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Visiting Qatar in December (Doha and Further Afield)

Visiting Qatar in December (Doha and Further Afield)

Are you visiting Qatar in December? In this guide we will tell you everything you need to know about visiting in Winter from what the Doha December weather is like, what to wear in Qatar in December and the best things to do including information on what it is like in Doha for Christmas and for celebrating Qatar National Day.

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Please note: if you are visiting Qatar in November or December 2022, even if it is not for the wold cup you will be affected by the high volume of travellers and special measures. For instance all travellers regardless of whether they are visiting for the World Cup or not will be required to get a Hayya Card (it is one of the essential Qatar Apps to have in 2022) and organise accommodation before arrival – you can read more about traveling to Qatar during the World Cup here. But we strongly advise you to check the government websites before travel to ensure that you have done everything required to enter and stay in the country during this period. 

Qatar weather in December

Qatar Itinerary

Qatar Itinerary

What Season is it in Qatar in December?

December in Qatar is Winter season. Qatar really only has two seasons summer and winter and December is definitely Winter. However you shouldn’t be too worried about the temperatures in Qatar even then. 

Qatar temperature in December?

The average Qatar temperature in December tends to be around 24C however can drop as low as 21C and has been known on a rare occasion to reach 29C. The later in the month you visit Qatar in December the more likely you re to encounter the cooler end of these temperatures. 

And do not think that because you are visiting the Middle East that the evenings don’t get cold. Nights in Doha do get cooler and you will need an extra light layer if you are spending time outside and if you are planning on staying overnight in the desert, in something like a desert camp for the World Cup, be warned the temperatures there really do drop in the evening and you will want a sweater. 

Does it rain in Qatar in December?

It rarely rains in Qatar whatever time of year you visit. On average you may get 1 day of rain in Doha in December.

Note: Does your visit to Qatar spread across two months? Be sure to check out our other monthly guides:

What to wear in Qatar in December 

What to wear in Doha - Qatar Traditional Dress

What to wear in Doha – Qatar Traditional Dress

Now you know what to expect from the Qatar weather in December it is time to look at what to wear in Doha in December. 

There is a strict Qatar dress code no matter what time of year you are visiting and it is really important that this is adhered to at all times – in fact it is at the top of my Qatar’s dos list.. As a conservative Islamic country you do not want to get in trouble or offend your host nation by not wearing appropriate attire. 

The main dress code rules for Qatar are that:

  • your knees are kept covered
  • your shoulders are covered
  • you should not wear anything tight or revealing

And this applies to both men and women. 

I personally recommend adding the below clothes to your Qatar packing list

  • Maxi Dresses with no slits or spaghetti straps that would not meet Qatar dress code requirements. 
  • Breathable Fabrics such as linen and cotton so you don’t get too sweaty. 
  • Trousers, skirts and shorts providing they cover your knees.
  • T Shirts and Blouses that don’t show off your stomach or shoulders. 
  • Layers for the evenings and in the desert

This dress code will also apply if you are traveling to Qatar for the World Cup. But for a dedicated post on the Qatar World Cup Dress code check out this post. 

You will find that locals, both residents and nationals will be wearing coats, wooly hats and bigger layers in Doha in December. When we first arrived in Doha to live in January we saw the locals wearing this while we were in skirts and t shirts and swore this would never be us. But the truth is that you get acclimatised to Middle East weather when you are living there. However if you are from Northern Europe or North America then you shouldn’t need these sort of things for visiting Doha in December. 

And what about if you are in Qatar for Christmas? What are you allowed to wear around this festive holidays. You will find that most of the 5* hotels host Christmas brunches and other Christmas events, usually post Qatar National Day which is a big celebration in country. 

I love a Christmas Jumper when I am in Europe but it is far too hot to wear one of these in Qatar in December however I used to wear a Christmas T Shirt instead and this was perfectly acceptable. 

How to get around Doha in December 

Visiting Qatar in November / Doha November Weather - city skyline

Visiting Qatar in November / Doha November Weather – city skyline

Doha is an easy city to get around with a great public transit city in the Doha Metro (Which extends from the Doha Airport to the World Cup stadiums. There is also a public bus system however I do not recommend this as the best way to get around for tourists. There are also taxi services readily available from the blue national taxis called Karwas to ride hailing apps such as Uber and Kareem which operate in country, 

December is a perfect time to use the open air hop on hop off bus in Qatar however as the weather is cool enough for you be able to sit outside instead of inside. 

However my favourite thing about visiting Qatar in December is that you can easily get around Doha on foot in December. My favourite walk in the city is to from the National Museum of Qatar to West Bay. Along the way you can stop in at the Museum of Islamic Arts and my favourite place to visit in Qatar Souq Waqif which is a great place to buy Doha souvenirs

If you want to go outside the city on a dune bashing excursion etc then we recommend you go with specialist tour provider as driving in the sand is very hazardous and should only be attempted by experienced sand drivers. 

