IHG Travel Blog

The ultimate guide to exploring Doha

Doha Corniche in the early morning

Ultimate Guide to Doha

Although Doha is a little-known travel destination among tourists, its hot and humid summers make it a great spot if you’re looking to soak in some rays. Sandwiched between the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, the rapidly growing city of Doha, Qatar, offers a number of exciting attractions to traveling businessmen and pleasure seekers. Whether you embark on a desert safari or sightsee in the city, this exciting Middle Eastern city has plenty to keep you busy.

Follow this guide and then search IHG hotels in Doha to plan your perfect trip.

24 hours in Doha

If you happen to have a layover in Doha, this is the perfect chance for you to check out the city’s highlights. Here are the must-see attractions near the airport that you’ll want to catch during your short visit.

Explore Qatar’s history at Al Zubarah Fort

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Al Zubarah Fort is a reflection of Qatar’s culture and the incredible architecture of the Middle East. Explore Qatar’s past and present as you make your way through the fort’s sturdy walls and into its calm and peaceful interior. Watch as Middle Eastern traditions unfold before your eyes as artists weave, wood carve, paint and display their crafts. Or study the various weapons used in the fort’s battles in previous years. Entrance is free of charge, and the fort is open 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day except Friday and Saturday afternoons.


Get lost at the Souq Waqif

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Souq Waqif is Doha’s most popular shopping area and one of the last traditional Arabic Markets of its kind in the Persian Gulf region. Best experienced at night, the Souq is packed with restaurants where you’re sure to find all sorts of delicious Arabic cuisine to please your fancy. Of course, you also can’t forget to pick up a couple of souvenirs while at the Souq. Since it’s open fairly late, you can eat or shop past 9 p.m., and often until midnight.


Tour the Museum of Islamic Art

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Located along Doha’s waterfront, the Museum of Islamic Art is devoted solely to art of the Islamic World. As you make your way through the museum, marvel at the impressive collection of Islamic art, including ceramics, carpets and calligraphy covering a period of more than one thousand years. The museum is certainly worth a visit and you can take as long or as little as you would like to tour the museum. The museum is free of charge and is open at various times during the week, so you’ll want to refer to the museum’s schedule before you plan your visit.


48 hours in Doha

When you have an additional day to explore Doha, you’ll be able to see a good portion of the city’s unique attractions. Add these popular sites to your itinerary for an unforgettable Middle Eastern experience.

Cruise the Corniche at Nightfall

Source: Flickr

The West Bay is home to Persian Gulf ships called Dhows, which were traditionally used for fishing, pearling and moving goods. The ships are available for tours around the harbor, which generally cost around 100 QR (about 30 USD) unless you’re able to haggle the ship operators. Your best time to take a Dhow tour is at sunset as you’ll be able to get the finest views of Doha at this time.


Rove the Villagio Mall

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The Villagio Mall is one of Doha’s newest shopping centers, which appears to be built in a similar fashion to the Venetian in Las Vegas. The mall offers gondola rides reminiscent of Venice and is home to several restaurants and stores, worthy of both your time and money. Although the mall is pretty far from other popular city attractions, it’s worth a visit if you have some spare time. Unless you’re the kind of shopper who likes to roam through every store, you won’t need more than 30 minutes to see the entire mall.


Witness the incredible architecture of Katara and Pearl Islands

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To witness some extravagant modern architecture, Katara Cultural Village and The Pearl are certainly sights to see. The Katara village is still under development, but features theaters, a beach and dozens of restaurants as well as several art and history exhibits to enjoy. Near the Katara village, the Pearl is an interesting group of man-made islands that house luxury apartments and high-end shops. While both Katara and The Pearl merit a stop, you’ll want to set aside a good portion of your day as the two are located northwest of the West Bay and take some time to reach.


72 hours in Doha

With three days in Doha, you’ll have the chance to truly immerse yourself in Doha’s culture. These attractions will make your visit to Doha complete.

Get an adrenaline rush from a day of Dune Bashing

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Dune bashing, although touristy, is an exhilarating way to spend part of your visit in Doha. Hire a professional tour guide who will take you in a Land Cruiser for a crazy ride over the sand dunes—some of which can be more than 100 feet high! Dune bashing can take at least half a day, and prices vary depending on what sort of excursion you book, so look online beforehand to decide which desert experience is right for you (and your wallet).


Take an off-roading trip to Film City

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Legend has it that Film City was originally created to act as a movie set, but very few movies have actually been filmed there. To reach Film City, you’ll have to do a bit of off-roading as the city was constructed in the middle of the desert. Its secluded location makes it a sparsely frequented tourist site, naturally transforming the city into an eerie ghost town. Film City mimics a traditional Arabic town and contains traditional houses, a mosque and plenty of gates and doors. The total trip to get to and from the city takes anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on how long you take to explore the city.


Wander the Barzan Towers

Source: Flickr

The Barzan Towers were originally built as watchtowers in 1910, as part of a defense system. The magnificent towers stretch high above the surrounding landscape and provide the perfect overlook spot to look out onto the sea. Behind the towers, you’ll find a unique oasis full of greenery, palm trees and animals. Since the towers are private property you won’t be able to enter them, but you can visit them 24 hours a day free of charge.

Whether you visit Doba to discover awe-inspiring wonders of the Middle East or are in search of the ultimate thrill-seeking get-away, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for in Doba. This city is packed with numerous things to do, see and explore, making it the perfect destination for anyone looking for an adventure.

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