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Flying to Doha: What to Do in the Capital of Qatar Besides Going to Football

Temoor has always been an adventurer from the get-go and is currently traveling the world for more future surprises.

Brief History of Doha

Doha was founded in 1850 and was originally called Al Bida. In 1916, the city became the capital of the British protectorate of Qatar, and in 1971, the capital of an independent state. Today Doha is a dynamically developing city of great opportunities. It is the economic and tourist center of Qatar.

In November-December, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held here, active preparations for which have been going on for several years. In Doha, not just new hotels appear, but entire areas that will soon be ready to receive tourists from all over the world. But even if you are infinitely far from football, you will definitely not be bored in the capital of Qatar and its environs. Write down and memorize the most interesting locations from our new guide.

What to see in Doha: Sights of the city

Doha is a city where the past miraculously coexists with the present. The historical market, which has been operating for more than a hundred years, is adjacent to shining skyscrapers made of glass and concrete, and museums designed by the world's most fashionable architects carefully store priceless collections of antiquities.

Unlike many cities in the Middle East, in Doha you can walk, and not just drive: for example, along the well-groomed Corniche, the Msheireb district or Aspire Park. At the same time, car traffic in the capital of Qatar is quite busy. However, the problem of traffic jams is effectively solved with the help of competent planning.

Doha, Qatar

Msheireb

This prestigious area in the heart of Doha is often called the heart of the Qatari capital. It was from Msheireb that the city once began, and today this part has been painstakingly restored using the latest technologies. The past in Msheireb met with the future - here, for example, merchants, whose fathers and grandfathers worked at this place a hundred years ago, reopened their shops. At the same time, the area turned out to be high-tech and environmentally friendly: here the maximum concentration of buildings certified by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

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This is the first central district in the world that fully complies with the principles of sustainable development. They assume the harmonious and ecological coexistence of people and nature. In other words, human comfort should not be achieved at the cost of destroying the environment. Mosques, hotels, restaurants, shops and museums are located on the territory of Msheireb, where you can learn about the history of Qatar and the features of the area itself, which has become a favorite place not only for tourists, but also for local residents.

National Museum of Qatar

The building of the National Museum of Qatar is impressive at first sight. It was designed by the architect Jean Nouvel in the form of a "desert rose", reminiscent of a crystal flower that forms after rain. Inside there are 11 enfilade rooms that tell the history of Qatar from antiquity to the present day. Here you can see how pearls were mined and oil pumped, get acquainted with the dynasty of Qatari rulers and trace the entire path of the country's development.

Tourists are attracted not only by the rich exposition but also by the creative design of the National Museum of Qatar.

Tourists are attracted not only by the rich exposition but also by the creative design of the National Museum of Qatar.

Most of the exposition is multimedia: “animating” screens attract visitors of all ages. The museum also regularly hosts temporary exhibitions: for example, until December 20, guests can enjoy a large-scale installation by the world-famous Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist called “Your brain for me, my brain for you”. You will visit a secret room where hundreds of bizarre glass threads descend from the ceiling, which change color to the beat of the music. Among the installation, you can walk or comfortably sit on the sofa and watch the dance of light, plunging into a meditative state.

The price of an adult entrance ticket is 50 QAR (840 ₽), and children under 16 years old are free. You can buy tickets on the official website of the museum or at the box office.

Souq Waqif

Souk Waqif is an old market in the heart of Doha with a unique atmosphere of the East. You should definitely stop by to get lost in the labyrinth of narrow streets, find the perfect Arabic coffee and inhale the heady aroma of spices. Souk Waqif is not a tourist attraction at all: locals also come here for shopping. Here you can buy fabrics, carpets, children's toys, dishes and even outlandish birds. It seems that every shop is a treasury full of incredible miracles, and everyone will find here a memorable souvenir to their liking.

It is worth going to the bazaar for the authentic atmosphere of the East and delicious souvenirs.

It is worth going to the bazaar for the authentic atmosphere of the East and delicious souvenirs.

Qatar National Library

The Education City campus is a 20-minute drive from downtown Doha. Here are the faculties of various educational institutions, campuses, a green park, as well as a huge National Library. Entering the building, which is shaped like an open book, you find yourself in a spacious, bright room, which is designed with the principles of sustainable development in mind. A large amount of natural light enters the hall through the windows and ceiling, which minimizes the use of artificial lighting.

Qatar National Library Awakens the Craving for Knowledge

Qatar National Library Awakens the Craving for Knowledge

On the lower floor there is a museum: its exposition presents rare books and manuscripts. The rest of the room is given over to modern publications, which are placed on futuristic snow-white shelves. In the pleasant coolness of the library, one wants to linger for at least a couple of hours, so that, if not reading in a calm atmosphere, then taking a break from the heat and properly examining it.

