Explore Qatar, The Jewel of Arabia
Stealing the spotlight from its Middle Eastern neighbours, Qatar is slowly but surely making a name for itself. Blessed with winter sunshine, aromatic souks, a thriving art scene and spectacular architecture - this desert peninsula just keeps on surprising us. And as the host of this year’s FIFA World Cup, its popularity is only going to keep on growing.
But don’t be put off by its size - this tiny yet rich nation is home to a multitude of attractions! Taking just two hours to drive from top to bottom, you can easily reach all of its major sights from Doha. So if you want to tick off iconic urban landmarks in the morning and go dune bashing in the afternoon you can! Then when it’s time to slow things down, you’ve got more than 350 miles of coastline to stretch out on, whether you choose to stick to Katara’s cityside shores, or escape the capital in favour of Zekreet’s unspoilt sands.
For something completely out of the ordinary, don’t forget to squeeze in a trip to Qatar’s biggest natural marvel; Inland Sea (AKA Khor Al-Adaid). Just an hour’s drive from the city, it’s one of the few places in the world where the sea meets the desert.
Only staying for a few days? Doha has enough going on to fill a long weekend. And there’s no better way to take in the skyline than with an evening stroll along the waterfront at Corniche, whether it's your first (or fifth) time in the city. Those looking for a short break stuffed with culture are covered too thanks to the many museums and marketplaces. What’s more, all of this can be discovered in just under seven hours flying time from the UK!Soak up Qatar
Endless family attractions
Travelling as a family isn’t always easy, but Qatar’s constant sunshine, amazing hotels and exciting attractions are sure to put a smile on your children’s faces - no matter their age. Doha is like one giant playground, and most of the fun can be found inside its luxurious shopping malls. From the first Angry Birds World theme park to the only e-gaming hub in the Middle East, there’s some pretty impressive options, too!
Want to swap that dry, desert heat for an Arabian winter? You can do exactly that at Snow Dunes Qatar, where 12 thrilling rides (including a snow slide) promise the ultimate adrenaline rush. Or, parents looking to merge education with play will love the child-sized cities found at KidzMondo Doha. Whether you’re living with a mini doctor or chef, let their imagination run wild as they roleplay in full uniform. Speaking of educational fun, don’t forget to check out the many interactive experiences at the Museum of Illusions.
What about a family day trip away from the city? Al Khor Park Zoo (45-minute drive) is perfect for little animal lovers. See the best of Qatar’s wildlife in one spot with chimpanzees, rhinos and crocs among the enclosures. Or, hit one of the largest theme parks in the Middle East with a trip to Desert Falls Water & Adventure Park (1 hour’s drive). Thrill-seeking teens will make a beeline for King Cobra’s towering twin tube slides, while water babies splash around in the Ship Kids Pool. And there’s plenty of dry fun too, including a high-speed go-karting track.Qatar with the kids
One country, multiple flavours
Just like its landscape, Qatar’s cuisine is extremely varied. So don’t be surprised if you see dishes inspired by India, Persia, Lebanon and North Africa sitting alongside tasty Qatari favorites. But don’t worry, there’s something to suit every taste and budget here. Couples with plenty of spends can splash out on fancy Japanese food as they gaze into the Arabian Gulf at Nobu, while families sticking to a budget can enjoy affordable yet tasty shawarmas at Al Bisana.
But no weekend in Qatar would be complete without hitting one of its trendy brunch spots. Usually buffet style with free-flowing alcohol and a great atmosphere, you need to try at least one. Prefer to save the drinks for the evening? You’ll find plenty of lounge style bars in Doha’s luxury hotels, where you can unwind with live music and a cocktail.
After you’ve indulged in the city’s finest restaurants, it’s time to hit the streets so you can get a real taste of the country’s cuisine. For the best foodie experience, try perfectly crispy falafel or spinach stuffed samosas served from an old-fashioned truck. Make sure you stop by the central square in Souq Waqif too, it’s one of the best places to sample ragas ( a paper thin crepe filled with cheese, eggs and fish paste).Eat out Doha style
Amazing adventures in Doha and beyond
If you want to try something exhilarating, step away from Doha’s skyscrapers and head deep into the desert. Riding a camel is amazing, but have you tried dune bashing? This rollercoaster-like experience involves a skilled driver hitting the sand at varying speeds - an absolute must for thrill-seekers. After an adrenaline-filled day, we recommend a Bedouin camp sleepover, not just for the warm hospitality, but so you can wake up to the sun rising over the desert.
Qatar isn’t just known for its land adventures either! With winter water temperatures sitting above 20°C, you can enjoy wet sports all year round. Pop your snorkel on and dive into those marine-filled Gulf waters, or hop on a SUP from the Corniche waterfront for a truly unforgettable sunset experience. Keen kitesurfers are also in luck, particularly between November and July with those northerly winds on their side. Further from the city (1 hour’s drive) is Purple Island and Al Thakira Mangroves, where you can kayak through Qatar’s lush greenery spotting beautiful birds and sea life.
