A dhow boat moored with the Doha cityscape in the background

QatarTravel Guide

No other destination embraces its cultural legacy while striding into the future as spectacularly as Qatar.   

The sleek, gleaming skyline of its capital, Doha, stands proudly amid ancient souq markets and a traditional dhow boat yard as this tiny peninsula nation on the western shore of the Persian Gulf mesmerises visitors with a host of intriguing experiences.   

When you visit Qatar you'll see how Doha pulses with a vibrant art scene, culinary delights, waterfront dining and shopping opportunities as broad as the day is long.   

Meanwhile, authentic Middle East experiences await you in Qatar's surrounding towns and cities — where desert sands meet the sea and archaeological sites grace a land of inlets, islands, turquoise waters and mangroves bathed in seemingly endless sunshine.   

Our Qatar Travel Guide lets you glimpse it all. Whether you’re taking a wild ride through the dunes on a desert safari or losing yourself in the labyrinthine alleyways of Souq Waqif, the many faces of Qatar will enthral you for as long as you want to stay.  

Qatar quick facts


National language



Bottle of Coke/Pepsi (330ml)

ZAR R19.17

Local time




Qatari riyal

ZAR R1.00 = QAR ﷼0.20

Eating out

Restaurant meal (casual dining)

ZAR R149.76


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Explore Qatar

Where to stay in Qatar?

Although Qatar's accommodation is concentrated in Doha, the city's central location means you'll never need to journey more than 120km if you choose to seek adventure beyond its glimmer. From opulent 5-star resorts to boutique hotels and budget-friendly accommodation, Doha is a world-class city for stays that suit all tastes and budgets.

Home to Doha's iconic high-rise and close to many of the city's attractions, West Bay is the best place to drop your bags if you're a first-time visitor to Qatar. The pyramid-shaped Sheraton Grand Doha Resort is just a leisurely amble from the city's beautiful waterfront Corniche Promenade, while hotels such as the InterContinental, The Four Seasons Hotel and the City Centre Rotana Doha Hotel are close to the City Centre Doha Mall and the city's Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre. The InterContinental also doubles as a seaside resort with its own private beach. 

Doha's Hamad International Airport (DOH) serves as Qatar's primary airport and the base for Qatar Airways, the national carrier providing extensive connectivity to destinations worldwide.   

If your stay in Qatar is brief, or you're simply the type of traveller who prefers the convenience of staying near your exit point, then you're well catered for. The Hyatt Regency Oryx Doha offers 5-star luxury within 6km of Hamad International Airport — as does the Rixos Gulf Hotel, which is complete with superb waterfront views. More affordable options nearby include the Concorde Hotel and the Oasis Beach Club.   

The city centre calls if you want to base yourself close to attractions such as Doha's traditional Souq Waqif market, Dhow Harbour, the Museum of Islamic Art and the picturesque southern end of the Doha Corniche Promenade. Plus, it's closer to Doha's international airport than West Bay. Not only that, but the city centre is brimming with a range of affordable stays from the Movenpick Doha to high-end delights such as the Banyan Tree.   

Qatar is home to some stunning modern architecture and Katara Towers is undoubtably Doha's signature jaw-dropper. Its twin inwardly curving towers, designed to evoke the crossing curved swords of Qatar's national crest, house not one luxury hotel brand, but two: Raffles Doha and Fairmont Doha. Staying at either is a destination in itself! 

Believe us when we say, this is just the start. Book your accommodation today!

