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The ultimate Doha stopover guide: must-do activities with 48 hours or less

June 4, 2021 Middle East News No Comments
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With year-round sunshine, world-class eateries, spectacular natural beauty and a vibrant, rich culture, Doha has plenty to offer visitors. While a stopover won’t cover it all, a short but memorable trip can make the perfect start or end to a getaway. Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) lists the must-do experiences for those who only have 48, 24 or 12 hours to spare.

12 HOURS 

Visitors won’t have to venture far to experience a taste of Qatari culture in this small, secure Middle Eastern destination. Soak up art and culture at the Katara Cultural Village, located just 30 minutes from Hamad International Airport. Its stunning Arabian-style architecture combined with a maze of cobbled alleyways offers a picturesque escape. With an array of art exhibitions, an epic open-air amphitheatre and a bustling atmosphere, it is ideal for a flying visit for those wanting a snapshot of Middle Eastern heritage.

With the finest international restaurants under one roof, visitors can stay at Katara and dine at one of its many eateries, such as L’Wzaar Seafood Market restaurant that offers fresh fish caught daily from Qatari waters. Alternatively, make the short trip to The Pearl, a vibrant man-made island with a choice of cafés and bakeries as well as a selection of elegant local and international boutiques for a spot of shopping.

24 HOURS 

 With only 24 hours in Doha, stretching the legs is a must before stepping on to the next flight. The Corniche is the perfect place to start; a 7km walkway along the waterfront and great way to see and experience the stunning handmade dhow boats, which were historically used for pearl diving and trade. Step aboard one of the boats for a tour to Al Safliya Island and capture an impressive photo of the Doha skyline. While on the island, guests can relax on the beach or go paddle boarding.

Back on the mainland, stop for a bite to eat at SMAT for some authentic Qatari cuisine. Next, embrace the local atmosphere with a trip to the Souq Waqif. The plethora of alleyways of this traditional Middle Eastern marketplace are lined with colourful stalls and shops, selling everything from traditional garments and spices to coffee pots and pearls – the perfect spot to select a souvenir.

Finish the day in style with a luxury dinner at the world’s largest Nobu. Perched above the gulf coast, the restaurant offers striking views and mouth-watering food. The ideal way to complete 24 hours in Doha.

48 HOURS 

Day 1 

Friday marks the start of the weekend in Qatar and there’s no better indulgent experience than a Friday brunch. With a wide selection of mouth-watering spreads, W Doha Hotel & Residences offers guests an Asian inspired menu at midday or, for the late-risers, there’s a 4pm extravagant barbeque with poolside views, featuring ceviche and oyster stations.  

For visitors keen to explore beyond the hotel, the National Museum of Qatar is a worthwhile visit for an experience of Middle Eastern history. Named as one of Time Magazine’s[1] greatest places to visit in 2019, the museum’s iconic building displays spectacular architecture inspired by the petals of desert roses. Inside, the museum houses 11 immersive and experiential galleries, each guiding visitors through three significant chapters in Qatar’s history.

Finish the day at the museum’s rooftop restaurant, Jiwan. Not only does it boast stunning views, but the seasonal sharing dishes pay homage to indigenous ingredients and ancient Bedouin elemental cooking techniques; fire, water, air and earth. The result is flavourful dishes with layers of texture.

Day 2 

One of the best ways to explore Doha’s inviting waters is through its watersports. Head towards Doha Marina to try flyboarding. For thrill seekers in search of a good view, head 40mins outside the city to Sealine for a spot of paragliding overlooking Doha’s vast sands and stunning coastline.

After a morning out on the ocean, relax at the award-winning Six Senses spa at Sharq Village. This luxury spa features 23 treatment rooms and a choice of more than 250 treatments ranging from traditional Arabian, Thai and Swedish therapies, to more holistic indulgences.

Head for a final meal at IZU at the Mandarin Oriental. It offers French and Mediterranean cuisine infused with Middle Eastern flair. The mezzanine level is known for serving one of the best burratas in the city and faces the lively Barahat Msheireb town square, giving visitors one last chance to soak up Doha’s vibrant atmosphere.

To find more about things to do in Qatar’s please visit https://www.visitqatar.qa.

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