Tucked away in a tiny corner of the region, beautiful Qatar is the second-smallest country around the Persian Gulf after Bahrain. What the country lacks in size, it makes up for in other ways. Regardless of your traveling style– adventurous, luxury, beach bum, sports enthusiast – Qatar is there to cater to your traveling needs. The nation effortlessly blends millennia of Middle Eastern culture with modern amenities and experiences, for a trip you won’t forget.
Qatar welcomes everyone in the world by relaxing visa requirements so that more visitors can enjoy its mouth-watering local and international cuisine, entertainment, and mind-blowing architecture.
Upon arrival, travelers are welcomed by one of the world’s best and most high-tech airports, which operate as a hub to many destinations around Europe, Africa, and Asia. If Hamad International Airport is your connecting stop, you should definitely get out of the airport and experience the uniqueness of this fabulous tiny nation.
In this post, we’ll tell you the top 10 reasons why you should visit Qatar this year or add it to your traveling bucket list.
1- Sunshine Anytime of the Year
If you want to enjoy some sunny weather during your holiday, you can always find it in Qatar. From the desert to the seashore, the sun’s always shining.
Spring is definitely the best time to visit. You’ll find temperatures in the mid 20°C (68°F).
Winters in Qatar are also usually very mild, with pleasant daytime temperatures in January (the coolest month) ranging between 12°C (54°F) and 21°C (70°F) with only a few days of rain.
Summer is the hottest season and the temperature can go as high as 42°C (107°F) during the day. But in this kind of weather, people usually chill out indoors in the daytime and go out in the afternoon till midnight.
2- Unexpectedly Great Beaches
With its position on a peninsula in the Persian Gulf, one of Qatar’s most alluring features is its coastline. You can try out all manner of water sports on Qatar’s fabulous beaches.
The best public beaches in Qatar
- Katara Beach: Being the only public beach located right in the heart of Doha. It’s part of the art and culture development for the local residents. You can water ski, parasail, go on speed boat rides, kneeboard, and even take a ride in a faux-Venetian gondola. Bouncy water castles are moored in the sea for the kids to play on, making Katara beach an amazing place for families to spend an afternoon.
- Al Wakrah Beach: only 25 minutes south of Doha, the public family beach of Al Wakrah is expecting you. Because of mangroves in this area, this beach is perfect for walking and spotting wildlife. The beach itself has barbecue facilities and playgrounds.
- Fuwairit Beach: Close to the northern tip of the Qatar peninsula, Fuwairit Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Qatar. A pristine coastline of white and pink sand dotted with shells against the turquoise sea is well worth the drive. This beach is closed during the breeding season of turtles between April and July.
Almost all hotels in Qatar have their own private beaches which have far more amenities than the public ones.
The Best Private Beaches in Qatar
- Four Seasons Beach: The lavish hotel is home to five pools and a private sand beach with a resort ambiance. Get your own cabana and pamper yourself while the attentive staff caters to your needs. Even those who are not staying at the hotel can enjoy the beach by purchasing a day pass and make full use of the facilities.
- Sealine Beach: Located at the southern end of the Qatari peninsula, Sealine Beach is an unmatched location. You can access the beach as a guest of the resort, which gives you access to the facilities including loungers, umbrellas, the pool, restaurants and other activities. After a day of relaxing by the beach, rent a dune buggy and drive through the desert. Or end your day with a walk along and admire the view of the sand dunes that meet the sea.
- Marsa Malaz Kempinski Beach: Owned by Marsa Malaz Kempinski Resort, this prestigious private beach is located away from the hubbub of city life, on its own secluded island at The Pearl. Sporting a lovely sandy beach with sun loungers and shades, gardens, a terrace, and an impressive range of amenities, this is a great location for relaxing.
3- Experience the Jaw-dropping Desert
The undulating sand dunes of Qatar’s desert proffer a stark beauty and are a popular destination for a recreational safari or the spectacular landscape. The dramatic dunes create a backdrop like no other.
The desert is an integral part of local culture and boasts a surprising array of activities. From relaxing tent side to dune-bashing or parasailing, the desert is anything but beige.
Tip: Thanks to the shifting light, the dunes look different depending on the time of your visit. For picture-perfect views, visit Qatar’s deserts at sunrise, sunset, and nighttime, when the skies are exceptionally clear.
The impressive ‘Inland Sea’ or Khor Al Adaid, a UNESCO recognized site, lies to the south of the city and is one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches into the desert. Surrounded by desert, the tidal embayment system is home to some native and protected flora and fauna, including ospreys, dugongs, and turtles.