Want to take your Qatar trip to greater heights? You can also experience this beautiful country from the clouds with a skydive or hot air balloon ride.Your Arabian adventure awaits
More reasons to visit
Plan the ultimate beach-hopping holiday
Day 1: Just an hour’s drive from Doha, you’ll kick things off on Al Thakira’s serene sands. When you’re taking a dip in the Gulf, you’ll be lapping up spectacular views of Qatar's oldest mangrove reserve. And to round off a relaxing first day, hop on a kayak so you can really appreciate the area’s serene beauty.
Day 2: The rest and relaxation doesn’t stop there! Now it’s time to explore Qatar’s small isles ( Al Safliya). Lying just off the capital’s coastline, take a dhow from the Pearl or Corniche to reach this peaceful blanket of sand. From here, make your way to Dukhan Beach, whose stretching shallows are perfect for mini paddlers.
Day 3: Cram in two more beaches - the beautiful Mafjar and Banana Island. Just a 25-minute boat ride from Doha, you’ll feel like you're miles away from civilisation as you step foot on this tiny piece of land.
Day 4: Venturing north again, retreat to Al Shamal Beach. Stretching along Shamal Corniche, you’ll see everything from families playing in the water to couples enjoying a romantic stroll. Then, if you want to squeeze in another sand spot, Farkeh’s play zone is bound to go down a treat with the kids.
Day 5: Set your alarm early so you can spend the morning at one of Qatar’s most recognised beauty spots - Zekreet. Follow the main road to Dukhan and look out for the beautiful limestone cliffs. Make sure you bring your snorkel so you don’t miss a chance to spot what’s hiding in its clear waters. The area’s incredible ancient settlements are also worth a visit if you have enough time.
Day 6: Finally, end your stay at Al Ghariy, which is just 100km north of Doha, and perfect for a relaxing swim before you have to say goodbye to this incredible country.Contact us to book
A long weekend in Doha
Kick-off your city break with a glimpse into Doha’s past at Souq Waqif, the city’s oldest trading market. Wander alleyways bursting with handicrafts, and if you’re not one for shopping, you’re bound to be tempted by the smells wafting from the street vendors.
Once you’re done hunting for souvenirs, the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is home to some of the most impressive examples of Islamic art in the world, while its top-floor terrace promises incredible city panoramas. Cultural couples should also squeeze in a trip to Doha’s exhibitions, installations and galleries, where you’ll find art from the likes of Picasso to Giacometti.
Next on your to-do list is the city’s shopping malls. You could easily spend a full day here, especially the Venetian-inspired Villaggio Mall with its 200 plus stores! While Doha Festival City is so much more than a retail experience. From theme parks to cinemas and a go-karting track, the fun is never-ending.
Evenings in Qatar typically involve indulging. And between the Corniche, Pearl-Qatar and Katara Cultural Village, there’s more than enough options to cram into a couple of days.Contact us to book
Rest and rekindle in Qatar
Day 1: Head straight for the beach with a stay at the beautiful Banana Island Resort. Set away from the hustle and bustle of Doha, it’s perfect for couples looking to recharge their batteries. If you really want to up the romance, plan an oceanside dinner in an Arabian cabana. Waited on by your own private butler, this intimate experience is sure to impress that special someone.
Day 2: The next morning it’s time to take a flight, but don’t worry you’re not heading home just yet! Float high above the city with a hot air balloon ride, the perfect setting for a proposal. Once you’re back on land, make a break for Corniche. Take in views of the sunbathed Gulf with a gentle stroll along the water’s edge, before hitting the Pearl’s Porto Arabia for some delicious food.
Day 3: Treat your other half to a traditional keepsake with a shopping spree at Souq Waqif. Afterwards, pack up your stuff and get ready for a cosy desert camping trip under the stars at Khor Al Udaid (Inland Sea). There’s something special about seeing a body of water surrounded by rolling dunes, and it’ll be even more spectacular at sunset when the sand changes color.
Day 4: Experience Doha’s cultural heart - Katara. This heritage-rich village is home to some outstanding examples of ancient architecture including a Greek Amphitheatre and Katara Mosque ( inspired by Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul). Adventurous couples can choose to end the day hiking in the surrounding hills, while others may prefer to hop on dhow so they can gaze into the moon-lit Gulf (or, each other’s eyes).
Day 5: Final stop, Hilton Salwa Beach Resort for some pre-departure relaxation after the trip of a lifetime; be it a spa treatment or catching the last of the sun’s rays before you have to head home.Contact us to book
Home to some incredible hotels, couples will appreciate its fanciest options, some complete with private beaches and others flaunting state-of-the-art spas, while families with small kids will love stays at AlRayyan Hotel Doha with its Barbie and Hot Wheels-themed rooms.