10 best things to do in Doha, Qatar

Best things to do in Doha

Host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Doha is one of the most important cities in the Middle East. International hub for Qatar Airways, Doha is also one of the most interesting destination to be discovered. In this article, I bring you 10 best things to do in Doha, Qatar.

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After passing through Doha several times in connection, I decided that I needed to know that place better. I stayed 5 nights in Doha, initially I thought it would be too much time. But there’s so many things to do in Doha, it was certainly the best choice and I have to confess that I would like to come back soon.

Read more:
Where to stay in Doha (best hotels)
The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha


About Qatar


Qatar is a small country located in the Persian Gulf, nearby UAE and Saudi Arabia. Qatar occupies an area of 11 thousand square kilometers and has a population of 2.5 million of people. With a desert climate, the country is surrounded by the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia as the only land border. By the way, this border has been closed since 2017, as neighboring countries have broken off relations with Qatar. But don’t worry, everyone lives in peace.

Best things to do in Doha
Oryx, the animal is one of the symbols of Qatar

Now a very important information: we are talking about the richest country in the world! Qatar has oil reserves and the world’s third largest natural gas reserve. Before the discovery of oil, the country’s main economy was the extraction of pearls. Everywhere in Doha we see strong traces of this heritage. In museums, in Souq Waqif, in the traditional boats now used for tours or in The Pearl, a mini-city inspired by a pearl necklace shape.

Despite being the richest country in the world, Qatar is not the most expensive country in the world for visitors. You can visit Doha without spending a lot of money. Isn’t that perfect?

Best things to do in Doha
Best things to do in Doha, Qatar

Best things to do in Doha


1) Souq Waqif

I recommend starting your tour in Doha at Souq Waqif. The great cultural and social heart of Qatar, Souq Waqif is an old market where Bedouins brought their goods – such as sheep, goats and wool – to exchange for essential items.

Souqs are traditional arab markets, especially in North Africa and in the countries of the Persian Gulf. Until the 1970s, the waters of the Persian Gulf reached the Souq. And as the market used to be flooded, traders worked standing with their feet in the water in an improvised way. Hence the name Souq Waqif, where “Waqif” means “standing” in Arabic. And if you’ve ever been in a Souq, forget about your experience. Firstly, in Doha there is no harassment with visitors and secondly, Souq Waqif have an amazing fragrant smell, the place is clean and pleasant.

Best things to do in Doha
Best things to do in Doha: Souq Waqif

2) Museum of Islamic Art

Just around the corner of the Souq Waqif is the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), a perfect place for the second stop in Doha.

Designed using straight lines – one of the characteristics of Islamic art – the museum is a project of the architect Ieoh Ming Pei. He has in his portfolio the glass pyramid from the Louvre Museum in Paris and many important works around the world. Ming Pei traveled the world studying Islamic art to create the museum that he considered his greatest work, it his Monalisa. The museum has some terraces with huge windows where we have a sensational view of the Skyline and the old city in Doha.

Best things to do in Doha
Best things to do in Doha: MIA

The museum’s collection has pieces from different parts of the Islamic world, from the Middle East to Africa, Europe and Asia. Beautiful tapestries, paintings, crockery, historic porcelain and jewelry, lots of jewelry. Many pieces were part of the private collection of the Al Thani family, who are the governors of Qatar.

Read more about The Museum Of Islamic Art in Doha

Best things to do in Doha
Best things to do in Doha: MIA

3) Mia Park

After visiting the Museum of Islamic Art, Take a walk at MIA Park. A huge park that was built next to the museum. At the end of the Park you will see some artificial mountains like the Teletubbies (do you remember this one) and from there we have a beautiful view of the Doha skyline. Golf carts make the free ride from the museum’s parking lot to the MIA Park, something very useful in the heat of Doha.

Best things to do in Doha
MIA Park

4) National Museum of Qatar

The cool thing about Doha is that many of the main tourist spots in the city are just around the corner. Such as the National Museum of Qatar, a short walk from the Museum of Islamic Art.

The museum opened last year, the project is by the French architect Jean Nouvel who was inspired by the desert rose to design the structure with circles of different sizes and angles, that make up 11 galleries.

Best things to do in Doha
National Museum of Qatar

The Desert Rose is a mineral formation that takes place under the sands of the desert of Qatar, when thousands of grains of crystallized sand come together creating a mineral formation that resembles a rose.

Inside the National Museum of Qatar we have a totally sensory experience, with multimedia installations that show us the story of the formation of Qatar. From fauna, the first peoples, life in the desert, the pearl harvest and the discovery of oil.

Best things to do in Doha
National Museum of Qatar

5) Corniche and tour boat

The Corniche is the great seaside promenade in Doha. Crossing a huge area of the city, from the National Museum of Qatar connecting the old town with the modern skyline in Westbay.

Take a tour boat around the bay in the traditional dhows, boats that were used to harvest pearls. And if you think that the tour boat is something “very tourist”, you’re wrong. It won’t be hard to see whole families, especially on Fridays, renting boats for their celebrations with lots of music, dancing and zero alcohol.

Best things to do in Doha
Tour boat

6) Skyline

The famous Doha Skyline is in Westbay, the most modern side of the city. The buildings create Doha’s most famous image and perfectly translate the modern side of Qatar.

Buildings designed to enchant and that host luxury companies headquarters, such as Qatar Petroleum and the TV network Al Jazeera.

