Official language: Arabic is the official language and English is widely spoken.
Welcome to the desert paradise of Qatar. At a glimpse Qatar is mainly a city state with half of the population living in the capital of Doha, but on offer here lay countless adventure and sightseeing opportunities that surpass the imaginable. From the iconic Museum of Islamic Art and the Katara cultural village with the MATHAF (museum of modern arts) to the glimmering skyscrapers and the man-made sandy beaches, travelers can relish in al that Qatar has on offer. The country might seem like a little sister of the neighbouring Dubai but is unique and fascinating in its own special way. Among the artificial creations that jazz up the landscapes there are destination such as Dukhan which has astounding beaches and the breath taking scenic dunes of Khor-al-Adaid that highlight the raw natural beauty that the country hides in its midst. Step inside and explore a path less traveled…lose your heart in the Qatari traditions and soak up the infectious atmosphere that is Qatar!
Qatar, small though it may be when compared to neighbouring countries is truly a diamond in the rough. It has undergone massive transformations and aims at becoming a main tourist hotspot in the Arabian Peninsula. Many people flock here to gain experience in the mystic and traditional Bedouin lifestyle and also seeking wealth with the glimmering opportunities that lay in this country. Qatar has been classed as one of the most modernized yet tradition based countries within the Middle East with its majestically built skyscrapers, booming trade sector and new-found cozy spot in international diplomacy. Qatar, with its man-made and raw natural beauty is truly as unique as the landscape that enfolds it.
Things to do and see in Qatar
Sheikh Faisal Museum
This great museum showcases just about everything from dinosaur fossils to modern day race cars. It’s located just outside of Doha and is truly a great opportunity to experience the things that Qatari people hold dear to their hearts.
This magnificent architectural masterpiece was constructed in the 1900’s by the Turks and has been used as a prison and a stamp museum in historic times. The fort has been well maintained over the years and is yet another chance at experiencing the cultural and political heritage of Qatar.
Museum of Islamic Art
Feast your eyes on the beautiful collection of Arabic art, calligraphy and ceramics on display at the immaculately designed gallery. It is located on the Doha Corniche and has become an iconic landmark, and is not to be missed.
Katara Cultural Village
This beachfront development has a breathtaking indoor amphitheater that hosts amazing concerts, intriguing art galleries and top class restaurants that all come together to show off the very best of what Qatar can provide tourists with.
If you want to experience the best beach in Qatar then head to Dukhan. Beautiful sandy shores give way to shallow waters that has great snorkeling spots and is also popular as a family beach.
Lost City of Zekreet
Just outside of Dukhan lies one of Qatar’s best kept secrets, a film-set Qatari village that has been abandoned. It’s a magnificent site to explore the true cultural origins of the Qatari people and has to be on any travel itinerary.
Selling everything from antique china, amber prayer beads and exotic spices from around the world, this bustling souq is one not to be missed.
Scenic salt flats fringed by sandy dunes tuck away the beautiful inlands sea of Khor Al-Adaid. Get the “whole camel” experience by booking a camping expedition, then relax and enjoy the campfire and the awe inspiring natural beauty.
Best time to visit Qatar
Tourists visit Qatar between December and January
Qatar has become known for its extreme and unforgiving heat and has a warm and arid climate.The summer months which runs from May-September sees hot weather with seriously high humidity levels and daytime averages are around 35°C but temperatures can easily soar into the 50°C and the warm season is often accompanied by wild sandstorms. The winter brings more acceptable weather and the months from October through April sees average and relieving temperatures of around 20-25°C. The best time to visit Qatar is between December and January when conditions aren’t too hot or humid.
Did you know?
Doha, the capital of Qatar used to be a fishing village where locals would dive in search of pearls.
Burger King has specially designed adverts with a burger in the shape of a crescent moon that encourages locals to break their Ramadan fast at this fast food outlet.
Qatar gained independence from Brittan in 1971
Revealing the soles of your feet to Qatari people is considered rude and inconsiderate.
- Balaleet – This traditional breakfast dish consists of a bed of noodles that have been cooked in cinnamon, sugar, cardamom and saffron and is served with an omelet on top.
- Michee – Similar to the traditional humus (chickpea dip) but with the tahini is omitted from the paste making the taste unique to the area.
- Zatar pies – This Arabic bread that is baked with liberal amounts of thyme and is delicious when served with Laban, a creamy diary product which taste similar to yoghurt.
- Matchboush – This Qatari favorite dish consist of meat that has been cooked until extremely tender that gets a vast amount of spices and is served on a bed of rice.
- Harrees – Another Qatari delicacy. This dish requires that meat and split wheat that has been pre-soaked gets cooked down for hours on end until it reaches a paste like consistency and is usually served with flat bread.
- Om Ali – Mother of Ali. This dessert is something of a mix between bread pudding and rice pudding, but with a little touch of extra spices this dish is delectable.
- Dates – The importance of dates should not be underestimated. It’s a staple and something that is often served before business engagements can commence and the Qatari’s take great pride in serving it as a token of good hospitality.
Qatar Open Tennis Tournament
Roger Federer is a regular competitor and so are the likes of many famous tennis players at this annual event. The event is held at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex and attracts thousands of players and spectators alike (January)
Qatar Masters Golf Tournament
The cream of the crop in the golfing world flocks to the Doha Golf Club each year to try their luck in the Masters title. It attracts thousands of spectators and can often see the city of Doha’s accommodation facilities fully booked (February)
Doha Cultural Festival
Showcasing the cultural uniqueness of Doha, this annual festival attracts thousands of visitors and traditional music, dancing and off course delectable cuisine is all part of the celebrations (March)
Celebrations in Qatar are beyond festive as the locals commemorate the end of Ramadan. There’s a lot of feasting, dancing and performances that are sure to entertain visitors and infect them with celebratory moods (September)
Doha Tribeca Film Festival
It has become a global film festival and is surely the most impressive within the Middle East. Everyone from film lovers, actors, critics and directors flock here to enjoy the 5 day long film festival that began in 2009 (October)
Art Festival of Qatar
Featuring top local and Middle Eastern artists, this festival showcases the best arts and crafts on offer (December)
- Remember to pack and use loads of sunscreen.
- Always dress conservatively covering the shoulders down to the knees.
- Drink lots of bottled water (tap water isn’t safe for drinking) in order to avoid dehydration in the desert country.
- When dining with Qatari people, never reveal the soles of your feet to them as it is seen as rude and inconsiderate.
- Handling food or greeting Qatari people with your left hand is seen as an offense as the left hand is the so called “dirty hand”
- Always ask for permission when taking photographs and never attempt to take pictures of Muslim women.
- Recommended vaccinations such as Yellow Fever and Polio should be taken before traveling.