Looking for fun things to do in Doha, Qatar? You’ve landed in the right place! Check out the best activities and attractions for an unforgettable trip to Qatar’s most important city.
Doha is Qatar’s capital and the country’s most populated city, with almost 2.5 million inhabitants and around the same amount of tourists every year (one of which will be you!)
From beaches to world-class galleries, opulent islands, and miles of desert, there’s surely something to catch your eye during your time in the city.
Check out the best things to do in Doha and start packing!
BEST DOHA TOURS FOR FIRST TIMERS
If it’s your first time visiting Doha, Qatar, you might want to book a tour to learn more about the city! These are in my opinion the best tours in Doha.
I always book my tours with Viator and GetYourGuide, and I especially recommend them for their great cancellation policy. If your travel plans change, you can get a full refund on most activities canceling up to 24 hours in advance… which is especially important with the current situation!
➤ The Doha: Half-Day City Tour takes you around Doha to visit the most important landmarks, while you learn about the city’s history. You’ll visit the Msheireb Museums, Katara Cultural Village, The Pearl, and Souq Waqif. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ The Private Night City Tour takes you on a nighttime journey to the most beautiful landmarks, where you’ll get great skyline views and photo opportunities. Visit Katara Culture Village, the Pearl Island and the Souq at night. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ Get the Private: 4 Hours City Tour to make the most of your exploration by having a professional guide all to yourself. Ideal if you have little time in Doha. Stops include Souq Waqif, The Pearl and Katara Cultural Village. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ The Private Combo City Tour & Desert Safari allows you to discover the city and the desert on an adventure-packed day. You’ll first visit the main Doha landmarks such as Souq Wakif and the National Museum of Qatar before heading to the desert for dune bashing and a visit to a Bedouin camp. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
BEST THINGS TO DO IN DOHA, QATAR
Go Shopping at The Pearl Qatar
The Pearl-Qatar is an artificial island home to the most high-end rental properties, hotels, restaurants, and stores. Don’t miss a trip to this island to be astounded at the opulence and luxury of its every corner! Undoubtedly it’s one of the best places to visit in Doha, Qatar.
For non-residents, one of the main goals in visiting Pearl-Qatar is shopping; here you’ll find the world’s most renowned brands from Balenciaga to Hugo Boss, Versace, Armani, Hermes, and Stella McCartney (among many others!)
But if those escape from your travel budget, going window shopping at these trendy shops can be just as fun.
After shopping, you can grab a table by the water to enjoy the spectacular views with a superb meal or coffee, or stroll along its waterfront boardwalks; that alone is worth the visit!
Be sure to find the Venetian Bridge and the Piano Stairs at Qanat Quartier before leaving. If you’re traveling with children, the Public Playgrounds will keep them entertained for quite a long time!
Explore the Katara Cultural Village…
Katara Cultural Village is a hub for art, culture, and architecture, and one of the main Doha attractions. It houses an opera house and Greek amphitheater, art galleries, gardens, and a planetarium, and showcases Qatar’s heritage and traditions.
At Katara Cultural Village you’ll also find some museums, traditional Qatari architecture, and various restaurants and cafes, being the perfect place to learn about this country’s customs and history, as well as its art.
… and sunbath at Katara Beach!
Katara is also home to one of the best beaches in Doha, where you can work on a tan laying on a sunbed, practice parasailing, water skiing, or go for a speed boat or banana ride.
The beach, which is over a kilometer long, is kid-friendly, featuring a play area specifically designed for them, which is why it’s a family favorite. The beach is also surrounded by eateries where you can get refreshments or grab a quick bite.
BEACH TIP: If you can’t get enough of the beach, check out Al Wakrah Beach, located around 25 km from the city. While it’s not ideal for swimming, as the water is very shallow, it’s one of the most popular beaches among the locals and boasts incredible amenities.
From restrooms to BBQ facilities, tennis and soccer areas, playgrounds, and gazebos, the beach is fully equipped for your day under the sun. If you ever wonder what to do in Doha on a warm day, you now know one of the answers!
➤ Still haven’t had enough of the beach? Check out this list of the best beach hotels in Doha.
Go on a Desert Safari
Qatar’s largest desert is located to the southwest of the city, and it’s one of the absolutely must places to see in Doha.
Whether you’re the adventurous type and want to go dune bashing, or would rather visit a bedouin camp and marvel at the inland sea, you can’t miss going on a desert safari from Doha.