You could try a camel ride over the soft dunes or embark on an exhilarating desert safari over the dunes to Khor Al Adaid, accessible only by 4×4 vehicles which you can book thru Falcon Tours.
You would scream in glee and your adrenaline would pump as you are driven through smooth sandy mountains and sand dunes. This is an amazing experience that you cannot trade for any other tourist activity when you are in Doha.
4- Your New Romantic Getaway
Qatar is an amazing getaway for couples. Whether you’re looking for the perfect wedding destination, the best honeymoon destination in the Middle East, or just a nearby romantic getaway to strengthen your relationship, Qatar is the right place.
This tiny nation has some amazing romantic hotels that can make you beautiful memories like Marsa Malaz Kempinski, a five-star luxury seaside and spa resort; ideally located on a secluded man-made island within the Pearl – Doha.
You could also go shopping in Qatar’s traditional souqs for some traditional Arabic, Iranian, and Indian goodies or the modern plazas for the luxury brands that you can barely find in one place.
The best thing about Qatar thou is that you can actually plan to visit Qatar for just a weekend, as Hamad International Airport has direct flights to most major cities on all continents.
5- Art is everywhere
With Qatar adopting a collaboration with various countries each year, the place has plenty to offer art lovers. Qatar is officially the world’s biggest art buyer and it has a surprising number of cultural gems including:
- National Museum of Qatar: Aiming to combine innovation with tradition. The museum, designed by Jean Nouvel is a series of interlocking discs to create the appearance of a desert rose.
- Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art: Established to showcase the Arab perspective on modern art, Mathaf Museum, offers exhibitions and programs that place Arab contemporary art within a regional and international context.
- Al-Riwaq: Based in MIA grounds this huge gallery space hosts regular exhibitions of both regional and international artists such as Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami, under the premise of ‘art to spark debate’.
6- A Melting Pot of Tradition and Modernity
Nowhere in the world are you likely to see such a high blend of cultures other than the Middle East where the east literally meets west and Qatar is no exception. From the architecture and museums to UNESCO World Heritage sites and marketplaces, Qatar celebrates its long history while looking forward to the future. Thanks to 85% of the population being expats from various parts of the world, the country offers a blend of tradition and modernity that’s difficult to find elsewhere in the world. The expat community in Qatar had a remarkable influence on the country’s art and dining scene.
7- Exciting Various Outdoor Activities
From desert safaris, film city excursions, road trips, scuba diving, flyboarding, and other water sports, there’s no shortage of adrenaline-pumping activities in Qatar.
- Safari: Join a dune bashing safari, which is basically a form of off-roading done on sand dunes in big 4X4 vehicles. It involves driving at variable speeds over sand dunes and maneuvering the car in a way that maintains balance while climbing the dune and descending it. Falcon Tours offers a private tour of Desert Safari Dune Bashing, Camel Ride, Sand Boarding, Inland Sea Visit for a reasonable price. They’ll pick you up and drop you off at your place of stay as well.
- Desert camping: A favorite Qatari pastime, visitors can enjoy daytime, evening, or overnight camping trips through one of several companies that operate Bedouin-style camps (with all the mod-cons) in the desert. The reserve is home to wildlife, marine life, and vegetation – lookout for turtles, flamingos, dugongs, Arabian oryx, camels, and more. Golden Adventures offers an amazing tour where you would spend a full Day doing Desert Safari with Buffet Dinner,Sand Boarding & Camel Riding.
- Kayaking: Al Thakira mangroves, located just north of the seaside city of Al Khor, present a large expanse of natural greenery. A great way to explore the mangroves is by kayak, available from several tour operators and specialized companies. Morning and afternoon trips are available and can be booked in advance.
- Scuba Diving: From above ground to underwater, there is plenty of exploring to be done. Dive sites are easily accessible and include wreck, deep water, and reef dives.
- Kite Surfing: Kitesurfing is a thrilling activity that combines surfing, wakeboarding, and windsurfing, affording thrills and views over the desert landscape. These activities are available through various operators in Doha and outside.
- Qatari Dhow Cruises (Mahmal): Qatar has a long history of seafaring, and today it is possible to experience that aboard a traditional wooden dhow boat. Full-day, half-day, and evening sightseeing excursions, including a meal, can be arranged through hotels or local tour operators.
8- Endless Shopping Choices
Do you believe in retail therapy? Then you’re in the right place. Regardless of your shopping style, Qatar will satisfy all your shopping needs. Whether you like to get lost in the charm of old bazaars with colorful things and spices smell in the air, or want to shop from the most luxurious brands in the world, shopping in Qatar will satisfy you.
