Experience Doha


Doha, Qatar’s capital city, combines old-world hospitality with cosmopolitan sophistication. It is a rising star in the Middle East, which is bringing change to the city’s infrastructure and range of attractions that are being developed to meet the increasing demand. It is a thriving city of some 2 million that offers a sparkling skyline that greets new visitors with a vivid display of the country’s vast oil wealth that has transformed Doha to what it is today. The growth here is being built around the historical charms and ancient traditions instead of on top of them, so you end up with modern shopping malls alongside old souqs. Make sure to head down to the beautiful Corniche to see the wooden dhows bobbing in the bay, evidence of the rich trading and pearl diving past. Visitors can stroll along the four-mile waterfront promenade around Doha Bay, the Corniche, enjoying views of old and new Doha. The city’s top attractions include the remarkable Museum of Islamic Art and the grand Souq Waqif. It is easy to see how Doha has earned a reputation as the Gulf’s capital of culture.

Things to See and Do

Hot, sunny days are all but guaranteed in this desert city, making its air-conditioned museums, malls and entertainment venues appealing places to escape into by day. Those who do venture outside will find beautiful beaches in and around the city, as well as endless sands of rolling dunes to navigate. Here are a few more ideas on things to do in Doha.

The National Museum of Qatar remains the main sight of the city. The museum is opened in the halls of sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed. Aside from the remarkable decorations and rare furniture and pictures, the museum has a large aquarium that contains many breeds of colorful fish and other fascinating underwater creatures. Here visitors can enjoy numerous types of fish, marine turtles and fish that are considered a true rarity among the inhabitants of the Persian Gulf. One of the halls is devoted to exhibits connected with marine adventures.

A stunning place, the Imam Muhammad Ibn Abd Al Wahhab Mosque, is spectacular both inside and out and offers fantastic views of the city. Built to reflect the older, more traditional homes in Qatar, everywhere you look, you’ll be blown away by the classic Islamic architecture and design features, from the bright white walls to the carpets you walk on. Only adherents of the Muslim faith can access the mosque for worship. All others can only admire its flawless appearance. In the evening, the mosque is beautifully decorated with lighting.

Another remarkable attraction is the Ethnographical Museum, which interprets the life of the local people prior to the oil boom. For art lovers, head to the old Fort that is often used as a place to exhibit pictures, sculptures, and photographs of modern artists. Here, visitors can also enjoy the works of local craftsmen or purchase locally made carpets and fabrics. If you are traveling with children, make sure to stop in the local Doha Zoo. There is also a fantastic theme park in Doha, named Aladdin’s Kingdom that boasts a wide selection of attractions and even a man-made lagoon.

Make sure to head down to the beautiful Corniche to see the wooden dhows bobbing in the bay, one of the main symbols of the city The waterfront promenade stretches along the bay for 4 miles and is a fantastic place to stroll while taking in the most beautiful buildings in the city. This is also where the most luxurious hotels and expensive restaurants are located. This is also beautiful in the evenings when the buildings along the embankment are decorated with fantastic lighting.

For those who love nature and the great outdoors, you’ll love the many beautiful parks scattered throughout Doha. One of the most famous and largest is Aspire Park situated near the waterfront. The main feature of this park is the fantastic artificial lake. Throughout the entire park, lanterns which are powered by solar panels, light up the trails. This is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the nature around you. The state Park of Shahaniya Nature Resort is the perfect place to enjoy rare species of antelope. It offers an ideal habitat for these animals and a perfect place to watch them roam.

Make sure to check out the remarkable Scheich Mosque, one of the most distinctive monuments and historic buildings. Its exact designation remains unknown. The tower was built in 1910 by orders of one of the local sheikhs. It is available for tourists to visit and the top is equipped with an observation deck, which offers a fantastic view of the coast.

And make sure to pay a visit to the ancient fortress, located on a hill in the heart of the historic district of the city. For a long time the remarkable castle was the main residence of Qatar rulers. It has lost its honorary status just recently and today is one of the most important attractions in the country. The fortress is encompassed by a thick reinforcement wall.

Jeep safaris in the desert also offer a great deal of fun. Fans of more original rest are recommended to try falconry. Fans of walking in shops will be pleased with a huge choice of shopping malls and colorful markets. Hyatt Plaza is known as the most popular shopping pavilion. In addition to numerous shops the center is the location of a modern movie theater and several cozy restaurants.

