Best Things to Do in Doha, Qatar 

Doha is a the capital city of the gulf of Qatar, an Arabic state in the Middle East. I hadn’t heard of it until about 5 years ago when there was a huge rush of people starting to work there. To be honest I hadnt really been one to even give this city a chance or even considered exploring. When thinking about visiting the Arabic states we think Dubai, Abu Dhabi and nowhere else. I would like to help you add the state of Qatar to your next itinerary for your adventure or layover. Doha

A couple weeks back we where booking our tickets to Bali when we noticed Qatar had the cheapest but with the longest layover. Having a friend who resides in Doha helped us make up our minds about adding Doha to our itinerary. We had a 10 hour layover and we were determined to make use of it no matter what. Whilst not completely unfortunate we arrived in Qatar during first week of Ramadan and temperatures were highs of 45 degrees.

We were determined not to let the time of year and temperatures deter us from enjoying our layover. Here is what we managed to see in that short time there and you can do the same. But before that, here are some practical tips to be aware of. 

Practical tips.

  • Visa – you can get a day visa for £25 or free visa if you apply in advance BUT have to reserve a hotel. I chose the later and booked a hotel, my companion chose the former and got a day visa. I ended up with a 6 day visa which if plans had changed I could have stayed longer. 
  • Taxi – only take official taxis which are all turquoise in colour. Public transport in Doha is pretty cheap though we had my friend as a chauffeur.
  • Ramadan – we arrived during the first week of the holy month. Everything (except supermarket) was closed and the city was practically deserted. If people where not fasting or sleeping at home during they day, they had gone on holiday. This made for a more quote and enjoyable view of the city though it would have been nice to see the markets in action. 
  • Dress code – ladies always cover your knees and shoulders in public places like supermarkets. Though slightly relaxed I would and did still respect the law of the land. You can wear a maxi dress and cover the shoulders with the scarf, sarong or cardigan. Obviously the beach area it’s not always applicable but check the rules first. 
  • Protect your skin – most of us visiting Doha for first time had never experienced such heat. The airport is well ventilated that it fools you into thinking it can’t possibly be hot outside. But make no mistake it’s hotter than your oven during a summer’s day. Either wear protective clothing or lather yourself in sun lotion all the time and stay hydrated.

Places to see during your layover in Doha

There are so many things you can see in 5-6 hours if you had a layover of that long. I had a 10+ hour layover with a personal chauffeur which was perfect. Here are some places we managed to see plus take breaks and showered.

The Corniche

A waterfront promenade that has shaped the look of Doha in the last 30 years if not more. Runs several kilometres in length and is horse shoe shaped from the west Bay Business district to medium of Islamic art. It offers such unparalleled and breathtaking views of the city of Doha that it’s popular with morning joggers.

Fanar Islamic Centre

A mosque named after the famous Qatari Islamic Scholar and The founder of the Qatari Judicial System Sheikh Abdulla bin Zaid Al-Mahmoud. It used to be the largest until it was replaced, it is still an iconic landmark due to its unique shape of the mosque. It was lovely to visit the area during Ramadan when it was practically deserted during the day. I would definitely recommend a visit to this mosque though not sure about how to enter etc.

Souq Waqif

If there is one place in Doha you should visit for souvenirs its the Souq Waqif which is a market that underwent great renovations in the early 2000s. It’s thought to be over a 100 years old and the only place in Doha that still have the true essence of Qatar. It’s a standing market quite popular with locals and expats though it was empty during Ramadan. I still felt we got to see the market in it’s true form without the people and believe it to be an incredible place outside Ramadan.

Katara cultural village

Situated in the eastern coat of Doha between the Pearl and West Bay, Katara was the name used prior to 18th century for Qatar. I was fascinated by the cultural village in that it shows so much diversity in its compilation. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in Doha and can spare an hour or more.

There are many finer places to visit in Doha Qatar that a makes a layover worth it. I know this is something I hope to continue whenever flying with Qatar airways.

Have you ever been to Doha or Qatar?

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108 Comments

  1. June 30, 2017 / 2:13 pm

    very nice and what is the status of the Qatar?

  2. June 11, 2017 / 7:41 pm

    Everything is stunning! I think it’s brilliant that you shared the practical tips as those can be really helpful when visiting a place with a different culture.

