Are you looking for the perfect one day in Doha itinerary? In this guide we give you the options for the best way to spend 24 hours in Doha so you can see the best things to do in Qatar and experience true Arabian hospitality.
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Why spend one day in Doha?
Doha is increasingly becoming a hub for international travelers to make a quick stopover, especially for those on the Kangaroo Route. Many people traveling through Qatar on this route only have a limited amount of time to see the city. In this 24 hours in Qatar guide we have designed the itinerary so you can jump in at point of the day – for instance if you are arrive in the afternoon just jump in at that point.
Notes about this One Day in Doha Itinerary
As someone who has lived and worked in Doha for many years this is a practical guide to make sure that you see the best that Qatar had to offer but also to give you something that is imminently achievable and practical for the time you have in Qatar.
As you will only have 24 hours in Doha this guide will
- tell you the best areas to stay in Doha to ensure you aren’t spending all of your time traveling from your accommodation and airport.
- tell you the best methods of transport for getting around Doha
- show you the most and the best Doha attractions to see in one day
- tell you where to eat for every meal.
How to Get Around Doha During Your One Day in Doha
Whenever I am doing a stopover my main concern is what is the best way to get around the city in a short amount of time but with this guide we have you covered.
Taxis in Doha
Taxis are a great way to get around Doha during your one day stopover. The reasons for this is that taxis in Doha are relatively cheap and there are taxi ranks at all the main tourist attractions. You will also be able to spot the taxis in Qatar easily, or Karwa as they are known locally as they are a bright turquoise color.
The starting fee for a Karwa taxi from the airport is 25QAR but for all other locations the starting charge is only 4QAR. Taxis from the airport are super easy to find as once you leave the arrivals hall and come through immigration just turn left and you will find the Karwa taxi rank!
If you are travelling at peak times (Eid, Christmas and of course if you are traveling to Qatar for the World Cup) there may be a line for taxis otherwise you usually will not be waiting long fo a taxi.
If you are traveling during one of these peak periods especially during the Qatar World Cup we recommend either organising a private transfer in advance to take you directly to your hotel or the city or perhaps even easier taking the Doha Metro into the city.
Please note that Uber and careem the taxi apps are available to use in Qatar however I tend to alway use a Karwa instead.
Getting To Doha from Hamad International Airport via Metro
The Doha Metro is now opened and the branch line that connects Doha to Hamad International Airport is fully operational.
Hamad International Airport has its own stop on the red line called Hamad International Airport Terminal One and will take you to the corniche, West bay and Katara for any other destinations in Doha you would have to change.
The rest of our one day in Doha itinerary you will be Able to travel between all points of interest via the Doha Metro using mainly the red line as most of the attractions we recommend cluster around Souq Waqif, the National Museum of Doha, Katara and West Bay. However prepare you phone if you plan to use public transport as this is an essential Qatar app.
For a more complete guide on how to get around Doha click here!
What to do in Doha for a day Itinerary
Note: Although this Qatar itinerary starts with in the morning you can jump in at any point depending on when your flight lands in Qatar. However I would not recommend moving the time of things you do things unless you are shorter on time than 24 hours and absolutely have to – for instance you can visit Souq Waqif in the morning but your experience won’t be as good as if you were visiting in the evening.
How to Start a Day In Doha
There are loads of great restaurants in Doha from local eateries to five star dining! And for breakfast you can get everything from eggs Benedict to pancakes but we recommend trying to fit in as much local cuisine as you can while in country.
We therefore recommend starting your day at local Qatari eatery Shay Al Shoumous (sometimes also spelt as Shay Al Shoomos). It can actually be quite difficult finding places that serve traditional Qatari dishes in Doha however Shay Al Shoumous is one of the most authentic eateries you can eat at in the whole country and it specialises in amazing breakfasts. This is also one of the best cheap restaurants in Doha.
Shay Al Shoumous is located in the Souq however after breakfast don’t worry about exploring the Souq, you will be coming back here later as the Souq really only comes alive in the evening.
Note: if you are short on time or don’t want to try a traditional Qatari breakfast the most efficient use of your time will be to eat your breakfast at your hotel.
Once you have eaten breakfast we are heading off on the first stop of the day
Doha in a Day Stop One – Museum Visit
Qatar has some amazing museums. There are museum in Qatar dedicated to all sorts of things from journalism to Olympic Sports to Art and the history of Qatar.
Although Qatar has lots of museums that are two that are most conveniently located for those who are short on time in Doha. The two museums that are easiest to visit if you only have one day in Doha are:
- The National Museum of Qatar
- Museum of Islamic Arts
Both of these are located on the Doha Corniche and are easily accessible from the National Museum of Qatar station.
