Are you looking for the most beautiful places in Qatar to visit? In this guide we will round up the most instagrammable places in Qatar alongside some beautiful pictures to help you decide which places you want to add to your Qatar itinerary.
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Most Beautiful Places in Qatar to Visit
Note about the Most Beautiful Places in Qatar to Visit: Qatar is a small country, but many people never leave the confines of its capital city Doha. especially those people who are only doing a stopover or long layover in the country. However if you do this you will be missing some of the most beautiful places in the country.
However we understand that some people won’t have time to explore the city in depth if they are only stay in Qatar for1 day etc. Therefore we have split this guide into two sections:
- The Most Beautiful Places in Doha to visit – which includes all of those places in the capital city that are easy to reach either my public transport or taxi that can be done even for those short on time in Qatar and then also
- The Most Beautiful Places in Qatar to visit – this section will look at some of the most beautiful places in Qatar OUTSIDE of the capital city which will often take a bit more time to visit and explore and is great for those having a longer stay in the country.
Also although there are many beautiful hotels and restaurants in Doha this post does not include them as this concentrates on tourist attractions, cultural sights and some natural wonders you find in Doha.
If you want to find out more about the best hotels and restaurants in hotel however be sure to check out the below posts:
And as always please be respectful of the local Islamic culture when you are visiting the below sights. For more information on how to dress in Doha check our our what to wear guides:
Most Beautiful Places in Doha
For me the number one place to visit in Qatar has to the Souq Waqif. Whenever we had visitors staying with us in Doha we would also make sure we visited Souq Waqif over anywhere else.
Souq Waqif means Standing Market and here you will find lots of streets and alleyways selling everything from clothes to pets, ornaments to art, coffee and traditional Arabic spices.
The Souq experience in Qatar is a more sanitised Disney version that say a Souq experience in somewhere like Morocco for instance but we love how relaxed it is at this souq by comparison and how there is not the same amount of badgering.
In our opinion Souq Waqif is beautiful whatever time of day you decide to visit however for the best experience we recommend going to Souq Waqif at night – in fact the Souq is our favourite thing to do in Doha at night.
It is a really photogenic place and visitors will love getting lost in the alley ways. Our favourite places in the Souq have to be the vendors selling traditional Qatari items like the Arabic Coffee pot (Gahwa) store below and of course no visit to the Souq is complete without a visit to the Spice Souq or the Falconry Souq.
The Souq is located just off the Doha Corniche and is one of the places in Qatar that every Karwa (taxi) driver will know how to get to. You can also get to the Souq by taking the Metro to the Souq Waqif station on the gold line. For more information on how to get around Qatar check out our definitive guide.
For more information on the best places to eat in Souq Waqif check out this post.
Museum of Islamic Art
The Museum of Islamic Art is absolutely my favourite building in the whole of Qatar. It is one of the buildings in Doha that has been designed by a Starchitect – in this case IM Pei. The museum is built on an artificial island which has unrivalled views of the iconic West Bay skyline.
What I love about this building is how it plays with light and shadow – one of the fundamental principles of Islamic architecture. But my favourite things about this building is that it looks like a woman wearing a Batoola (a traditional metal face covering that some of the older Qatari women will still wear). It is truly beautiful and iconic.
And the inside of the building is no less stunning, again playing with traditional elements of Arabic and Islamic architecture.
The Museum of Islamic Art is located just across the road from the Souq, which means they can combined on one of your itinerary days.
How to get here: You can get off at the National Museum Metro stop on the gold line and take a short walk, or alternatively you can walk over from Souq Waqif especially if you are visiting in one of the cooler months such as visiting Qatar in November or visiting Qatar in December.
Alternatively for those with cars the Museum of Islamic arts has a large car park or it is very easy to get a taxi to drop you off directly in front of the museum.
Museum of Islamic Arts Park
If museums aren’t your thing (though if they are then there are lots of great museum in Qatar), you can still see the museum from the outside. The best place to go to do this is the Museum of Islamic Arts park that surrounds the museum.
In the grounds there are beautiful views across the water to West Bay and of the Dhow port and there is a lovely open air cafe where you can sit and take in the amazing views.
If you are visiting Doha with kids it is also worth noting that MIA Park has a great playground.
I also love taking pictures of the dhows nearby but in my opinion you can’t beat the view of West Bay from the museum.
For those of you who don’t know, Dhows are the traditional wooden boats used throughout the Gulf region. Dhows were traditionally an important part of Qatari life as before the discovery of oil Qatar’s main source of income was through the Pearling industry.
Even though pearling from dhows isn’t a thing anymore, dhows are still one of the icons of Doha and are quite plentiful in the bay thanks to their use in the tourist industry. For me no trip to Doha is complete without a dhow trip.
You can see the dhows from the Corniche and from the Museum of Islamic Art Park however to get the best view we recommend getting a dhow trip on your itinerary or even better heading out to one of the other places outside of Doha – Banana Island. The boat transfer to Banana Island goes from the port and will give you unrivalled views.
If you are visiting Doha in the winter we recommend taking a walk around Doha Corniche. A walk around the Corniche will take in some of the most beautiful sites in Doha including the National Museum of Qatar, Souq Waqif, Museum of Islamic Arts and West Bay to name a few.
By walking around the Doha corniche you will see the most beautiful sites from many different perspectives.
