If you ask Qataris which area of their homeland they are most proud of, the answer will be unanimous. The capital of Doha is a source of much pride for locals with its spectacular modern buildings, fabulous shopping malls, exciting international sports events and rapid economic expansion. The city has a relatively small number of traditional tourist attractions, but it is a positively delightful destination best explored by tapping into the local lifestyle.
Getting around the city is relatively easy even though Doha lacks a public transportation system. To get from place to place, flag down a turquoise-colored “Karwa” taxi on the side of the road. Rates are very low, and it would be difficult to run up a fare more than $10.
Start your visit with a morning promenade on the corniche, Doha’s sparkling seafront. Even in the early hours of the day, the impressive skyline dances in the heat, but the seaside breezes offer a cool respite. The bay is the capital’s most outstanding highlight, designed with landfill to create a lovely crescent surrounded with cycling tracks and shady footpaths. For the best view of the city, stroll from the southeastern end of the corniche at the Ras Abu Abboud Street Flyover.
When the sun and heat peak in the afternoon, seek shelter from the high temperatures and explore priceless treasures at the Museum of Islamic Arts. Standing on its own island, the monumental museum created by world-renowned architect IM Pei resembles a modern fortress surrounded by a virtual moat. The world’s largest collection of Islamic art lies within the museum, and the extensive collection is made of artifacts from three continents. Interestingly, all the exhibits are conceptual. For instance, a single motif is displayed through exhibits showing extravagant carpets, an individual floor tile or a shining piece of gold jewelry. You won’t be able to explore the entire museum in just one visit, so pace yourself and focus on just one or two galleries. To avoid sensory overload, take a break for tea in the lovely ground floor cafe.
Treasures of a different kind are on display daily at the Souq Waqif, a centuries-old market in central Doha. In the past, Bedouins gathered here to trade their wool, goats and sheep, but today the market is lined with stalls selling traditional Qatari clothing, colorful spices, incense, exotic perfumes and antiques. Although the goods are usually authentic, the market’s design is not. In recent years, it has been redeveloped to resemble the souqs of the 19th century, with exposed timber beams and mud-walled shops.
Qatar does not have a distinct national cuisine, but Doha’s souq is filled with restaurants that reflect global and regional tastes. Sample some camel meat, sip on mint tea and indulge in a little shisha at a Moroccan or Lebanese restaurant, or cool down with a tall glass of sweet pomegranate juice.
Spend the evening recharging on the beach, then hit some of Doha’s most convivial hotspots at night. Locals love their live music clubs, but are also quite active once the sun goes down and the temperature cools. Head to the city center to join them in fun activities like bowing, wall climbing and even ice skating.
Doha Geographical Location
Doha is located on the central easternmost side of Qatar facing the Persian Gulf.
Doha is the largest city in Qatar with a population of approximately 1,000,000.
Arabic is the official language of Qatar while English is the most common second language.
Doha Predominant Religion
- 77.5% Muslim
- 8.5% Christian
- 14% Other
Other religions that are common within Qatar are Hinduism, Buddhism, and Baha’ism.
The Qatari Riyal is the official currency of Qatar.
It rains infrequently in Doha with virtually no rain during the summer months. The temperature is extremely hot in the summertime and the winter cools to being comfortably warm.
Doha Main Attractions
- Museum of Islamic Art
- The Heritage Village
- The Corniche
Other Attraction in Doha
- Souq Waqif
- The Doha Zoo
- Al Koot Fort
- Al Zubarah Fort