Food and Drink

Doha offers a plethora of quality dining options, particularly among the five-star hotels. However, it can be difficult to find restaurants of national cuisine in Doha. The reason being is that most culinary traditions have been replaced with culinary traditions of neighboring countries. In recent years, Doha has become one of the most multinational cities in the world. There are people of different ethnicities living in the city. Therefore, many restaurants specialize in different cuisines of the world. What you will find is a unique blend of Indian, Pakistani and Arab cuisine here. Besides that, there are many European cuisine restaurants.

Camel milk and dates are mandatory ingredients of numerous old Qatari delicacies, so these dishes may seem a little exotic for foreign travelers. Despite the fact that Qatar has no shortage of seafood, fish dishes are not very popular among local people. Visitors should definitely try a specialized fish restaurant, the dishes will certainly surprise patrons with their originality.

Specialties include Kousa Mahshi (stuffed zucchini), Machboos (the national dish of Qatar, a slow-cooked mutton or seafood served with yogurt), Thareed (lamb stew), Ghuzi (a whole roast lamb served over a bed of rice and nuts), and Mehalabiya (rose water and pistachio pudding). The main course is typically accompanied by a variety of side dishes. Dessert generally consists of locally grown dates, fresh fruit and halwa (flour-based or nut based dessert) or Umm Ali (much like bread pudding).

For visitors, the most important meal is brunch, particularly on Friday and Saturday, when hotels compete to provide the most spectacular spread with a variety of choices. Booking ahead at any of the five-star hotels is strongly recommended.

Coffee is considered the most popular drink in Qatar, typically served in small cups, sweetened with sugar or served with dates. Karak Chai, black tea infused with crushed cardamom and sweetened with evaporated milk, is also popular.

Alcohol: In most top-end restaurants and hotel bars, alcohol is served. Drinking in public outside is prohibited.


Several fantastic shopping centers are located in Doha. Villaggio is one of the best. It is distinguished by a chic design, and the most prestigious and trendy stores. You’ll find a number of brand stores, along with many cafes and restaurants.

Many people go to the Mall of Qatar just to admire the impressive design. It is decorated with many flowers and living plants inside. The center is equipped with a special stage, since fashion shows and entertainment events often take place here.

Doha has the largest shopping center in the country - City Center Mall. The whole day won't be enough to get around all its pavilions. There you can buy absolutely everything. There are clothing and footwear stores of famous world brands, as well as nice shops with locally produced goods. You can purchase hand-painted gilded vessels, exclusive decorations for the house, or jewelry. The shopping center is perfect for families with children. There are various playgrounds, a bowling alley, and a cinema.

The Mall, D Ring Road, and the Landmark Mall, Al Shamala Road, are two of the most popular malls in Doha. Other malls to look out for include The Royal Plaza, Al Sadd Street, and the Hyatt Plaza, Al Waab Road. You can find designer names at the Pearl-Qatar and Alfardan Center.

Markets: The souks (markets) in Doha are a main attraction of the city. One of the most popular is the Souq Waqif market. It is located not far from Corniche promenade. This is where you’ll find the most interesting national goods. Prices in the market are several times lower than in shopping centers. Some items to look out for are the intricately-decorated gowns, colorful headdresses in national style, handmade shows, beautiful decorations and homegoods, jewelry and costume jewelry, along with spices, yummy sweets and delicacies. In the traditional cafes with outdoor seating, customers can enjoy a cup of tea or glass of juice while taking in the local atmosphere.

Doha is famous for its jewelry, in search of which it's better to go to the Gold Souk. Here, jewelers from all over the city to sell their best products. You can wander around the market until late at night. Jewelry here is much cheaper than in many European countries, and most all sellers offer unique exclusive goods. Men can also enjoy the Gold market, with many choices of gold. Additionally, Souk Al-Jabor, located on Al Ahmed Street, is great for leather goods.

Popular items to buy are spices, bukhar (hand-carved incense burners), linens, jewellery and carpets.

Events and Festivals

Qatar International Food Festival: The Islamic Art Park transforms into an enormous outdoor kitchen for four day every March with food stalls, demonstrations by some of the city’s most popular chefs and the opportunity to sample different recipes from many of Qatar’s Middle Eastern neighbors.

Qatar Masters Golf: Each year, top golfers from around the world are invited to compete in the annual Qatar Masters Golf tournament which is part of the PGA European Tour - one of the top golf tours in the world. The prestigious tournament was first held at the Doha Golf Club in 1998 which is renowned for its tough par 3s and numerous water hazards.

