Qatar is surrounded by natural and man-made wonders, and there is plenty to see and do in the country, which enjoys various special attractions, including recreational places, cultural, historical and natural landmarks, parks, gardens, and amazing beaches. Pleasant surprises await visitors of all ages in and out of Doha.
The Desert and Inland Sea
Qatar’s largest area of sand desert lies to the south-west of the capital, with its high dunes a major attraction both for recreational safaris or simply to enjoy the spectacular landscape. Make a trip into the desert to experience the peaceful beauty of gold-colored sand dunes and the inland sea. Adventurous types may get their thrills from extreme driving over the sand dunes, which can feel like going on a rollercoaster.
A seven-kilometer long waterfront promenade which stretches for the entire length of Doha Bay, the Corniche offers spectacular vistas of the city, from the dramatic high rise towers of the central business district to the bold shapes of the Museum of Islamic Art. It is one of the most beautiful areas of Doha that enjoys a sidewalk, along the bay, decorated with statues, flowerbeds and fountains. Dhows take visitors around the bay on boats daily.
Katara Cultural Village
Located in the West Bay Lagoon, the Katara Cultural Village is a microcosm of the Middle East and North Africa region. Observe the various Arab and Islamic architectural styles and taste the culinary differences between the countries.
Katara is also home to an opera house, an all-marble amphitheater, art galleries, shops, and various community clubs’ headquarters. It is one of the unique landmarks of Doha that enjoys a large beach, and is the largest multidimensional cultural project in Qatar, where various cultural and heritage events are organized and hosted. It is a place where people come together to experience the cultures of the world, across beautiful theaters, concert halls, exhibition galleries and cutting-edge facilities.
The history of Souq Waqif dates back to ancient times when Doha was just a small village. The original market place has been rebuilt to replicate the original. It is now a cultural oasis that has retained the charm of the old Souq.
Souq Waqif is the perfect place that provides an authentic taste of traditional shopping in the city and helps you enjoy traditional commerce and architecture. The maze of small shops offer a dazzling array of Middle Eastern merchandise from spices and seasonal delicacies to perfumes, jewelry, clothing, handicrafts and a treasure trove of souvenir bargains. Traditional music, art and cultural shows add to the ambience of this special place.
Souq Waqif in Doha is a distinguishing place to shop and dine, renovated following the traditional Qatari architecture. There is also Souq Waqif Al Wakrah, known as Souq Al Wakrah, overlooking the sea, with a wide variety of restaurants included. Both places host special celebrations during the holidays. Try haggling in this colorful Souq that has everything from spices to jewelry and clothing.
The Pearl – Qatar
Distributed across architecturally distinct precincts, The Pearl offers diverse leisure and entertainment facilities, a selection of renowned restaurants, high-end shopping outlets, award-winning marinas and beautiful serene beaches.
The Pearl-Qatar is truly a masterpiece of private and modern living, where life takes on a beautiful angle no matter where you set your eyes.
Museums and Historical Places
Qatar offers a range of museums and historical places with fascinating artifacts that shed light on the region’s past and present, including the following:
Museum of Islamic Art
Designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei, the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) building has become an icon in the State of Qatar. Standing apart on the waters of the Corniche, it draws influence from traditional Islamic architecture.
The building is made from limestone, which captures hourly changes in light and shade.
The geometric patterns of the Islamic world adorn the inside space, making for a grand interior.
A variety of textures and materials, including wood and stone, have created a unique environment for the museum’s stunning collections. With incredible views across the bay, it’s the foundation for Doha’s burgeoning cultural scene.
Arab Museum of Modern Art
The Arab Museum of Modern Art, founded in 2010, is situated in Education City in Qatar Foundation (QF). The Museum organizes major and various exhibitions and large-scale education programs performing an important role as a center for dialogue, research, and a resource for fostering creativity.
Mathaf hosts solo and group exhibitions by artists from the region, and events that explore and celebrate modern and contemporary art.
Qatar’s Orientalist Museum is the only institution of its kind. It is dedicated to Orientalism – an influential period in art history, based around Western artists’ first experiences and impressions of the ‘oriental’ East.
Through the collection of fine and applied arts, objects document the meeting of diverse cultures. This topic resonates with audiences in Qatar, where different nationalities live side-by-side. Exhibitions will fuel conversations that take place far beyond the galleries.
Al Zubara Fort
Al Zubarah Fort is one of the historical and heritage places worthy of a visit during Eid Al Adha holiday. For our ancestors, Al Zubarah was a thriving pearl fishing and trading port. Now it’s Qatar’s largest heritage site, with its impressive city wall, ancient residential palaces and houses, markets, industrial areas and mosques.
It’s one of the best-preserved examples of an 18th and 19th century Gulf merchant town and in 2013 was named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
This fort was used until recently as a police post and is now a heritage site. Prisoners used to be kept in cells on a ledge accessible only by a rickety ladder. One cell remains open to the public.
Other Key Attractions
Al Thakira is a small village that is perfect for nature lovers. It is famous for its mangrove swamps, in which it is possible to go snorkeling. Fish and exotic sea slugs live in the swamps.
Umm Slal Mohammed
This village’s streets display old Qatari architecture. It is also home to the famous Barzan Towers, which were built at the start of the 20th century. Barzan means high place and the story goes that pearl divers could see the Barzan Towers when they returned from pearling expeditions.