Top 10 things to do in Doha

Offbeat, eccentric and authentic, Qatar’s capital is a most surprising destination. Here are the 10 must-see things to do in Doha.

Qatar, a tiny country in the Persian Gulf, is home to a bustling, sumptuous capital stretched between modernity and tradition. With its tall buildings planted amidst Medina-like markets, Doha is everything and its opposite.

The city promises you a sensational holiday to suit your every whim. In terms of scenery, you’ll discover much more than curvaceous skyscrapers and millennia-old Arab architecture. Indeed, this luxurious city is also home to sea, beach and desert dunes. Here, in a nutshell, are the 10 must-see things to do in Doha.

1. Discover the Souq al Waqif

Souq al Waqif - que faire Doha

Photo credit: Shutterstcok – Benny Marty

There was a time when Doha was just a small village of a few souls living on the banks of the Wadi Musheireb. Today, this age-old village has been reincarnated in the immense Souq al Waqif.

The architects have done a masterful job of restoring it to its former glory, respecting traditional architecture and materials. A place that stands in stark contrast to the modern urban landscape of the rest of the city. So it’s impossible to visit Doha without taking the time to lose yourself in this market.

Immerse yourself in a décor that evokes a bygone era and the Arabian Nights. Your eyes will be drawn to all manner of phantasmagorical, colorful, fragrant and exotic objects. Stroll through the winding, light-filled aisles. Smell the spicy odors. Discover the secrets of gold and pearls.

Grab a coffee and watch the constant swirling of hawkers, nonchalant hookah smoke and samosa vendors. Finally, don’t miss the incredible section dedicated to the sale and care of falcons. This noble bird of prey is to Qataris what a dog is to Westerners…

2. How to get to the Great Mosque

La Grande Mosquée

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Benny Marty

One of the must-do things to do in Doha is visit a mosque. Located in the Jubailat district, the Great State Mosque, or Imam Abdul Wahhab Mosque, is one of the most impressive in the country.

This building is instantly recognizable thanks to its architecture, which blends tradition and modernism, simplicity and great beauty. The rounded shape of its domes is enveloping, while the straight lines of its walls give it a strict air.

Here, you’ll be able to admire incompressible elements of Arab art: flamboyant half-moons, a minaret, rudely worked motifs and refreshing marble. For the best view, visit the Imam Abdul Wahhab Mosque at sunset. The ornate facades and doors light up, with the glowing sky in the background, and the gleaming marble floor beneath your feet.

3. Visit the Museum of Islamic Art and MIA Park

Musée d’art islamique - que faire Doha

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Mohamed Rageh

What if you did more than just visit Doha? Thanks to the Museum of Islamic Art, you can understand its history and grasp its richness. Situated right on the water, the museum sits on an island and proudly marks the landscape with its modern, immaculate architecture.

Inside, the collections present Islamic art from three continents over a period of one thousand four hundred years. They include jewelry and all manner of works in noble metals, ceramics, wood, glass and precious textiles. The monument’s interior incorporates the codes of historic Islamic decor and contemporary design, offering a setting that is almost self-sufficient.

Surrounding the museum, the MIA park is a lush green space that slowly glides into the water. This emerald crescent is a real place of life, with bicycle paths, pedestrian walkways, a carousel, cafés, relaxation areas and boat rental bases.

4. Stroll through the cultural village of Katara

Le village culturel de Katara

Photo credit: Shutterstock – BestPhotoPlus

A visit to the cultural village of Katara is one of the must-dos in Doha. Not only for its beauty, but also for its historical importance. Right in the heart of the city, this « village » doesn’t really look like one. Instead, it’s a cultural center built of luxurious stone, a shaft of light with an ultra-chic look.

Katara’s primary aim is to be a link between all the world’s cultures and to advocate diversity. With this jewel, Qatar proudly takes its place at the forefront of the Middle East cultural scene and of the reunification of peoples through art.

It houses rich galleries, engaged exhibitions, event spaces, restaurants, theaters and cinemas. Each space is a unique composition, inspired by a different part of the world. Cosmopolitanism is reflected in the restaurant menus, which offer Egyptian, Palestinian, Armenian and even Lebanese specialities. A perfect combination of intellectual and gustatory pleasures!