Eid al-Fitr: Brings a variety of cultural events and shop sales that accompany this religious festival, which is timed to celebrate the end of Ramadan fasting (typically in May).

Eid al-Adha: Also known as the festival of sacrifice, Eid al-Adha follows the annual Islamic pilgrimage and commemorates the trails of the Prophet Abraham.

Qatar Motor Show: This is one of the most celebrated dates in the car world; a five-day festival in the country where state-of-the-art motors are the top status symbol. There are outdoor driving and motorbike events on the Motor Show’s private circuit, exhibitions of classic cars and futuristic designs and all aspects of the motor industry take place here.

Souq Waqif Spring Festival: A family festival that brings together street performers, puppets and musical shows, along with Afican circus performers, magicians and a range of other events, including a human cannonball, a seal and penguin show and bungee jumping.


Qatar has over 348 miles of coastline, with beautiful beaches dotted across the region. And Doha offers plenty of beautiful beaches that are easy to reach. Keep in mind that public beaches require women to be covered from their elbows to the knees. However, hotels and resorts do not have this strict dress code. From hidden bays to pink sandy beaches, you’ll find some fantastic beaches here in the capital city.

Katara Beach is situated in the center of Doha and is part of Katara Village, a public art and culture development with access to a range of cultural events. This beach is great for families due to all the activities it offers including waterskiing, parasailing, kneeboarding and speed boat rides. The surrounding area also offers an array of entertainment options. Enjoy the art at the galleries, attend a show at the theater or visit one of the several restaurants in the area.

The Four Seasons Beach is one of the more luxurious beaches in the area. The gorgeous hotel is home to five pools and a private sandy beach with a resort atmosphere. Anyone is welcome with the purchase of a day pass. Enjoy relaxing at a private cabana while the attentive staff caters to your needs.

Umm Bab Beach, locally known as the Palm Tree Beach, offers a charming Caribbean feel. Clusters of palm trees are dotted along the coastline offering perfect shade for relaxing on the beach. A children’s play area, a small shop and facilities are available.

Sealine Beach is situated at the end of the Qatari peninsula. You can access the beach as a guest of the resort, which gives you access to loungers, umbrellas, the pool, restaurant and all the activities. As you stroll the beach, admire the view of the sand dunes that meet the sea.

Inland Sea, is one of the few places where the sea meets the sand dunes. This is a must-see natural reserve recognized by UNESCO and can only be reached by 4x4 through the desert. Bring your camera to document the beautiful beach landscape. Low tide brings microbial mats that create interesting patterns while high tide, you’ll witness the dunes gently sloping into the sea.

Al Thakira Beach, located about 45-minutes north of Doha, is home to one of Qatar’s largest mangrove reserves. This is a public beach, so it is less about sunbathing and more about nature. Here you’ll discover wildlife, bird-watch, go fishing, and kayak through the mangroves. After visiting the beach, wander the local area, visit nearby shops and restaurants.

Simaisma Beach, part of the Murwab resort, is a luxurious private oasis that includes 52 villas and a spa. A guest of the resort, you will have access to the beautiful beach and outdoor pool, along with a range of watersports. The resort is also home to the Six Senses Spa where guests can enjoy a range of spa treatments and beauty services. This is ideal for visitors for anyone looking for a relaxing ambiance close to the city center (located about 20 minutes from Doha).

The Banana Island Resort is a private beachfront island that includes a lagoon pool and a surf pool. Visitors can reach the island by a 25-minute ferry ride from Al Shyoukh terminal in downtown Doha, or take a 10-minute helicopter ride, a more expensive option. The resort is available to non-guests with a purchase of a day pass. The resort also offers activities such as watersports, snorkeling and scuba diving lessons.


Among numerous nighttime entertainments available to guests of Doha, every traveler will find something suitable and unique. Much of Doha’s luxury hotels also act as nightlife venues. Crystal Lounge at W Doha is the hippest place. For something more laidback, the Lincoln Center at St Regis and the Jazz Club at Oryx Rotana are great options. Sky View Doha is beautiful at night for stunning views. This is an open-air roof of a tall building, so it offers a fantastic panorama of the city. If you are looking for bars with live music, check out The Den. At The Club at The St Regis, live music is also a draw and has become famous as a venue with the best cocktails in the city. Visitors can find some great venues with stylish interior and casual atmosphere such as Crystal, Vintage, Aqua Lounge, and Fabrik Lounge. Finally, the Katara Cultural Village also hosts concerts, shows, exhibitions, as well as indoor and outdoor film screenings.