The best attractions in Doha, or how to visit Doha in one day (but better in two). You’ll find a map of the best locations, information on how to get there, ticket prices, opening hours, personal recommendations for your visit, how much time to spend, and lots of other useful information to help you plan your perfect trip to Doha.
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Table of Contents
Attractions in Doha: general information
Below are links to useful articles that will help you learn more about Doha:
- Overview of Qatar’s capital city: where to stay, the best neighborhoods in Doha, where to eat, how to get from the airport, how to get around the city
- List of the best hotels in Qatar
- How much does it cost to vacation in Qatar, or the cost of your trip. You will learn about the expenses that await you in the richest country in the world.
How much time do you need in Doha:Ideally, two days to see all the interesting places in Doha. If you want to see all the attractions in Qatar, having a rental car at hand, you need a minimum of four days for the whole country. But today, there are many transit tourists in Doha who come here for less than a day, and they also manage to see some of the cool attractions in Doha.
What to visit in Doha: map
The map is fully dynamic, and you can zoom in.
- Red markers – the best attractions outside of Doha. Follow the link for a full review of each one.
- Blue markers – the best attractions in Doha, with information about each one in this article.
- Black markers – the attractions that bloggers outside of Doha write about and call “must-see,” but they are not worth your attention during a short transit through Doha. However, there will be a separate section about them in this article.
7 – Richard Serra sculpture
Perhaps, this is the attraction in Doha that started it all. It was the beginning of a big program to attract tourism to Qatar. This sculpture is by the famous (but I didn’t know about him before) American sculptor Richard Serra, and it’s called 7.
It was installed at the end of 2011 and presented together with the opening of the MIA Park and the Museum of Islamic Art. It is located on a beautiful promenade with a view of the entire bay and the new Doha – the West Bay area. The sculpture consists of seven plates, 24 meters high. They form a seven-sided shape, and anyone can enter inside.
- Coordinates: 25.29817596556069, 51.53971826206805
- This is one of the few places that is not located within walking distance from the metro; the nearest station is Souq Waqif, about 1.5 kilometers away. However, it will only take you 5-10 minutes to get to the attraction itself.
- The sculpture is open 24/7 and is completely free of charge, just like the MIA park.
- The location of the sculpture is especially interesting, as it is situated in a beautiful spot. I recommend coming here at sunset to enjoy the stunning view of Doha from the observation deck right by the sculpture.
- Just in case you were wondering why it’s called the MIA park, it stands for the Museum of Islamic Art park, which is a park that is part of the Museum of Islamic Art. The reason why the sculpture “7” is located here is because the number 7 holds great importance and sacred meaning in Islam.
- Pro tip: The MIA park is quite large, with a distance of about one kilometer from the museum parking lot to the “7” sculpture. However, there are electric buses running on all paths, and they are completely free of charge, so you don’t need to leave any tips for the driver, just flag them down. They will take you to any point within the park, but the main route is from the museum parking lot to the “7” sculpture.
Author’s rating: 7 out of 10.The attraction itself is not particularly attractive, but as I mentioned earlier, the beautiful park surrounding it is a must-visit. There are plenty of places to walk and eat here, and I gave it 7 points mainly for the stunning observation deck overlooking the city and the Museum of Islamic Art, which is one of the main museums in Doha. The sunset views here are truly breathtaking.
Museum of Islamic Art
As the name suggests, this is one of the country’s three main and largest museums, located in the MIA park in the historic part of Doha. This area of the capital city is home to all the main attractions of Doha, including its coolest museums. The West Bay district or new Doha is in the background.
- Coordinates: 25.295790010572567, 51.53946409235152
- Souq Waqif metro station (yellow line)
- Opening hours: Daily from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, Friday from 1:30 pm
- Ticket price: 100 QAR (~30$)
- Time to allocate: at least 4 hours, as the museum is huge.
Author rating: 6 out of 10I won’t go into detail about this museum and its exhibits, as there is a large article about it in this guide, and the link will be in the next section. I will say this: the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha is very cool and really ranks in the top 3 best museums, but it firmly holds third place. The other two museums are much cooler. I recommend coming here only after visiting the Qatar National Museum and the FBQ Museum, if you have time, as each of them will take up at least half a day.
Qatar National Museum
The country’s main museum and the best in many categories. Modern and technologically advanced, it presents the entire history of the country starting from 4000 BC. This is not a boring museum with ancient stones and sticks; it is a mega-modern and interactive museum where you won’t have enough time even with four hours.
- Coordinates: 25.288068635281192, 51.54940003338593
- National Museum metro station (Yellow Line)
- Opening hours: from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm daily, and from 1:30 pm on Fridays.
