Doha holds plenty of surprises, especially when it comes to things to do in the city. Activities range from the usual tourist traps to wonderful escapades that help you get closer to the more authentic part of the city.
To help you experience the best of Doha, we’ve rounded up 10 activities that will make for an unforgettable trip. We included both popular tourist attractions as well as the destinations that are slightly off the beaten path.
Camp out in the desert.
There are plenty of outfitters in Doha that offer camp (or glamping) experiences out in the desert. Some of the more luxurious tours let you sleep in a luxury tent, while others are more rustic, with traditional tents, dune bashing, and camel rides.
Explore Souq Waqif.
If you’re going to do some shopping, forget the malls and visit Doha’s oldest souq instead. Souq Waqif literally translates to “standing market” and offers everything from traditional garments to antiques to diamonds. Its labyrinthine lanes hold plenty of treasures and surprises, so if you can, explore Souq Waqif with a local tour guide.
Go on a run or stroll at the Doha Corniche.
Whether you prefer to jog to walk early in the morning or in the late afternoon, the views at Doha Corniche remain beautiful. The promenade stretches for seven kilometers. You can take pictures, go people-watching, enjoy a cup of coffee, all while admiring the views from Doha Bay. From here, you can also charter a dhow (a local boat) and view the city skyline from the water.
Visit the Katara Cultural Village.
Katara is at the forefront of Qatar’s arts and culture scene. It is home to a bevy of cultural attractions as well as numerous events. Chief among the latter is the Ajyal Youth Film Festival, which is hosted by the Doha Film Institute.
View the artifacts at the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassin Al Thani.
Arts and culture is one of the pillars of Qatari society, and there is no better place to explore the local art scene (aside from Katara) than the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassin Al Thanin Museum, located about 25 kilometers outside Doha. It houses over 15,000 artifacts, including the world’s smallest Qur’an and a traditional Syrian home.
Visit the Museum of Islamic Art.
Of course, no arts and culture tour is complete without a visit to the Museum of Islamic Art. Islam is embedded in the fabric of Qatari identity, and appreciating Islamic art allows you a glimpse of this and the local history. Besides, the building itself is impressive, built on its own small island not far from the Corniche.
See the sights of Al Zubarah Fort.
Travel back to the 18th century as soon as you step within the grounds of the Al Zubarah Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Qatar’s first). The archaeological remains that are found around the area date back to the 1700s, but the main attraction was built in the late 1930s.
Visit Qatar’s new stadiums.
Qatar has been busy constructing new sports facilities throughout the country for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. If you’re visiting Doha well before the tournament, you can see these new world-class structures before the football crowds come in.
Attend a sporting event in Doha.
Are you a tennis fan? Doha is one of the stops of the ATP World Tour. So, in the winter, you’ll get a chance to see some of the best tennis players in the world. Golf and the Grand Prix aside, take some time to watch traditional sports such as falconry and Arabian horse racing.
Trade the sand for the mangroves.
It’s not all about the desert in Doha. If you are craving a change of scenery, head to the Al Thakira Mangroves. Explore by kayak around this watery sanctuary is home to a thriving ecosystem inhabited by a host of migratory birds as well as marine life.
Al Thakira Mangroves is located a short drive from Al Khor, which, in turn, is about 50 kilometers north of Doha. You can contact one of the many tour operators in the area to make a booking.
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