Wondering what the best places to visit in Qatar are? From sandy beaches to mangroves, historical buildings, and the iconic desert, this comprehensive list covers the best places to go in Qatar.
Qatar is a rather small country, but packed with natural wonders, plenty of activities and neverending possibilities of entertainment for tourists, so it may be hard to decide where’s the best place to visit!
In this post you’ll find a list of the ultimate Qatar tourist places and attractions so you can decide which destination offers what you’re looking for. From checking out the stadiums where the World Cup took place, relaxing by the beach, or dune bashing in the desert, you have quite a few options.
Check out the best places to visit in Qatar this year!
As Qatar’s capital city, Doha is where you’ll first set foot in the country, so you might as well spend some time here to explore it! Not that you would need an excuse, as there are plenty of things to do in Doha. It’s the perfect gateway to Qatar’s culture and traditions.
If you’re a World Cup fan, know that all matches were played on a ratio of around 30 miles (50 km) from Doha, so it’s also a great base for your trip – maybe you’d like to stay at a beach hotel in Doha to relax between one game and another?
From here you can get to every stadium, take amazing day trips around the country, and enjoy all that the city has to offer!
Some of the unmissable landmarks in Doha include Souq Waqif, a bustling and very traditional market where you’ll find everything from souvenirs to falcons and spice shops; the Museum of Islamic Art and the National Museum of Qatar; the Doha Corniche, which is one of the very best places to visit in Qatar at night, and the State Grand Mosque.
And don’t forget to enjoy the diverse collection of restaurants in Doha, that feature cuisines from all around the world and are a paradise for foodies.
👉 Curious to know about traditional food? Check out this guide to all the Qatari food you must try!
Lusail is known as Qatar’s Future City. This planned city, which is still in development, is indeed very futuristic, and it features impressive marinas, golf courses, and luxurious residences, as well as a large shopping venue, and astounding manmade islands.
This district, which will have over 200 thousand residents upon completion, is located 10 miles (15 km) north of Doha, and it played a very important role during the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Lusail is home to the striking Lusail Stadium, one of the main venues for the event. Its sophisticated technologies, which include a very advanced sound and lighting system, shading mechanisms, and air-conditioning make it one of the best in the country.
It is also very connected to Qatar’s culture and heritage, paying homage to the country’s past with its impressive design, inspired in the traditional fanar lanterns and using motifs that were engraved in vessels and bowls for centuries.
Al Khor is a coastal city around 31 miles (50 km) north of Doha, which used to be the center of the pearling industry back in the day. One of its main attractions, in fact, is the city’s museum, where you’ll find displays of the fishing, dhow building, and pearling traditions of Al Khor.
Al Khor still features a very picturesque harbor with traditional dhows, and a lovely waterfront corniche for strolls with a view. There’s also a mall with a food court and entertainment options, and the Al Khor Park, which is a delight for families with small children.
Nearby is the Al Khor Island, more popularly known as the Purple Island, where you can enjoy plenty of outdoor activities, from kayaking on the mangroves to hiking amidst the lush vegetation, and spotting the diverse fauna and flora.
It’s a very recommended visit if you’re in the city, and one the best tours from Doha.
Al Khor is also home to the Al Bayt Stadium, where the match USA vs. England will take place.
Al Zubara Fort
In the north of Qatar there’s the Al Zubara Fort, one of the best-preserved buildings from the 18th century. During its heyday, Al Zubara was a merchant town and had thriving fishing and pearling industries, as well as a popular trading port.
Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s Qatar’s largest one, and a great representation of the former town. At Al Zubara you’ll get to explore the historical houses and residential palaces, the town’s markets and mosques, and marvel at the astounding city wall and towers, which are in perfect condition.
It is one of the best places to gain insight into the economic and social history of the country before the oil boom, so it will be particularly interesting to history fans.
Also a fishing and pearling village before the oil industry, Al Wakrah is now one of the country’s largest cities, and among the top Qatar tourist spots. This widely developed city is very modernized, but you’ll get to see glimpses of its heritage in its architecture.
The impressive and very futuristic Al Janoub Stadium, where several matches during the World Cup will take place, is located in Al Wakrah, and it’s one of the city’s most popular attractions.
