Things to do in Qatar: We tell you how to spend 72 hours in this exotic country with unforgettable experiences and glorious sights.
We all travel for numerous reasons – some of us leave the country for a quick recharge and others seek to explore the unknown, ticking off yet another destination on our travel bucket list. Whatever your reasons, we recommend booking that flight to Qatar, stat.
Located in the Middle East, Qatar is known for many things – in one sweep you experience a harmonious blend of old and new. Explore its natural attractions; rich culture and traditions through golden sand dunes, countless camel rides, lively souqs (local marketplaces) and of course, architectural marvels in the form of iconic museums.
Qatar also boasts modern skyscrapers and contemporary buildings – from the iconic National Museum of Qatar and man-made The Pearl-Qatar Island to the 300-metre tall Aspire Tower. It’s quite enchanting if you ask us.
72 hours in Qatar…really?
You read that right, save for the travel time, a 72-hour trip around Qatar is possible. Our itinerary covers top spots in Doha – the capital of the State of Qatar – with ample breathing space for you to bask in Qatar’s charm. Strap on your explorer shoes and pack your bucket hats (and sunblock!), whether you’re making a quick stopover or embarking on a unique weekend getaway, this 72-hour itinerary in Qatar guarantees an epic voyage for the books!
Day One: Museum hopping and chasing sunsets
Start your day bright and early with a dose of culture at the Museum of Islamic Art, located at the edge of the Dhow Harbour (more on this later). True to its moniker, the museum holds decades of Islamic art and artifacts from Spain, Egypt, Iran, Turkey and Iraq, just to name a few.
After resting your legs at a local restaurant, make a beeline to the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) for a visual treat, inside and out! Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the newly built museum around the restored royal palace resembles a desert rose – think intertwined discs – making it one of the most unique buildings you’ll ever encounter. Explore the museum in three chapters: Beginnings, Life in Qatar and The Modern History of Qatar. Finally, chase the sunset at the picturesque Doha Corniche, where traditional cargo boats assemble.
Day Two: Camel rides, a UNESCO recognised site and retail therapy
Camels play a massive part in Qatar’s heritage and are also a popular mode of transportation so don’t miss a chance to hop on one whenever you can. Camel rides too basic for you? Well, adrenaline junkie, you’ll want to sit up for this. Head to the southeast of Doha for a desert safari to Khor Al Adaid, a natural wonder recognised by UNESCO. Also known as the “Inland Sea”, it’s one of the few reserves on the globe where the desert meets the sea. So what’s so adrenaline-pumping about this? To get there, one needs to partake in bumpy dune bashing (driving up massive sand dunes).
After losing yourself at the magnificent reserve, make your way to the bustling Souq Waqif, a busy old marketplace and shopping artery filled to the brim with traditional Middle Eastern handicrafts, garments, souvenirs, home accessories and spices, to cafes and restaurants. Best place to put your haggling skills to the test.
Day Three: More magnificent sights plus, an art installation like you’ve never seen before
Spend your last day marvelling at The Pearl, a man-made island that looks like a Wes Anderson movie set. Resembling a string of pearls, this mixed-use urban development project contains luxury apartments, villas, leisure and entertainment centres, beaches and restaurants. Next up, travel 60 kilometres northwest of Doha (approximately one hour and 30 minutes from The Pearl) to experience an art installation unlike any other.
Come face to face with East-West/West-East by sculptor Richard Serra. The installation is made up of four steel sculptures scattered across one kilometre of the Qatari desert. The 14-metre sculptures represent old sea levels. Finally, spend your evening at Katara Cultural Village, a lively spot by the Katara beach, awash with art exhibitions, cultural shows at the amphitheatre and a range of restaurants serving authentic Arabic cuisine. Perfect for the whole family!
Fly to: Qatar via direct flight
Flight time: 7 hour 40 minutes (approximate duration)
This post is in partnership with Qatar National Tourism Council.