Destination Qatar: Why Not Choose… Doha?
The capital of a country as modern as it is small, Doha welcomes you with its state-of-the-art buildings, huge towers and its beautiful museums, but above all its magnificent Corniche and its crystal clear waters. When modernity combines with idyllic scenery, it promises to be an unforgettable stay!
On the water’s edge as well as inside the city, there’s a wealth of treasures to discover
The Doha Corniche alone, has a thousand and one treasures to offer. From magnificent walks along the water’s edge, to traditional dhows, fine sand beaches and crystal clear water; in short, a dream setting. As you stroll along the port, take the opportunity to visit the magnificent Museum of Islamic Art. Then carry on along the Corniche towards the west, in the direction of the Pearl; the sublime artificial island where all the hotels, shops and restaurants compete for luxury and magnitude. A world first.
Appreciated by runners, cyclists and walkers in particular, the many green parks are true oases of freshness in the heart of the boiling city.
A dream destination for lovers of water sports, you will be able to practise activities as varied as sailing, water skiing, jet skiing or scuba diving and to discover the wonderful marine life of Qatar.
Moving away from the waterfront, set off to explore inside the city. Make sure you stop to admire the great Al Shouyoukh mosque and its very beautiful tower clock. A must-see, Souq Waqif invites you to an awakening of your senses. And, close by, tour the interior of the Al Koot fort, originally built to protect the souk. Finally, for art lovers, the Orientalist Museum is a true splendour.
Do you want to discover a traditional sport that is truly out of the ordinary? Why not attend a camel race? On the Al Shahaniya track, this ancestral tradition attracts many enthusiastic crowds during the winter season.
And for those who want to know more about Qatar, the Al Zubara Fort, on the north-west coast of the country, will make budding archaeologists happy, while in the south, the “Inland Sea” is a stunning nature reserve, but is reserved for adventurers as it is inaccessible by road.
Top 10 Must-Sees
The Corniche: in the heart of the capital, this immense promenade, which is seven kilometres long, prohibits vehicles and therefore offers walkers a green space where they can admire spectacular views of the city. Along the bay, traditional wooden dhows evoke the fascinating maritime history of Qatar.
The Museum of Islamic Art: discover 14 centuries of fascinating art through splendid works of art and artefacts from the Islamic world, enhanced by an innovative presentation. Take in the wonders of the quality and diversity of the preserved collections inside this modern architectural masterpiece. An exceptional museum which constantly renews its special exhibitions.
The PearlQatar: often referred to as the “Arabian Riviera” due to its chic atmosphere, this artificial island off the coast of West Bay is endowed with Mediterranean style marinas accommodating a wealth of yachts, apartment buildings, villas and hotels, as well as shops and luxury showrooms. The waterfront promenades are lined with cafes and restaurants; from a simple ice cream to a five star dinner, there is something for all tastes and desires.
Many beaches with pristine, white sand: ideal for enjoying the sun, border the country’s coastline. The public beach of Katara in Doha, has very well maintained equipment.
The Al Koot Fort:built in 1927 as a police station to protect the neighbouring Souq Waqif, this white square-shaped fort, which also served as a prison, features four towers - three circular and one rectangular - crowned with traditional Qatari-style battlements on each corner.
Souq Waqif:a reconstruction of the previous one, which was the beating heart of the city for centuries, this souk welcomes you into its lively streets with its authentic architecture and culture. The countless small shops offer a dazzling array of oriental products such as: spices, perfumes, jewellery, clothing, crafts and plenty of souvenirs. Traditional performances truly enhance the atmosphere of this unique place.
The Orientalist Museum:located near Al Muthaf Street, in the Mirqab district, this museum houses some of the most important Orientalist art collections in the world. It is the only establishment in the world that is entirely devoted to this form of art. Inside, you can admire its collections of paintings, watercolours, drawings, lithographs, sculptures and applied arts dating back to the 16th century.
Aspire Zone: also known as Doha Sports City, this 250 hectare sports complex is located in the Al Waab district of Doha . Established in 2003, it hosted the Asian Games in 2006. In addition to its impressive sports facilities (the Khalifa International Stadium, Hamad Aquatic Centre and the Aspire Dome), the area includes an enormous 300-metre high skyscraper, the Aspire Tower, which is even more beautiful when it lights up at night.
The Al Zubara Fort: located on the north-west coast of Qatar, this perfectly restored fort is established in a 60 hectare site of archaeological excavations dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the best preserved and largest in the region. It contains the remains of a fortified coastal town formerly regarded as one of the most important pearl oyster fishing and trading centres in the Gulf, maintaining links to the Indian Ocean.
Khor Al Adaid: Some 60 km from Doha, in the south-east of the country, is one of the most impressive natural wonders of Qatar, Khor Al Adaid, also known as the “Inland Sea”. This natural reserve with its own ecosystem as well as being listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the few places in the world where the sea sinks deep into the heart of the desert. Inaccessible by road, this tranquil expanse of water can only be reached by crossing the rolling dunes.
A wide variety of oriental flavours
You will find a surprisingly varied cuisine in Qatar. Amongst the local products, you’ll love the fish and dates. Qatar is also a major importer and, over the years, local specialities have been influenced by the cuisine of the Indian sub-continent, Iran, the Levant and North Africa. For example, you can taste kebsa, a rice stew made with fish or lamb, rich in spices and served with yoghurt, or even ghuzi, an entire roasted lamb served on a bed of rice and nuts.
On the dessert menu, try Umm Ali, a type of puff pastry pudding with dry fruits and whipped cream, or simply choose a piece of halva, which is just as tasty.
Late March/Early April: Qatar International Food Festival
Doha is the meeting point for gastronomy lovers who meet together to attend the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF). Between the program and the dream setting that replaces the decor at the QIFF, everything is carried out to make this event a real success.
August: Qatar Summer Festival
Each year, throughout August, a different theme is chosen by Qatar’s tourism authorities who offer cultural activities based on gastronomy, music, art and sport to the Qataris as well as to tourists. An opportunity you won’t want to miss!
18 December: Qatar’s National Independence Day
On 18 December each year, Qatar celebrates the end of the British protectorate in 1971. On this day of festivities, Qataris and residents are invited to gather around a slogan entitled: “One Love”. On the agenda: processions, concerts, fireworks and various cultural events.
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