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Faculty of Islamic Studies Qatar University

The Faculty of Islamic Studies and the mosque adjacent to it, designed by Mangera Yvars Architects, deserve special attention of Education City visitors. The streamlined building stands on five columns, which symbolize the five pillars of Islam. In the western part, two 90-meter minarets soar into the sky: they represent knowledge and light. The very architecture of the faculty, as well as its internal structure, are designed to destroy stereotypes about the conservatism of Muslim education.

Science and religion complement each other, representing a single whole

Science and religion complement each other, representing a single whole

Getting here, students find themselves in a high-tech and progressive environment, where religion and science are not opposed, but logically complement each other. Tourists can visit the mosque with an organized tour. The dress code is mandatory: shoulders and knees must be covered.

Lusail

Lusail is not just a new area of ​​Doha: it is a whole city within a city. It is here that the stadium of the same name is located, which will host the main matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It can accommodate 43 thousand spectators.

Hotels, shops, residential areas and the largest sports stadium in the world: it's all Lusail

Hotels, shops, residential areas and the largest sports stadium in the world: it's all Lusail

In addition, on the territory of 38 sq. km there are 22 hotels, numerous shops, golf courses and amusement parks. A well-groomed embankment has become an ornament of Lusail, along which it is pleasant to stroll in good weather, admiring the blue water of the Arabian Gulf and creative skyscrapers of various shapes and sizes.

Pearl Qatar

Another remarkable place for walking, shopping and contemplation. The “Pearl” of Qatar is a fashionable area located on artificial islands with hotels from leading world brands, expensive boutiques, a marina with luxury yachts and the real Venice. One of the quarters is so similar to little Italy that only real connoisseurs will be able to distinguish the original from the copy from the photo. Even the legendary Bridge of Lovers has been recreated here, under which they offer to sail along the canal in a small boat and make a wish.

Pearl Qatar gives you the opportunity to feel like you're in Europe without leaving Qatar

Pearl Qatar gives you the opportunity to feel like you're in Europe without leaving Qatar

It is quite possible to spend the whole day on Pearl Qatar: you definitely won’t be bored here. Just don't forget to clear your phone's memory: you want to shoot colorful houses and bright flowers in flowerbeds endlessly.

Katara Cultural Village

Katara is an ideal place for walking and shopping. It even has air conditioners outside - they are installed around the Galeries Lafayette shopping center. The main attraction of Qatar is a huge amphitheater. It boasts excellent acoustics and a capacity of up to 5,000 spectators, so world-class concerts are often held here.

An ideal area for shopping, walking, gastronomic discoveries and getting to know the culture of the country

An ideal area for shopping, walking, gastronomic discoveries and getting to know the culture of the country

It is impossible to pass by the Golden Masjid, an Ottoman-style mosque that amazes with its magnificent decoration.

On the territory of "Katara" there are opera and drama theatres, elegant fountains, well-groomed gardens and various restaurants that invite you to get acquainted with both world and local cuisine.

Farm Heenat Salma

Going to Qatar, the last thing you expect is to be on a farm where organic vegetables and fruits are grown. A magical oasis located just 40 minutes from the center of Doha. You can come here on your own, having previously booked your visit on the official website.

Indulge in the pleasure of dining in an oasis in the middle of the desert

Indulge in the pleasure of dining in an oasis in the middle of the desert

The farm is not only engaged in agriculture, but also gladly receives tourists. They are invited to enjoy simple, but amazingly delicious dishes from ingredients from their "garden".

In autumn and spring, when the weather permits, travelers can stay on the farm in spacious tents with all amenities (including showers and toilets inside). In summer, it is too hot to spend the night even in a well-equipped tent, but you definitely shouldn’t refuse lunch or dinner.

Where to eat in Doha?

Qatar's cuisine is as diverse and multicultural as the country itself. It is a harmonious mix of traditional Arabic, Iranian and Indian cuisine. Here, meat, chickpeas, rice and, of course, spices are held in high esteem, the aroma of which makes every lunch or dinner special. In restaurants in Doha, you should definitely try “Arabian lasagne” thared, fried safi fish, lukamat donuts, and, of course, hummus, asid pudding and coffee with cardamom.

Bayt el Talleh

Its terrace offers a magical view of the ethnographic village "Katara" and the Arabian Gulf. It is best to come to the restaurant for dinner and admire how Doha, spread out below, shines with millions of lights. If you want to try everything at once, order a set. Just do not overestimate your capabilities: the portions here are generous in the oriental style.

Lebanese restaurant with a huge selection of Middle Eastern dishes.

