Layover in Qatar? Here are places you can visit in Doha

Layover in Qatar? Here are places you can visit in Doha

Qatar Living
By Qatar Living

With Doha set to be the upcoming tourism capital of the Arab world, make the most of your layover to enjoy Qatar with this convenient guide to make the most of your experience. Visitors to Doha can enjoy the city’s rich heritage and enjoy its contemporary lifestyle. There’s something for everyone in Qatar.

Whether you are a culture enthusiast, interested in quality shopping experiences, an adventure seeker, or even a food connoisseur, Qatar’s museums, malls, souqs, activities, and restaurants are lined up to impress you with curated offerings.

Qatar permits visa-free entry for more than 90 countries around the world. Read more on how to get a visa on arrival to the State of Qatar here.

Once you gain entry into Qatar, planning your itinerary around the city is straightforward since most points of interest in Doha are within an hour’s distance from each other, and relatively close to the airport. The Doha Metro project connecting major landmarks in Qatar also runs through the airport and through the city’s major sites.

Here are some must-see places you can enjoy while in Qatar on a layover.

Souq Waqif

Souq Waqif is a must-visit destination for everyone visiting Qatar. A favorite among locals and tourists, Souq Waqif is a bazaar or a marketplace offering a broad range of traditional and local products. The souq is signified by its 19th and 20th-century-inspired buildings reflecting a traditional Qatari architectural style.

A walk through the Souq and its maze-like alleys and passages is the best way to experience its old-world charm. The tantalizing smells of the spice market and the perfume Souq are excellent invitations to shop for your loved ones. Visit the handicraft market and main street for souvenirs and traditional products like rugs, handwoven garments, Turkish lanterns, and so much more.

The Souq is also home to multiple boutique hotels, multi-cuisine restaurants, coffee shops, and shisha spots. Make sure to savor local street foods like regag (Qatari crepes), kebabs, and Qatari homemade sweets sold at some of the kiosks. Henna artists may also offer to adorn your palms with henna for a nominal fee.

Right beside Souq Waqif are Souq al Asiery and Souq al Faleh, and while smaller and more compact, they nonetheless make for great places to shop for traditional clothing such as the abaya, jalabiya, thobe, and bisht. You can even get custom outfits made from these shops which provide quick tailoring services.

Accessibility: Doha Metro Gold Line (Souq Waqif metro station)

Uber, Karwa, and Careem pick-up and drop-off points are available

Distance from the airport: 15.5 km (16-20 minutes via road depending on the traffic)

Timings: Souq Waqif is open from the morning, although it is best enjoyed during late afternoons, evenings or at night to find all shops open.

 

Msheireb Downtown

Right across the road from the Souq lies the pristine and contemporary neighborhood of Msheireb Downtown. This uptown quarter features buildings that run as part of the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project, kept cool by innovative technology.

Msheireb Downtown is a chic location to visit as you can visit the many upscale cafes, restaurants, and retail outlets spread across the quarter. The M7 building is a hub for fashion, art, design, and other concepts and hosts periodic exhibitions and events. The Baraha Msheireb town square is also worth a visit, with many coffee shops and restaurants dotting the square. Hop onto the Msheireb Tram (for free!) for a trip around the neighborhood.

Read more about the location and its offerings here.

Accessibility: Doha Metro main junction as the Red, Green and Gold Lines all intersect here.

Uber, Karwa, and Careem pick-up and drop-off points are available

Distance from the airport: 15 km approx. (16-20 minutes via road depending on the traffic)

Timings: Most cafes and restaurants are open from the morning until midnight.

Doha Corniche

The nearly 7-kilometer stretch of Doha Corniche is the pride and joy of all locals here in Qatar. Dotted with trees and walking pathways, the Corniche offers you an unobstructed view of the Doha West Bay skyline. The Corniche stretches from the stunning Museum of Islamic Arts, curving along the coast of central Doha, well into West Bay. The route is a great place to walk and jog while also watching the traditional Qatari dhow boats that are docked here. Hop onto a tourist dhow boat and you can get a quick but fun sail along the Corniche strip, towards West Bay, and back in under 15 minutes.

Accessibility: Nearest Doha Metro stations are Al Bidda (Green Line), Corniche (Red Line) and West Bay (Red Line) all of which are a short walk from main Corniche street.Uber, Karwa, and Careem pick-up and drop-off points are available

Distance from the airport: 15 km approx. (14-20 minutes via road depending on the traffic and which part of the stretch you get down at).

