During the first week of 2019, our community has been committed to a religious fast and so I wasn’t able to blog more about food but instead, we introduced a series dedicated to providing more information to our readers about Qatar.
Realizing that we haven’t had more blogs about what to explore in this oil-rich nation other than food and hotels, we thought of starting the year 2019 presenting our 19 BEST lists dedicated for this purpose.
First up, here’s a list of 19 tourists spots that may be helpful especially to those who are planning to visit the country. It was very surprising to know, after posting this list on our Instagram account, that many expats have not been to these places yet. And I know that there are more exciting places to explore in Qatar, let’s initially concentrate on our top 19 choices for this series.
The 19 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN QATAR (in no particular order), are as follows:
1. Hamad International Airport* @hiaqatar
2. Museum of Islamic Arts* @miaqatar
3. Souq Waqif* @tivolisouqwaqif
4. Musheireb Museums* @msheirebmuseums
6. Qatar State Grand Mosque
7. Education City* @qatarfoundation
8. Sheik Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
9. Shahaniya Camel Race Tracks
10. Doha Fire Station @dohafirestation
11. Katara Cultural Village @kataraqatar
12. The Pearl Qatar* @thepearlqatar
13. Lusail City @lusailcityofficial
14. Al Khor Fishing Village
15. Baladna Park* @baladnapark
16. Al Zubarah Archaeological Site*
17. Zekreet and Film City
18. Mesaieed Sand Dunes
19. Souq Al Wakra and Wakra Fishing Village
* marks to indicate that these places may require more time to explore.
Hamad International Airport
Many may be surprised to see HIA on top of our list. But being one of the newest and best airports in the world, there is no denying that Hamad International Airport, or any airport for that matter, is a window to a country. One could already create a first impression simply based on the feel, architecture, size, and the amenities inside the airports.
READ MORE HERE: https://dohahamadairport.com/relax/art-exhibitions
Museum of Islamic Arts
This iconic museum is located along the scenic Corniche and the imposing architecture both outside and inside is definitely every photographer’s delight. Simply put, the MIA invites people to learn about the full scope of Islamic art, across three continents and over 1400 years.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.qm.org.qa/en/project/museum-islamic-art-mia
It is one of the go-to places for that unique and authentic Qatari experience and is also one of the long-standing areas in Doha that retains that old Souq charm. The Souq Waqif (Arabic term for “market”) is known for selling traditional garments, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs and is currently home to a mix of traditional and modern cafes and restaurants. While it dates back at least a hundred years, it was renovated in 2006 to conserve its traditional Qatari architectural style.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.visitqatar.qa/discover/tourist-hotspots/souq-waqif.html
Located close to the Souq Waqif is a new development called Musheireb Downtown Doha. In the midst of this master-planned development project is a tribute to four historic heritage houses which form an important part of Qatar’s national history – from depicting the old Qatari lifestyle until the oil exploration in early 1900.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.msheireb.com/msheireb-downtown-doha/msheireb-museums/about-msheireb-museums/
This is probably the face of modern Qatar with its popular Westbay skyline and a long stretch of landscaped waterfront promenade extending for seven kilometers along Doha Bay. This also serves as an open display of Qatar’s proud heritage with a large number of Dhow boats docked along its shoreline that’s used by fishermen for pearl hunting and fishing.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.visitqatar.qa/discover/tourist-hotspots/doha-corniche.html
Qatar State Grand Mosque
Qatar is an Islamic country with beautiful mosques located all over the country. The State Mosque Qatar renamed Imam Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahab Mosque, is the largest in Qatar where you can also see the beauty of city skyline. Aside from Fanar Cultural Center near Souq Waqif, this is one of the religious places where group tours are allowed.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.marhaba.qa/the-state-mosque/
With Qatar’s strong commitment to learning and education as part of its long term vision, Education City has become home to prestigious universities and schools like Northwestern University, HEC Paris, University College London, Carnegie Mellon University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Weill Cornell Medical College, Texas A&M University, Georgetown University, among others. Some of the other tourist spots in the area include the Qatar National Library, Education City Mosque, Torba Market (ocassion schedule), Mathaf Museum, Oxygen Park, and Al Shaqab.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.qf.org.qa/content/the-foundation/issue-87/destination-education-city