- Ticket price: 100 QAR (~30$)
- Plan to spend 4-5 hours at the museum, no less.
- For a detailed review of the three best museums in the country, their exhibitions, and where it’s best for a tourist to go, check out the article: Museums in Qatar.
Author rating: 9 out of 10A very cool museum that I recommend to absolutely everyone. You won’t be bored for sure, but you need to go there with half a day in reserve. For transit tourists who are in Doha for just one day, the National Museum is not the most rational use of time. I recommend coming here to those who have seen all the main attractions in Doha and have another 4 hours to spare.
The Corniche Promenade
Corniche (with the emphasis on “i”) is an Arabic word that means a street along the sea. Many cities in the East have their own Corniche promenade, and Doha is no exception. This is the main walking and pedestrian promenade of the city.
It runs through the entire bay on which Doha is located. In different sources, the length of the Corniche promenade ranges from 7 to 10 km. In reality, I think it is now even more than 11 km. The Corniche was built for about 6 years and was regularly extended and lengthened. If in 2018 it was only on part of the bay, today you can walk along the promenade from the “7” sculpture in the MIA park to the new West Bay area and the B12 beach, which is even more than 10 km.
- Coordinates of the beginning of the Corniche promenade in the historic part of Doha: 25.28706314862431, 51.55161752678694
- Coordinates of the end in the West Bay area: 25.316967271772743, 51.53332295697709
- Throughout the promenade, there are many interesting locations and art objects, such as the Maritime Museum, the Pearl, and the World Cup 2022 square. The promenade passes by the Emir’s Palace.
- To walk the entire promenade, it takes about 2-3 hours.
- And of course, it’s free.
- One downside is that there is very little shade, so when it’s +45 during the summer, there isn’t a single person on the promenade. It’s all about the season and the weather in Doha.
- Most of the Corniche promenade is nothing special, just a classic promenade along the sea. For tourists, and even for locals, the most popular sections are at the beginning and end of the promenade, where it’s the most crowded.
Author’s rating: 7 out of 10.It doesn’t make sense to walk the entire promenade from beginning to end, as you can easily travel this route by metro. But you should definitely go out for a walk on the promenade. I like the section near the Museum of Islamic Art and the Maritime Museum. It’s lively and, most importantly, it has a beautiful view of the new Doha West Bay area. And it’s better to walk on the Corniche in the evening because it’s scorching hot during the day.
Souq Waqif Market
One of the main attractions of Doha and all of Qatar. This is not just a market, this is the heart of Old Doha. You will see how Doha looked and how it was built 100 years ago. Right here is the center of all Arab cuisine, and on the Souq Waqif market, there are a huge number of cafes serving local cuisine. And of course, souvenirs should only be bought here, as there is no better selection anywhere in Qatar.
The market is operational, serving both locals and tourists alike. It is not like the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, which is only designed for tourists. At Souq Waqif, you can buy anything, from buckets and brooms to falcons and camels. Both local sheikhs, migrants from Pakistan, and tourists shop here.
- The market is large, here are the approximate coordinates of the center:: 25.288188536362906, 51.53316060063198
- Souq Waqif Metro Station (yellow line)
- The word “Souq” in Arabic translates to “market” or “bazaar.” So, technically speaking, the market is simply called “Waqif.”
- The market is open daily from 10 am to 11 pm, with a break on Fridays from 2 pm. But these are just the operating hours of the stalls and vendors. You can stroll around this masterpiece of Arab architecture round the clock and for free.
- Plan to spend several hours here. You can take a leisurely walk, have a bite to eat, and buy souvenirs to take back home.
Author’s rating: 10 out of 10This is the main attraction in Doha. Even if you are transiting through Qatar, and have only 1-2 hours in Doha, go here first. All life and Arab color is right here. Also, all tours of Doha include the Souq Waqif market in their itinerary.
The Maritime Museum
It’s hard to call it a museum, rather it’s a free open-air harbor of traditional Arab boats that were used for pearl fishing in the Persian Gulf 100 years ago.
Located right on the Corniche waterfront, near the MIA Park and the Museum of Islamic Art. It is easy to walk here.
- Coordinates: 25.294320194706266, 51.53383857392102
- The location is open 24/7 and completely free. There are around 200 boats here. Some of them are in excellent condition and are used to take tourists around the bay, while the majority, as shown in the photo above, are not in use.
- Time to allocate: 30 minutes to walk around the harbor.