Souq al Wakrah

Not to be missed, the charming marketplace of Souq al Wakrah lies south of Qatar in Al Wakrah municipality. The souq is organized promenade-style with shops and restaurants dotting the stretch, facing a picturesque beach. Savor some of the best Arabic and Asian cuisines at one of the many restaurants here, or walk along the stretch and soak in the beauty of the low-rise traditional buildings. Al Wakra Souq Beach also offers a stunning view of the sunrise. Swimming is permitted and there are restrooms inside the souq for a quick change too.

Accessibility: Nearest metro station is Al Wakra (Doha Metro Red Line). You can get a metrolink bus 127 from the metro station to drop you off at Souq Al Wakrah.  

Uber, Karwa, and Careem pick-up and drop-off points are available

Distance from the airport: 13 km approx. (17-22 minutes via road depending on the traffic)

Timings: Swimming on the beach is not allowed after dusk. You can however sit on the beach and watch the sunrise and sunset. Most shops operate from 8-11 am and reopen from 4-11 pm.

 

Old Doha Port

The latest addition to Qatar’s hotspot is the Doha Port. The old port has been transformed into Mina District, since converted into a Grecian-inspired tourist district, a cruise-receiving terminal, and offering a great walk along the beachfront. The stunning colorful buildings house cafes, restaurants, and retail outlets make for a lovely place to enjoy a stroll while exploring the many artist exhibits found in its alleys. Grab a cup of coffee and watch the ships at the terminal or simply take a walk along the beachfront to enjoy the breeze. Doha Port even houses a beautiful indoor fish market and fine-dining restaurant Chabrat al Mina so be sure to walk in and check it out.

Accessibility: Uber, Karwa, and Careem pick-up and drop-off points are available

Distance from the airport: 14 km approx. (13-18 minutes via road depending on the traffic)

Timings: Port is open 24*7. Shops’ and restaurants’ timings differ.

 

Katara Cultural Village

Another extremely popular place to visit while in Qatar is Katara. Situated between Katara's North and South hills, this little hamlet is home to Katara Cultural Village, Katara beach, several restaurants, and beautiful architecture. Visit 21 High Street which features Galeries Lafayette and a number of al fresco-style dining options. Katara Beach is a ticketed beach ideal for lounging by the sands or trying a water sport activity for the thrill.

Take a stroll through Katara Cultural Village and visit any of the ongoing art exhibits, Katara Amphitheater, and the Blue Mosque or Golden Mosque. Take a picture of the iconic pigeon towers, the artistic murals and the many public art installations in and around Katara. The Katara hills are also home to restaurants with picturesque views of the beach and cultural village. All that walking will probably leave you with an appetite, so be sure to check out Tasty Street, yet another place to grab some good food, snacks, and drinks.

Accessibility: Doha Metro Red Line (Katara metro station)

Uber, Karwa, and Careem pick-up and drop-off points are available.

Distance from the airport: 25 km approx. (25-30 minutes via road depending on the traffic)

Timings: Open 24 hours. Cafes and restaurant timings differ.

 

Al Maha Island

One of the most talked-about destinations in Qatar lately is Al Maha Island in Lusail. In addition to hosting events and activities, the island itself is a fantastic destination. Lusail Winter Wonderland, located on Al Maha Island, is an amusement park only open during winter months, featuring 50 thrilling rides suitable for guests of all ages.

Take a stroll along Al Maha Drive on the island, and enjoy exclusive views of supercars and luxury cars.

Dine at any of the premium fine-dining spots at Al Maha Island. Make a reservation at Nammos, Zuma, Beefbar, Tatel, or any other restaurant and treat yourself to an amazing culinary experience.

Accessibility: Doha Metro Red Line (Legtaifiya metro station). Take the Lusail Tram from this station to Esplanade. Al Maha Island is a short walk away from here.

Uber, Karwa, and Careem pick-up and drop-off points are available.

Distance from the airport: 30 km approx. (30-35 minutes via road depending on the traffic)

Timings: Lusail Winter Wonderland 4 — 11 pm (Sunday — Thursday). Last Entry 10 pm and 4 pm — 1 am Friday & Saturday (last entry 11.15 pm)

Restaurant timings differ.

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