Places to visit in Doha
Ready to discover the best places to visit in Doha? Let’s begin!
1. Souq Waqif, one of the most traditional places to visit in Doha
This part of the city is made up of a group of streets where you’ll find the most traditional souk in Doha. The market dates back to the 19th century. Although the market was renovated in 2006, it still retains its traditional architecture from the time period. The market hosts many restaurants, souvenir shops and traditional markets.
It was one of our favorite places to visit in Doha because its streets are so enjoyable to stroll through. There is an amazing atmospheres during the day and during at night.
We tasted the best hummus by far in Souq Waqif. The restaurant is called Abo Shariha. A large bowl of hummus with pita bread costs approximately $2.50. I highly recommend giving it a try! As you can see, you can eat at a fairly low price in Doha.
Qahira is another restaurant that we went to several times. It was not as affordable as Abo Shariha but the food was still reasonably priced. There are more expensive options.
Although the best thing to do in Souq Waqif is getting lost in its streets and buying souvenirs, there are some places that you should not miss. Check out Al Koot Fort, Souq Waqif Art Center, Gold Souq, the old well and the main square.
You also don’t want to miss Falcon Souq, a market for falcons and related services, such as a hospital for falcons (yes, you read that right!). The truth is that I was a bit embarrassed to visit this place and see the falcons tied up… Behind this peculiar market, there is a horse stable that you can also visit.
2. National Museum of Qatar, one of the most interesting places to visit in Doha
If you want to get to know the history of Qatar, I highly recommend visiting the National Museum of Qatar. The building itself is very interesting architecturally, as it is shaped like a desert rose. Inside, you can learn about the country’s history and culture in an entertaining and interactive way. I don’t usually like museums, but I enjoyed this one.
At the museum, you can visit the Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani, the former emir of Qatar. The palace was renovated a few years ago. It was built in the early 20th century and served as the government’s residence and headquarter.
The entrance fee to the museum is 50 QAR (13.75USD). If you have a student ID card, it costs 25 QAR (6.87USD) and for those under 16, it is free. Something that I really liked is that, if you purchase a ticket, can enter the museum for several days. Therefore, if you do not have time to visit everything or want to split the visit, it is possible to do so.
Hours of Operation: Every day from 9:00AM to 6:00PM (Fridays from 1:30PM to 7:00PM)
3. Museum of Islamic Art, one of the best places to visit in Doha
The Museum of Islamic Art is one of the best places to visit in Doha. We entered the museum but did not visit the exhibition area; however, we did visit a beautiful square overlooking West Bay. It has fountains and a wall with arches where you can enjoy views of Doha’s skyline. In order to visit the square, you do not have to pay the entrance fee to the museum. Once you pass the entrance, head to the right.
If you decide to visit the museum, you will find works of Islamic art that range from metal work to ceramics, jewelry, woodwork, glass, textiles and coins. The museum also has a café and a restaurant, both with views of Doha’s incredible skyline.
Around the museum you will find MIA Park, an ideal park for walking and watching the sunset. The port is also located near the museum. From the port you can take a boat and go for a ride through the Qatari waters.
The famous Pearl Monument is located between the port and Souq Waqif, right on the boardwalk by the sea (Doha corniche). When you visit The National Museum of Qatar, you’ll learn about the historical significance of pearls in the history of Qatar.
Admission to the museum costs QAR 50 (13.73USD), QAR 25 (6.87USD) with a student card, and free for children under the age of 16.
Hours of operation: every day from 9:00AM to 6:00PM (Fridays from 1:30PM to 7:00PM).
4. Katara Cultural Village
I did not know about Katara Cultural Village before traveling to Doha. I really enjoyed visiting this place. It is a huge cultural and recreational park where you can spend several hours touring it and getting to know each of its facilities. It has a shopping center, amphitheater, opera house, mosques, a beach, restaurants, a beach club, gardens, and more… It’s impossible to get bored!
My favorite place in Katara Cultural Village and the one I recommend visiting the most is Katara Mosque, a mosque decorated with turquoise and violet mosaics. I thought it was beautiful! Right next to the mosque, you will find 3 pigeon towers, which are also very nice.
Katara Beach, located in Katara Vultural Village, is one of the best beaches in Doha. Therefore, if you’re visiting the city in one of the hottest months, it’s not a bad idea to go for a swim in Katara Beach.
5. Qanat Quartier (The Pearl), one of the most luxurious places to visit in Doha
Qanat Quartier is the most well-known residential area in Doha. It is located in The Pearl, a luxurious artificial island. In The Pearl, you’ll find residential homes, shops, restaurants and cafes.