Other things to enjoy in Al Wakrah include a stroll along its beautiful coastline, browsing the traditional Al Wakrah Souk for souvenirs, having a picnic on the beach, and enjoying the colors and aroma of the Public Garden.
Perfect to fight off the heat of the day, Fuwairit Beach is a favorite day trip destination among locals. This long beach boasts warm and crystal clear water, and it’s very shallow, which makes it ideal and safe for families with small children. It’s also a great beach to go for a swim if you walk past the first few meters of water!
The sand is white and powdery, and because of the spectacular view of the sunrise that you can get from the beach, it’s quite a popular spot for camping. Depending on your interests, it might be better to head for a swim and tanning session in the morning or in the afternoon, as the atmosphere is quite different.
If you’re looking for a quiet, family-friendly beach with little people around, the morning is the best time of day to visit. In the afternoon though, you’ll find groups of young people, loud music and festive vibes.
A little word of advice, though: there are no facilities around the beach, so you’ll need to pack your drinks and snacks, towels, and beach umbrellas with you.
The Desert in Qatar
Going on a desert safari is very likely the epitome of visiting Qatar, so it should be at the top of your list of things to do in Qatar! Qatar’s biggest desert, one of the 8 that the country boasts, is located southwest of Doha, and it’s where you’ll be heading for your exciting desert adventures.
The vast sand dunes offer an incredible variety of enjoyment. Depending on your interests and the tour you choose you can go dune bashing or sandboarding, ride camels, watch traditional dances at a Bedouin camp, and learn about falconry.
➤ You can go on a Full Day Desert Safari to make the most of your time amidst the sand dunes. You’ll get to ride a camel, go sandboarding and dune bashing, swim in the inland sea, and even enjoy a buffet dinner. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ If you have little time, you can opt for the Private Half Day Desert Safari. It includes camel riding and sandboarding, as well as a visit to the Inland Sea and some thrilling dune bashing sessions. Roundtrip transportation and insurance are included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
👉 For more options, check out this guide to the best desert safari tours from Doha.
The Barzan Towers are among Qatar’s famous places to visit, especially for history buffs! This 19th-century building was originally used as a lookout to keep an eye on incoming ships, especially Ottoman invaders. Due to its height of 52.5 feet (16 meters) though – Barzan actually means high place in Arabic – it was also employed to track the phases of the moon during Ramadan.
The structure was restored in 2003, and nowadays the Barzan Towers’ main purpose is to showcase the rich culture and history of Qatar, having been turned into a very interesting museum. You can even climb to the top of the watchtowers to enjoy the spectacular landscape from above (and why not, keep an eye on incoming ships!)
Ras Abrouq Rock Formations
One of the coolest tourist spots in Qatar is the Ras Abrouq Rock Formations, located in the village of Zekreet, 43 miles (70 km) west of Doha.
This astounding location is home to mushroom-shaped rock formations, sculpted by the sand and the wind over thousands of years, and they’re not only very striking to the eye, but also a fantastic trekking destination. You can actually climb up the cape to be rewarded by the views over the peninsula! Camping is quite popular as well, as it’s a great spot for stargazing.
Besides a very unique landscape, the area also boasts remnants of old sites and settlements, among which stands out the 18th-century Zekreet Fort. The fort underwent two phases of construction; the first one resulted in a square structure, and during the second stage the towers were added. The fort, though, was never completed, but still is one of the most amazing places to see in Qatar.
Also located in West Qatar, you can’t miss Film City. This very interesting destination depicts a traditional Arabic village, and was actually built as a film set (hence the name) for movies and TV shows. The set is perfectly well-preserved but is now deserted, what has gained it the name of ghost city.
The good part, though, is that there are no shootings taking place in it and you can wander around the village, imagining what it looked like to live in Qatar back in the day.
Besides walking around the compound, you can climb the turrets and enjoy the views of the desert, as well as snap fantastic photos in this very picturesque location.
After your tour around Film City, I recommend checking out Richard Serra’s East/West West/East art installation, an impressive 49-feet (15-meter) tall landmark in the middle of the desert. You could also combine this visit with one to the Ras Abrouq Rock Formations and Zekreet Fort for the ultimate day trip from Doha.