    • June 21, 2017 / 4:55 am

      Thank you, I think it’s important to be aware of them as we visit new places especially those that conform to different rules to our own

  3. June 10, 2017 / 8:43 pm

    ive never been but absolutely adore the architecture! ill have to go one day

    • June 21, 2017 / 4:55 am

      Hope you do as it’s totally gorgeous

  4. June 10, 2017 / 5:56 pm

    Wow what a beautiful place! I hadn’t ever thought of Qatar as a place to visit, but it looks so beautiful I have added it to my list of places to go to!

    • June 21, 2017 / 4:55 am

      Glad to hear it love, I only hear of it a couple years back

  5. Madeeha
    June 10, 2017 / 4:16 pm

    Souq Waqif looks very interesting. Never been to Doha but hoping to visit someday.

    • June 21, 2017 / 4:56 am

      Souq Waqif was super interesting and would love to visit outside Ramadan

  6. June 10, 2017 / 10:12 am

    What a gorgeous place to visit, I love how you have broken the tips down always helpful when planning a trip overseas

    • June 21, 2017 / 4:56 am

      Thanks Lynne, I tried to share the tips how I would love to read them myself.

  7. Jenna E Morley
    June 10, 2017 / 9:00 am

    Doha looks definitely worth a visit, even for a short time. You crammed in so much!

    • June 21, 2017 / 4:57 am

      I sure did and now want to head back with a little more time

  8. June 10, 2017 / 6:16 am

    Hi Anosa,

    Way cool! We visited Doha in February. For a month. Loved the place. You covered it beautifully. Neat too as we have been to Bali like 5 times. One of favorite space on earth.

    Ryan

    • June 21, 2017 / 4:57 am

      5 times? Ryan you know how to make me jealous, I would love to visit Bali that often and spending a month in Doha would just be epic though the heat would kill me first lol

  9. June 9, 2017 / 10:33 pm

    Such a beautiful place to visit, I have always wanted to go here one day

  10. Baby Isabella
    June 9, 2017 / 9:53 pm

    It’s such a cultural hotspot and an amazing mixture of high rises and historic buildings. We’d love to visit one day!

  11. June 9, 2017 / 6:21 pm

    This looks like such a beautiful destination. I would love to take the family here ona vacation. The cultural village looks cool!

  12. Melanie Williams
    June 9, 2017 / 5:16 pm

    Katara cultural village looks like an interesting place to visit 🙂 x

  13. June 9, 2017 / 2:49 pm

    It’s great that you included a dress code in your post. I wouldn’t have thought to check on that before traveling. I’d love to see this beautiful place one day.

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:07 am

      Thank you Terri, I figured as a Muslim country and it being Ramadan it was paramount I checked what the norm was and the expectation on foreigners

  14. lisa prince
    June 9, 2017 / 2:28 pm

    oh it looks such a dream i wish i could go and travel with my husband im sure it would be very romantic

  15. Rebecca Swenor
    June 9, 2017 / 12:24 pm

    These seems like a great place to visit. Doha Qatar has a lot to see and I would love to visit here some day. Thanks for sharing your experience and the tips for a great experience.

  16. Shelley Polarbelle
    June 9, 2017 / 8:41 am

    I’ve never been there but the buildings look so cool. The water is incredible with it’s aqua tones. You’ve put it on my radar.

  17. Marceline Dementori
    June 9, 2017 / 7:40 am

    Wow! I didn’t know that Doha has a lot to offer. I’ve never been there before and I certainly haven’t thought about visiting. It would be nice to walk around and wander!

  18. Amanda Love
    June 9, 2017 / 7:22 am

    I have always been curious about Doha! I think it’s a beautiful place to visit especially since I’ve never been anywhere in the Middle East before. I’d love to explore this place someday.

  19. Blair Villanueva
    June 9, 2017 / 2:05 am

    Doha is one of the place in the Gulf that I wish to visit. The Filipino community there is also huge with more than 200,000 people. We like it because it is one of the open-city on the Middle East. However, with the ongoing dispute, I would postpone the trip. Qatari people including my people, are suffering food shortage, due to being left-out by its neighbour country. All air, Land, and sea transport are closed to Qatar. I hope this dispute will end soon.

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:04 am

      I noticed a huge Filipino workforce in Doha and my host mentioned that too. And whilst I am aware of the current dispute, I think Qatar has not yet reached the danger zone of food shortages yet, well at least not where my friend leaves. Ofcouse this will happen if this dispute is not sorted soon

  20. Christy Maurer
    June 9, 2017 / 1:29 am

    I really would love to visit the Corniche. Anything close to the water is always top on my list! It looks gorgeous.

