From its ancient historic sites and cultural museums to its vibrant beaches and diverse shopping and dining, Qatar is an excellent destination for a new experience. Whether you're travelling with friends, family or on your own, here are the top 10 things to do in Qatar on your trip.
1. Pearl Island and the Pearl Monument
Though oil is a booming industry in Qatar now, the country has a long history with pearling revenue. Before oil was discovered, Qatar had a strong seafaring culture that relied on pearl diving. Qatar honours this legacy with Pearl Island, a luxury island built near one of the country's most important pearl-diving sites. Each year, the island hosts the Qatar Marine Festival, a cultural event that celebrates the history of pearling.
Another highlight of the island is the Pearl Monument, a massive fountain sculpture of an oyster with a shimmering pearl. This stunning sculpture is worth the visit on its own, but the entire island has luxurious shopping and dining to enjoy as well.
2. Aspire Tower
Aspire Tower, a futuristic tower in Qatar, was built to house the Symbolic Flame of the 2006 Asian Games. The concrete-and-steel structure has impressive architecture to see from the outside, as well as a variety of entertainment options on the inside. You can visit the health club, indoor swimming pool and sports museum. In the evening, you can take in the spectacular views of the city from the revolving restaurant or the observation deck.
3. Al Khor Island
If you're looking for outdoor exploration and adventure, Al Khor Island is the best choice. Known locally as Purple Island, Al Khor is an island surrounded by mangroves that's ideal for water sports, beach fun, rock climbing and hiking. The island is home to an abundance of unique wildlife, such as flamingos, mud crabs, glass shrimp and sea squirts, many of which can be seen in the creek or at low tide. The beach is great for kids as well, due to its calm surf and weak currents. You can also hire kayaks to explore the mangroves by water.
Gondolania is a spectacular family destination with games, sports, rides and more. Located in the Villagio Mall, the theme park has everything from thrilling roller coasters to kiddie rides. There's also an Olympic-sized ice skating rink and the Venetian-inspired gondola boat ride, which is always a hit with adults and children. You could also bowl, play laser tag, go-kart, and spend your time enjoying the sights.
5. Angry Birds World Qatar
If you're looking for a fun day out with the kids, Angry Birds World Qatar is a great option. The theme park has a unique carnival experience and thrilling rides, live entertainment and shopping, so it's perfect for all ages. Like the wildly popular video game, the rides and entertainment at Angry Birds World feature adorable game characters and fun themes that are sure to have everyone smiling.
6. Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Mosque
Named for a Sunni Muslim scholar and preacher, the Imam Muhammad ibn Abd at-Wahhab Mosque is the national mosque of the country. It's constructed in a traditional Arab architectural style with a few modern accents and striking domes on the roof. At night, the mosque is illuminated with white lighting, which makes it visible across the city. In whole, the mosque can hold an astonishing 30,000 people, and there's a special area that can accommodate up to 1,200 women.
7. Museum of Islamic Art
The Museum of Islamic Art boasts a massive collection of Islamic artwork from 3 continents. It features collections spanning over a thousand years and hitting on important milestones in Islamic history. The ancient masterpieces encompass metalwork, jewellery, ceramics, woodwork, coins, glass and textiles, both from religious and secular artists. The museum often holds special exhibitions as well, such as features on damask weapons and armour, dynastic textiles and motifs, 19th-century female artists and animal fables in Islamic art.
8. Souq Waqif
Souq Waqif is a must-visit attraction in Qatar. The vibrant marketplace is built on an ancient site where Bedouin would bring livestock and textiles for trade. Now, it's a modern-day souq with a touch of the traditional atmosphere. Because of this, you can find an array of old-world goods, such as national Qatari dress, spices, perfumes and incense. Some shops showcase cultural artefacts, such as weaponry and artwork. Nearby, you'll find stables with spectacular Arabian horses and a pen with camels, a prized animal in the country.
9. Falcon Souq
For a traditional experience, you must visit Falcon Souq. It's found close to Souq Waqif and completely dedicated to the ancient and revered sport of falconry. Inside, you'll see many of the birds perched in the shops, and you can talk to the shopkeepers about the sport and look at handcrafted supplies. Nearby is the Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital, an animal hospital that focuses entirely on the care of falcons.
10. Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
The Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum is a fascinating museum with an eclectic collection of world cultural artefacts and exhibits. It began as a private collection but quickly grew into a public museum. You'll find everything from artefacts from the Jurassic Age to present-day art, all organized into 4 themes: Qatar Heritage, Islamic Art, Vehicles, and Coins and Currency. Some notable pieces are an Ottoman pistol, an Ottoman key bag and an 18th-century ceramic bowl. The museum also hosts workshops, children's learning experiences, guided tours and other events for a more in-depth experience.
Plan your trip with Expedia
From its intriguing museums and historic sites to its ancient markets and fine shopping, you'll be spoilt for choice for how to spend your time in Qatar. If you're planning a trip, visit Expedia to explore Qatar holidays and prepare for a memorable experience!