard Serra photo on Insta…love. #farawayfiles

    • January 6, 2017 / 6:54 am

      Aww thank you. There is a Serra on Mia for park for those who don’t have the time or 4×4 to go in the desert

  19. January 6, 2017 / 11:02 am

    What an interesting post! And that’s brilliant that you’ve lived in Qatar for 3 years – you must know it so well by now. I was fascinated to see such a Venetian influence in the city. Do you know why there are whole areas dedicated to being replicas of famous sites in Venice? Those Souks would be amazing to explore too. Thanks for sharing a piece of your new home town! #FarawayFiles

    • January 6, 2017 / 11:51 am

      Yes feel like I know lots about Qatar now! On the pearl there are themes areas one is Venetian, one is Cannes and one soon to open will look like San Francisco.

  20. January 7, 2017 / 1:28 am

    I know pretty much nothing about Qatar, so this was a cool peek into a new country for me! I’ll have to poke around your blog to learn more. #FarawayFiles

  21. January 15, 2017 / 5:23 pm

    I’ve stopped in Qatar a few times on layovers, but never had/taken time to go see. Should try to to that next time! #citytripping

    • January 15, 2017 / 5:25 pm

      You definitely should! Plenty to see on a layover!

  22. May 15, 2017 / 4:49 pm

    What a great piece! You wouldn’t find many travel guides written about Qatar online. Looks like a place to see 🙂

  23. May 16, 2017 / 11:01 am

    Wow this is a complete guide to Qatar! The fact that you have covered A to Z things to do and see is amazing. Never knew Qatar had so many things to do and see.

    • May 16, 2017 / 12:21 pm

      Aww thank you! Relatively little is know about Qatar so hope this is of use to people visiting in future

  24. May 16, 2017 / 12:03 pm

    Great list! Finny that the inland sea is just sand 🙂

  25. May 16, 2017 / 6:34 pm

    The architecture looks so spectacular! Love your photos!

  26. May 16, 2017 / 9:40 pm

    How does that replica of Venice compare to the real thing? 😉

  27. June 4, 2017 / 9:42 am

    I love posts like these!! I’ve done two for London now 🙂

  28. June 9, 2018 / 2:17 pm

    I’d love to visit Qatar but unfortunately I live in Abu Dhabi and the flights have been restricted. Hopefully they lift the ban soon and I can visit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.