Qatar is home to an eclectic mix of museums, architecture and hidden historic sites. Throw in stretches of arid desert, a long Persian Gulf shoreline packed full of private, peaceful beaches, plus a little dune bashing, and you have the recipe for your own Qatar adventure.
From the spectacular skyscrapers and unique architecture of its capital city, Doha, to desert safaris, shopping excursions and Arabic culture revealing itself on street corners, here are some of the best things to do in Qatar.
Al Zubarah Archaeological Site
The Al Zubarah Archaeological Site is an essential stop if uncovering a little history is on your Qatar agenda. While the fort that forms the centrepiece of the archaeological site was built in 1938, the coastal town of Al Shamal dates back to the 1760s. It showcases Qatar’s rich history throughout the early pearl trade.
Located over 100 km north of Doha, you may need 1 hour of driving to reach this UNESCO World Heritage site. But the scenic route across the desert will transport you back to the old days. Finish your history lesson with a wander to the abandoned village of Al Jumail, just next to the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site.
Situated just 20 minutes from central Doha, Banana Island is a whole world away from the vibrancy of the city centre. After lounging on a luxury yacht ferry to take you across the turquoise waters, kick off your shoes and explore a world of private beach bliss. The private island is owned by the Anantara hotel chain, but day passes are available to non-guests for a fee.
From the delicious Arabic cuisine to the attentive staff, world-class service is the theme of this peaceful island. Choose from activities both on and underneath the water, such as climbing aboard a paddleboat, zipping around on jet skis or watching the kids play on the water slides.
Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
The Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum is one of the most truly unique museums in the whole of the Middle East. Here, you can admire a vast collection of artefacts from various times in history. Among its tangible treasures are over 600 vintage automobiles and exotic handwoven rugs from around the world.
An adult ticket will set you back around 45 riyals and you can expect to spend a little over 2 hours at this entertaining spot. Take the time to uncover Sheikh Faisal’s personal collection alongside private collections of calligraphy, steam-powered cars, carpets and traditional costumes.
Al Dhakira Mangroves
When the heat of the city becomes a little too much, make your way to Al Dhakira Mangroves, situated in the Mangrove Bay. The best way to explore this Arabic jungle is by hopping into a kayak.
As you paddle along the north-eastern coast of the country, make sure to take in all the local wildlife, from reef egrets to terns and herons. You might even catch a jumping fish or 2 if you’re lucky. Al Dhakira is also a popular fishing spot, but it’s best to go in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat.