Qatar Travel Guide

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doha port

If you want to explore a modern and sophisticated part of the Arab world, Qatar is the best destination you can choose for its contrasting features, such as its extravagant skyscrapers, luxurious 5-star hotels, amazing beaches and more (on one side), and on the other side, the traditional values that are safely kept and respected by its conservative locals.

As you may already know, Qatar is just a small Gulf sovereign country which jumped, in the last 40 years, from being very poor to being the richest country in the world per capita. This extremely fast ascending is, of course, due to their significant oil and gas reserves, which are the foundations of this booming country’s rapid and admirable development. The State of Qatar occupies a surface of 4,467 square miles (11,571 sq km) and is situated in the Southwest Asia, neighboring with Saudi Arabia towards the south, the rest being bordered by the Persian Gulf. Its capital and biggest city is Doha and the population was 2,155,446 in 2014.

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What to see, what to do

Once you’re in Qatar, the best thing to explore and enjoy each and every one of its offerings is, of course, Doha. Being quite a small capital city (by today’s standards), a lot of its attractions are a short driving distance from each other.
If you want to get to know the city, you can always take a walk (or a drive) on the Corniche, which has a crescent shape and spreads on a 7-km distance, from where you can admire the sights, palm trees, golden sands, imposing skyscrapers or luxuriant parks.

corniche

If you want to explore the historical side of the land you’re visiting, the Museum of Islamic Art will please you with some memorable Arabic works of art, calligraphy, jewelry, ceramics, glass, ancient Quranic manuscripts and more. The building itself is an iconic architectural beauty, so you should take your time for fully observing and admiring it.
The Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art should also be seen if you want to see some Arabic modern and contemporary art. Also an interesting place to visit is the Sheikh Feisal Museum, which gathers a plethora of things worth seeing, such as Formula One cars, boats, dinosaur relics, art and more.

Souq Waqif

Explore Qatar’s old and traditional marketplace, Souq Waqif, where you can purchase a lot of different and, sometimes even odd things, from souvenirs, tea or spices to exotic animals and hunting birds. Once you’ve finished your shopping trip, you can rest and enjoy yourself at one of the cafes or restaurants here.
If you’re a golfer, you can enjoy a game at the Doha Golf Club.

Dukhan Beach

The most popular beach in Qatar is Dukhan Beach, where you can go camping, picnicking or snorkeling.
If you’re more of an adventurous type, you could enjoy a desert safari and bounce on the steep dunes, ride camels or quad bikes.
You should also take a tour to Khor al-Adaid, a big salt water inlet which is surrounded by sand dunes and is known as the “Inland Sea”.

Khor al-Adaid

Eat and drink in Qatar

Qatar is quite rich in food options if you’re visiting Doha, gathering European, Thai or Middle Eastern cuisines inside its multitude of quality restaurants that promise to satisfy a lot of tastes.
But the ones of importance are, of course, the local specialties! Among these, we can count Kabsa – spiced rice and vegetables with meat (chicken, lamb, goat, camel, beef or fish – no pork, obvious), Balaleet – noodles with spices Machbous – spiced rice with meat, tomatoes and onions, Mehalabiya – rose water and pistachio pudding, Om ali – bread and rice pudding, Esh asaraya – cheesecake.
When it comes to traditional drinks from Qatar, you should try the Arabic coffee, which is spiced with cardamom and saffron, Leben – made from milk, Qahwa helw – sweet orange coffee with sugar, saffron and cardamom or a delicious and popular cocktail made from lemon, mint and orange blossom.  Being a hard-core Islamic country, alcohol is completely forbidden, so tough luck if you’re Irish!
cuisine

Visa Requirements

To enter Qatar, you must have a valid passport with one blank page and you also require a Visa. If you have an Israeli passport, tough luck again, because you’ll be forbidden to enter the Kingdom.
Nota bene: US citizens and some EU members can obtain Visas upon arrival in Doha airport.

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