Author’s rating: 7 out of 10.On one hand, this place doesn’t evoke a lot of excitement, but on the other hand, there are many interesting traditional Arab boats, and you can walk just a meter away from them and examine every detail. There are some very interesting specimens, not just old junk 🙂
The Spiral Mosque
Qatar is an Islamic country, and almost all of the country’s population are Muslims. There are not just a lot, but many mosques in Doha. Every day, around 5 am, the muezzins will wake you up with the call to the pre-dawn prayer from their minarets. The main, most unusual, and interesting mosque for tourists is located in the center of Doha and is called Al Fanar. Locals call it the Spiral Mosque, and you can understand why from the photo below.
- Coordinates: 25.288752838564136, 51.53585142981709
- Located across the road from the Souq Waqif market, same metro station.
- The mosque is only of interest to tourists from the outside, as an unusual architectural structure. Non-Muslims are not allowed inside. No one asks about your religion at the entrance, and in case of violation of the ban, no one will throw stones at you in the square, but you need to respect the culture and traditions of the country you are visiting.
- Allow 5-10 minutes to get to know the mosque from the outside, this is more than enough.
Author’s rating: 6 out of 10.The mosque’s architecture is very unusual and original. If you are at the market, be sure to walk past and see it with your own eyes. This is more than enough. In the evening, the mosque is beautifully illuminated.
One of the first urban sculptures in Doha, it was erected around the same time as the “7” sculpture by Richard Serra. It is a fountain in the form of an open pearl shell, like in The Little Mermaid cartoons, with a pearl inside. It is located on the Corniche promenade right at the entrance to the Maritime Museum.
Why did I pay attention to this object? This is one of Qatar’s symbols. Before oil was discovered in Qatar, all life, economy, and politics were built around the pearl trade in the Persian Gulf. This country was one of the largest pearl producers in the world.
- Coordinates: 25.291442169392276, 51.533643509489394
- Open 24/7 and free
- Five minutes is more than enough. A great view against the West Bay area and the bay.
Author’s rating: 5 out of 10.One of the dozens of ordinary sights. There are plenty of them in any tourist city. I specifically noticed this one because it is a symbol of Qatar and an important stage in the country’s history. There is no need to come here deliberately, but you won’t pass by during a walk along the Corniche and the Maritime Museum.
Camel pen in Doha
In the center of Old Doha, near the Emir’s Palace, Souq Waqif, and the Corniche, there is a place where camels are kept. It’s not a zoo or a tourist attraction, but a real camel stable, like a horse stable, only with camels instead of horses.
A local once told me that these are the Emir’s camels, but I don’t believe him. They don’t look like the Emir of Qatar’s camels :). You can approach them up close. No need to feed them, they can spit, so be careful. Kids will definitely enjoy it.
- Coordinates: 25.289780411114045, 51.531851319949865
- Open 24/7 and free. But there’s nothing to do here at night, as the camels are sleeping.
- Plan for about 20 minutes for this location.
Author’s rating: 6 out of 10.On the one hand, nothing special, haven’t we all seen camels before? On the other hand, you are in Qatar, surrounded by Arabic architecture and atmosphere, and here, in the midst of all this, are real camels, not in a zoo or a tourist attraction, but in a pen where camels live. In this part of Doha, there are many interesting places within walking distance, so plan your route wisely, and each location will complement each other, creating a picture of the real Doha in your mind.
The Emir of Qatar’s Palace
The Emir is the person who governs Qatar and has unlimited power in the country, and is not subject to its laws. The Emir of Qatar is subject only to Sharia law. By the way, Qatar is an absolute monarchy today. In the center of the historic part of Doha, near the Corniche, is the Emir’s Palace, where he actually lives.
- Coordinates: 25.291433778378316, 51.52694928998237
- Visible from the Corniche, you can see the palace while walking along it, but there is no point in getting closer as you won’t be allowed inside.
- By the way, the palace of the Emir, one of the richest people, is quite modest, without any pomp.
- Actually, the Emir’s Palace is not as interesting to tourists as the history of the Al Thani family, who have been ruling Qatar since its independence in 1878 to this day.
- There’s a very interesting article about Qatar’s rulers, about Sheikha Moza, and how every second Emir of Qatar gained power through a palace coup.
West Bay Area
Historical landmarks in Doha’s old town have come to an end, and we’re moving on to the new Doha. This is the new modern area of Doha made of glass and concrete. This is the district with skyscrapers that was in the background of most of the above photos.
There are no historical landmarks here, but there is the Corniche waterfront, which already has beaches where tourists can swim. And most importantly, it’s Qatar’s shopping center and most of the country’s best hotels are also located here.
- Coordinates of the West Bay: 25.32479316860181, 51.530176901538375. Orient yourself to the DECC metro station and the largest mall in Doha, the City Center Doha mall.
