36 hours in Doha

A weekend travel guide

Doha the capital of Qatar is a rich and beautiful place. With its fantastic blend of Modern skyscrapers, classical islamic architecture and history it is a fascinating and stunning city to visit.

36 hours in Doha

Your first day in Doha

One of the must see places in Doha is the Museum of Islamic Art situated right on the waterfront. The building was designed by famous architect I.M. Pei and has become an iconic symbol of Doha architecture. It houses one of the largest collections of Islamic art originating from the 7th century onwards.

It is difficult to escape the history of Qatar in Doha; just a short walk from the Museum of Islamic Art is Doha’s Al Khoot fort, a beautiful example of the architectural and urban wealth of the ancient residents of Qatar. It is home to a number of handcrafted items from the craftsmen of the time and is a great way to see how the ancient people of Qatar lived.

After a long day of sightseeing and history, you will no doubt be  in the mood to sample Qatar’s cuisine and perhaps some shopping. Your next stop should be Souq Waqif. A souq is a traditional market in Qatar full of shops and restaurants, with Souq Waqif being best viewed at night. You can follow the local’s example sampling some of the delights on offer such as machbous, a richly spiced rice dish served with meat or seafood made for sharing. Once you have a nice fully belly, why not take a stroll through the stalls; the vendors tend to be friendly rather than pushy, and in most cases they are willing to haggle, making this market a great place to pick up some souvenirs and bargains.

Your last day in Doha

You can start the following day with a little walk along the Corniche. Located along the waterfront, it gives the best view of Doha’s impressive skyline. It can take just over an hour to walk the full length and there are some great places to sit and have a cup of traditional arabic coffee in the shade, whilst taking in the amazing views.

A little way North of the Corniche you will find Katara beach, where you can relax and enjoy the sun. From here it is only a short trip to the Katara cultural village, a centre of restaurants that cater to all tastes that will tickle your tastebuds, while looking out over the water.

However, if sitting out in the sun all day becomes too much for you, especially in summer, you can make your way over to Doha’s city centre mall. A lovely, air conditioned, mall to rival that of Dubai and a place to fulfil all your shopping needs.

Visiting November - February

If you are visiting during November to February there is an extra experience waiting for you. An hours drive out of Doha is Al Shahaniya Racetrack which, during these months, holds regular camel races. They train the camels every morning at 9:30 and scheduled race days usually start around 1:00 in the afternoon. The camels are controlled by miniature mechanical jockeys and are truly fascinating. If you are lucky enough to be in Qatar when there is a scheduled race this is a rare experience and a must see event.

Your first day in Doha

One of the must see places in Doha is the Museum of Islamic Art situated right on the waterfront. The building was designed by famous architect I.M. Pei and has become an iconic symbol of Doha architecture. It houses one of the largest collections of Islamic art originating from the 7th century onwards.

It is difficult to escape the history of Qatar in Doha; just a short walk from the Museum of Islamic Art is Doha’s Al Khoot fort, a beautiful example of the architectural and urban wealth of the ancient residents of Qatar. It is home to a number of handcrafted items from the craftsmen of the time and is a great way to see how the ancient people of Qatar lived.

After a long day of sightseeing and history, you will no doubt be  in the mood to sample Qatar’s cuisine and perhaps some shopping. Your next stop should be Souq Waqif. A souq is a traditional market in Qatar full of shops and restaurants, with Souq Waqif being best viewed at night. You can follow the local’s example sampling some of the delights on offer such as machbous, a richly spiced rice dish served with meat or seafood made for sharing. Once you have a nice fully belly, why not take a stroll through the stalls; the vendors tend to be friendly rather than pushy, and in most cases they are willing to haggle, making this market a great place to pick up some souvenirs and bargains.

Your last day in Doha

You can start the following day with a little walk along the Corniche. Located along the waterfront, it gives the best view of Doha’s impressive skyline. It can take just over an hour to walk the full length and there are some great places to sit and have a cup of traditional arabic coffee in the shade, whilst taking in the amazing views.

A little way North of the Corniche you will find Katara beach, where you can relax and enjoy the sun. From here it is only a short trip to the Katara cultural village, a centre of restaurants that cater to all tastes that will tickle your tastebuds, while looking out over the water.

However, if sitting out in the sun all day becomes too much for you, especially in summer, you can make your way over to Doha’s city centre mall. A lovely, air conditioned, mall to rival that of Dubai and a place to fulfil all your shopping needs.

Visiting November - February

If you are visiting during November to February there is an extra experience waiting for you. An hours drive out of Doha is Al Shahaniya Racetrack which, during these months, holds regular camel races. They train the camels every morning at 9:30 and scheduled race days usually start around 1:00 in the afternoon. The camels are controlled by miniature mechanical jockeys and are truly fascinating. If you are lucky enough to be in Qatar when there is a scheduled race this is a rare experience and a must see event.

Further reading

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