The cool thing about the Skyline is to admire its architecture and the best time is from late afternoon to night, when the illuminated buildings make the place even more beautiful.

Best things to do in Doha
Skyline

7) Qatar National Library

The Qatar National Library occupies a brand new building in the City of Education in Doha. A place with the most important universities of the world. The brand new building opened its doors in 2018 and uses a fantastic architecture to keep some of the most important historical treasures of Islamic culture safe.

The treasure collection includes the most important texts and manuscripts from the Arab-Islamic civilization in the Middle East. Texts written by explorers who passed through the region for centuries. Arabic manuscripts, maps, globes, mapping instruments and historical photos.

Best things to do in Doha
Qatar National Library

8) Katara Cultural Village

Qatar is a country that preserves its history and culture, and this is a big difference from Qatar for some countries in the Middle East. And Katara Cultural Village is a large complex of culture and entertainment in Doha.

Opened in 2010, the complex has mosques – the blue mosque and the golden mosque, this one coated with small gold-plated pieces – the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, an open amphitheater, museums, restaurants, a beach (in the style of Qatar, of course) and a mall! 

Speaking about it, inside the Katara Cultural Village has an outdoor air-conditioned mall, the Katara Plaza! Yes, my friend, the open air corridors have air conditioning and huge sculptures of Murano Crystal, an expensive crystal made in Italy.

The best time to visit the Katara Cultural Village is after 5 pm, the place is connected to the brand new Katara Metro Station.

Best things to do in Doha
Qatar National Library

9) The Pearl

The Pearl is practically a mini-city in Doha, nearby the Katara Cultural Village and just 350 meters from West Bay and the famous Doha Skyline.

Arriving in Doha, the Pearl is one of the first images that we see from the airplane window. Its shape resembles a pearl necklace, another way to celebrate its historical heritage.

The place is divided into 10 thematic districts, it’s something like Disneyland. The coolest is the place inspired by Venice. They even have boats that circulate through the canals taking people between the villages. In total, The Pearl can receive up to 50 thousand residents.

Best things to do in Doha
The Pearl

10) The Doha Malls

I’m not a big fan of malls and I never put a mall on my itinerary. . But Doha has some malls that are real tourist attractions. As I said above, the Katara Plaza is worth the visit. Especially for having air conditioning outdoors!

Another one is Villaggio Mall, inspired by Venice (again, Venice!) and has an incredible artificial sky, canals and gondola rides.

Best things to do in Doha
Yes, this is a mall

But the mall that most caught my attention was the Alhazm. A marble colossus with hand-carved Arabic ornaments and glass ceiling that reproduce Milan’s magnificent Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Although new, it has already won the title of “coolest and most cultured new malls” by The New York Times .

The external parts of the Alhazm are surrounded by gardens and fountains, gazebos and hundreds of over 200 years old olive trees imported from Spain. These guys have a lot of money, don’t you think?

Best things to do in Doha
Alhazm

Where to stay in Doha


Park Hyatt
I had a great experience in my second time in Qatar at the Park Hyatt Doha. The hotel is all new and really well designed, perfectly located right by the Souq Waqif, with easy access to all the museums and the subway station. The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. I think which made a real difference.
Take a look at promotional rates here

Four Points by Sheraton
Four Points by Sheraton is located 2 km from the Corniche Road and Souq Waqif. Four Points by Sheraton have a wellness centre and an incredible outdoor pool. It has elegant rooms with free Wi-Fi and all kind of facilities decorated in modern style. They all come with a huge TV, iPod docking station, and minibar. 
Take a look at promotional rates here

DoubleTree by Hilton Doha Old Town
DoubleTree by Hilton Doha Old Town is located right in the center of the old town and nearby Souq Waqif. The hotel have  a covered swimming pool, a sauna and a fitness centre. The brand new accommodations have a flat-screen TV, a seating area and plenty of amenities and facilities. 
Take a look at promotional rates here

Inside Souq Waqif
Inside the Souq there are some excellent hotels, such as Tivoli’s Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels, which has an excellent location. Or the Al Najada Hotel, which is also from Tivoli and is opposite the Souq, as well as the Al Najada Doha Hotel Apartments by Oaks which is an aparthotel.

Another option is the Alwadi Hotel MGallery, which is on one of the other sides of the Souq and with an excellent location. The Kingsgate Hotel, which was where I stayed once and I really liked it.

Other options in the same area: Horizon Manor Hotel, next to the Museum of Islamic Art, as well as the Saraya Corniche Hotel and the Best Western Plus Doha.

JW Marriott Marquis City Center
JW Marriott Marquis City Center Doha is another great option. A beautiful hotel with everything you could need. Such kind and helpful staff. I would definitely recommend this hotel for everyone.
Take a look at promotional rates here

Dusit Doha Hotel
Dusit Doha Hotel is one of the most popular hotels in Westbay. The hotel is just 5-mins walk from City Centre and nearby Westbay subway station. The hotel have an amazing swimming pool at the top, comfy rooms, suites and apartments.
Take a look at promotional rates here

Wyndham Doha West Bay 
Wyndham Doha West Bay is located in the heart of business district in Westbay. Right on the corner of Doha Exhibition & Convention Center, Diplomatic area, a short walk from the incredible Katara Cultural Village, 10 minutes from the Museum of Islamic Art, Souq Waqif, The Pearl Qatar and Corniche.
Take a look at promotional rates here


Best things to do in Doha: book a tour



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