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:08 am

      The Corniche blew me away, though the heat was unbearable I would still head back to see more of the Corniche

  21. Maurene Cab
    June 9, 2017 / 12:53 am

    These are great tips especially for me who is not familiar with the place. Can’t wait to visit Doha.

  22. Sarah
    June 9, 2017 / 12:43 am

    Wow that ocean water is such a beautiful blue! Looks like an amazing place to visit!

    • Pam
      June 9, 2017 / 3:00 am

      I know, I was amazed by how pretty that ocean water is. So much prettier than the ocean nearest me, lol!

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:02 am

      I would love to live close to the ocean one day

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:02 am

      I had to just take a moment to take it all in, it is truly an amazing place to visit

  23. June 8, 2017 / 11:48 pm

    You have schooled me because I have never heard of Doha. It sounds and looks as beautiful as the other areas I’ve heard about.

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:01 am

      Awwww you’re not alone, I was in the same boat a few years back and glad to have experienced it for myself

  24. Rebecca
    June 8, 2017 / 10:59 pm

    This looks incredible, it’s making me want to travel again! I had a transfer in Dubai once but didn’t leave the airport!

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:09 am

      It was the same for me in Dubai but hoping to remedy that soon

  25. Chasity Boatman
    June 8, 2017 / 10:58 pm

    The city looks stunning. I did want to point out this sentence (This made for a more quote and enjoyable view of the city though it would have been nice to see the markets in action.) I think you meant to use the word “quiet” instead of “quote”.

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:01 am

      Oh yes I sure did, typing on the phone always autocorrects me which is annoying. I hope to remedy that 🙂

  26. June 8, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    I would love to visit Qatar as there is so much to see and do! Looks fantastic! 🙂

  27. Jessica Hughes
    June 8, 2017 / 7:11 pm

    I’ve heard of Qatar before but not Doha. There are certainly so many gorgeous places to see in Doha, it would be a fantastic place to have a long layover!

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:09 am

      I think that’s the case for most people {myself included} until I got educated on it lol but its lovely place for sure

  28. Neha Saini
    June 8, 2017 / 7:03 pm

    What-else can be better than a trip to Qatar would be a waste without this incredibly adventurous journey into the endless heart of the desert. Experience the rapture of an exhilarating roller coaster ride with luxury 4×4 vehicles driving across the tranquil sand dunes leaving you captivated. En route there is a stop for a breathtaking view of the Inland Sea, which is the natural border to Saudi Arabia giving an opportunity to enjoy the serenity of the timeless desert.

    • June 21, 2017 / 4:59 am

      I would have loved nothing more than to experience riding on the sand dunes but with only less than 10 hours in the city, I needed to be practical. Definitely would love to do that when I make a proper visit to the city

  29. Jeannette
    June 8, 2017 / 3:28 pm

    I have never been to either of those places but I would love to see them one day. I think it is very important to learn the laws of the land before going and that is something I will need to be better antiquated with. But still a lovely place to visit!

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:10 am

      Absolutely, as much as we love for foreigners to respect our rules when they visit I think the same should apply for when we visit theirs.

  30. Evelina Vilke
    June 8, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    Great suggestions! Looks like an interesting place to visit!

  31. Shelley Polarbelle
    June 8, 2017 / 10:59 am

    Sounds like such a fun and interesting place. Thanks for your tips!

  32. June 8, 2017 / 7:01 am

    I’ve heard of Doha! Thats awesome you got a chance to do a layover there before Bali (my dream trip) I would love travel on Qatar airways and visit Doha on my way to Bali too!

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:11 am

      Traveling with Qatar airways on route to somewhere is the best way to get a chance to explore the state of Qatar.

  33. Cindy Nicoletti
    June 8, 2017 / 1:04 am

    Very interesting place Qatar is. The buildings are so different and it looks like a great place to visit.

  34. sara
    June 8, 2017 / 12:55 am

    Thank you for these great tips on visiting Qatar. Very useful information for new visitors.

  35. June 8, 2017 / 12:25 am

    Wow! I would love to go there someday soon! It looks so beautiful! The water looks so warm too!