- You can just walk around the skyscrapers or go shopping here. But it’s important to distinguish between the market at Souq Waqif, where you can find carpets, spices, hookahs, magnets, Aladdin lamps, fragrances, Arabic ceramics, and Eastern scarves. And in the West Bay area, you can find Prado, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and so on. Do you see the difference between such shopping and the Arab bazaar?
- Everything about stores, shopping, and tax-free shopping in Qatar. Many nuances and features.
- If you’re not an avid shopper who can walk around the stores for 24 hours, two hours will be enough to walk around the area and visit the City Center Doha mall. By the way, this is where the largest grocery hypermarket is located, and you can buy a local SIM card.
Author’s rating: 8 out of 10A cool modern infrastructure metropolis. Hotels in skyscrapers, lots of restaurants. If Old Doha and the Souq Waqif area is the history of Doha, then West Bay is its future. I recommend everyone to come here for a walk, and many will also stay here.
In short, beaches in Qatar can be challenging, especially for package tourists. Private hotel beaches are inaccessible to independent travelers, and there are no public beaches in Old Doha. To put it into perspective, the 11-kilometer Corniche that runs through the center of Doha does not have a single beach. Bikinis are also not allowed on public beaches in Qatar.
For independent travelers, the only options for sunbathing and swimming are at Beach Clubs. There are around 10 of them in Doha today. You pay for entry (which is expensive in Qatar), and you get a clean, equipped beach with loungers and umbrellas.
One of the most popular Beach Clubs in central Doha is located in the West Bay area and is called B12. Here’s what you need to know about it:
- B12 coordinates: 25.332012551177144, 51.53424385423047
- Operates during daylight hours.
- Official website (prices and what’s included can always be found there): https://visitqatar.com/intl-en/things-to-do/beach-holiday/B12-beach-club-doha
- A little pick-me-up: entry per person for the entire day costs 200QAR (almost $60). You won’t get lobsters and black caviar for that price. It includes a bottle of water, a towel, and a sun lounger. All drinks and food at the bar are available for an additional fee. For example, a bottle of Coke costs around $6-7 here. Beach vacations in Doha are not for the budget-conscious 🙂
- Important links on this topic:
- What is the sea like in Doha, water temperature by month, when is the swimming season, and more
- Everything about beach holidays in Qatar, about the ban on swimsuits, a map of Beach Clubs, about free beaches outside Doha
Author’s rating:Here’s the thing. You can see that Beach Clubs are not cheap. Tourists who arrive in Qatar on tour packages stay at hotels with their private beaches and don’t even need such Beach Clubs. And most other tourists, the majority of whom spend 1 to 5 days in Qatar, are either flying to or from a vacation, and they also don’t need a beach. It’s much more interesting for them to explore the city and country, which were closed to tourism not so long ago.
Katara Cultural Village
Katara in the name of the village does not refer to the country; it is just the name. If you speak correctly, this location is called Katara Cultural Village. I think the name speaks for itself.
It’s a large space with Arab-style architecture, areas for relaxation, museums, mosques, cultural events, and various festivals. In the village, you will find one of the largest beach clubs, which is also called the Katara Beach Club. It is also paid, like all beach clubs, but there are free beaches nearby that you can visit.
- Coordinates: 25.36056043976382, 51.52618495575574
- Red line metro station – Katara
- Plan to spend 2 hours visiting the cultural village (excluding the beach).
- There are many interesting installations here.
- Themed events are often held, so it would be great if you happen to come across one. There is an open-air amphitheater where artists perform.
- Access to Katara Cultural Village is free and open 24/7.
- There are also free electric buses that run here, like at the MIA Park that I mentioned earlier in this review.
Author’s rating: 8 out of 10Great place for a stroll and to get acquainted with the country’s culture. On weekends, there is a lot of street food and local fast food vendors. If you come across a themed event or an artist performance, it will be very cool. Usually, all such events are free.
A relatively new attraction in Doha, which only opened at the end of 2022. The building was under construction for almost 5 years. Initially, they planned to open two 5-star hotels of well-known global chains. Only The Raffles is currently operating, and Fairmont will open soon.
It is a luxurious 40-story hotel in the shape of two Arabic swords. It is located between the artificial island of The Pearl and the new district of Doha, Lusail. Unfortunately, this hotel is not visible from the Corniche waterfront, and you need to go north of the capital to get there.
And, of course, it is the new symbol of the city, which is now on every photo. It is the hotel’s calling card. A new promenade for strolls has been opened near the hotel. And on the top floors, you will find cool restaurants with a view of the entire Doha. Dinner there will cost from $100 per person.
