We have arrived at an era of discovery – stepping outside the frame of conventional – to go explore the underrated and unheard. Such is a country located in the Arabian Peninsula – named Qatar. A renowned transit port for international transport across the world, Qatar is admired for its Arabian hospitality, ultramodern architecture, exclusive shopping and a promenade that never sleeps. Qatar is home to citizens from across the world, but when it comes to Travel – neighbouring Dubai commonly tops any list. There are many things to do in Qatar, and here we will look at eight reasons why Qatar should be your next travel destination.
Doha is the go-to Place for All things in the Middle East
Undoubtedly, Doha is the best city to visit in Qatar for tourists. Not only is it the capital city of Qatar, but it’s also where the excitement happens. All major tourist spots are coincidently gathered in and around the Doha vicinity. Located north of Al Wakrah, this coastal gulf city is one of the safest places to visit in the world. That being said, tourist experiences are never limited. From man-made islands to sophisticated architectural masterpieces, there are just so many things to do in Doha.
Engage in Extreme Adventure
More particularly – Dune bashing. Just like other Arabian countries, Qatar too boasts of its vast uncharted deserts that are common grounds for adventure enthusiasts. Dune bashing is a famous extreme sport where cars are driven at fluctuating speeds on ascending and descending dunes. The Doha desert is ideal for this activity, and multiple hosts provide all the necessary services needed for travellers. Dune bashing is one of the best things to do in Qatar when it comes to extreme sports.
Other than this, Qatar is also known for Rock Climbing, Scuba Diving, Quad Biking and more. If you’ve always wanted to ride on a back of a camel or just even stand close to one – Qatar provides you with the safe environment to do it. We wouldn’t call it an extreme adventure, but it’s an experience unique to the Middle East.
Explore Authentic Arabian Heritage
There’s no other country in the gulf that offers tourists authentic Arabian heritage in its most preserved form but Qatar. Souq Waqif – a bygone era trading market located by the banks of the Wadi Musheireb – is home to a variety of markets ranging from prestigious Gold Souq for all things gold, and a Falcon Souq for those intrigued by Falconry. If you’re hunting for souvenirs in Qatar, Souq Waqif is the place for handicrafts, antiques, rugs and so on. Visiting the Souq is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Qatar. While you’re in this historical marketplace you would stumble upon a massive golden thumb (a random object) that was placed to commemorate the victory of the Asian Cup.
Then we come to Katara Cultural Village – the next best thing to do in Qatar if you’re yearning for a satisfying Gulf experience. There’s a mix of modern as well as historic architectural elements open to the viewing of the public. The boardwalk by the beach is the perfect place to relax after a long walk of exploring Katara’s shopping alleys, mosques, galleries, the amphitheatre and other adventures.
Visit Magnificent Museums
National Museum of Doha
While you’re in Qatar, you’ll surely not be short on knowledge. The National Museum in Doha – which was opened to the public in 2019 after undergoing restoration – is one of the most iconic sites in the country. Its breathtaking outer structure stands nowhere close to the concepts that are displayed inside. Visiting the NMoQ is one of the best things to do if you’re travelling as a family. Here you’ll find tales of olden times, a gift shop, restaurants and a spacious park with playgrounds.
Museum of Islamic Art
The Museum of Islamic Art – on the other hand – exhibits more on how religion came to be in Qatar over the past centuries. It’s located on the end of the Corniche and consists of four floors of valuable wonders. There are over 21,000 Arabic and English books, out of which 2000 are rare editions. The fascinating fact is yet to come. The Museum of Islamic Art is also home to an haute cuisine restaurant headed by renowned chef Alain Ducasse. It’s one of the best places to visit in Qatar if you’re hungry for knowledge and elite dining.
Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
Located in Al Shahaniya in Doha, the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum is one of the best places to visit in Qatar. It looks like a Medieval Arabic Palace, built by one of Qatar’s most profound businessmen in 1998. Faisal Bin Qassim Museum is currently home to a collection of over 15,000 artefacts from the pre-historic age, the early Islamic period, and souvenirs and treasures owned by Al Thani himself for viewing pleasure. If you’ve always been fascinated by historical findings, visiting Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Qatar.
