Are you looking for the best hidden places in Qatar? In this guide we round up the best hidden gems in Qatar from the best hidden beaches to the best unknown restaurants alongside some of the country’s best know gems so you have you choice of best things to see in Qatar.
A note about visiting hidden places in Qatar: There is a strict Doha dress code and as such you such should prepare what you are going to wear in Qatar before travel. This is even more important if you are travelling to hidden gems in Qatar as these are likely to be off the tourist track. Be sure to check our what to wear in Doha guide and dress appropriately when traveling in Qatar.
Also, some of these places require 4 x 4 and off road driving. This should only be undertaken by skilled drivers and if you are not one then be sure to take a tour or use a private guide to visit these places
Best Hidden Places in Qatar – The best beaches in Qatar
Most people when they think of the Middle East think of swanky 5* and luxury hotels where expats can sun themselves all year long. While the reality of being an expat in the Middle East is not all sunbathing and beaches, it is true that there are beaches in Doha, and they are pretty awesome! So if you are looking for a Doha beach these are the ones I recommend:
Intercontinental Doha Beach
In my opinion if you are looking for a Doha beach, then you really can’t go wrong with the Intercontinental Doha Beach. It is possible the beach nearest Doha and has beautiful views of the Doha skyline!
Advice about the Intercontinental Doha Beach: there are two Intercontinental Hotels in Qatar. Both are lovely however only one has beach access. The Intercontinental Doha the City does not have a beach while the Intercontinental Doha does have beach access.
If you aren’t staying in the Intercontinental that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the Intercontintental Doha Beach. The Intercontinental Doha beach pass is a way to experience the luxury hotel beach resort without having to stay there! Who doesn’t love getting to experience luxury for less in Doha!
If you are looking for other beach near Doha then I recommend checking out some of the 5* hotels for those that don’t want to travel outside of Doha for the beach.
Another fabulous beach near Doha can be found at the Grand Hyatt Doha. It has a beautiful long stretch beach with lovely views of the Pearl. They also offer one of the best pool and beach day access in Doha.
Now while Doha is home to a plethora of 5* hotels there are other beaches off the beaten track which mean you don’t have to go to hotels to catch some rays.
The great thing about these beaches is that you are free to sunbathe and swim as you wish which in the Qatar public beaches you can not. However if you are looking to find one of the beach hidden gems in Qatar then one of the below beaches may be for you.
Best Hidden Places in Qatar – Beaches
Fuwarit Beach – a Qatar hidden gem beach
Qatar’s coastline offers many diverse beach experiences and all of these beaches are near Doha. Fuwarit to the North of Doha is one of my favourites as it is one of the more sandy beaches.
The great thing about this beach is the wildlife it supports. Turtles lay their eggs on this beach and therefore it is shut during turtle breeding time but there are also some great informative tours that you can take.
Hidden Gem – Zekreet Beach
Perhaps my favourite hidden beach gem is Zekreet on the Western coast of Qatar. It is a rockier beach but you really feel secluded here despite the fact that you are really close to civilisation being extremely close to the Cuban Hospital.
There are other tourist attractions as well as the beach at Zekreet with a film village and the Richard Serra artwork East/West all located here which are some other great hidden gems.
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!
Best Qatar Museums (known and hidden gems)
KNOWN GEM – Museum of Islamic Art Qatar
The Museum of Islamic Art Qatar is one of the most iconic buildings in Qatar. It was designed by IM Pei and is located on a man made island just off the corniche.
I love this building as it plays with light and shadows so familiar with traditional Islamic architecture and is said to look like a woman in a batoola (a batoola is a traditional metal face mask worn in the Gulf).
The Museum is home to an array of beautiful Islamic arts from jewellery to carpets, armour to astrolabes. It also has a great park.The museum is a must see cultural attraction in Qatar!
Please note: the museum is currently closed until Fall 2022 for a rehang.
Hidden Gem in Qatar – The Sheikh Faisal Museum
The Sheikh Faisal Museum is located just outside of Doha past Education City. This is the only private museum in Qatar and is the private collection of Sheikh Faisal.
The museum contains personal memorabilia from his life along with an amazing vehicle collection. It is well worth a visit.
Please check the website for visiting details, and as the Sheikh Faisal Museum is located outside of Doha. You will need to drive out to visit this museum or organise a taxi and set a return time for collection as this is off the beaten path.
If you are looking to include this in a Qatar itinerary then be sure to combine a visit out to Sheikh Faisal with the camel race track.
