I’ll tell you where to find tours in Doha and Qatar, how much they cost, what types there are, and the peculiarities and nuances for tourists. There will be many tips that may not be obvious until you are already there. This article may save you both time and money, but it’s only based on my personal experience as an expat. And yes, I do not sell or conduct tours myself, nor am I a guide in Qatar, I simply know everything here 🙂 I often receive requests to conduct tours in Qatar.
It will be difficult for you to plan your dream trip to Qatar without these websites
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Tours in Doha and Qatar: general information and peculiarities
Before I provide specific information about the best tours in Doha and Qatar, let me share some general points and peculiarities that you should keep in mind while planning your trip to Qatar:
- 99% of all tours are conducted in two languages of your choice: Arabic or English. By the way, almost all the residents of the country speak English quite well, and at the basic level, everyone speaks it.
- I always recommend learning a few words in Arabic and how to write numbers. This will help you a lot, especially at the market :). In the article linked here, you can find everything you need to know about the language in Qatar and what a tourist needs to know.
- In Doha, there are no tour vendors or tourist agencies with big signs. No one will approach you on the street with flyers. All of this business is 100% online. If you didn’t find and book the tours you’re interested in in advance, then you’re out of luck.
- Payment is accepted only in Qatari riyals. They don’t accept other currencies. If you pay the full price online by card during the booking process, there won’t be any problems. If you pay most of the amount on-site, then cards are rarely accepted, and cash is only accepted in riyals. Change your currency to riyals in advance at banks.
- You can find everything about Qatar’s currency, where to exchange it, and the best exchange rates (spoiler alert: everywhere).
Important note:Sightseeing tours in Doha involve interesting stories about the country’s history, and it’s important to understand the guide. If your English is good, then there won’t be any problems.
And of course, if you’ve taken a jeep tour in the desert, the language doesn’t matter much, even if it’s in Arabic. Even if you don’t speak English, some tours are easier to find with an English-speaking guide, and you can understand by gestures.
In general, if you have the opportunity to rent a car in Qatar, which can be done with your national driver’s license, most of the sights can be seen on your own. The only exception is the Inland Sea of Qatar, which is inaccessible by car.
- There are some pitfalls and personal experiences when renting a car in Doha.
I recommend that everyone read two articles on the pages of this guide that will give you a complete picture of all the top sights in Doha and Qatar. There is a map, directions, and ticket prices. You can make a list of places you want to visit and decide if you can get there on your own or if you need a guide in Qatar. After that, finding the right tour program will be easier.
- Sights to see in Doha: what to see for tourists
- Sights in Qatar beyond Doha: map, directions, and time
Tip:Remember that any sightseeing tour of Doha with a local guide is ten times more interesting than a walk around the city on your own.
Tours in Doha: prices, types, where to find them
The best Doha tours today come in three types:
- Walking tours – the most popular. They cover both the new districts of Doha and the historical part with a full immersion in Arab culture. Such tours of old Doha are in high demand.
- Tours to museums in Doha and Qatar. This is just a brief overview, as there is a larger article reviewing the top three museums in the country. In Qatar, there are three huge and unique museums, each of which would take at least half a day to explore thoroughly. The number of rooms and exhibits is simply staggering, and these are not boring museums – they are modern architectural marvels. Many tourists love to visit these museums with a guide to immerse themselves even more in Qatari culture.
- Guided tours of Doha and museums
- There is also a tour to the amazing museum of one of the sheikhs, which is located 20 km from Doha (transfer included).
- Doha Bus Hop-on-Hop-off sightseeing tour. But this is not a boring ride with a guide. It is a double-decker bus that operates all day on a specific route throughout Doha, including the Pearl Island. You can get on and off at any stop.
- Buses run every 30 minutes, making it very convenient, and they stop at all the best attractions in the city. The ticket is valid for 24 hours and allows for an unlimited number of trips. The bus provides maps of Doha and audio guides in several languages.
- The ticket costs 180 QAR (~$50) and can be purchased online.
The best tours in Qatar: prices, types
Many people think, having read bloggers on the internet who copy information from each other, that there is nothing to do outside of Doha. In reality, there are a huge number of cool attractions in Qatar, especially outside the city, which are unique and unusual.
- Inland sea of Qatar
- Abandoned Arab villages
- Shadows Travelling on the Sea of the Day (photo at the beginning of the article)
- Al Zubara Fort
- Purple Island
- Zekreet Rock Formations
- East-West / West-East desert installation
- Ancient Qatari petroglyphs
An interesting feature:Traveling to different countries, you may be accustomed to the same set of interesting places. Yes, they are all different, but the set is the same: churches, castles, markets, pedestrian streets, and so on. In Qatar, there are sights that you won’t find anywhere else. The “East-West/West-East” installation is worth mentioning, where almost 20-meter metal columns stand in the middle of the desert. Or the inland sea of Qatar, one of only two places on the planet where the sea meets the desert.
Today, there are numerous tours available in Qatar that visit these locations. They typically include a high-clearance vehicle, as many of the attractions are in the desert, a driver-guide, and you. These tours usually last a full day, and you can see 3-5 cool attractions in one day.
Technically, you can drive to any of these places yourself in a rented car, but it is highly recommended to have a 4×4 vehicle. However, there is one attraction where there are no roads. It is a UNESCO-protected reserve, and you can only visit as part of a tour. I strongly recommend it to everyone.
- Check out our report on visiting the Inland sea of Qatar to find out about prices and where to find such a desert tour.
The largest selection of tours to Qatar’s attractions can be found on GYG and Viator websites. There is a huge variety of tours and excursions available. If you book a private tour where only you are in the car, you can easily change the route to places that interest you. The country is very small, and all the best locations are within 100 km of Doha.
The advice is all standard, much has already been said, but these points are important to know:
- Always book all excursions in advance, as they cannot be found offline. A clear plan and itinerary are the key to success, as most tourists have only a couple of days to explore Qatar. This is because most tourists come here in transit, and in order to do everything, they need to plan and book everything in advance.
- If you buy an excursion on the aforementioned websites, then everything is more or less punctual. If you found a guide by recommendation, discuss the time with them clearly, as local guys are not the most punctual in the world. Especially in the case of jeep tours organized by Pakistanis and Iranians, being an hour late is not considered late :).
Personal advice:Almost all locations in Qatar can be explored independently. I recommend two mandatory tours to everyone: the Inland Sea of Qatar, which is not easily accessible on your own, and a sightseeing tour of Doha, with a guide who will tell you about the history, traditions, and peculiarities of local Arab life. For us Europeans, this is a completely different culture and mentality.
In conclusion, excursions in Doha and excursions in Qatar are an essential part of your visit to this Arab country. A good guide will tell you much more in 2-3 hours than you will learn on your own in a week in Qatar. Find an excursion in Doha that suits your taste, a program that interests you, whether it’s the Souq Waqif market, a museum, or the new Doha, and you won’t regret it.
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