Qanat Quartier is very special and attractive because it’s inspired by Venice, Italy. That being said, you can expect picturesque buildings with colored facades, turquoise water canals, pedestrian squares, elegant bridges… You can take a nice walk while you observe the luxurious life of the the locals in the neighborhood.
If you want to visit Qanat Quartier, do not search Qanat Quartier on google maps, as it does not take you to the exact location. Instead, you should put Volume Café. We had to walk for a while since we ended up in the wrong place, but we didn’t mind either. It was a very pleasant walk through The Pearl.
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6. Villaggio Shopping Center
Qataris must really like Venice or something because Qanat Quartier is not the only place in Doha inspired by the Italian city. Villaggio Shopping Center is also inspired by Venice, Italy. It is one of the most luxurious malls in the world and yes, it is worth visiting.
Perhaps the most striking thing about this shopping center is that it has beautiful canals (gondola rides included) and a fake sky, similar to the Venice Hotel in Las Vegas. That is not all, you will also find a skating rink and even an amusement park.
7. Doha Mosque
There are several mosques that are well worth visiting in Doha. Apart from the aforementioned Katara Mosque, I recommend visiting Al Fanar, which is also a cultural center where you can learn about Islam, Al Shouyoukh Mosque, Imam Abdul Wahhab Mosque and Msheireb Mosque.
8. Trip to the desert
One of the best places to visit in Doha is definitely the desert. We couldn’t go because we were traveling on a tight budget at the time. We really wanted to go. A desert safari trip is usually people’s top choice when visiting the Qatari desert. The trip takes you to the desert in an SUV and through the dunes at full speed. I suppose it will be an experience similar to the one we had in the dunes of Huacachina (Peru) in a buggy. We had so much fun!
Sometimes they take you along the coast and even to Khor Al Adaid, an inlet near the Persian Gulf. Although the best part of the trip is on the way back, when you can enjoy an incredible sunset in the Qatari desert.
If you are interested in a trip to the desert, you can book a desert safari tour in advance from Doha. You can also book a private tour of the Zekreet desert, or an overnight trip to the desert, a great idea if you want to know what is like to spend a night in the desert.
9. Qatar National Library
The Qatar National Library is one of the places I really wanted to visit but didn’t have the chance to. It’s a true architectural beauty, both on the inside and on the outside. It’s possible to visit the library and free tours are also offered. You can take a look at the tour hours on this library’s website. The library has a restaurant and a cafe. Getting to the library is easy as it’s well-connected by metro (Qatar National Library station). It’s probably not on anyone’s top places to visit in Doha; however, if you have time, I recommend visiting the Qatar National Library.
10. Al Zubarah Fort
Al Zubarah Fort, located in the northern part of Qatar, is a clear example of the settlements in the country from the 18th and 19th centuries. You will be able to see the remains of a small walled coastal city that was once an important center of commerce, closely related to the pearl business.
TIP: If you rather just worry about enjoying yourself, I recommend booking this private tour of Doha with an english-speaking guide. You can get a nice discount if you travel in a group of 6 or more people.
Tips to travel to Doha, Qatar
Before finishing with this post, read the following tips before visiting Doha.
HOW TO GO FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE CITY CENTER. You can take a bus, metro, taxi or Uber from the airport to the different parts of the city. The easiest and cheapest way is the subway. If you have internet or can get wifi, Uber is also a good option.
HOW TO GET AROUND THE CITY. Doha is a very large city and everything there is to see is spread over different areas, therefore, you will have to take some sort of transportation during your visit. The metro works very well and, apart from being affordable, it is in excellent condition. I recommend using Uber to visit places not accesible by metro.
DOHA TRAVEL INSURANCE. If you do not have medical coverage in Qatar, remember that it is important to purchase travel insurance, just in case you run into medical issues. I use HEYMONDO travel insurance. If you purchase your next HEYMONDO travel insurance using this link, you’ll get a 5% discount.
INTERNET IN DOHA. It is possible to buy a card with data service. I didn’t do it because it seemed very expensive, both at the airport and in the city. That’s why I decided to rely on wifi, which wasn’t too much of a hassle since there was wifi almost everywhere.
WHERE TO STAY IN DOHA. The hotels are spread across Souq Waqif, West Bay and The Pearl. We stayed in Souq Waqif, which I think is the best option. We opted for the Alwadi Hotel, we had a pleasant stay!
I hope this article about the best places to visit in Doha (Qatar) has been informative and has helped you plan your trip the capital of Qatar. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. Until next time, travelers!
Al Zubarah Photo: Photo by SJByles on Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Biblioteca Nacional de Doha Photo: Photo by trevor.patt on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA
Villaggio Photo: Photo by Hafiz Issadeen on Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0