Qatar warmly invites you visit their country. You will discover a land of contrasts, dynamic and exciting, yet with a sense of timeless serenity and tradition. Qatar brings together old world hospitality with cosmopolitan sophistication, the chance to enjoy a rich cultural tapestry, new experiences and adventures. Absorb the unique ambiance and explore the possibilities of unexpected Qatar.
Doha's Waterfront Promenade
A spectacular waterfront promenade circling Doha Bay, the Corniche offers great vistas and a vehicle-free recreational space in the heart of the city.
Doha's Lively Traditional Market
Explore the alleys of Souq Waqif, pick up some bargains and enjoy an authentic taste of traditional Qatari street life, architecture, culture and food.
Discover Centuries of the Finest Islamic Art
Experience 14 centuries of the finest art and artefacts from across the Islamic world, housed in a modern architectural masterpiece on Doha’s Corniche.
Enjoy Culture and Recreation at Katara
Culture and recreation come together at Katara with its theatres, galleries and performance venues, wide choice of dining options and well-maintained beach.
Elegant Lifestyles at The Pearl-Qatar
The Pearl-Qatar features Mediterranean-style yacht-lined marinas, luxury residences and hotels, as well as top brand name boutiques, cafes and restaurants.
UNESCO Recognized Heritage Site
This UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises Al Zubarah Fort and archaeological works covering the remains of an historic pearl diving and trading centre.
Qatar's Inland Sea
An impressive wonder of nature, Qatar’s ‘Inland Sea’ is one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches deep into the heart of the desert
Qatar’s commitment to cultural excellence extends to a range of impressive public art installations by leading international artists around the country. These include:
Ahmed El Bahrani: The Challenge 2015 at the Lusail Multi-Purpose Sports Hall
Anne Geddes: Healthy Living from the Start at HMC Women’s Hospital
Damien Hirst: The Miraculous Journey at Sidra Medical and Research Centre
El Seed: Calligraffiti at Salwa Road Tunnels
Lorenzo Quinn: The Force of Nature II at Katara Cultural Village
Louise Bourgeois: Maman at Qatar National Convention Centre
Richard Serra: East-West/West-East at Zikreet
Richard Serra: 7 at the Museum of Islamic Art Park
Sara Lucas: Perceval at Aspire Park
Subodh Gupta: Ghandhi ‘ s Three Monkeys at Katara Cultural Village
Tom Claassen: Arabian Oryx at Hamad International Airport
Tony Smith: Smoke at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre
Urs Fischer: Lamp Bear at Hamad International Airport
Qatar is a great place to unwind in the warm sunshine. Around the country’s coastline are many unspoiled tracts of clean sandy beach and Doha itself boasts the well-tended facilities of Katara Public Beach. For most visitors, the hotel pool – or, in some cases, private hotel beach - is likely to be the first port of call. All major hotels have well-appointed pool areas, often in stunning garden settings with comfortable seating, the perfect place to lie back and take a well-earned break.
Qatar's Living Heritage
Qatar offers visitors a taste of its age-old traditional pastimes at a number of venues.
Camel racing, at the Al Shahaniya track, attracts large enthusiastic crowds during the winter racing season.
Falconry, a sport dating back 5,000 years, is avidly pursued by many Qataris during the hunting season.
The Arabian horse & horse racing. Al Shaqab centre is devoted to perpetuating purebred Arabian bloodstock, while Qatar’s equestrian tradition flourishes at Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club.
Music. Traditional music featuring traditional wind instruments and drums is still widely played, especially at banquets, celebrations and special events.
Arts & crafts. Traditional decoration and design remain important features of Qatari life, finding expression in the work of craftsmen in many field, including jewelery, architecture, henna painting and Arabic calligraphy.
No matter what time of year you visit, you’re likely to come across a special event or festival to add a little extra spice to your vacation. Qatar hosts a series of festival focusing on different themes, ranging from the ever popular Qatar International Food Festival, an annual open-air gourmet extravaganza, to pearl diving, kite, book, film and dhow festivals. In addition, there are a number of seasonal and holiday festivals - including the spring festival at Souq Waqif and the nationwide summer and Eid festivals. These feature entertainment shows, mall promotions, prize competitions and kids’ play zones and attract both residents and visitors from around the region.
Katara Traditional Dhow Festival
The purest celebration of Qatar’s maritime heritage & traditions: competitions, displays & folklore.
