Doha's Waterfront PromenadeA 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. Traditional wooden dhows lining the Bay evoke echoes of Qatar’s great seafaring past. The Corniche provides a green, vehicle-free pedestrian space in the heart of the capital with cafes, restaurants, outdoor exercise facilities and a running track.
Doha's Lively Traditional MarketA stroll down the bustling alleys of Souq Waqif provides an authentic taste of traditional commerce, architecture, and culture. The maze of small shops offers a dazzling array of Middle Eastern merchandise from spices and seasonal delicacies such as fresh dates and nuts, to perfumes, ornate jewelry, clothing, handicrafts and a treasure trove of souvenir bargains.
Traditional music, art, and cultural shows add to the ambiance of this special place which also houses a comprehensive visitor center. Relax and soak up the vitality and atmosphere at one of its eclectic mix of great restaurants and cafes which offer traditional Qatari food as well as regional dishes and treats from Asia and North Africa. The souq is also home to a number of art galleries and a traditional falconry market.
Visiting times: we would recommend tourists visit Souq Waqif between 7pm and 11pm
Discover Centuries of the Finest Islamic ArtExperience 14 centuries in a few hours at one of the leading collections of Islamic art in the world. The MIA’s magnificent and imaginatively presented displays of the finest art and artifacts from across the Islamic world have earned it recognition among the world’s top cultural institutions. Marvel at award-winning collections which feature paintings, glassworks, metalwork, ceramics, textiles and manuscripts and cover periods as important as Mughal and Safavid.
No visitor can fail to be impressed by the quality and diversity the collections, housed in a modern architectural masterpiece designed by IM Pei, winner of the 1983 Pritzker Architecture Prize. The museum ensures fresh interest through its constantly changing programme of special exhibitions.
A fee may be charged for some of these temporary shows, but admission to the permanent galleries is free. The MIA is also home to indoor and outdoor cafes, a gift shop and IDAM, a world-class restaurant run by Alain Ducasse, who holds three Michelin stars. Onsite guides are also available to assist visitors.
Enjoy Culture and Recreation at KataraAn innovative interpretation of the region’s architectural heritage, this purpose-built development’s impressive theatres, galleries and performance venues stage a lively year-round programme of concerts, shows, and exhibitions.
Among the most famous of these is the Doha Film Institute’s Ajyal Youth Film Festival, which takes place in November each year. The Institute also showcases a programme of indoor and outdoor film screenings throughout the year.
Visitors can also find other recreational attractions, including top class restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, and a spacious, well-maintained public beach with water sports. Visitors will also find much to enjoy over a nighttime stroll along the promenade, with its expansive views of Doha’s skyline, as well as a rich array of seaside food stalls and markets.
Visiting times: we would recommend tourists visit Katara between 11am-2pm and 5pm-11pm
Elegant Lifestyles at The Pearl-QatarThe Pearl-Qatar is a man-made island off the West Bay coast featuring Mediterranean-style yacht-lined marinas, upmarket residential towers, villas, and internationally renowned hotels, as well as luxury shopping at top brand name boutiques and showrooms.
A popular dining spot with dozens of restaurants, its waterfront promenades are lined with cafes and restaurants serving every taste – from a refreshing ice cream to a five-star dining experience.
The Pearl is a popular visitor attraction by virtue of its chic elegance, outdoor atmosphere, and al fresco dining. Hence its inviting description as the ‘Arabian Riviera’.
UNESCO Recognized Heritage SiteLocated on Qatar’s north-west coast and comprising the immaculately restored Al Zubarah Fort and surrounding 60-hectare archaeological works, this UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most extensive and best-preserved examples of an 18th– 19th-century settlement in the region.
It covers the remains of a walled coastal town that once ranked as one of the Gulf’s most important pearl diving and trading centers with links extending to the Indian Ocean. The fort houses a visitor’s center.
According to UNESCO, Al Zubarah was one of a long line of prosperous trading towns around the coast in what is present-day Qatar.
UNESCO said “Al Zubarah bears a unique testimony to the human interaction with both the sea and the harsh desert environment of the region. Pearl divers’ weights, imported ceramics, depictions of dhows, fish traps, wells, and agricultural activity show how the town’s development was driven by trade and commerce, and how closely the town’s inhabitants were connected with the sea and their desert hinterland.”
Qatar's Inland SeaSome 60 km from Doha in the south-eastern corner of the country lies one of Qatar’s most impressive natural wonders, the ‘Inland Sea’ or Khor Al Adaid. A UNESCO recognized natural reserve with its own ecosystem, this is one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches deep into the heart of the desert. Inaccessible by road, this tranquil expanse of water can only be reached by across the rolling dunes.
According to UNESCO, Khor Al Adaid represents “a remarkable landscape” offering “world class scenic beauty”. The area is home to a unique set of fauna, including several species which are internationally rare and/or threatened, such as turtles.
Khor Al Adaid is also home to populations of certain species of birds which are of national and regional importance - long-distance migrant waterfowl winter. Visitors may also see ospreys nesting on islets and Arabian gazelles.
Said UNESCO, “This intrinsic attractiveness, of a largely uninhabited area, is added to by the presence of a diverse native terrestrial flora and fauna alongside a varied and sensitive marine ecosystem. The flora present in the area is typical of those habitats represented and supports species and communities most widespread on the Arabian Peninsula, yet not occurring in the same combination in any other single locality”.
Dahl Al Misfir CaveRegarded by visitors as one of Qatar’s most vividly exciting destinations, the 40m deep cave can give off a phosphorescent glow which has an otherworldly look. The glow is the result of Gypsum deposits which are found in the center of the peninsula and have given rise to the geological phenomena known as ‘desert roses’ (clusters of roughly rose-shaped gypsum crystals).
Most notably, the 40m deep cave at Dhal Al Misfir was formed largely of fibrous gypsum that sometimes gives off a faint, moon-like phosphorescent glow.
Al Thakira MangrovesA large area of vegetation attracting varied bird life, including flamingos and herons, Al Thakira mangroves, can be found just north of the seaside city of Al Khor, and present a large expanse of natural greenery in sharp contrast to the surrounding desert landscape. This area of vegetation with its own ecosystem is notable for attracting resident and migrating bird life, including flamingos and herons.
A great way to explore the mangroves is by kayak, available from several tour operators and specialist companies. All of these can be booked in advance, and many companies offer both morning and afternoon trips. Al Khor is also notable for its fishing communities and is a good spot to arrange a day trip out on the ocean.
The Bounty of Qatar's SeasQatar has always looked to the sea, with its natural bounty of teeming marine life and 560 km of coastline. While the harsh conditions of the desert interior afforded few opportunities for agriculture, Qataris have always settled around the peninsula’s coast where the shallow waters of the Gulf provided a reliable natural bounty of teeming marine life.
For generations, fishing and pearl diving provided the mainstay of life for many communities and, while the latter succumbed to the advent of cultured pearls in the 1930s, Qatari waters remain rich in fish life.
Tourists who are interesting in taking fishing trips will find a multitude of options available. A number of tour companies offer both early morning and afternoon trips on a variety of boats, including traditional dhows to smaller speedboats.
Many tour operators will also supply fishing rods, lines, bait and storage for transporting your catch back to Doha.