The Museum of Islamic Art (locally known as MIA) is an iconic piece of architecture created by the starchitect I.M. Pei (also famed for having created the glass pyramid in front of the Louvre).
The building plays with light and shadows, Islamic design elments and resembles a woman in a batoola (a traditional metal Gulf face cover for females, you may see some of the older female residents wearing one during your stay).The interior architecture is also stunning and the museum is in my opinion one of the most beautiful places in Qatar to visit!
The collection inside the museum is as equally noteworthy as the building it is housed in. Of particular note are the amazing Arabic Carpet Collection and the jewellery.
Note: The Museum of Islamic Arts is currently closed until Fall 2022. So until then we recommend visiting the National Museum instead.
If you are travelling with children however I would advise a visit to the Museum of Islamic Art as there is no dedicated children’s interpretation so can be difficult to keep younger children occupied here. Instead we recommend visiting one of our favourite parks in Qatar – the Museum of Islamic Arts park which has a great playground for children to burn off some energy and a lovely cafe with unrivalled views across the Doha Corniche to West bay or otherwise visit the Children’s Gallery at the National Museum.
Please note: Closed on Tuesdays.
National Museum of Qatar
The National Museum of Qatar (or NMoQ as it is locally known) opened on Qatar National Day in 2019. The building is an architectural gem designed by starchitect Jean Novel. The building is built to resemble the Qatar natural history gem – the desert rose. In a longer Qatar itinerary we would recommend heading out into the desert but if you just have one day in Doha that really isn’t practical. In my opinion this museum is one of the most beautiful places in Qatar to visit.
The museum is split into several exhibits covering the geology and geography of Qatar including fossils displays and information on the indigenous animals of the country, the more recent history which covers Qatar’s early industry – Pearling to discovery of oil.
Also within the mammoth structure is the Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani’s Palace which is beautiful itself and not to be missed.
The National Museum of Qatar also has a small children’s gallery making it more child friendly than the Museum of Islamic Arts in my opinion.
Take a stroll around the Museum of Islamic Art Park
Once you have finished touring your museum of choice we recommend heading into the beautiful Museums of Islamic Arts Park – locally called MIA park.
The grounds of the museum that make up the park are beautiful and with plentiful things to see and do.
Some of our favourite things to do in Mia Park include going to see the awe inspiring Richard Serra sculpture by the sea or having a cup of coffee and cake at the most beautiful coffee shop in Doha. What could rival this view.
Perfect one day in Doha itinerary afternoon
For your perfect one day in Doha itinerary in the afternoon I thought I would outline two possible options to cover you for whatever you fancy.
If there you want to know what to see in Doha in one day I would have to say the Doha skyline! For me it is one of the most beautiful skylines in the whole world. And a great way to see this is by taking a Dhow Cruise.
Dhows are the traditional wooden boats of the region. Previously the Doha waters would have been filled with dhows that would have been used for the traditional industry of Pearling however today you can see a variety of Dhows on the coast taking tourists for a leisure cruise to get some of the best views of the Doha skyline.
Note: If you are visiting in Qatar in the summer however I would recommend inverting the day and going on the dhow cruise early in the morning and doing the museum in the afternoon when the heat is at its highest.
However if you don’t fancy going on a Dhow Cruise then you may want to consider heading to Katara, Qatar’s cultural village. Katara is home to many artisans selling arts and crafts as well as museums and concert halls. There are also loads of really great restaurants in Katara is Mamig an Armenian – Lebanese restaurant however if you fancy something other than Middle Eastern Food you could try out Boho Social.
If you only fancy a light bite rather than a big lunch there is a branch of one of Qatar’s most popular quick bite places – Chapati and Karak. This place is extremely popular and there are usually queues. It is in fact so popular that there is now also an outpost in Knightsbridge London. But it is worth the wait.
Please note: Although there is a public beach at Katara we do not recommend tourists using this. The reason for this is beaucse it is a public beach which has a strict and enforced Qatar dress code however it is a nice place to walk along the board walk. If you want to spend time the beach in the afternoon then you are best to stay in Doha at a hotel with a beach.
On top of that there are several exhibition spaces which are worth checking out if there is a temporary exhibition on, a huge outdoor theatre.
Perfect 24 hours in Doha evening!
For me no visit in Doha no matter how long you have in the city is complete without a visit to Doha’s Souq -Souq Waqif. Souq Waqif means the Standing Market and for me it is the best thing to do in Doha. At the Souq you really feel like you get to know the Middle Eastern culture and you can also do some great Doha souvenir shopping.
Evening is a great time, actually scratch that evening is the BEST time to visit the Souq as this is when it truly comes alive. The Souq usually has a great mix of locals doing their shopping and tourists interested to see this side of Doha life which creates a really great atmosphere.