Lebanese restaurant with a huge selection of Middle Eastern dishes.

Hakkasan

Pleasant twilight, impeccable service and a large selection of adapted Chinese dishes make this place very popular, and not only among hotel guests. It seems that the whole city gathers here on weekends in the evenings. In addition to the perfect Peking duck, designed for a friendly company, you should try spicy squid, asparagus, dim sum and creamy soup with corn and crab.

The Hakkasan Chinese Restaurant is located at the St. Regis Doha and is considered one of the best in the Qatari capital.

The Hakkasan Chinese Restaurant is located at the St. Regis Doha and is considered one of the best in the Qatari capital.

Jiwan

Alan Ducasse's restaurant is located on the fourth floor of the Qatar National Museum. Cream sofas with high backs resemble sand dunes, and real pearl strands hang from the ceiling. The laconic menu contains hits of Middle Eastern cuisine with a refined French accent.

Every serving is a masterpiece: the attention to detail here is amazing. If you have never eaten falafel in the shape of graceful rectangles, then in Jiwan you will have such an opportunity. Special mention deserves outstanding non-alcoholic cocktails. Even if you are skeptical about such drinks, be sure to try them here: you will have something to remember. And, of course, you can’t do without coffee: take Arabic, because you are in Qatar!

The terrace offers a beautiful view of Doha, and the interior decoration of the hall strikes with magnificent elegance.

The terrace offers a beautiful view of Doha, and the interior decoration of the hall strikes with magnificent elegance.

Parisa Souq Waqif

A restaurant for those who want to completely immerse themselves in a magical oriental fairy tale. Traditional Persian dishes are served in elegant and fantastically beautiful dishes, so you will definitely get not only gastronomic, but also aesthetic pleasure.

The interiors of Parisa Souq Waqif amaze from the threshold: gold, mosaics, precious stones, elegant carvings - here you want to study every detail.

The interiors of Parisa Souq Waqif amaze from the threshold: gold, mosaics, precious stones, elegant carvings - here you want to study every detail.

Il Galante

Restaurant Il Galante on the 27th floor of the Banyan Tree hotel is a piece of Italy in Qatar. The dishes here are very authentic: for example, burrata and gnocchi are in no way inferior to those served in their historical homeland. A variety of desserts will be an addition to the Mediterranean dinner: it is absolutely not recommended to leave without tiramisu.

flying-to-doha-what-to-do-in-the-capital-of-qatar-besides-going-to-football

Nightlife

Bars:

Champions

One of the most popular places among passionate Qatar football fans is the Champions Bar with a unique collection of football items and 47 screens for watching sports matches. Sports enthusiasts can join one of the fan quiz nights. It is recommended to book tables in advance.

sky box

Fans of breathtaking views should visit the Sky Box bar on the 61st floor of Kempinski Residences & Suites, the highest point in the West Bay area. Worth a look here to enjoy spectator sports against the backdrop of stunning panoramic views of Doha. It is especially pleasant to plan a visit during happy hours, when there is a discount on drinks and snacks. The bar must follow the dress code (smart casual).

Hudson Tavern

The perfect place to enjoy a football match and enjoy juicy Australian beef burgers. The bar is located at the Mondrian Doha Hotel in West Bay Lagoon. Thanks to the use of vintage interior elements, guests can feel the atmosphere of a real tavern with subdued lights, wooden tables and brick walls, and thanks to the many screens installed in the establishment, no moment will be missed.

Stock Burger Co.

Stock Burger, located on the second floor of the Holiday Inn, offers an extensive selection of burgers, as well as themed events with promotions for steaks, wings, fish and chips and South African specialties on selected days of the week.

Night and lounge bars:

B-lounge

With breathtaking views of the marina, a variety of culinary delights, guest DJs and nightly entertainment, the B-lounge at the Ritz Carlton offers an unforgettable experience for all tastes.

Infinity Lounge

Rooftop bar with a chic panorama of Doha's night lights and a varied cocktail list.

When is the best time to go to Qatar

The best time to travel to Qatar is from September to April, when the most comfortable temperature is set here. From May to the end of August, it will be too hot to be outdoors: the temperature ranges from +32 °C to +45 °C. However, air conditioners are installed throughout the premises, which makes staying in hotels, museums, restaurants and shopping centers absolutely comfortable at any time of the year.

The upcoming championship will be the most compact ever held: all stadiums are located within a radius of 55 km from Doha, so fans will be extremely convenient to move from one match to another and even watch two or more games with their own eyes daily.


Qatar will be the first country in the Middle East to host the FIFA World Cup, which will take place from 21 November to 18 December 2022.

Qatar will be the first country in the Middle East to host the FIFA World Cup, which will take place from 21 November to 18 December 2022.