More traditional shopping experiences can be found in souqs (marketplaces). Get an authentic taste of Qatar and find locally-made handicrafts, from cooking pots and pashmina shawls to fragrant spices and woven baskets. Visiting a souq is a bit like a treasure hunt, as you never know what you’ll find.
- The Souq Waqif is one of the main traditional markets in Doha and was a trading hub for ancient Bedouin. . Buy the traditional Qatari dresses, the embroidered ‘Buhnoq’ (a female’s headcover), dates, spices, perfumes, Iranian pots, handicrafts, jewelry, and artifacts.
- The Falcon Souq is one of the most famous attractions in Doha. This souq is dedicated to falconry, featuring trained birds & related equipment, such as hoods & jesses.
- The Omani Souq is for travelers on a budget in Qatar who still like to buy some sort of souvenir for themselves or their beloved ones.
If you want to eat, shop and stock up personal stuff under one roof, malls of Qatar will cover all of this for you.
All of the famous world-wide brands, amazing supervised playgrounds for children, spacious parking spaces, and spectacular food courts will make every shopping enthusiast’s day perfect. And after you are done shopping, they won’t let you get bored. A variety of leisure activities such as arcades, movies, and indoor games are also available. Doha City Festival Mall, Mall of Qatar, City Centre, The Mall, Villagio, Landmark, and Royal Plaza are some of the best shopping centers in Doha, Qatar.
9- Luxury Hotels for a great value
Just because Qatar offers luxury hotels, upscale shopping, and dining options, that doesn’t mean the destination as a whole is out of reach for those traveling on a budget – or even that those luxury offerings are out of reach for the budget traveler. In fact, you can find great-value luxury stays in Qatar or simply budget-friendly accommodations.
Best Budget-Friendly Hotel in Qatar
One of the best budget-friendly hotels in Doha, Qatar is Sapphire Park Inn. A deluxe hotel apartment conveniently located near Doha’s commercial district and only 15 minutes’ drive from Hamad International Airport. Sapphire Park-Inn offers the most spacious and elegantly designed fully furnished rooms that exudes luxurious comfort. Whether visiting for holiday or business, Sapphire Park-Inn remains your ultimate choice in Doha.
Most Valuable Luxury Hotel in Qatar
If you’d still like to experience Arabian hospitality and luxuries but don’t want it to cost an arm and a leg, W Doha is one of the best hotels to stay at in Qatar. This hotel is located in the prime West Bay area of Doha, Qatar’s city-centre. It reveals panoramic views of the Persian Gulf. It brings a new flavor to the region as the first lifestyle design hotel in Doha.
The Best Hotel in Qatar for Luxury-Travelers
If money is not an issue and you’d like to have all the luxury things like Qatar’s Royal family, Simaisma is your go-to place. Simaisma, a Murwab Resort, is an exquisite perfection and luxurious oasis for families, respecting local values and interests. Located 25 minutes away from Doha with 52 authentically designed villas, 3 main outlets, Spa/Fitness center, beach access, water sports activities and one of the largest pools in Qatar – Simaisma is a place where you can enjoy an exceptional service and privacy.
Best Desert Resort in Qatar
Wish to discover the serene desert landscape? Or yearning for overnight camping amidst the desert? Regency Sealine Camp has you covered. This luxury resort is in the heart of the beautiful desert in Qatar makes sure you have the best desert experience possible.
10- The dining scene is rapidly developing
Thanks to the country’s growing food scene that embraces flavors from all over the world, you can find any cuisine your heart desires in Qatar. International visitors and expats influence Qatar’s burgeoning dining scene the best way possible.
Similar to your choice of accommodation, you can easily find any type of restaurant, suitable for all budgets in Qatar. Most hotels have top-notch restaurants inside them, each famous for a different dish.
2022 FIFA World Cup
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is supposed to be held in Qatar which would be the first time for a country in the Middle East and the second time for the continent of Asia (after 2002 Japan/South Korea). Preparations for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar are almost done and despite the Covid-19 Pandemic still being the main issue in the world, the stadiums will be full of people in Qatar’s World Cup, according to DW.
It will be the smallest nation ever to host the global finals, for one, allowing visitors to navigate the country with ease – and even plan for watching multiple matches on the same day. Plus, it will be For the first time in the history of FIFA, that this international tournament will be held in Mid-November to Mid-December which is the winter time in Qatar, to help making the weather condition more tolerable for those who aren’t wired to the Arabian heat!
If you’re planning to buy tickets for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, you should book your hotel and flight for Qatar before it’s too late!
So, all eyes will be on Qatar in 2022 (sorry Britney!).