  36. June 7, 2017 / 4:11 pm

    I’ve always wanted to get on a flight with a layover in Doha for my flight back to the Philippines, but I wasn’t sure what I can do there! This definitely solved that problem. However the news isn’t looking like it is in favour of Qatar lately. Will keep an eye on this!

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:13 am

      Flying with Qatar is the quickest way for sure and as for the current issue, I dont think it has risen to a huge concern for travelers. Food shortages {it’s currently Ramadan} have not yet happened and the city still has lots to offer.

  37. Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes
    June 7, 2017 / 3:06 pm

    I’ve never visited Qatar before, it certainly does look like there are plenty of great places to explore!

  38. Kristine Nicole Alessandra VA
    June 7, 2017 / 2:45 pm

    I have a few friends who live there and are raising their families in Doha. They seem to like it there. It just makes me sad and worried about the current situation there.

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:13 am

      The current situation sure is worrying and hope it doesn’t escalate as that’s when things will be really interesting.

  39. CourtneyLynne Storms
    June 7, 2017 / 2:42 pm

    Omg sounds like you had one great time, even if it was a short trip!!! I would love to go there on day

  40. June 7, 2017 / 1:43 pm

    I have never been to Qatar/ Doha but I have heard that their markets are great for purchases and souvenirs! x

  41. Joanna
    June 7, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    Gorgeous photos I really love the look of them buildings. I’ve never really thought about visiting Doha great info though.

  42. Hungry_Healthy_Happy
    June 7, 2017 / 11:07 am

    I have only ever been to Doha airport on our way to Thailand, but I said I would love to go back and spend some time there.

  43. June 7, 2017 / 10:46 am

    I’ve never been to Qatar before but it certainly looks there is a lot to see and do in the country x

  44. Andrea Broom
    June 7, 2017 / 5:55 am

    while I have never been it does sound like a great place to visit. thanks for sharing your trips. I am really intrigued by the arab countries an culture.

  45. David Elliott
    June 7, 2017 / 5:51 am

    It’s so sad with all of the crazy things that are going on in the region and how that is impacting things. I can imagine travel there would be less friendly. It does look so incredibly beautiful though. I would love to visit sometime.

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:15 am

      Actually traveling there of late has been ok though inconvenient that you cant fly direct from Qatar to Dubai.

  46. Pam
    June 7, 2017 / 2:45 am

    I had no idea there was so much to do in Qatar. The Katara Cultural Village sounds like it is a must see.

  47. valmg
    June 7, 2017 / 2:33 am

    it looks so empty it almost reminds me of a ghost town or an empty movie set. The architecture of some of the buildings, particularly the tall ones, is pretty interesting.

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:15 am

      Empty only because I visited on the first day of Ramadan when everyone was fasting but I am told it was buzzing at night when they broke the fast

  48. Maurene Cab
    June 7, 2017 / 2:28 am

    Thanks for sharing your tips. I just read the news about other Arab countries cutting ties with Qatar. I hope things will get better soon.

  49. Sam Bresnahan
    June 6, 2017 / 10:47 pm

    That looks like a wonderful place to wander around and see the culture.

  50. T-Nicole Johnson
    June 6, 2017 / 9:41 pm

    Doha Qatar looks like such a beautiful place to visit. I would love to visit one day.

  51. Hannah Latoya Bond
    June 6, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    I’ve never been to Qatar, looks like a great place to visit

  52. June 6, 2017 / 8:58 pm

    Never been here, but the water looks amazing! Gorgeous place to visit.

  53. Chelf Chelfdom
    June 6, 2017 / 8:32 pm

    protecting your skin is not something that most people think of but it’s such an excellent tip!

  54. Melanie Edjourian
    June 6, 2017 / 6:42 pm

    OMG it looks deserted. It must have been strange going around with so few people about. I’ve never been there before. Love the look of the beach!

    • June 6, 2017 / 7:23 pm

      Can you imagine just walking around with hardly anyone there, gosh it would be a bit strange especially in the middle of the day.

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:17 am

      It was slightly strange for sure but still loved it

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:16 am

      At first I was like hmm, ghost town but then it gave me a chance to appreciate the area without the crowds and now I want to see it outside Ramadan

  55. Jhilmil Bhansali
    June 6, 2017 / 6:37 pm

    My mom dad are going Dubai & Doha next month & I’m really excited for them to discover this beautiful place.