Discover Man-Made Wonders
The most compelling factor about Qatar is that even though it’s located right amidst barren dunes, the country has advanced on so many levels to make it an exemplary place for all by creating wonders of its own. One of those man-made wonders is ‘The Pearl-Qatar’ – an island home to numerous shopping malls, affordable and luxury residential precincts, entertainment and scenic backdrops for any time of the day. There are various sections within this island dedicated to each speciality. If you happen to be in ‘The Pearl’, visiting the Floresta Gardens and Medina Centrale is two of the best things to do in Qatar.
A seven-kilometre size waterfront promenade located in the enthralling hub of Doha, the Corniche is a crescent shape promenade – surrounded by Qatar’s most breathtaking skyscrapers – where national celebrations often take place. It’s also famous amongst local joggers, skaters and families looking to spend pleasant sundowns by the Doha bay. The Corniche encompasses children’s play areas and eateries that assure convenience. It’s just a 15-minute walk away from the airport, so it can be hardly missed if you’re visiting Qatar. You’d also find the Qatar National Theatre here in Doha Corniche.
Cosmopolitan Shopping Experience
Qatar is a paradise for Shopaholics. Most credits go to this one Italian-themed mall located in the Aspire Zone in Doha. Villagio is one of the most famous and exclusive shopping stops in Qatar. Embracing a Venetian atmosphere within the premises, travellers can even enjoy a mini gondola ride here in Villagio. There are over 200 stores inside the mall with major international brands such as Cartier, Gucci, Dior and Luis Vuitton. That’s just a fraction of it. Visitors would also come across amusement parks, advanced IMAX Cinema halls and can dine in some of Qatar’s best restaurants. If you’re considering Villagio on your bucket list, we assure you it’s the best place to visit in Qatar for shopping.
If you’re looking for a slightly less glammed up shopping centre, Al Khor Mall is just the place. Located in the city of Al Khor, this mall is a retail complex with over 100 stores in its precinct. Just like Villagio, you’d find restaurants, clothing and jewellery stores, kid’s zones and movie theatres. Al Khor offers an affordable yet luxury shopping experience while in Qatar.
Immerse in the Sunny Seaside
Qatar is lined with beautiful beaches that many travellers aren’t aware of; Such is the Zekreet Beach – located close to Dukhan. This beach became famous amongst locals after oil operations commenced in the mid-1900’s. Featuring the Zekreet Fort in the peninsula, this beach is admired by many for its clear waves and blissful atmosphere. It’s also a favourite camping destination for local campers during weekends. If you do love the Middle Eastern coasts, visiting Zekreet Beach is one of the best things to do in Qatar.
Al Thakhira Beach
For all those sunset chasers, Al Thakhira Beach is the ideal place for a visit. With the dusk view coupled with the tranquil atmosphere, families find this coastal stretch to be simply out of this world – or at least the Gulf. The paved walking path makes the seaside experience even more intriguing. Al Thakhira Beach is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Qatar.
If you love to see the illusory phenomenon where the ocean meets the desert from your own eyes, visit Sealine Beach. Sealine beach is famous for watersports. There are many resorts lined along the coast, offering travellers a high-end Qatari beach experience. The unpolluted waters of Sealine are just one factor that attracts travellers. Amidst all the cheer and excitement, you’ll also see camels sunbathing by the shore. If you do come across such a site, don’t forget to capture a picture.
Dive into a Soup of Flavours
Middle Eastern cuisine is famous across the world for its balanced use of spices, herbs and proteins. But the Middle Eastern food in Qatar is a whole new thing. If you happen to be in Qatar, make sure you taste the National Dish Machboos – it’s spiced rice served with hefty marinated meats and herbs. Apart from this, you can also try Saloona, Madhruba, Luqaimat and many more traditional delicacies. When it comes to Qatar though fusion is quite commonly found, and it is what makes the nation unique. Qatar is home to many ex-pats from across the world, and you may find traditional food that has an influence of South Asian, Mediterranean or even European culinary touch.
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