Top 10 places to visit in Doha, Qatar
Doha, recently named one of the New7Wonders Cities in the World, is known for their spectacular modern buildings and cultural heritage.
It has plenty of attractions that are sure to make your time in Qatar a memorable one. If you are in Doha for a holiday, here's a list of the Top 10 places to visit in Doha, Qatar.
1. Museum of Islamic Art
Designed by world-renowned architect, I.M. Pei (architect of Louvre pyramid), the Museum of Islamic Art is one monument of a museum. It has the largest collection of Islamic art in the world, collected from three continents over the span of 1400 years. Set in the MIA Park of the Doha waterfront, it stands out as an architectural gem. The interior is no less spectacular as geometric patterns of the Islamic world adorns the whole interior of the museum. This place is a must-visit for any tourist who would like to make their experience in Doha complete.
Easily one of the most popular locations among walkers, bikers and joggers, the Doha Corniche is a waterfront promenade that reshaped Doha's coastline in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
While it is a popular place for exercising in the morning, it attracts a diverse crowd who are looking for spectacular views of the city's skyline.
During the day, you can admire the incredible colours of Doha's bay; in the evening, you can enjoy an amazing view of a beautiful sunset; and at night, you will be able to see the magnificent colours of the city's lights reflected off the calm water.
3. Souq Waqif
The Souq Waqif is located just a few minutes away from the Corniche. Well known as the social heart of Doha, Souq Waqif is a great place to shop, explore, have a meal or simply idle time away in one of the attractive local cafes.
The place is normally crowded with tourists walking around the alleys to admire the architectural buildings and the many cultural shops offering everything from embroideries, spices, perfumes and oud (an exotic incense made from agarwood).
It's also a great place to shop for unique souvenirs for the folks back at home.
4. Falcon Souq
This fascinating new souq is just located next to the Souq Waqif and is worth a visit simply because of the massive array of paraphernalia in everything falcon-related. There's even an outdoor area where you can see the falcons being exercised by their trainers several times a day.
You can also take a tour around the falcon showroom, where the falcons rest on their perches. Although the falcons come in different range of prices, make no mistake that a well trained one could cost more than a car.
5. Aspire Park
Aspire park is one of the largest parks in the Gulf region and is one of Qatar's finest landscapes. It stands as a grand contrast to the typical desert landscapes you'll be used to seeing in Qatar.
It attracts a big crowd daily, especially during the weekends. You'll often see families walking around or having picnics in the lush green environment of the park.
Another attraction the park has to offer is the Torch Tower, or also known as the Aspire Tower. It is an astonishing 300m high building which served as a giant torch for the 15th Asian Games and is now a beautiful hotel. A visit inside is definitely worth it.
6. Katara Cultural Village
The Katara Cultural Village is located at the eastern coast between West Bay and The Pearl. Katara was born out of a vision to position the State of Qatar as a cultural beacon of art, radiating in the Middle East through theatre, music, literature, conventions and exhibitions.
It is home to huge events like the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, TEDxDoha and Ajyal Youth Film Festival. The buildings and facilities in the cultural village is deliberately arranged randomly to look and feel like a traditional Qatari Al Fareej.
7. The Pearl Qatar
The Pearl is an artificial, man-made island located offshore of Doha's West Bay Lagoon area. It's known as the first land in Qatar to be available for freehold ownership by foreign nationals.
The name comes from the location in which the island was built on, which was one of Qatar's previous major pearl diving sites. Many would come here to shop in the many high-end retail shops in the area, or simply to walk along the beautiful boardwalk overlooking the marina filled with many international cafes and restaurants.
8. Qatar National Museum
If you wish to discover the rich cultural past and the heritage of Qatar, then the Qatar National Museum is the place to go. Built around the Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani's original palace, it is the second largest museum in Doha and presents visitors with an impressive range of relics and artifacts.
The museum is a fine example of Arabian culture which won the Agha Khan award for rehabilitation of Islamic architecture in 1980. Visitors of the museum can enjoy several kinds of exhibitions that are arranged at different time of the year.
9. Islamic Cultural Centre (FANAR)
The Islamic Cultural Centre in Doha, also known as FANAR is located in the spiral mosque near Souq Waqif. FANAR acts as a charitable organization that is aimed to help non-Muslims understand and be more informed about Islam and its culture through various activities such as exhibitions, tours of the centre and even Arabic courses.
In fact, you can enter the centre for a cup of coffee and sit with one of the volunteers, who is more than happy to answer any questions you may have about Islam.
FANAR is also close to Souq Waqif and the Museum of Islamic Art, so you may want to combine a visit to these places while you're at it.
10. Sealine Beach Resort
One of the top places to visit while you're in Qatar is naturally the desert. There are plenty of desert-based activities you can do while in Doha, and one of those can be found at the Sealine Beach Resort.
The Sealine Beach Resort is an oasis of tranquility located amidst the dunes of the Arabian desert kissed by the blue waters of the Arabian sea.
While you're there, you can rent a dune buggy on the beach near the resort as well as going for dune bashing, which remains a popular sport with both Qataris and expatriates.
What are some of your favourite places to visit in Doha,Qatar? Let us know some of your favourite spots in Doha that are not in the list!
Photo by Peter Valcarcel