Hidden Gem – Mshereib Museums
While Doha City Centre has many museums that are known around the world like the Museum of Islamic Arts and National Museum of Qatar, there are museums even in the city that are still hidden gems.
The Mshereib Museums are actually located in a complex next to Souq Waqif and comprises of four museums that are now open to the public.
The Museums include
- the bin Jelmoud House which tell he story of slavery on the region and is a very powerful insight and learning experience about the region
- Mohammad bin Jassum, a house documenting the mshereib project, a
- Radwani House – a historic Qatari house that shows traditional Qatar living and
- Companies House museum dedicated which documents the history of oil in the country.
Even if you only have a layover in Doha these museums could easily be combined with a visit to the Souq.
Best Hotels in Doha
Known Gem – Best Luxury Hotels in Qatar
Doha is home to amazing 5* hotels and we love nothing more than a staycation. We loved visiting the Intercon and Grand Hyatt but have our sights set on stay cations at the Four Seasons and maybe even the Banana Island Resort. If you are looking for luxury then look no further than Doha’s hotels.
Best Qatar Hidden Gem Hotels – Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels
I will admit that I have never stayed at a boutique hotel is Souq Waqif but this has suddenly jumped up my list of things I want to do in Doha.
I visited one of the boutique hotel restaurants, Gymkhana and had an amazing time and have since then been looking into this boutique hotels. They look to be real hidden gems!
For more advice on where to stay in Doha, check out this guide
Best Places to Visit in Qatar
KNOWN GEM – Souq Waqif – one of the best tourist places in Doha
In my opinion, Souq Waqif is the number one tourist destination in all of Qatar. Whenever we have guests in town this is the place they want to go!
If you visit Qatar then you will want to check out the spice souq, the artisan market and try one of the amazing restaurants for Middle Eastern food.
Any one who has visited Souq Waqif won’t have failed to see the bejewelled and mirror restaurant Parisa. This is one of our favourites in Souq Waqif and is located on the main thoroughfare.
This main walkway through the Souq provides you with plenty of restaurants, souvenir shops and access to the amazing handicraft, gold and art souq but it worth getting lost in the souq as you find some real hidden gems.
Hidden Gems in Souq Waqif
Getting lost down the winding lanes of the souq has meant we have found some great discoveries. From amazing fabric shops, to spice shops and even finding a tailor for my husband to get hand made custom suits at the most reasonable of prices, I can not recommend getting lost in the Souq enough.
One of my favourite finds has to be the restaurant Bandar Aden, a Yemeni restaurant near the camel souq. I had never experienced Yemeni food before and am so glad I have as it is so distinct from other Middle Eastern cuisine. With large breads served with a type of salsa and sizzling pots of stews it is something that must be tried.
Added bonus is you get to eat authentically on the floor!
Best Historical Hidden Places in Qatar
KNOWN GEM – UNESCO Site in Qatar
Qatar as the history aficionados probably know has one UNESCO World Heritage Site – Zubarah Fort. The fort was abandoning in the 1930s but in there you can learn about life in Qatar as a trading port.
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
Historical Hidden Gems in Qatar
Although Zubarah is the most well known of the forts, the coast from Al Ruwais to Zubarah is littered with abandoned forts. It is worth driving down the coastal road and visiting each one.
For those who don’t have the time to make the hour and ten minute drive, Barzan Towers located near to Ikea can satisfy your history thirst while never leaving Doha city limits!
You can read more about our explorations of Qatari forts here
KNOWN GEM – MIA Park – the best park in Doha
Perhaps the best known of all the parks in Qatar is MIA Park. Whenever the weather is good, meaning Winter here, everybody tries to take advantage of the weather by going outdoors.
MIA Park is a family favourite with lovely walks, views of the city and a great children’s play area complete with carousel.
During the Winter months it has a bazaar on a Friday which is well worth a browse as it is full of amazing local products and handmade goodies such as Pie Lady and Patt’s Handicrafts to name but a few.
Best Park Hidden Gem in Doha
Oxygen Park is a new addition to the Doha Park scene and is little known about. It has become our go to Park with Baby E!
We love the walk around the park and will be using in the summer aswell as they have thought careful about shade and cooling.
It also has a great play park for children and this beautiful flower tunnel. It is a lovely place to while away an afternoon.
What are your hidden gems in Qatar and how did you find them? What are the most interesting places in Doha Qatar to visit in your opinion?
Further Reading on Qatar:
What to do with Kids in Qatar
Qatar’s Most Beautiful Places
Hidden Gems in Qatar Public Beaches in Qatar