- Coordinates: 25.389470713084343, 51.53172273261337
- The metro doesn’t go here, you’ll need to take a taxi from central Doha for $7-10 with a transfer.
- Originally, this building was called Doha Iconic, then it was quietly renamed Katara Tower, and then it began to be called by the name of the Raffles hotel. Ultimately, the name “Horns” settled among the population. Men, especially those who left their wives at home and came alone to Qatar, like to take selfies against the backdrop of this building.
Author’s rating: 6 out of 10.The building itself is really cool and will definitely become a symbol of the city. But is it worth coming here from the center just for one selfie, considering that it’s not very convenient to get here? That’s up to you to decide. If you only have one day in Doha, it’s not worth it. But if you’re here for more than a day and your budget allows it, you should definitely book a room here for a night. You won’t regret it.
This is a luxury hotel with panoramic rooms, restaurants, an outdoor pool, but there’s no private beach. But perhaps it’s not necessary here. The room rate starts at $1000 per night, and you have to look for deals to get that price.
Attractions in Doha that you can skip
This is a bit harshly written, of course, you can visit them if you have a lot of time in Doha, if you’ve seen everything and have a clear plan of what to see there. Let me explain a little more about what I mean.
If you read a lot of articles online, they all unanimously claim that these are the best attractions in Doha that are a must-visit:
- The Aspire Tower
- The Pearl artificial island
- And the new mega-modern district of Doha, the city within a city of Lusail.
The Aspire Tower is an attraction from the early 2000s when Doha wasn’t the Doha we know today. When the West Bay area was just beginning to be built.
- The Aspire Tower is an attraction from the early 2000s when Doha wasn’t the Doha we know today. When the West Bay area was just beginning to be built.
The Aspire Tower was built for the Asian Games in 2006 next to the sports complex on the outskirts of Doha. It was on this tower that the Olympic flame burned throughout the games, and in 2006, it was the tallest building in Qatar and one of the top structures in the world.
And since then, Doha and Qatar have changed a lot, but bloggers on the internet still copy each other about how this is one of the best attractions in Doha. Here are a few facts, you decide:
- The Aspire Tower is located on the outskirts of the city, and there is nothing else for tourists to do there. On the plus side, however, one of the country’s largest shopping malls and the metro are located here. Overall, it is convenient and fast to get there.
- If in 2006 it was one of the tallest buildings on the planet, then at the time of writing this article, it is the 96th, maybe even 97th, tallest building in Asia, not even in the world.
- And there’s not much to do here, just come by metro to see another skyscraper, one in a field, and back. If you have time, come, if not, you won’t lose anything if you skip it.
- But if you came, go for a walk in the park and shopping mall, they are worth seeing.
The new hotel districts of Doha, in the north, were created to relieve the center of Doha. They are built on the principle of a city within a city. So that people who live there can have everything at their fingertips and not have to leave the area. These areas look great only from a height in photos on the internet. Look at the photos and decide where you will walk and what to see there. There are no attractions here.
- The Pearl artificial island is more for package holiday tourists. There are many private beaches at hotels. It’s great to relax here, but even if you come here for 1 day to walk, you won’t even get to the beach, it’s all private property.
- Lusail is a real city within a city. A modern northern district of Doha. Everything is fine here, and again, living here is excellent, and the metro to Lusail has almost been launched. But what is there to do? Skyscrapers, offices, and a stadium. During the day, there are not even people here.
Useful to know:If you are in Qatar for at least a week, and within the first 3 days you have already seen the entire center, then you can safely come here for a walk. These are excellent locations for a tourist, but you need to come here on a residual basis, and not run to see the Aspire Tower instead of the historical part of Doha, as everyone advises. And the best thing to do on The Pearl Island is to relax, sunbathe on a private hotel beach during the day, and walk on the Corniche promenade in the evening.
In conclusion, I hope this article helps you plan your perfect itinerary for traveling in Qatar. If you want to see the Doha sights that were detailed here, including both major museums, you’ll need at least 2 days, and even then it’ll be a bit rushed.
However, in one full day, you can easily see the entire historic center of Doha and take a stroll through the West Bay district. One day is enough to form the right impression of Doha and understand that you want to come back here and get to know this amazing country more thoroughly.
Qatar today is like Dubai 15 years ago. Catch this pearl before the crowds of tourists arrive.
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Qatar
- Flights at the best prices with discounts
- Car rental: Discovery Cars (cheaper – only by bus)
- Hotels and apartments in Doha: Booking
- Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
- Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual sim card with internet in Montenegro