Qatar National Day
National Day, also known as Founder's Day, is celebrated on December 18th.
Besides the discounts and promotions across Qatar, ShopQatar this year with exclusive pop up stores, pop up workshops, fashion design and make up masterclasses, live shows, Arabic, Bollywood and international concerts!
For a heart-stopping roller coaster ride over the steep dunes, try a 4x4 off-road safari. Or have a go at camel riding, sand boarding or driving a dune buggy. Daytime, evening and overnight camping trips can all be arranged. Several tour operators have Bedouin-style camps in the desert. Many safaris take in the spectacular ‘Inland Sea’ and the chance to enjoy glorious desert sunsets and moonlit barbeques.
Experience the country’s seafaring heritage cruising aboard a traditional wooden Qatari dhow. Full-day, half-day and evening sightseeing excursions, including a meal, can be arranged via a hotel or through any of the leading local tour operators.
Katara’s public beach, with its supervised water sports facilities, makes an ideal destination for a family trip. Others include Aqua Park, with its many water rides, and Al Dosari Zoo and Game Reserve. Many of the city’s leading malls have supervised indoor play areas and also feature a variety of family food outlets and a range of activities for older kids, including ice skating, ten-pin bowling and cinema complexes.
In nomadic society, desert travelers were always welcome to share food and drink. This tradition is deeply ingrained in Qatari culture and the serving of Arabic coffee and dates to welcome visitors remains a symbolic expression of this hospitality. In traditional settings and at celebrations such as weddings, the age-old practice of communal dining is still followed and meal times are characterized both by the unfailing generosity of the host and the informality and warmth of the conversations that flourish over the shared feast.
Despite limited agriculture, traditional Qatari food can be surprisingly varied. While locally caught fish are always in plentiful supply, many staples have to be imported. Over the years, local dishes have been influenced by the cuisine of the Indian Subcontinent, Iran, the Levant and North Africa. They include: machboos, a stew of richly spiced rice with seafood or meat, mutton served with yogurt; ghuzi, a whole roast lamb on a bed of rice and nuts; and stuffed boiled sheep or goat served with seasoned rice. This centrepiece of the meal is generally accompanied by a variety of side dishes, including chicken, fish and vegetables and salad. Locally grown dates, fresh fruit and desserts such as halwa or Umm Ali round off a typical Qatari meal.
Historic Sites of Qatar
Located in the suburbs of Doha in the village of Umm Salal Mohammed, the recently restored towers were built between 1910 and 1916. Barzan means ‘the high place’ and the towers may have served as a lookout to protect local water sources and as an observatory to determine the dates of the lunar calendar.
Al Wajba Fort
Situated 15 km. west of Doha, Al Wajba fort was built in the late 18th or early 19th century. Its historical importance derives from being the site of a famous battle at which the Qatari forces defeated the Ottomans in 1893, as well as being the residence of the sheikhs during various periods of its history.
Al Koot Fort
(also known as Doha Fort). Built in 1927 as a police station to protect the nearby Souq Waqif and also used as a jail, the square-shaped white fort has towers – three circular and one rectangular – crowned with traditional Qatari-style battlements at each corner.
Al Jassasiya rock carvings
On the north east coast comprise a total of 874 carvings, known as ‘petroglyphs’, the earliest thought to date from Neolithic times.Discovered in 1957, they consist of various designs and patterns such as cups in rows, rosettes, ships and foot marks.
Museum of Islamic Art (MIA)
Experience 14 centuries of great art housed in a modern architectural masterpiece designed by I.M. Pei and located on the Corniche in Doha. The MIA’s magnificent and imaginatively presented displays of the finest art and artifacts from across the Islamic world have earned it recognition among the world’s top cultural in institutions. Admission to the permanent galleries is free.
Sheikh Faisal Museum
Sheikh Faisal’s private museum at Al Samriya features a fascinating collection of more than 15,000 exhibits covering a spectrum of arts, artifacts and equipment, as well as many everyday household and traditional items that evoke a flavor of Qatari life in the pre-oil era. A feature of the museum is its extensive collection of vintage cars.
Coming soon! - The National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ)
Scheduled to open in 2018/ early 2019, this museum will give voice to Qatar’s heritage whilst celebrating its future. It is located on the Corniche on Doha, close the Museum of Islamic Art. The interlocking disc design by Jean Nouvel is inspired by the desert rose. The museum is built around Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani’s original palace – his family home and seat of the government for 25 years. Beyond galleries, NMoQ will also house a 220-seat auditorium, research center and laboratories.