How to get to Qatar

Direct flights from Moscow are operated by Qatar Airways. It became the first airline to receive a five-star safety rating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel time will be about five hours. Hamad International Airport is located 23 km from the center of Doha. You can get to the hotel by taxi, rental car or metro.

In 2021, Hamad International Airport was named the "Best Airport in the World" by the Skytrax World Airport Awards. The innovative air harbor boasts impressive infrastructure including a 25-meter swimming pool, spas and gyms, restaurants and cafes, and a contemporary art exhibition space. The duty-free zone deserves special mention, where you can buy souvenirs for every taste.

Find flights to Qatar

The hallmark of Doha Airport is a giant yellow teddy bear sitting under a black lamp in the departure hall. This is the famous Lamp Bear installation by the Swiss artist Urs Fischer.

The hallmark of Doha Airport is a giant yellow teddy bear sitting under a black lamp in the departure hall. This is the famous Lamp Bear installation by the Swiss artist Urs Fischer.

How to get around Doha

The easiest way to do this is by car. Renting a car at Doha Airport will cost from 180 - 200 QAR per day. An average taxi ride will cost 25 QAR. You can call a car through the Uber app, at the hotel reception or at a restaurant. Every year in Doha, public transport is developing more and more. You can get from the airport to the center, as well as to many iconic sights, by metro, which has almost 40 stations throughout the city. The price of a travel card is 10 QAR, then 2 QAR for each trip.

Where to stay in Doha

Doha has hotels for every taste: from small local hotels to well-known world giants. If you are interested in transport accessibility, it makes sense to take a closer look at the options in the Msheireb area: most of the sights can be reached from here by metro. Those who prefer stylish boutique hotels should pay attention to Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels by Tivoli near Souq Waqif. You can immerse yourself in the atmosphere of an oriental fairy tale at Saraya Corniche Hotel.

Find hotels in Qatar

What is the currency in Qatar

The national currency is the Qatari rial (Please check your conversion rates before traveling). Lunch at a diner will cost about 12 QAR, a cup of cappuccino - 16 QAR, and a bottle of still water - 1.5 QAR for 0.3 l. It is most profitable to change dollars for rials, but keep in mind that banks and exchange offices do not accept banknotes issued before 2009 - you can spend such money only in Duty-Free stores.

How to call from Qatar and how to get online

The two main mobile operators in Qatar are Ooredoo Qatar and Vodafone Qatar. You can buy a local SIM card at the airport. Wi-Fi is available free of charge in most hotels and restaurants, and also works in many museums, malls and even on the street. From Qatar, you cannot call on WhatsApp, but you can exchange text and voice messages.

What to bring from Qatar

One of the most popular souvenirs from Qatar is, of course, dates. You can buy them in any supermarket, as well as at the airport. The price starts from 15 QAR per pack. Shop for spices, coffee and halva at the Souq Waqif bazaar: these delicious presents will definitely please your friends and loved ones. 500 g of spices will cost about 15 QAR, a package of halva - 25 QAR, and a pack of coffee - 15-20 QAR.

Another popular specialty is oriental perfumes, the smell of which is difficult to confuse with anything. In Qatar, you can find both local brands and perfumes from neighboring countries - Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The average price of a bottle is 120 - 180 QAR. Good shopping malls with a large selection include Place Vendome Mall and Laguna.

Travel Tips

1. In 2022, Qatar topped Numbeo's ranking of the safest country in the world. Here you can freely walk the streets even after dark. There is no special dress code for women, however, when visiting government institutions, including museums, you should give preference to clothes that cover your shoulders and knees. But on the territory of the hotel, no one will forbid you to walk in your favorite shorts.

2. Outlets in Qatar are different from European ones. International chain hotels usually have standard options or USB ports. However, if you want to be able to charge your phone in a cafe, take an adapter with you.

3. During the trip, you are likely to be in bright sunshine: do not forget sunscreen and dark glasses. In winter and spring, a strong wind often blows, which brings sand from the desert, so take care of your headgear as well. But in air-conditioned rooms, you may need a jacket.

4. The best way to soak up the atmosphere of Doha is to sail on a traditional dhow boat. From the water, you will see the city's attractions such as the Corniche, the Museum of Islamic Art, the West bay area and much more. Boats ready to set off are moored near the Corniche. You can also book an individual tour through a tour operator.

5. There are only about 15% of Qataris in the country, the rest of the population are expats who work under a contract in various positions: from a taxi driver to a top manager, so in Qatar it is customary to respect all cultural traditions.

6. Before traveling to Qatar, it makes sense to take out an insurance policy in order to protect yourself in case of health problems. In other emergency cases, you should contact your embassy.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Temoor Dar

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