➤ The Half-Day Desert Safari is a private tour that takes you sandboarding, camel riding, and dune bashing in the desert. You’ll also visit the inland sea and a Bedouin camp. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ Get this Desert Safari with Buffet Dinner for a full day of adventures in the desert, including dune bashing, camel riding, and swimming with your private group. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
READ ALSO: 12 Best Qatar Desert Safari Tours
Visit the Museums in Doha
Among the most important attractions in Doha are its museums, so you should make sure to visit at least a few, especially if you’re a history fan. Qatar has a very interesting past and its many museums celebrate the country’s culture and heritage, as well as local art and mindblowing illusions.
You can start with the National Museum of Qatar, whose building, which resembles a rose, is an incredible work of art in itself! In the museum, you’ll find displays and exhibitions about the oil boom, artifacts from the Bedouins, and records about the development of the country, so it’s a great start to get a sense of this country’s past.
For art museums, my top recommendations are Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, which boasts modern and contemporary art pieces related to the Arab culture, and the Museum of Islamic Art.
The latter is built on an island and represents over a thousand years of Islamic Art from several countries, offering a great combination of heritage, art, and history.
Check out the Fire Station Museum and the Museum of Illusions for trendy exhibits and lots of fun as well!
Explore Souq Waqif
Souq Waqif, nestled in the center of the city, is one of the favorite Doha tourist attractions. Souq means market, and this bustling souq is set on what used to be a trading site for both objects and livestock in past times. The souq actually dates back to around 250 years!
The traditional building will certainly take you back in time, and you’ll encounter locals selling everything from handicrafts and souvenirs to spices, traditional attires, kitchenware, and even gold jewelry and pieces!
There are also restaurants and cafes at Souq Waqif where you can try authentic traditional cuisine, but there’s even more to this souq than alleyways filled with stalls and eateries.
Make sure to learn about the lost industry of pearl-diving in the area, take an art class at the Souq Waqif Art Center, or visit the horses and camels at the Emiri Stables.
➤ Prefer to visit with a guide? In the Souq Waqif and Local Market Tour you’ll enjoy a guided visit to the Souq, you’ll find its hidden gems and markets, and also taste a traditional Qatari meal. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday from 8 AM to 12.30 PM, and 3 PM to 10 PM. Friday from 3 PM to 10 PM.
You can also head to the Falcon Souq to…
Learn about Falconry
The Bedouins, the nomadic people who lived in the desert for centuries, trained falcons to hunt prey for them. This tradition is still engraved in the Qataris’ culture, and nowadays owning a falcon is considered a symbol of status and wealth.
Falconry is even considered a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and it’s an important part of Qatar’s history as well as a traditional sport, so you can’t miss a visit to the Falcon Souq, one of the greatest places to go in Doha. You could even hold one in your hand!
Opening Hours: Daily from 7 AM to 1 PM and 5 PM to 9.30 PM
Entrance Fee: Free
Get to the top of Aspire Tower
The Aspire Tower is Qatar’s tallest building, built in 2006 to house the Asian Games Symbolic Flame. The structure’s architecture indeed represents a hand holding a torch, which is why it’s also known as The Torch Doha.
The building is 300 meters tall and it’s home to a luxurious hotel, a sports museum, a restaurant (yes, you can dine in a 360-degree rotating restaurant with as-toun-ding views!), and the panoramic swimming pool of a fitness club.
You can get the sights of the whole city from above by visiting the cantilevered pool on the 19th floor, or by heading up to the Three Sixty restaurant on the 47th floor – which happens to be one of the best restaurants in Doha!
⚠️ No professional cameras are allowed unless approved by the management.
TIP: Seeing the illuminated city is one of the best things to do in Doha, Qatar, at night.
Pool Opening Hours: Daily from 7 AM to 7 PM
Restaurant Opening Hours: Thursday to Saturday from 12 PM to 3 PM, and 7 PM to 10.30 PM. Sunday to Wednesday from 6 PM to 11 PM.
… and take a picnic at Aspire Park
Aspire Park is Doha’s biggest park and the perfect setting for a relaxing afternoon. Take a picnic with you, go for a jog on its 1.6 running track, watch the ducks on the lake, take your kids to the playgrounds…there are tons of things to do at Aspire Park, with the Aspire Tower as the perfect backdrop for your pictures.
If taking your own picnic basket is not your thing, you’ll find cafes all around the park, as well as other attractions you can check out after.
Opening Hours: Daily from 7 AM to 11 PM
Entrance Fee: Free
Do More Shopping at the Villaggio Mall
For fun things to do in Doha, take a stroll around the Villaggio Mall. It’s located right in front of Aspire Park, so it makes sense to head here after your picnic by the lake.
Villaggio Mall is one of the favorite places for shopping for both tourists and locals, and you’ll find the classic retail shops, luxurious brands as well as local ones, several eateries, and entertainment venues.
However, the most iconic attraction at the mall is probably Gondolania.