Al Zubarah Fort
Located on Qatar’s north-west coast and comprising the immaculately restored Al Zubarah Fort and surrounding 60-hectare archaeological works, this UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most extensive and best preserved examples of an 18th–19th century settlement in the region. It covers the remains of a walled coastal town that once ranked as one of the Gulf’s most important pearl diving and trading centers with links extending to the Indian Ocean. The fort houses a visitor center.
Qatar’s Inland Sea (Khor Al Adaid)
Some 60 km from Doha in the south-eastern corner of the country lies one of Qatar’s most impressive natural wonders, the ‘Inland Sea’ or Khor Al Adaid. A UNESCO recognized natural reserve with its own ecosystem, this is one of the few places in the world where the sea meets the desert.
Qatar boasts a remarkable variety of dining possibilities. Many restaurants offer an authentic taste of Arabia and the Middle East, but all the major cuisines of the world are well represented. Options range from formal fine dining to relaxed fast food outlets and coffee shops. Many top restaurants are to be found in Qatar’s hotels, as well as at The Pearl-Qatar, Souq Waqif and Katara Cultural Village, amongst numerous other culinary corners of the city. Well-known international culinary names include Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse, Nobu, Jean-Georges and Antonio Carluccio, amongst others.
Since ancient times, traders and merchants have congregated in traditional markets to provide for the daily needs of the local community. These souqs are still very much part of modern life in Qatar. Some specialize in a particular product area, such as fish or fruit and vegetables. Others cover a vast and varied range of different items though, even here, certain areas of the market are often devoted to groups of adjacent shops all selling related products, such as clothing and fabric, gold and jewellery, spices or kitchen wares. As noted elsewhere Doha’s central market, Souq Waqif, with its maze of alleyways and unique architecture and ambience, ranks as a major visitor attraction in its own right. But it’s is a great place for the dedicated shopper too, ideal for finding souvenirs and regional specialities. Popular purchases include: carpets, rugs and textiles; Bedouin weaving; Arabic coffee pots; antique silver; incense burners; prayer beads; inlaid jewellery boxes; miniature dhows; brass items; and regional art and handicrafts. The market – as well as the nearby specialist gold souq - is also an excellent source of great value jewellery, precious metals and stones. Outside Doha, the port city of Al Wakra lying just to the south of the capital has its own thriving market– Souq Waqif Al Wakra.
In contrast to the atmosphere and bustle of the souqs with their multiple small shops, there are many large stand-alone retail outlets and showrooms lining the streets of Doha’s main shopping districts, as well as a fine array of large and small malls offering visitors a total shopping experience in air-conditioned indoor comfort.
The latter feature department stores, brand name boutiques and individual shops offering an immense range of both regional and international products. Facilities usually include under-cover parking, banks, supermarkets, coffee shops, food outlets and entertainment activities, such as cinemas, ten-pin bowling and ice skating.
Qatar has successfully staged a number of major international sporting events, such as the 2006 Asian Games, 2011 AFC Asian Cup and 2015 Men’s World Handball Championships, amongst other world and regional tournaments.
In addition, Qatar hosts an annual calendar of events on the championship circuits of their respective sports. These include: Commercial Bank Qatar Masters (golf), Qatar ExxonMobil Tennis Open, Tour of Qatar (cycling), Qatar International Rally (motor sport), Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar (Moto GP), Qatar Total Tennis Open, F1H2O UIM World Championship (power boats) and the IAAF Diamond League (athletics). Qatar also stages high level equestrian events, including show jumping and a full programme of horse racing during the winter months.
Complementing Qatar’s prominence in the international sports arena, visitors can also enjoy watching a range of traditional sports. Camel racing at the track at Al Shahaniya offers an exciting riot of colour, noise and spectacle throughout the winter season. Big prizes are available to the winners, culminating at the prestigious HH the Emir’s Swordrace meeting.
Visitors can also witness traditional fishing and pearl diving – accompanied by a flotilla of dhows - at the Senyar Festival, a four day competition at Katara in April. The Al Galayel Championship, a hunting and falconry competition set in the desert, is another celebration of Qatar history and tradition, involving four days of hunting houbara, gazelle and curlews.