➤ The Qatar West Coast Tour takes you around the most impressive attractions in this part of the country. You’ll visit Film City and the East/West West/East sculpture, as well as spend some time in the Ras Abrouq Rock Formations and Zekreet Fort. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
One of the most beautiful places in Qatar is the Inland Sea, which separates Qatar from Saudi Arabia. Its official name is Khor Al Adaid, and it’s been recognized by UNESCO as a natural reserve, one which boasts incredible beauty and provides a very special spectacle.
The Inland Sea is not a sea but a tidal river, and it meets the dunes during the high tide, a phenomenon that occurs in very few places in the world and it’s worth seeing. Where else do you expect to find the calm, blue waters of a river engulfing the sand dunes of the desert?!
Your trip to this area of the desert will also enable you to meet the majestic oryx, as well as ospreys and terns.
➤ In this Half-Day Desert Safari you’ll get to visit the impressive inland sea, as well as enjoy other desert adventures. Sandboarding, camel riding, and dune bashing are included, as is a visit to a traditional camp. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Al Shahaniya race track
One of the most iconic locations in Qatar, especially for its importance in the country’s culture, is the Al Shahaniya race track, where camel races take place every week during the high season. Camel racing has been practised professionally in Qatar for over 50 years, and it’s the most popular sport in the country.
The jockeys are not people but remote-controlled robots, which are very colorfully adorned and have in-built speakers for the operators to be able to encourage and talk to their camels.
The most thrilling event though is not the race itself, but the way the locals enjoy it, driving along the camels on the road that’s parallel to the race track, following them all the way to the end line.
While watching a race is the best way to enjoy this location, you could also visit the race track to see the camels training.
➤ With the Private Camel Race Tour you’ll get to visit the Al Shahaniya racing track and go behind the scenes, meeting the camels before the big event and even getting photos with them! Once the race starts, you’ll enjoy it the way Qataris do, driving alongside the track. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Pearl-Qatar is the ultimate destination for shopping. Known for its luxurious retail stores, high-end restaurants, and 5-star hotels, this man-made island is one of the most opulent places you’ll see in Qatar.
You’ll get to shop in some of the most renowned brands in the world, including Hugo Boss, Stella McCartney, Armani, Hermes, Versace, and Balenciaga, enjoy a substantial meal or a cup of coffee at the waterfront cafés, and stroll along the boardwalk for impressive views.
Don’t forget to explore the residential areas to be shocked at its lavishness!
For insta-worthy photo stops, include the Qanat Quartier in your itinerary, especially the beautiful Venetian Bridge! There are also nice public playgrounds to keep children entertained for a whole afternoon.
Al Thakhira Mangroves Forest
Contrasting starkly with the previous destination, Al Thakhira Mangroves Forest boasts astounding natural beauty and comes across as a great escape from the city’s bustle and hustle. It’s Qatar’s largest mangrove reserve, and a delight for bird-watching enthusiasts, which makes it one of the best places to visit in Qatar.
This thriving ecosystem is home to a wide variety of bird species that includes herons and flamingos, as well as fish and very lush vegetation.
One of the locals’ favorite ways to explore the mangroves is by kayak! You can rent kayaks on-site and enjoy a day in nature, exercising and keeping an eye out on the wildlife you may encounter. If kayaking doesn’t sound adventurous enough, try stand up paddleboarding!
➤ You can visit the Al Thakhira Mangroves and enjoy some kayaking on this Full-Day Private Tour. It includes the equipment and kayak rental, all transfers, and also a visit to the historic Al Zubarra Fortress. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Dahl Al Misfir Cave
One of the most exciting places to visit in Qatar is the Dahl Al Misfir Cave. This cave is 130 feet (40 meters) deep, and due to the large amount of gypsum deposits it has it offers a very magical phosphorescent glow.
You can actually hike down the cave, which is the deepest one in Qatar and believed to have been formed naturally 500,000 years ago! While it’s pretty safe to explore it, it’s not recommended for young children because of the loose rocks that could cause them to fall.
Extra tip: Remember to take a jacket with you, even if it’s hot: the bottom of the cave can be quite chilly!
Places to Visit in Qatar FAQ
Doha, Qatar’s capital city, is the most visited place in the country. Souq Waqif and the Museum of Islamic Art are some of the popular attractions in Doha.
3 to 4 days are enough to visit Qatar’s main highlights.