5. Walking in Msheireb Downtown Doha

Msheireb Downtown

Photo credit: Shutterstock – monticello

Msheireb Downtown is within easy reach of all the must-see things to do in Doha. This central district boasts the world’s first sustainable inner-city regeneration project. Indeed, this aesthetically pleasing site is designed above all to minimize energy consumption and environmental impact.

Your stroll through the district will be marked by several highlights, including visits to the Msheireb Museums, Al Kahraba Street, the Design District and the bold Barahat Msheireb Square. Msheireb Downtown’s unusual architecture is inspired by the millennia-old Islamic style and contemporary movements, oriental colors and modern purity. You’ll discover a wide range of entertainment, cultural, commercial and gastronomic offerings.

6. Along the Corniche

Corniche de Doha - que faire Doha

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Fitria Ramli

Like an elegant snail’s shell, the Doha Corniche is a true masterpiece of architecture and urban planning. The aim of this large-scale project is to anchor Doha’s identity, integrate the coastline into urban life, offer Qataris an exemplary living environment and establish a greener policy.

Visiting Doha along its Corniche offers a truly poetic interlude. The promenade stretches for seven kilometers, past palm trees and Dhows, the magnificent traditional wooden boats that ply the Indian Ocean.

In the distance, you can see the Skyline and its string of immense glass buildings, symbols of Qatar’s excessiveness. As you turn your head, you can admire the islands lying on the turquoise water. The Museum of Islamic Art and The Pearl are located at the entrance to the Corniche.

7. Discover the Villaggio Mall

Villaggio Mall

Photo credit: Shutterstock – monticello

Luxury shopping fans, stop here! Villagio Mall is THE place to visit in Doha. This temple of prestige and fashion offers an extravagant experience, in a place that doesn’t restrict itself to anything crazy.

This huge shopping and leisure center is home to all the world’s best-known luxury brands, including clothing, leather goods, jewelry, shoes and perfumes.

But the experience goes much further! At Villaggio Mall, you can ride a gondola as you would in Venice, spin through the air in an amusement park, watch a film on the world’s most immersive cinema screen, or go ice skating… while the thermometer hovers around forty degrees outside!

8. Take a dhow trip

Dhow - que faire Doha

Photo credit: Fitria Ramli

Visiting Doha from a Dhow, a traditional Arab wooden dhow, is one of the most authentic and surprising ways to discover the city. Excursions depart from the Corniche.

There are a number of different cruise options, but the most sensational are the sunset and night cruises, with a bird’s-eye view of the illuminated West Bay towers. On board, folk music and a traditional buffet (if you choose an excursion with lunch or dinner) immerse you in the world of the Middle East.

9. Getting to The Pearl

Pearl island

Photo credit: Shutterstock – EQRoy

The quintessence of opulence, The Pearl is a glitzy, artificial island in the heart of the West Bay business district. Once again, discovering this modern, five-star facet of the capital remains one of Doha’s must-dos.

With its chic allure and elegant addresses, The Pearl resembles a true « Arabian Riviera ». What’s there to do? Stroll along the Mediterranean-style marinas, rent a luxury villa or sumptuous hotel room, sample gourmet restaurants and shop to your heart’s content.

Fire station Art Gallery - que faire Doha

Photo credit: Flickr – Qatarism

The last of our must-sees in Doha is for art lovers. Fire Station is an art and culture gallery whose exhibitions and events often make waves.

As its name suggests, this contemporary space, housed in a restored former fire station, is home to permanent and temporary collections as rich as they are daring. It is also a place dedicated to Qatari artists, who can give free rein to their imagination and fantasies. Outside, the murals have become a true symbol of the city.

How do I get to Doha?

The main gateway to Doha is its airport. It takes six to seven hours to fly to Qatar from France. Did you know that the local airline, Qatar Airways, is one of the best in the world?

To compare available flights and find a ticket at the best price, don’t hesitate to visit online flight comparators such as Skyscanner.

Last but not least, don’t forget to bring the entry visa required for any tourist stay in Qatar.

Where to stay in Doha

When it comes to accommodation in Doha, you’ll have a choice of neighborhoods. Al Souq, bustling and picturesque, La Corniche and West Bay, chic and expensive, or Al Waab, off-center but family-friendly and popular.

Most travelers opt for an Airbnb or a hotel. To discover all the establishments available according to your availability and budget, there’s nothing better than a hotel comparator and its sorting system.

Map of hotels and accommodations –