Parts of the Souq that you really should not skip on your visit include:
- the spice souq – the smells are incredible
- the artisan souq – where you can buy local arts and crafts
- the gold souq – one of the most expensive places to go shopping in Doha and
- the falconry souq – falconry is the number one national sport in Qatar and in the falconry souq you can see some of the best breeds of flacons – whose price tags incidentally run into the thousands. You can also see the world renowned Falcon hospital
Other things that are worth seeing are the Emir’s horses at the stables in the souq and checking out the camels at the camel souq.
It is also my favourite place in Doha to have dinner, especially if you are looking for Middle Easter cuisine. There are lots of great restaurants in the souq but my personal fave is Parisa – a Persian restaurant that has the most stunning restaurant interior in Qatar!
Once you have finished dinner in the Souq then I would advise browsing all the stores and doing some shopping! The Souq is one of the best things to do in Doha for a day and it is a great place to pick up souvenirs or get more of an insight into Middle Eastern life! For a guide to the most authentic things to buy in Qatar check out this post.
Note: There is also an animal/ pet Souq! I personally avoid this area as I find it upsetting!
Alternatively if you fancy trying some of the luxury that Qatar is famed for you could try one of the hotel restaurants. My favourites include Hakkasan at the St Regis or Nobu at the Sheraton. But you can find more about our favourite places to eat in Doha here.
Where to stay a during your Doha one day itinerary
If you are only staying in Doha for a day it is really important to pick the right hotel in the right area. We have a whole guide on where to stay in Doha but we recommend the following area because they will cut down on your travel time between tourist attractions and to the airport. That is why we think West bay hotels are best if you are only staying in the city for one night.
Out favourite hotels in West Bay are:
- JW Marriott Marquis
- Marriott Marquis City Centre
- Four Seasons Doha – perhaps top of the list for those who want a luxurious stay
- Sheraton Grand Doha Resort.
I have selected these because they are all close to public transit and are easy to get to the museums, Souq and even to Katara.
If you would like to add some beach time to your Doha then the Four Seasons or the Sheraton should be top of your list. However if you want a more budget option the Marriott Marquis city Centre is the cheapest out of all of these options
FAQs About this one day in Doha itinerary
Does this work for visiting Doha on a Friday
If your one day in Qatar happens to be on a Friday you will need to tweak this itinerary as Friday is the holy day in Islam and things are often shut in the morning. I recommend heading to one of the five star hotels for a beach morning and heading to a famous middle eastern brunch in the afternoon. If you are staying at the Four Seasons or Sheraton then you will be able to do a beach day there.
Are there any Doha One Day Tour Packages
Doha is very doable on foot during the Winter months and it is very easy to do all of the above using the very affordable taxis or via the Doha Metro. However if you would prefer to do a Doha Organised Day Tour there is the following tour available:
And if you are looking for some ideas to do a day trip in Doha to see more of Qatar then check out this post.
Is one day in Doha enough?
It is hard to say whether you not one day in Doha is enough or not. I would say it really depends what you want to achieve. In one day you can say at least one of the best museums in Doha and you will be able to sample some great Middle Eastern food and tour the Souq.
However if you would like to visit more museums, head out into the desert and see some places outside of the capital then I definitely recommend you having more than one day in Doha.
What is the best time to visit Doha?
The best time to visit Doha has to be during the Winter such as visiting Doha in November or a shoulder season for the simple reason as the hot weather isn’t as stifling. If you visit Doha in the Winter then you could more outdoor activities such as hitting the beach and walking the beautiful Doha corniches.
Depending on when in the shoulder season you visit yo may be able to do this but the closer it gets to summer the hotter it will get and the less time you will be able to spend outside.
Another great time to visit Doha is in December however I would say be wary of visiting for national day. National day is a great time to be in Doha because of all the festivities however the traffic is awful on this date which would greatly impact the amount you can do during this itinerary.
Can I leave Doha Airport during layover?
Yes you usually can leave Doha Airport during a layover but it is worth checking out your flight details first. Also I would never recommend leaving the airport if you have less than six hours.
Can I use the Doha Metro for this Doha itinerary?
Yes absolutely, we have designed this itinerary to be used either via Karwa or Doha Metro.
What Should I Wear in Doha?
Doha has quite a conservative dress code that all tourists, irrespective of how much time you have in the city have to follow! But fear not check out our What to Wear in Doha Guide to make sure you do not make any cultural faux pas!
However I do recommend packing these other non clothing essentials
- Sun Hats
- sun cream – it is hot in Doha all year even in Winter
- aloe vera after sun
- Medical Kit
- Water Bottle
- Universal Power Adaptor
Have you done a 1 day layover in Doha? What did you do?