World Cup 2022: Top 10 things to do in Qatar
Traveling to Doha for the FIFA World Cup Qatar? Instead of just hanging around in your hotel waiting for the next game, make the most of your trip by exploring what this awesome city has to offer! Here we listed the TOP 10 things to do in Qatar between FIFA WC matches:
#1 The Inland Sea
To locals, known as Khor Al-Adaid - the Inland Sea is a tidal bay hidden within Qatar's desert land. It's an hour's drive from Doha in the southeast, close to the border with Saudi Arabia. Because no roads lead to the scenic waterside, you must be prepared to go off-road by renting a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get there.
Tour operators have suggested some activities in the past two decades, including dune bashing and sandboarding in this oasis. If you're confident - camel riding is also on the list.
In 2008 the Inland Sea was added to Unesco's World Heritage site for its remarkable landscape and undeveloped natural beauty. With nights often dry and skies clear, it's an ideal site for star gazing. Shortly after midnight is the best time to look up and capture the magnificence of the Milky Way.
#2 The Corniche
Although it seems boring seeing just a long stretch of pavement along the bay, the 7-kilometer stretch of Doha's promenade is the go-to spot to enjoy fine weather. With the Museum of Islamic Art at one end and the city's business district at the other, a stroll along the Corniche will give you a chance to absorb the iconic skyline of Doha.
Extra tip: in the middle of this stretch, make a quick stop at Al Mourjan restaurant, which serves Lebanese dishes. Super delicious!
#3 Wander around Msheireb Downtown
Located near the Souq Waqif, Msheireb Downtown is an old commercial district. Revamped with a new architectural concept, it comprises over 100 buildings.
You can find entertainment venues, lovely al fresco dining places, cafes, and the region's most giant open-air covered pedestrian square.
#4 Gaze At The Epic State Mosque Qatar
It's known as the Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Mosque (definitely not to sound extra 😃). This phenomenal structure is the largest mosque in Qatar, and it manages the clean lines of Qatari architecture with a touch of the traditional style. It looks magnificent, especially at night when 90 domes are lit with white light.
Up to 30,000 worshippers can fit inside anytime, gathering in the vast prayer hall. Although, if you want to see inside, you need to book a tour in advance. But just gazing at the exterior is enough, especially if you haven't seen anything like this.
#5 Pearl Qatar
Pearl Qatar is an artificial island that became the epitome of luxury. It's one of the top places to visit in Doha (especially if you want to wander around to see the wealthy ones living). The yachts, high-end stores, and extraordinary villas in gated communities will definitely give you some interesting insights into how the upper-class lives (you know, the privileged ones).
Even though it's more on the expensive side, there are a whole variety of fine dining spots along the waterfront promenades. If you want a whole experience of being a part of the upper-class community - stay at The Pearl cheaper.
#6 The Museum of Islamic Art
This museum is considered to be the most important cultural landmark in Qatar. Inside its walls, it keeps some of the oldest and most treasured artifacts from all over the Middle East.
Collections have come from Turkey, Iran, Egypt, and all other places linked to Islamic history. You can spend a few hours just wandering around the museum, entering and exploring various exhibitions.
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday from 9 AM – 7 PM, except Saturday from 1:30 PM – 7 PM
Price: 50 QR (~$14)
#7 Katara Cultural Village
Also known as the Valley of Cultures, the Katara Village is the place for all thespians, art, and architecture enthusiasts. It's supposed to imitate Qatari culture via an ample space that houses a whole host of activities. You'll find an opera house, an amphitheater, art galleries, heritage centers, various academic facilities, cafes, green areas, and museums.
If you wish to enjoy the epitome of traditional Qatari architecture to the fullest, the best way to do so is via concerts, exhibitions, and just any kind of event happening.
#8 Head to the Top of the Aspire Tower
Otherwise known as The Torch Doha is a 300-meter tall skyscraper hotel and is best known for being the symbol of the 15th Asian Games hosted by Qatar in 2006.
It's the tallest structure and building in the country and is undoubtedly worth a visit for numerous reasons.
The Aspire Tower is an absolute architectural gem with modern interiors, a panoramic swimming pool on the 19th floor, and an incredible 360° rotating restaurant at the very top to admire the views of Doha.
#9 Villaggio Mall
Shopping in Doha can be entertaining too. The Villaggio Mall stands out as something unique when compared to the other (regular) shopping malls across the country. The mall is designed with creative ambience making you feel as if you're somewhere in Venice.
It's so big that it will take you a few hours to explore all of the shops ranging from normal retails to high-end luxury products.
The Villaggio Mall is perfect for families as you can take your kids ice skating, bowling and even roller-coaster.
Opening hours: Monday (9 AM – 12 AM), Tuesday – Wednesday (9 AM – 10 PM), Thursday and Saturday (9 AM – 11 PM), Friday (9 AM – 11 AM, 12.30 PM – 11 PM)
#10 FIFA Museum
Well you're probably in Qatar because of World Cup, so it would be a fatal disaster to miss on a major FIFA World Cup 2022 exhibition. It's hosted by FIFA Museum and Hyundai which teamed up to celebrate global football heritage and culture.
The exhibition “Goals Create History” will be a cultural highlight at the FIFA Fan Festival. The main idea is to celebrate football through the passion and devotion of the fans and tell its history through the players who have left an indelible mark in the past with goals being the highest current that shapes the future.
Extra tip: you can visit this exhibition anytime from November 19th to December 18th for free!