  • Two Qatari women walk through the entrance to a mosque
    • the Doha cityscape at sunset
    • Katara Cultural Village during sunset
    • National Museum of Qatar
    • Dhows, harbour and modern cityscape of Doha
  • Two Qatari women walk through the entrance to a mosque
    Two Qatari women walk through the entrance to a mosque
    Two Qatari women walk through the entrance to a mosque
  • the Doha cityscape at sunset
    the Doha cityscape at sunset
    the Doha cityscape at sunset
  • Katara Cultural Village during sunset
    Katara Cultural Village during sunset
    Katara Cultural Village during sunset
  • National Museum of Qatar
    National Museum of Qatar
    National Museum of Qatar
  • Dhows, harbour and modern cityscape of Doha
    Dhows, harbour and modern cityscape of Doha
    Dhows, harbour and modern cityscape of Doha

Things to do in Qatar

From urban sophistication to the timeless allure of the desert, Qatar's 'wow moments' await you at every turn.

Just landed in Doha? Get your bearings in this magnificent seaside city by taking a walk around the Doha Corniche — a 7km promenade running the length of the city's crescent waterfront. Stretching round Doha Bay from the Sheraton Hotel to the Museum of Islamic Art, you’ll stroll past restaurants, parks, picnic spots and cultural attractions, all with spectacular views of the city's space-age skyline and traditional dhows.

The moment you cast eyes on Doha’s National Museum of Qatar you realise it's a stunning artwork itself. Its exterior of interlocking discs evokes "sand rose" crystal formations found naturally in the surrounding desert and prepares you for the intriguing cultural treasures and interactive displays housed within. The national museum offers you the full picture of how Qatar’s heritage is ushering in its future.

Likewise, a visit to the Museum of Islamic Art will captivate you for hours with its works of ancient and modern metalwork, ceramics, jewellery, woodwork, textiles, coins, glass and religious texts — drawn from a range of collections spanning centuries and many walks of life.  

Also known as the Qatar State Grand Mosque, this centre for Islamic prayer and instruction is the largest in Qatar. You may only visit during non-prayer times, and we recommend joining an organised tour to get more out of your experience. As with any place of prayer, a visit to a mosque has a set of customs and protocols — remember to dress respectfully and remove your shoes before you enter. Women are provided with scarves to cover their heads or a full-body abaya, if necessary

Discover the intriguing history of the Gulf region's pearl fishing industry that was at its height in the coastal town of Al Zubarah in the 18th and 19 centuries. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is 105km from Doha with easy boardwalk access around the well-preserved stone remains of fortifications, mosques, date presses, houses and a market.  

Built on an artificial island on the northern shore of Doha, the Pearl-Qatar is dubbed the "Arabian Riviera" for its Mediterranean-style marinas, luxurious shopping experiences and eclectic waterfront dining. Grab a morning coffee from any number of Pearl Qatar's chic cafes and wander the bridges, canals and colourful facades of its Venice-inspired Qanat Quartier. Then enjoy an ice cream or perhaps brunch by the water at a French bakery, Sushi bar or Mexican eatery.

What's so special about an old fire station? It's now a contemporary art space! The Fire Station Gallery showcases Qatar's exciting new artists and vibrant art scene, inviting you to not only look, but participate in art workshops and exhibition events.

A desert safari can be as thrilling or as tranquil as you'd like. For an adrenaline rush, scatter some sand and go 4x4 dune bashing with a guide or drive your own dune buggy across the steep and undulating terrain. For a more authentic desert experience, traverse the sand dunes on a camel and camp overnight in traditional Bedouin style by Qatar's incredible inland sea.

Looking for an immersive experience? Then a tour is the way to go.

Qatar travel tips

Dress code  

Respect local customs by dressing modestly, especially when visiting religious sites and public places.  

Ramadan etiquette  

During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, refrain from eating, drinking or smoking in public during daylight hours out of respect for those who are fasting.  

Local customs  

Learn a few Arabic phrases and familiarise yourself with local customs to enhance your travel experience and interact with locals more effectively. This includes such customs as good-natured haggling being quite normal in markets and, although men meeting for the first time greet with a hand-shake, physical touch is less common when men and women greet each other.

Flights to Qatar

Qatar food and drink

Traditional Qatari cuisine offers a hit of flavours, aromas and textures. And to really spice up the mix, the many international themes your taste buds will discover in the country's restaurants, street food and food markets reflect the vibrancy of Qatar's multicultural society.  

Blending influences from India, Iran, Lebanon and North Africa, Qatari cuisine is a sumptuous delight for vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers alike.  

Venture into the alleyways of Souq Waqif and you'll find Al Jasra. It boasts a delicious menu of some of the most authentic Qatari dishes you'll find in Doha — at very affordable prices.  

Fancy savouring Qatari flavours in an elegant setting? Jiwan in the National Museum of Qatar serves up refined, modern twists on traditional Qatari recipes with an emphasis on shared dishes.  

Coffee making is an art form in the Middle East. When you order a 'gahwa' from a coffee shop in Qatar you'll be served a small, piping hot cup of intrigue embellished with the aromas of saffron, cardamom, cloves and dried shaiba leaves. Sip it with a sweet side like dates.  

You'll enjoy another aromatic experience when you opt for a traditional karak tea, a drink with strong hints of cinnamon and ginger, softened with evaporated milk.  

Zengo Doha literally takes high-end dining to a whole new level. Once you’ve taken in the incredible views of Doha from the 61st floor of the Kempinski Residences and Suites, sit back and enjoy the restaurant’s Pan-Asian menu, which has everything from sushi to wok dishes and superb curries.  

As its name suggests, the Three-Sixty Restaurant on the 47th floor of The Torch Doha is Qatar's first and only revolving restaurant. The menu picks and chooses from international influences across the Mediterranean, Middle East and beyond.  

Delicious street food  

You'll not only find eating on the go in Doha to be an endlessly delicious experience, but you'll also love the convenience of being able to stop and source a snack from the many stands, trucks, carts and refurbished shipping containers dotted throughout the city while you explore.  

Enjoy local favourites like flat chapati breads stuffed with meats, cheeses or sweet fillings alongside  karak tea from vendors throughout the sprawling Souq Waqif market. Or delight in shawarma — boneless strips of chicken or beef wrapped in bread with pickles and sauces and served with fries.   

Get a real taste for the local cuisine by booking a tour.

Where to shop in Qatar?

Get ready for shopping sprees that span high-end malls to traditional Middle Eastern market bargain hunting.  

Find just about every international brand and designer label you're looking for at both the Pearl-Qatar, located on an artificial island on the northern shore off Doha, or Villaggio Mall in the in the Aspire Zone in the west end of the city.

For a truly authentic Qatari experience, visit Doha’s open-air Wholesale Market. Here, local restaurant owners and households alike haggle over fresh produce. There's even a pen where live farm animals are sold.

Getting lost in the twisting alleyways of this this large, vibrant market in central Doha is more an adventure than a mishap. Colourful stores sell everything from street food, spices and textiles to jewellery, handicrafts and souvenirs at every turn.  

Remember: haggling for a fair price for goods is considered part of the transaction here so be prepared for a polite exchange with vendors.  

Housed within this lively labyrinth is the popular Falcon Souq, where you can learn about the ancient local traditions of falconry and even get a photo with one of these majestic national birds of Qatar on your arm. 

Souq Waqif is just the tip of the bazaar iceberg! There's a market (souq) for just about everything when you visit Qatar. Specialty souqs include the Souq Al Dira (textile and tailor shops), Gold Souq (gold, silver and platinum jewellery) and Omani Souq (spices, ceramics and perfumes), to name a few.

Looking for a safe and simple way to bring your money when you travel? Our Travel Money Card has you covered!

When is the best time to travel to Qatar?

The best time to explore Qatar is during the cooler months of its winter (November to April), when temperatures mostly hover between 19°C to 23°C and are much milder than you would expect of a Middle East destination.   

Rainfall is low to non-existent through winter, allowing ample opportunity for you to sightsee, dine outdoors and enjoy events such as Qatar's annual International Food Festival, which usually kicks off around February. 

