Football might be the most popular sport in Qatar, but it’s not the only attraction in the area. There are plenty of other sights and activities Qatar has to offer if you’re not a football fan. From museums to wildlife, read on to discover what to see and do in Qatar in 2022.
Museum of Islamic Art
Also known as MIA, the Museum of Islamic Art houses art from three different continents. While you’re here, you can view artefacts from Iran, India, Spain, Turkey, Central Asia, and Iraq. This museum has an impressive collection of jewellery, textiles, and manuscripts.
Besides art, this museum has a library, comprised of English and Arabic books, and a park. If you feel like learning something new, workshops on Islamic culture are often held at this museum. The onsite restaurant, IDAM, serves French Mediterranean cuisine and is led by chef Alain Ducasse. This eatery also offers cooking classes in artisan bread and raw foods.
What better way to explore the deserts of Qatar than by taking a desert safari? If you want to take in the captivating scenery of the sand dunes and desert sunsets, this is the perfect outing in Qatar. Many safaris also include sandboarding and camel riding, for the more adventurous travellers.
When going on a desert safari, you will likely get to experience dune bashing. Typically done in an off-road SUV, dune bashing involves driving faster and slower over the desert sand dunes. Because the surface of the sand shifts often, this creates a thrilling ride that requires a skilled driver.
Al Thakira Mangroves Forest
One of the oldest and most extensive forests in Qatar, the Al Thakira Mangroves Forest is located about an hour from the city of Al Khor. Named after the mangrove, a plant species native to Qatar, this area is home to an enchanting scene of pencil roots and salt-encrusted tree branches. While this nature area has no signs or facilities nearby, it is still an excellent spot for kayaking, photography, and viewing plants and wildlife.
Katara Cultural Village
If you’re a fan of culture, art, and top-notch food, you are guaranteed to enjoy Katara Cultural Village. Located in Doha, this development is nestled between the West Bay financial district and The Pearl towers residential area. This cultural village abounds in museums, art galleries, eateries, and striking architecture.
While you’re here, stop by one of the area’s mosques, like Katara Mosque or the Gold Mosque. Made with expensive materials, many colours, and excellent craftsmanship, these stunning structures are sure to impress. 21 High Street, another section of the Cultural Village, is an ideal place to discover high-end and designer stores, along with plenty of al-fresco dining. From shopping to eating, you could easily spend an entire day in Katara.
As a traditional marketplace in Doha, Souq Waqif is a must-see when visiting Qatar. Featuring authentic garments, spices, and art, this market’s covered passageways and mudstone walls include tiny shops, local restaurants, and cosy cafes.
National Museum of Qatar
Designed by architect Jean Nouvel, the National Museum of Qatar displays impressive architecture and lovely gallery spaces. The building was inspired by Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani’s original palace, the centre of government for 25 years. This immersive experience includes 11 total galleries, telling the story of Qatar and its inhabitants. With a combination of music, oral histories, films, and tantalising aromas, this experience engages all five senses.
A well-preserved natural wonder, the Musfur Sinkhole is located in central Qatar, near the town of Umm ash Shubrum. This massive ancient cavern is thought to have been formed 325,000 years ago, during the mid-Pleistocene Era. Known as the largest cave in Qatar, this area is available for visitors at any time of day. Because the temperature gets colder as you descend into the sinkhole, the cave offers a welcome break from the heat and humidity of this region.
Go to the beach
When you first hear the word “beach,” Qatar might not be the first place that comes to mind. But with over 348 miles of coastline, Qatar is home to a surprising number of fantastic beaches.
While you can have a beach day in the heart of Doha, on Katara Beach, there are several other beaches located throughout Qatar. Fuwairit Beach, one of the most visited shores in Qatar, is located in the northern region. This coastline boasts pristine white and pink sands, along with an abundance of wildlife species such as the hawksbill turtles. The beach is closed between April and July to protect the turtles.
On the western shores of Qatar, you will find Zekreet Beach, home to plenty of gorgeous scenery. Only reachable in a 4×4, this beach is rocky and secluded, ideal for camping, windsurfing, and exploring. The striking rock formations and natural scenery will make you want to snap a picture of everything you see.
Located near Al Khor, Purple Island, also known as Bin Ghannam Island, is an idyllic day-trip destination. This must-see spot is well-known for lush flora and fauna, stunning scenery, and is a perfect oasis from urban life.
This island was nicknamed “Purple Island” because it was the primary source of purple dye in the second millennium BC. At the time when the colour purple was associated with royalty, the purple dye industry was lucrative. Today, this land is a perfect spot for bird-watching, hiking, spotting wildlife, or kayaking through the mangroves. If you want to stay for longer than a day, camping is permitted onsite.
City Centre Doha Shopping Mall
The City Centre Doha Shopping Mall has a variety of low and mid-tier stores, global and regional brands. In terms of shopping, this vast mall has it all. It also has plenty of dining options and coffee shops to lounge at after a day of browsing. You will also find a cinema and a five-story ice rink inside, making this a great place for the whole family.
Al Zubarah Fort
Next to the coastal town of Al Zubarah, the fort of the same name is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built during the 20th century, this fort features one-meter thick walls, protecting it from invaders and insulating its rooms during the heat of the summer. This site is home to mosques, residential palaces, fishermen’s huts, and a canal. Today, this is a museum where visitors can learn about Qatar’s history and explore different artefacts.
With so much to do in Doha and throughout the rest of Qatar, there’s no reason to limit yourself to visiting the football stadiums. Tons of shopping, cultural experiences and outdoor activities await you in Qatar.