  56. June 6, 2017 / 6:37 pm

    My husband was here years ago when he was deployed to Qatar. He said he had a lot of fun.

  57. Marcie W.
    June 6, 2017 / 6:36 pm

    I love the idea of making the most of a long layover. Qatar looks like a wonderful place to explore!

  58. Melanie Williams
    June 6, 2017 / 5:29 pm

    Never been to Doha or Qatar but this blog post deffo makes me want to go 🙂 x

  59. June 6, 2017 / 5:07 pm

    Oh wow it looks like an amazing place to take some time out and visit, I have to admit I’ve not heard of Doha before, I am going to have to look into it more.

    • June 21, 2017 / 5:17 am

      It truly is an amazing place and I am glad to have gone.

  60. blm03
    June 6, 2017 / 4:09 pm

    It looks like there is so much to do and see here. I never realized there was so much to check out in Qatar.

  61. June 6, 2017 / 4:08 pm

    My cousin lives out there and hey say it is a great city. I’d love to visit and see what they could offer. This was such an informative post though and great suggestions.

  62. Doria Miyata Murphy
    June 6, 2017 / 3:25 pm

    Doha has been on our list for some time! We definitely can’t wait to go someday 🙂

  63. Danik Bates
    June 6, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    Doha and Qatar is on my list of places to visit very soon. I so cant wait to get out there and feel the positive vibes 🙂

  64. Jaime Nicole
    June 6, 2017 / 3:22 pm

    Qatar looks absolutely beautiful and I would love to visit. Do you know if it’s safe for single women to travel there?

    • June 6, 2017 / 5:05 pm

      I would safe it’s safe for sure provided you follow the rule of the land I think all would be fine. There is no crime in Qatar due to the nature of the punishments here

    • Jaime Nicole
      June 9, 2017 / 1:26 am

      I would definitely need to research the rules before I went! That’s great that there is no crime!

    • June 21, 2017 / 4:54 am

      oh absolutely, I think it is always best to read up on places and judge for yourself.

  65. Healthy & Psyched
    June 6, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    What an interesting place. usually I am focused on getting to my end destination,. but I would consider a lay-over in the future now

  66. Christy Maurer
    June 6, 2017 / 2:43 pm

    I have never been out of North America at all! This would be an adventure. It’s good that you planned ahead knowing what your layover time would be.

  67. June 6, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    I have never. I have a long layover in Amstredam and need to figure out if I need a visa to spend some time there.

  68. Ryan Sneltzer
    June 6, 2017 / 1:39 pm

    Looks amazing. That beach is so clean and nice looking! I would love to visit

  69. Ashley
    June 6, 2017 / 1:36 pm

    I traveled to Cambodia last year and the thing I struggled with the most was protecting my skin but it’s sooo important haha I learned that the hard way!

  70. Teona Mango
    June 6, 2017 / 1:35 pm

    Will be going there in October, great post to know what to see xx

  71. Charlotte
    June 6, 2017 / 12:09 pm

    Why have I never heard of this place? It looks like a great place to visit!

  72. June 6, 2017 / 11:41 am

    I am embarrassed to say that I never even knew that this place on the planet even existed. My goodness – look at how beautiful it is! I wish that I could travel more and discover places like this. THank you so much for opening my eyes to different corners of our world. So lovely.

  73. Alli Smith
    June 6, 2017 / 10:53 am

    This is my kind of layover! It sure beats sitting in a boring airport. I’ve never heard of Doha before and the photos are beautiful. I love how you always share tips, especially how to dress and the warning about the intense heat.

  74. Mummy Times Two
    June 6, 2017 / 10:38 am

    The pictures look incredible. It’s always interesting to visit new places, though I think I would struggle with that kind of heat.

  75. Robin Rue
    June 6, 2017 / 10:24 am

    Qatar sounds like such a cool place to visit. It honestly wasn’t even on my radar until I read this, but I would love to go someday.

  76. Betty Boiron
    June 6, 2017 / 10:06 am

    I have never been to Qatar and it seems like it has such a different culture and scenery than anywhere else I have traveled. The architecture and buildings are so interesting, especially the one at the Katara cultural village! Will have to visit one day!

  77. Jonalyn Macandili-Mendoza
    June 6, 2017 / 7:57 am

    Never been to Qatar yet and still checking out on promotional fares as it is so expensive to go there from our country. This cultural village is really popular in Doha and many malls too. Looking forward to visit this country soon.

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