things to do in doha

Doha may not be the first place to spring to mind if you’re dreaming of a luxury getaway in an exotic location, but it would be a mistake to disregard this rising star of the Persian Gulf. In recent years, Doha has developed rapidly, becoming a cosmopolitan hotspot for large businesses and tourists alike. With reliably hot weather and a host of stunning hotels, it’s not hard to see why the Qatari capital has become such a popular destination. Moreover, the city boasts plenty of other cultural offerings and activities to keep you entertained. To inspire your trip, here’s my pick of five things to do in Doha for an unforgettable (luxury) getaway.

The Doha skyline by night (image courtesy of Sam Agnew)
The Doha skyline by night (image courtesy of Sam Agnew)

1. Visit Souq Waqif – Doha’s oldest market

For a taste of pure Middle Eastern culture head to Souq Waqif, the oldest marketplace in the city. There’s been a souq on this spot for at least 250 years, so whilst enjoying shopping for traditional wares, you’ll also get to appreciate the historical background of the city. Even if you don’t intend to buy anything, it’s easy to spend a day exploring the many stores in this labyrinthine souk, selling everything from luxurious fabrics to spices and jewellery.

things to do doha qatar
Souq Waqif (image courtesy of rbuwasiri).

2. Visit the stunning Museum of Islamic Art

As much a landmark for its breathtaking architecture as the works of art it contains, the Museum of Islamic Art is an absolute must for any visitor of Doha. Designed by I M Pei (the architect who created the acclaimed glass pyramid of the Louvre in Paris), this stunning building houses art from all parts of the Middle East. The museum also hosts many workshops for adults and for children, so be sure to check what’s on when you’re planning a visit.

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha (image courtesy of Fuad Al Ansari)
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha (image courtesy of Fuad Al Ansari)

3. Admire the Doha skyline at night

Sip on a delicious cocktail whilst taking in the best view of Doha at Sky View bar in the La Cigale Hotel. Perched on the hotel’s fifteenth floor and overlooking all of Doha, this sophisticated outdoor lounge has very quickly become a favourite venue for locals and tourists alike. Be sure to try one of the bar’s speciality cocktails and stick around for one of Sky View’s iconic light shows. The night views of the Doha skyline are seriously mind-blowing!

Sky View Bar (image courtesy of La Cigale Hotel)
Sky View Bar (image courtesy of La Cigale Hotel)

4. Feast at Layali Restaurant

If you want to get a real taste of Arabic/Lebanese cuisine, then it’s best to go where the locals go. On arriving in Layali restaurant, the buzzing atmosphere will tell you that you’ve found the right place. Expect excellent service, moderate prices, and a menu of homemade breads, juicy meat kebabs and fresh fish. Be sure to save some room for dessert though, as the menu of delicious sweet treats is guaranteed to please. Layali has been awarded Qatar’s Best Arabic Cuisine restaurant twice in recent years.

5. Get active in Khor Al Udeid

More than just a haven for sun-seekers, Doha is a great place to visit if you’re a fan of active holidays. If you’ve ever dreamed of going on a desert adventure then a trip to Khor Al Udeid is a must. Plenty of tour companies in Doha provide desert safari trips to Khor Al Udeid ranging from short car-rides over the beautiful dunes (or dune-bashing), to camel treks and camping trips for multiple nights in Bedouin-style tents. There are also plenty of fun things to do when you get there such as sand-surfing, swimming and snorkelling/diving in the gorgeous inland sea.

Khor al and the inland sea (image courtesy of Xavier Bouchevreau)
Khor al Udeid and the inland sea (image courtesy of Xavier Bouchevreau)

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