Sheik Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
This museum showcases an extensive personal collection of Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim bin Faisal Al-Thani, one of Qatar’s most successful businessmen who has played a significant role in the development of the business sector in Qatar. The museum is located in Al Shahaniya area (west of Doha), which a few kilometers away from the Education City.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.visitqatar.qa/discover/cultural-treasures/museum-galleries-cultural/sheikh-faisal-bin-qassim-al-thani-museum.html
Shahaniya Camel Race Tracks
Aside from their passion for horses and falcons, one of the places that showcase the centuries-old Arab sport is the Shahaniya Camel Race Tracks. Our company had the privilege of supervising the renovation of this multi-million dollar camel race track project where I was personally assigned as Administrative Officer for two years. I was amazed at how this sport was very much anticipated and highly popular not only among locals but also from other neighboring countries with cars extending up to the entire parking lot as prizes.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/qatar/entertainment/al-shahaniya-camel-race-track/a/poi-ent/1608960/361124
Doha Fire Station
This used to be the Civil Defence Building and the Fire Brigade headquarter until 2012. At present, it is used as a museum for contemporary arts featuring artists from different genres.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.qm.org.qa/en/fire-station-artist-residence
Katara Cultural Village
It is a waterfront area with an amphitheater, museum & convention center, plus shops, eateries & a beach which opened in October 2010. It is now a popular venue for cultural events, exhibitions and home to several local organizations.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.visitqatar.qa/discover/tourist-hotspots/katara-cultural-village.html
The Pearl Qatar
A man-made island and a bustling community with very strong Mediterranean inspiration in its designs and architecture. A world on its own and one of the most preferred addresses of expat families in Qatar.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.visitqatar.qa/discover/tourist-hotspots/the-pearl-qatar.html
One of Qatar’s most ambitious project in line with the country’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022. A new city arising from dust and will become the newest hub for business, entertainment, and leisure North of Doha Westbay area, aptly dubbed as
READ MORE HERE: www.qataridiar.com/English/OurProjects/Pages/Lusail-City.aspx
Al Khor Fishing Village
Al Khor is a thriving coastal city in northern part of Qatar and is a popular fishing village with a record number of Dhows docked its harbor. White mangrove forests in Qatar can be found in greatest abundance in this area.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.visitqatar.qa/discover/natural-wonders/al-thakira-mangroves.html
Also located in Al Khor is Qatar’s leading supplier of food and dairy products – Baladna Farm. What started as a goat and sheep farm eventually became a park where you can experience life on a real working farm.
READ MORE HERE: www.qatar-tribune.com/news-details/id/75711
Al Zubarah Archaeological Site
Visit the UNESCO-listed Al Zubarra archeological site and have the chance to see a historic Qatari military fortress built under the oversight of Sheikh Abdullah bin Qassim Al Thani in 1938.
READ MORE HERE: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1402
Zekreet and Film City
Zekreet peninsula is an inhabited area in the Eastern part of Qatar. Zekreet is famous for many rock formations including the “umbrella rocks” and “needle eye”, the artificial Film City and Mystery village, plus Richard Serra’s new sculpture – ‘East West / West East’.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.offbeatqatar.com/place/film-city-zekreet-brouq-peninsula/
Mesaieed Sand Dunes
One of Qatar’s natural beauty lies in its golden sand dunes located the Southern part of Doha. It is a very popular attraction for many visitors who are up for dune bashing adventures, extreme rides. camel rides, and even desert camping.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.offbeatqatar.com/place/singing-sand-dunes/
Souq Al Wakra and Wakra Fishing Village
And just before you head back to Doha or straight to the airport, there’s another fishing village that’s also popular for sunrise shoots among photographers. There’s also the Souq Wakrah which is the counterpart of Souq Waqif which is a maze-like market but her main advantage is it’s beachfront that was made perfect by different restaurants and cafe along its shoreline.
READ MORE HERE: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/qatar/attractions/souq-al-wakrah/a/poi-sig/1593249/361124
QUESTION: Which destination is your favorite or do you have other places in mind that are not on this list? Please comment your answer below.
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Up next: 19 BEST PLACES TO STAY IN QATAR (below QR500)