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As football fans across the world will know, Qatar is set to host the 2022 FIFA world cup. In recent years Qatar has come under criticism for being a ‘dull’ city with limited activities. However, we can assure you that this is far from true.
Not only is Qatar one of the safest destinations in the world, but it also offers true Arabian hospitality and a rich variety of food, culture, activities and more.
With its rich history, breath-taking landscape and state of the art shopping facilities there is so much to explore in Qatar. Additionally, after feedback from the recent IAAF World Championships, they have assured travellers that alcohol will be more easily accessible. Furthermore, they have built a new metro and have put lots more feeder busses and discounted taxi services in place for visitors to the country.
1- Take a walk along Doha Corniche
Doha Corniche is a 7km long waterfront promenade extending over Doha Bay in Qatar’s capital. Not far from several of the Qatar FIFA world cup stadiums, it is an ideal place to take a walk along and enjoy the view of Doha. Perfect for that early morning run Doha Corniche is popular with local runners, cyclists and skaters.
Additionally, it is a great evening destination as you can enjoy the illuminated skyline of Doha either by foot or via one of the many traditional dhow boat cruises.
2- Barter at Souq Waqif
Popular with locals and tourists alike, Souq Waqif is one of the most popular markets in Qatar. Protected from recent renovations, Souq Waqif is said to be one of the last standing architecturally authentic destinations in Qatar.
You can expect to find a large variety of spices, traditional garments, hand-crafted items and souvenirs. Additionally, Souq Waqif boasts plenty of restaurants and shisha bars, making it a central hub for socialising in the region.
3- Desert Safaris and Dune bashing
With the high tech infrastructure of Qatar, you can soon forget your proximity to the desert, however, the desert safaris and dune bashing excursions are a great way of seeing the Qatar landscape. With full and half-day trips available as well as overnight stays.
These trips are great for adrenaline lovers due to how high and steep the dunes are. There are lots of operatives offering all kinds of excursions, so whether you want to lay under the stars or get the ride of your life this is a great option.
Much like many other cities, Qatar has a huge variety of museums tourists can visit. Offering an insight into this Arab country they are well worth a visit! Delve into the region’s past at the Museum of Islamic Art, National Museum of Qatar and Msheireb Museums, or explore modern and contemporary art at the Doha Fire Station and Mathaf.
5- Shop ‘till you drop
Like many Arab countries, Qatar boasts a huge variety of state of the art shopping Malls, offering both international and local brands. Many of their malls are colossal in size, we’d recommend visiting the Mall of Qatar, Doha Festival City and Villaggio. Catering to all shopping needs and for all budget types.
We think visiting the international shopping Malls as well as the traditional markets is a great way for any shopping-lover to spend an afternoon.
6- Katara Cultural Village
The Katara Cultural Village is a hub for creatives. It sits at complete contrast to the skyscrapers and 5-star hotels that adorn the streets of Doha. The Katara Cultural Village aims to reconnect both locals and tourists with the cultural heritage of Qatar.
Made up of mazes of cobbled streets, a huge Greco-Roman amphitheatre and Arabian inspired architecture. Tourists can expect to see young artists practising local traditional crafts such as batik silk dying and traditional calligraphy. Not only is it the central hub for the arts in Qatar but it is also a highly ‘instagramable’ destination.
Offering beautiful architecture, traditional arts and chic ice cream bars. Many creatives travel from across the world to experience the vibrancy and beauty of Katara Cultural Village.
7- The pearl, Qatar
This is an artificial island created in Doha Qatar’s capital city. Spanning nearly 4km and creating 32 km of new coastline. It is the first land in Qatar to be available for freehold ownership by foreign nationals.
Not only does it boast beautiful coastline, but once complete will also have two million square meters of international retail, restaurants, cafes, and entertainment facilities.
8- Visit the beach
The Qatar peninsular is surrounded with miles and miles of beautiful white and pink sand and shell-covered beaches and coastlines. Either visit one of the many public beaches or visit one of the 5-star beach resorts to get a taste of luxury.
We’d suggest checking out Banana Island which is just a 25-minute boat ride from Doha and offers lots of water sport, beach and pool leisure activities. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something more relaxing and peaceful why not visit Khor Al Adaid. With beautiful scenery and diverse wildlife, UNESCO refers to it as ‘a remarkable landscape’. It’s definitely not one to miss for nature, wildlife and beauty lovers!
9- Al Zubarah Fort
Located on the north-western coast of Qatar, Al Zubarah Fort is a historic Qatari military fortress built under the oversight of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani in 1938. It is one of Qatar’s heritage sites and is a pristine example of a typical Arab fort. Visitors are able to visit the fort, now a museum, to explore the rich history and see artefacts from the pearl diving era.
10- The Purple Island
The purple island, also known as Jazirat bin Ghanim and Al Khor Island, is located on the northeast coast of Qatar. The island is best known for being the site of operation of a Kassite-controlled purple dye industry in the second millennium BC.
Surrounded by mangroves, it is a great alternative to visiting the beaches of Qatar. With thriving wildlife you can expect to see flocks of flamingos, thousands of small shell crabs and even fossils.