Is it a quick layover? Are you visiting Doha for a brief business trip? Can you only spare a day to have a quick look around Qatar’s capital city?
From shopping in Doha to visiting the country’s most popular tourist attractions, there’s always something in store for everyone.
Day Trip in Doha
A day in Doha may not be enough for you to experience what this bustling metropolitan has to offer. However, having only several hours to spare doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy some of its key offerings.
Already one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Doha is fast becoming a mecca for those who have a passion for avant-garde architecture, glitzy establishments and hotels, and jaw-dropping shopping sprees. It’s towering skyscrapers that dot the cityscape provide you a stunning nighttime vista while desert landscapes offer more rugged adventures.
If you only have a limited time to spend in this multifaceted city, we have listed below some activities that will surely leave a good impression of Doha in your mind. Whether it’s wandering through its museums and art galleries or getting a quick sip in one of the famed coffee shops in Doha, you’d surely want to go back for more.
1. Art and Culture
Thanks to many passionate patrons, Doha enjoys a thriving arts and culture scene. If you’re one who enjoys museums and art galleries, then visit the most iconic ones in Doha. Start with the National Museum of Qatar, a sprawling 430,500-square-foot masterpiece by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel.
Drawing inspiration from the desert rose and featuring interlocking discs, this structure is built around Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani’s original palace. The museum complex houses a 220-seat auditorium, a couple of cafes, a restaurant, a gift shop, facilities for school groups and VIPs, heritage research centers, conservation laboratories, and a museum collection storage. It also has temporary and permanent galleries featuring exhibitions of historical objects and contemporary pieces.
If you have more time, you can also swing by the architectural wonder that is the Museum of Islamic Art.
Designed by another Pritzker Prize winner, I.M. Pei, this museum has four floors of temporary and permanent exhibitions. It also houses a gift shop, a heritage library, and 14 centuries’ worth of Islamic art and artifacts from around the globe. Its fifth floor features IDAM, a haute cuisine restaurant by Alain Ducasse.
2. Popular Attractions
Should you want to explore Doha’s famous attractions, you can spend some time appreciating waterfront views, sandy beaches, eateries, and exhibition spaces. There is so much diversity in this tiny state that you would be hard-pressed on what to do or where to go first.
One highly suggested addition to your itinerary is a visit to Katara Cultural Village. As Doha’s center for culture and entertainment, this magnificent venue is a must-visit destination if you have a penchant for art galleries, theater and artistic performances, and workshops. There are also restaurants on a waterfront promenade and a spacious public beach that offers water sports and equipment rentals.
For Instagram-worthy snapshots, try visiting the picturesque Qanat Quartier.
This private community has a Venice-inspired theme that features turquoise canals, gracefully arched bridges, pastel-colored low-rise buildings, and pedestrian-friendly piazzas. You can simply take a stroll down its broad avenues, play a tune or two on its musical staircase, or burrow your toes in the sand while drinking in stunning Arabian Gulf views.
For a country that has such deep pockets, shopping is a pastime for most. It is no wonder that shopping centers and premium malls abound. It’s a festival of sights, sounds, and shopping experiences with world-class facilities and family-friendly activities for shopaholics.
Malls such as Doha Festival City offer more than 400 stores offering a mix of high street and luxury brands from around the world. It also features numerous dining destinations, a hypermarket, health and beauty services, and some of the world’s most iconic brands. It also has an extensive range of recreational facilities, including 7-star cinemas, children’s activity and gaming centers, an outdoor leisure trail, and more.
For a more rustic shopping experience, you can visit the traditional souks. There’s the popular Souq Waqif, a melting pot of wonders with Middle Eastern merchandise such as dates, honey, seasonal delicacies, and spices.
You can also find clothing, handicrafts, jewelry, perfumes, souvenirs, and textiles here. Its labyrinthine alleys harbor an eclectic mix of cafes and restaurants, as well as a showcase of traditional art, music, and cultural shows.
There’s also the Gold Souk across the street, where you can find all sorts of jewelry in both contemporary and traditional designs.
The nearby Falcon Souk may also interest you with wares all connected to falconry. Falcons are adored in Qatar, so it’s no wonder that a souk such as this exists. Aside from the birds on sale, there’s also a falcon hospital in the vicinity.
While your Doha visit may be short, it would most certainly be sweet. With all that the city offers, you would surely want to extend your stay or resolve to go back for more.
Hisham Elzubeir is the Marketing Manager at Doha Festival City, the largest entertainment, fashion, dining, and shopping destination in Qatar. The mall has more than 400 international and local brands, including some of the most anticipated names, many of which made their Qatar debuts, such as Harvey Nichols, Charlotte Tilbury, Kiehl’s, Dior Beauty Boutique, ACE, and IKEA. Hisham brings over 15 years of international expertise to the communications team at Doha Festival City.