Don't miss out. Book your flight today!

How to get around Qatar

Exploring Doha is a breeze with bus and train networks connecting Hamad International Airport to various points in the city.  

With some of the fastest driverless trains in the world, the ultra-modern Doha Metro runs along three routes and every train offers you three types of carriage: Standard, Family and Goldclub. Standard and Family are the most affordable options. Note that Family carriages are reserved for families and females travelling by themselves and can't be used by lone males.  

Qatar's state-owned public transport system, Mowasalat, not only offers you a city-wide bus service, but also connects you to Qatar's surrounding municipalities at very affordable prices.  

The Mowasalat public transport service also runs the city's Karwa Taxi service and even a Limousine service that you can book by the hour.  

Uber is also widely available, as is the highly affordable private taxi company Careem.   

Car hire is available at Hamad International Airport or in Doha city itself. When hiring a car you'll need to show your passport and either an international driver's licence or a license issued from a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country.  

Let us help you organise your own wheels for exploring. Hire a car today.

What are the best beaches in Qatar?

The milder months of winter and spring are the best time for you to enjoy Qatar's beaches, where of course there's no shortage of sand!  

Located inside Katara Cultural Village on the north shore of Doha, make your way to Katara Beach if you seek on-water activities such as stand-up paddle boarding, water skiing, kayaking or boat rides. Ideal for families, Katara Beach is Doha's best and most accessible shore.

Beyond Sealine Beach and about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Doha, Qatar's Inland Sea (Khor al Adaid) is a UNESCO-recognised natural reserve where you can enjoy a spot of fishing and camping in addition to swimming. The area's towering sand dunes are also good for sand boarding and dune bashing tours.

Although it's about a 40-minute drive south from Doha, Sealine Beach is one of the most popular in Qatar. After you cool off with a dip in the Gulf, embrace the beach's desert setting with a camel ride or desert safari tour.  

Looking for sugary-white sand and turquoise waters akin to a tropical paradise? You'll find it at Fuwairut Beach, just two hours north of Doha near the northern tip of Qatar. A popular kitesurfing destination, Fuwairit Beach is an Insta-worthy gem. However, note that the beach is closed between April and July when protected hawksbill sea turtle eggs hatch from the sand.  


Qatar Frequently asked questions

Qatar was famously the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar is also considered one of the richest countries in the world, so it’s fair to say they know a thing or two about luxury.

This tiny Arabian Peninsula nation is almost surrounded by glistening turquoise water, so you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful beaches. Katara Beach is great for families, while Banana Island and Umm Bab Beach are great for those who don’t mind travelling for the perfect stretch of sand. Just be sure to remember your conservative swimming attire.

Qatar is blessed with superb weather all year round, meaning it is a great destination whatever the season. That said, Qatar is known for its scorching summers. If you’re looking for a poolside vacay, aim for November or March to May, when it cools down a little. Just a heads up if you’re planning a March holiday, be sure to check the dates for Ramadan.

Browse Doha's Souq Waqif for old-world treasures, check out the Museum of Islamic Art, catch a football game, sample the local cuisine, relax on the beach, head out to the desert for some dune bashing, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! 

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Many first-time travellers to Qatar are drawn to Doha, the capital city. It offers a mix of modern amenities and cultural attractions, making it a perfect destination for tourists.

When packing for your holiday to Qatar, be sure to bring lightweight, breathable and modest clothing for the hot and humid climate as well as comfortable shoes. As Qatar is a Muslim country, travellers should keep their shoulders, knees and stomach covered. On public beaches, both men and women should wear a T-shirt and board shorts when swimming at public beaches.

Qatar is a fascinating destination with a mix of modern cities and traditional desert landscapes. Where to go depends on your preferred activities, but as a general guide, some top places to visit include the bustling capital of Doha, the ancient ruins of Al Zubarah, and the stunning Inland Sea.

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The current requirements for travelling to Qatar

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