Events in Qatar in December

Visiting Qatar in December / Doha in December / things to do on Qatar National Day

Visiting Qatar in December / Doha in December / things to do on Qatar National Day

December is actually one of my favorite months to visit Qatar even in years when Qatar is not hosting the World Cup. And the reason for this is the special events that are going on around the holidays. They are:

Qatar National Day

Qatar National Day is celebrated on 18th December each year to celebrate Qatar’s independence. Qatar National Day is a public holiday in Qatar so you can expect many places such as banks to be closed on this day. However there are lots pf public events that go on during National Day. 

Traditional events include a military parade display along Doha corniche, fireworks in the evening and you will spot giant Qatari flags everywhere. 

The place to be for National day is always along the corniche but it can get busy and as there are lots of road closures for the military parade it can be difficult getting around so plan you day and times accordingly. 

Note: For Qatar 2022 the World Cup final will be hosted on National Day. It has yet to be released how the World Cup will affect the usual National Day Festivities so be to keep checking back to this post for updates. 

Christmas in Qatar 

Although Qatar is a Muslim country you can still celebrate Christmas in country especially at the 5* hotels. After National Day especially the hotels will be decorated for the festive season and all usually host a wealth of Christmas related events such as Christmas afternoon teas, gingerbread house making and of course Christmas brunches. 

But be sure to book any festive events in advance as they can sell out. 

New Years Eve in Qatar 

By comparison to visiting Dubai in December for the New Years Eve celebrations you will find Qatar on New Years Eve much more subdued. There are events in the hotels and you may see fireworks from the Corniche but New Year definitely isn’t celebrated to the same degree in Qatar as Dubai. 

Best things to do in Qatar in December 

Best Hidden Places in Qatar - Sheikh Faisal Museum

Best Hidden Places in Qatar – Sheikh Faisal Museum

Celebrate National Day

Qatar National Day is an annual public holiday in Qatar that celebrates Qatar independence. It is held every year on 18th December. As it is a public holiday you can expect some places such as banks to be closed and a wealth of special events to be held. 

Annual events in Qatar for national day include: 

  • Military Parade on the Corniche

Note: The Qatar National day 2022 celebrations may look different as the final of the World Cup has been organised to coincide with national day. So far the Qatar authorities have not released everything that will happen on Qatar National Day 2022 but we will update this post as we find out more information. 

Go to a Festive Brunch

As I said before the hotels in Qatar go all out for Christmas but one of my favorite things to do around Christmas in Qatar is to attend a festive brunch. If you have children I would also add going to a gingerbread building workshop to your list. 

Do some Christmas Shopping

How to dress for the Qatar World Cup

How to dress for the Qatar World Cup

Qatar is a shopping paradise and there is no better place to do some last minute Christmas shopping than in Doha. Some of our favorite malls are:

  • Doha Festival City
  • Mall of Qatar in Al Rayyan
  • Villagio near the Aspire Stadium. 

Enjoy Qatar’s first winter wonderland

In 2022 Qatar will host its first Winter Wonderland festival. Hosted on an island just off Lusail there will be seafront cabins, restaurants and stalls. 

It will be first opened in 2022 and a deal has been done for the festival to return for the next 5 years. 

We will update this post with more information when it is released. 

See Flamingoes 

One of my favorite activities outside of Doha is to head up to the Mangroves just outside of Al Khor to see the great flamingo migration. Though you can see them from land our favorite way to spot them is on a kayaking or paddle boarding excursion. 

Visit a Museum

The Museum of Islamic Art Doha Qatar - one of the best things to do in Doha at night and The Best Doha Tours and Day trips in Doha

The Museum of Islamic Art Doha Qatar – one of the best things to do in Doha at night and The Best Doha Tours and Day trips in Doha

Qatar is home to a wealth of museums. Some of our favourites to visit are the National Museum of Qatar both along the Corniche and it only seems fitting to visit the 3-2-1 sports museum which newly opened in 2022 ahead of the Qatar World Cup. 

Go Dune Bashing 

 It can be difficult to go out into the desert in the summer because of the scolding hot temperatures. However winter in Doha is the perfect time to escape the city and go. on a dune bashing excursion. We recommend going with a reputable company rather driving yourself as driving the dunes is dangerous and will invalidate your car hire insurance. 

Qatar World Cup December 2022

What to wear to the Qatar World Cup

What to wear to the Qatar World Cup

If you are visiting for the Qatar World Cup be sure to check out our traveling to Qatar for the World Cup check out this post for more information about getting around for matches and entry requirements amongst other things.