By Jenna Jolie
Being one of the fastest-growing tourism hubs in the Middle East, Qatar has been a busy destination that draws many tourists from all continents.
Especially with the launching of a cheap and efficient new metro system in 2019, traveling to this Gulf nation and experiencing fascinating things are now easier than ever before. Despite its small size, Qatar offers a remarkable range of experiences, even within the capital of Doha. Are you seeking a historical tour? Qatar can offer you. If you are a shopaholic, many fancy shopping centers in Doha are available.
So, if you're planning your next grand vacation in the Middle East, consider exploring the captivating offerings of Qatar. In this article, Qatar Immigration Services lists the best things to do in Qatar that are worth shuffling to the top of your itinerary. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this vibrant destination.
Learning more about Qatar’s history at the National Museum Of Qatar
Among the top things to do in Qatar for your upcoming trip, Qatar Immigration Services recommend putting a historical tour on your travel itinerary first. Undoubtedly, visiting the National Museum of Qatar is a top activity on the list.
Located on the picturesque Corniche in Doha, overlooking incredible views of the bay, the museum is renowned not only for its impressive collection but also for its architectural brilliance. Having a chance to visit the National Museum of Qatar, you will learn more about the country's history in three captivating chapters: Beginnings, Life in Qatar, and Building the Nation. It's a thrilling, immersive, and educational experience that should not be missed.
Especially the museum also reserves the Pearl Carpet of Baroda, which adds a touch of grandeur and uniqueness to your visit.
Discovering the National Museum of Qatar is a top activity in Qatar
Catch A Sight of the Museum of Islamic Art
For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Museum of Islamic Art is an absolute must when exploring Qatar. Located on a private island in the heart of Doha, the museum is an architectural marvel designed by the renowned architect I.M. Pei, the architect of the Louvre pyramid in Paris.
At the Museum of Islamic Art, you can find an impressive collection of over 15,000 manuscripts and texts collected from various corners of the world. From exquisite pottery to intricate textiles and stunning glassworks, the museum offers a captivating glimpse into history.
However, it's not just the valuable items in the museum that attract tourists; the building's interior also catches their attention. The museum is a masterpiece of light and space, drawing your gaze upward to the dome - a modern interpretation of a critical element in Islamic architecture. Additionally, the Museum of Islamic Art also houses the Seventeenth Century Holy Quran, a rare and extraordinary sight to behold. Such unique treasures make a visit to the MIA even more special. It is important to note that both men and women should avoid wearing strappy tops, vests, or shorts, as this may result in being refused admission.
A visit to the Museum of Islamic Art is an absolute must in Qatar
Get lost in Souq Waqif
In the heart of Doha lies Souq Waqif, a sprawling complex that exudes a bustling corner of Qatar, especially in the evenings when it comes alive with locals. Souq Waqif is suitable for those who want to experience Qatar as a local, offering an immersive insight into the daily life of Qatari people and the vibrant spirit of contemporary Qatar.
The souq was initially built on an ancient market site, underwent redevelopment in the noughties to look like a 19th-century market, with mud-rendered shops, exposed timber beams, and beautifully restored heritage buildings. Despite the emergence of grand shopping malls in Qatar, Souq Waqif remains the beating heart of social and commercial life in Doha until now. It is a place where people from all walks of life come together to taste regional cuisine, shop for a wide array of daily items, or relax while sipping on aromatic karak tea. Tourists, alongside shopping for handicrafts, spices, and jewelry, can take a break from their exploration and relish a delicious meal at one of the various restaurants dotted throughout the souq.
Address: Doha, Qatar
Souq Waqif is a place to experience Qatar as a local
Visit Al Zubarah Fort - The only UNESCO Heritage site in Qatar
A trip to Qatar is incomplete if you miss visiting the only Qatar's Unesco Heritage Site: Al Zubarah Fort in the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site. This iconic fort is the most prominent feature of the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site, originally built in 1938 to protect Qatar's northwest coast. It served as a military stronghold until the 1980s before being restored into a captivating museum nowadays.
The exploration of Al Zubarah Fort offers you a chance to delve deeply into its historical significance while admiring the surrounding landscape. The fort's architecture features a rectangular tower and three circular towers, collectively forming an impressive structure. Inside the fort, there are ancient rooms made of compressed earth and cement. The displays showcase remarkable works of art, valuable archaeological discoveries, and the pearling heritage of Al Zubarah - a thriving pearling port abandoned in the early 20th century. As you stand outside the fort and gaze towards the sea, you can catch a glimpse of the sprawling ruins of the long-abandoned town, further enhancing the historical allure of the site.
To reach Al Zubarah Fort, you can take a 1.5-hour drive from Doha. It is currently the only accessible part of the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site for the public. Visiting Al Zubarah Fort is among the best things to do in Qatar, providing an immersive journey through Qatar's rich history and offering a deeper understanding of its cultural heritage.
Visiting Al Zubarah Fort is among the best things to do in Qatar
Dune Bashing At Doha Desert
If your time in Qatar is limited, let's prioritize dune bashing in the desert, which will be an exhilarating thing to do in Qatar you probably don't want to miss. The dunes stand tall and steep, creating a truly spectacular driving experience across the vast expanse toward the sparkling sea. It's recommended to spend the night time in one of the luxurious Arabian tents, immersing yourself in the traditional dishes, and have beautiful dreams under the mesmerizing starry sky.
In Qatar, several reputable operators offer dune-bashing tours for travelers to have an enjoyable ride along the majestic dunes. Professional drivers will conveniently pick you up from your hotel and guide you into the desert, tailoring the adventure to your preferences, whether a half-day thrill, a full-day expedition, or an unforgettable overnight experience.
Despite being an extreme sport, children are welcomed for the ride. Simply ask your skilled driver to adjust the pace or select a smoother route. It’s strongly advised to get travel insurance along with you that will protect you in case of unexpected risks in Qatar.
Dune bashing is an exhilarating thing to do in Qatar
Discover Katara Cultural Village
For culture buffs seeking unique experiences in Qatar, visiting the Katara Cultural Village should be a top priority. This famous cultural site is a go-to destination for art and culture, which depicts Doha's entire history, showing how it developed from its humble roots into one of the wealthiest cities in the modern era.
The Katara Cultural Village is home to various tourist spots, including a theater, art galleries, gardens, two opulent mosques, and much more. While visiting this place, wandering around the village and admiring the architectural masterpieces are precious moments. Many festivals, including the Traditional Dhow Festival and the Palestinian Heritage Festival, as well as concerts, are also held in the area of the village.
During your visit, you can take a break and enjoy a fine dining experience at one of the restaurants around the area. Especially at night, these restaurants are adorned with shimmering lighting, offering a stunning scene for a romantic meal with your loved ones.
With our suggestion on the top things to do in Qatar, we hope your trip to this Middle East nation is full of memorable experiences. Remember to obtain a Qatar visa in advance of your departure date to get permission into the country. Qatar Immigration Services helps you get your visa in only 5 hours, allowing you to arrange your trip hassle-free.