Gondolania is a theme park with rides, an ice arena for ice-skating, a roller-coaster, and a Venetian-like gondola ride that reflects the mall’s Venetian-inspired architecture and ambiance. You’ll get to see the people shopping as you glide through the river!
If you’re traveling with children, you have to visit. And if you don’t, you ought to visit too! (Even if you don’t shop at all, wandering around the mall is already worth it).
Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday from 9 AM to 11 PM, Friday from 9 AM to 11 AM and 12.30 PM to 11 PM
Gondolania Prices: The prices for the activities range between 12 QAR and 60 QAR (3 – 16.5 USD)
Try the Traditional Food
Qatar boasts a very rich heritage, and that extends to its flavorful cuisine. Blending spices and culinary traditions from the surrounding countries, it has developed its own version of several dishes and nowadays prides itself in its broad range of delicious traditional food. Trying as many dishes as you can is one of my favorite things to do in Qatar.
One of the staples in Qatari cuisine is the Baleelat, a sweet and savory dish that’s usually served for breakfast and dessert. It consists of fried, sweetened vermicelli topped with an omelette and pistachios.
Another popular and very sweet snack is the Luqaimat, a small ball-shaped treat similar to a doughnut and dipped in honey or syrup. Savory dishes include Warak Enab, which are vine leaves stuffed with minced meat, rice and spices, and the Harees that combines meat and cracked wheat.
Some of the best restaurants in Doha to try these dishes are SMAT Restaurant, Shay Al Shoomos, and Boho Social.
Check Out the Barzan Towers
The Barzan Towers were built in the 1800s as watchtowers to prevent an Ottoman invasion, but were also used for astronomical observations and to track the new moon during Ramadan. They’re located in the town of Umm Saalal Mohammed, about 12 miles (20 km) north of Doha.
The towers are perfectly well-maintained and have been turned into a museum that showcases Qatar’s rich history. You can even go up to the top of the watchtowers, as the watchmen did all those years ago, and enjoy the view!
Opening Hours: Daily from 8 AM to 12.30 AM
Entrance Fee: Free
Stroll Doha Corniche
Doha Corniche is a spectacular waterfront promenade, seven kilometers long, that runs along Doha Bay, and from where you’ll enjoy phenomenal views both during the day and at night.
While the stroll, which allows you to enjoy the best Doha sightseeing, is an attraction in itself, you’ll find plenty of eateries, parks, shops, and sports facilities along the way.
The Pearl Monument is a fantastic landmark to check out, and there’s also a skyline viewpoint off the promenade, from where you’ll catch great views of the dhows on the bay.
Go on a Dhow Cruise
Dhows are traditional wooden sailing ships that were used for fishing and pearl diving back in the day. Nowadays, taking a dhow cruise along Doha Bay to marvel at the skyline of the city and enjoy a unique experience is one of the most precious Doha activities.
While the views are spectacular at any time of day, they’re especially awe-striking at sunset or night. You could choose a cruise that includes dinner, or find a spot by the Doha Corniche to enjoy a meal after your sailing experience.
➤ The Private Doha City Tour & Dhow Cruise takes you and your group to Doha’s main landmarks and ends the trip with a spectacular cruise in a typical Qatari boat. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
➤ The City Tour and Dhow Boat Cruise includes a visit to the Corniche, Pearl-Qatar, and Katara Cultural Village, as well as a relaxing cruise on a traditional Dhow. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Marvel at the State Grand Mosque
Qatar is home to around 2,000 mosques, the biggest one being the Qatar State Grand Mosque, located in Doha (about two blocks from Doha Corniche, so you could head here after your stroll).
The building, which blends modernity and tradition and boasts 93 domes, is impressive and it can welcome over 30 thousand worshippers at once. On the inside, it features separate prayer halls for women and men and three libraries.
The mosque is fairly new, having opened in 2011 by Qatar’s founder, Sheikh Jassin bin Mohammed Al Thani, and named after his father Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, which is the official name of the mosque.
Tourists can visit the mosque during non-praying hours, although remember that you’re in an Arab country and there are certain things to keep in mind.
If you’re planning on visiting the mosque, dress appropriately covering your knees and shoulders. Women will be provided with a scarf to cover their heads upon entrance, but take yours if you have one!
Shoes also must be removed before entering the mosque. While you can take pictures of the inside with your phone (except for specific areas), no professional photo cameras are allowed.
TIP: Visit around sunset time to witness the building lighting up for the night; truly a marvelous thing to see in Doha.
Opening Hours: 24 hours.
Entrance Fee: Free
Go Trekking at the Ras Abrouq Rock Formations
Ras Abrouq looks like a landscape from another world, with very unusual rock formations, a plateau, and a fabulous coastline.