The Pearl is a manmade island connected to Doha that is a massive residential and retail space. Visiting the Pearl is easy in both winter and summer in Doha as there are lots of walkways, shade, air conditioning and indoor eateries but my favourite thing to do is eat outside in the winter at one of the restaurants with al fresco dining options overlooking the Arabian gulf.
The Pearl has several hotels too including the Kempinksi on the Pearl which has to be near the top of our where to stay in Doha list.
Technically the Qanat Quarter is on the Pearl however when most people speak of the Pearl they think about the Porto Arabia area shown above. The Qanat Quarter is another district on the pearl itself that warrants its own entry in my opinion.
The Qanat Quarter is designed to look like Venice with its own Rialto Bridge. While this area of the Pearl is more residential there are some retail outlets and eateries. We just love walking this area and if you are a resident there is also a private beach.
Katara is the cultural village in the centre of Doha. Doha is home to many artisans selling arts and crafts as well as museums and concert halls. There is also a public beach – which we don’t recommend tourists visiting as there is a strict Qatar dress code enforced here however it is a nice place to walk along the board walk.
On top of that there are lots of brilliant restaurants here that overlook the Gulf. It is also one of the best places to visit if you are visiting Qatar on Qatar National Day.
Oxygen Park in Education City is one of our favourite parks in Doha to visit.
The park itself is filled with waterfalls, green spaces and views of the beautiful Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre. But my favourite thing to photograph in Oxygen Park has to be the new Islamic Studies Centre. The building was nominated by the Royal Institute of British Architects for an architectural award and you can totally see why!
The detailing on the building and the modern style really make this a photography gem.
National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ)
The National Museum of Qatar is another museum designed by a Star-chitect! This time the architect involved was Jean Nouvel. The building is designed on the Qatari natural history gem the desert flower (we will let you know where you stand a chance of seeing these in the most beautiful places in Qatar section).
And within the mammoth structure is the Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani’s Palace which is beautiful itself.
Inside the museum is gorgeous too, and contains exhibitions on the history of Qatar including the pearling industry, discovery of oil and natural history of the country.
Hamad International Airport
Now almost all international visitors to Qatar will enter via Hamad International Airport (unless you drive in via Saudi Arabia or visit on a Middle Eastern Cruise this is the only option for entry).
Hamad is my favourite airport in the world and one of the reasons I love it is because of the amazing public art. Everyone who has been to Qatar will have seen the giant yellow bear in the main airport walkway.
I think our of everywhere in Qatar the place where most selfies are taken is in front of this bear. Don’t miss getting your photo when you are in the airport.
Most Beautiful Places in Qatar to Visit
Now we have discussed the most beautiful places within the confines of Doha city we will turn our attention to those outside of the city.
Please note: if you are visiting the desert we do NOT recommend you visiting on your own but instead you should use a guided tour excursion. Driving in the desert is hard and can be dangerous so should only be done by people who know how. Also driving in the desert is likely to invalidate your hire car insurance.
When you think of the desert in Qatar you can’t help but think of vast swathes of sand dunes. I have come to learn that not all deserts look like this but the Inland Sea is the most traditional looking desert in Qatar.
If you take a desert safari in Qatar this is where you go. The desert safari makes for amazing desert action shots! Sure to be an insta-success! Driving the sand dunes is notoriously difficult so we recommend going on a guided excursion. You will need to allocate at least half a day to visit the sand dunes in Qatar.
However if you fancy spending a bit longer in the desert you might want to consider glamping in the desert at one of the desert Bedouoin camps. If you are visiting for the Qatar World Cup this is a very popular accommodation option.
There are also fun things like camels and ATVs if you want to get more action shots and have a more adventurous trip.
Further out of the city, just over an hour to the North of Doha, is Qatar’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site Zubarah fort. This is one of the most beautiful places in Qatar in my opinion and another great chance to learn about the history of Qatar.
The fort itself is a beauty to photograph and sometimes there are festivals and shows which provide unique photo opportunities.
Last time we went there was a vintage nissan car rally there which meant I could play with mixing the old and the new.
About a 45 minute drive from Doha is the natural spectacle that is Zekreet. The great thing about Zekreet is that there is a public beach where you can paddle so long as you adhere to the dress code but there are also these amazing mushroom rock formations.
For art lovers out there you can take advantage of photographing the Richard Serra sculptural artwork East/West West/East. The size on the pieces in the flat and barren landscape is something to behold. Please note: there is also a Richard Serra artwork in Mia Park but in my opinion the sculptures in the desert are way more impressive and a must for your things to see in Doha list.
There is also a film village in Zekreet which is also a great place to have fun taking snaps and film sets like this one. I have heard so many rumours what this was used for if anyone has a definitive answer I would love to hear it.
Mall of Qatar
Now I am personally not one to take lots of mall photographs but obviously a lot of people are given that Dubai Mall is one of the most instagrammed sites in the world! The Mall of Qatar, in my opinion is probably the most photogenic mall in the whole of Qatar. I love the huge green pillars reminiscent of Singapore in my opinion but my favourite thing is the waterfall artwork complete with giant cranes (the bird not the vehicle). For more information on the most beautiful and best malls in Qatar check out this post.
What do you think of my list? Is there anywhere else that you would add? What do you think is the most instagrammable place in Qatar?
Further Reading on Qatar:
What to do with Kids in Qatar
Qatar’s Most Beautiful Places
Hidden Gems in Qatar Public Beaches in Qatar