Located 43 miles (70 km) west of Doha, it’s a great destination for trekking up the cape and enjoying the views of the peninsula, for epic photography, and even overnight camping!
These rock formations, which have been eroded by wind and sand over thousands of years to form the mushroom-shaped natural sculptures, are closeby to other attractions you may want to include in your trip: The East/West West/East art installation, and Film City, a film set built for a TV show which depicts a traditional village.
➤ You might want to join a tour for a hassle-free experience! The Qatar West Coast Tour is a great opportunity to visit the Rock Formations, as well as the East/West West/East sculpture, Film City, and Zekreet Fort. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Al Zubarah Fort
Al Zubarah Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in the walled coastal town of Al Zubarah, and one of the very best places to visit in Qatar.
Al Zubarah, now an archaeological site, was a very important trading center in the late 1700s and early 1800s, but it was attacked and destroyed around 1811, and subsequently abandoned.
For the next years the sand covered the structures, protecting them from collapse, and today the area is an archaeological site with ongoing work.
The Al Zubarah Fort, which was built in the 1930s as a military post, today serves as a visitor center where you can learn about the site’s past, as well as discover some of the artifacts that have been recovered from the ruins.
➤ The North of Qatar Tour takes you to four interesting destinations which include Al Zubarah Fort, as well as Purple Island, Al Thakhira Beach, and Al Khor. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday from 9 AM to 5 PM
Entrance Fee: Free
Splurge on a Luxury Day at Banana Island
Banana Island is an extremely luxurious resort that occupies a whole man-made island and boasts any and every amenity you can think of, from pools to a spectacular beach, restaurants, and endless entertainment options.
Unless you’re actually staying at the resort, you can also visit for a day and enjoy its fabulous facilities.
Jet skiing at the beach, diving, relaxing by the pool with a drink, or showing your skills at the bowling alley are some of the things you can do on Banana Island, besides the trip itself which will take you on a catamaran from the mainland.
Kayak at Al Thakhira Natural Reserve
Al Thakhira Natural Reserve is home to Qatar’s largest mangrove reserve, and what’s a better way of admiring mangroves than by kayaking through them?
This lush and thriving ecosystem attracts incredible wildlife which you’ll get to spot, including flamingos and herons, as well as fish and tons of different bird species (a paradise for bird-watching fans!)
The Al Thakhira Natural Reserve is about 39 miles (64 km) north of Doha, and you can either make it a day trip and get there by yourself, or join a tour that will manage the kayak rental and exploration of the reserve for you.
➤ Join this Full-Day Private Tour to go kayaking in Al Thakhira, and also get to visit the historic Al Zubarra Fortress. All equipment and transfers are included. ➥ BOOK IT HERE
Go WOW at the Dahl Al Misfir Cave
Dahl Al Misfir Cave is one of the top attractions in Qatar, located about an hour from Doha. This mysterious cave is 40 meters deep, and it has a phosphorescent glow due to the large amount of gypsum deposits inside the cave. The cave is believed to have been formed naturally about half a million years ago!
The cave is accessible, and one of the deepest in the country, so it can get pretty cold once you’re on the inside. If you plan on hiking down the cave, remember to wear a jacket and comfortable shoes!
While it may not be advisable for young children due to the presence of loose rocks, it is generally safe and you’ll get to see incredible rock formations, nesting birds, and even small mammals.
Tour the Lusail Stadium
If you’re a soccer fan, you ought to take a tour around Qatar’s biggest stadium. Located in Lusail, Qatar’s Future City, the stadium is impressive both for its structure and the sophisticated technologies that include air conditioning and an innovative sound system.
Lusail Stadium can hold 80 thousand people, and its futuristic design was inspired by the traditional fanar lanterns, covered in intricate motifs used for centuries in the Middle East countries’ bowls and vessels, using their incredible art pieces to reflect Qatar’s culture and heritage.
The roof which provides shade, and the advanced sound and lighting system, which will greet spectators mimicking the glow of a fanar lantern, are some of the highlights you’ll experience if you visit for a match (besides the match itself, duh), but even if you’re not going for a match, touring inside or even just around the stadium is absolutely recommended.
THINGS TO DO IN DOHA FAQ
Doha is mainly known for its modern, sometimes futuristic buildings, its many grandiose mosques, and its rich cultural heritage.
2 days are enough to visit Doha’s main attractions and get a sense of the city. If you want to explore the city in more depth or plan day trips from there, you should plan around 4 days.
Doha has a wide offer when it comes to food, and it’s known for its international cuisine that includes Indian, Lebanese, and Turkish classics, as well as western and traditional Arabic food.