Types of Girl about the Globe (GatG) – Adventure GatG, Culture GatG, Desert GatG, History GatG, Shopping GatG
If you didn’t know where Qatar was before, you probably have now that it hosted the FIFA World Cup 2022. Whatever you think of Qatar, this Middle Eastern country is an emerging destination with an authentic culture.
If you are planning a trip to Doha, I’ve covered things to do in Doha and beyond in this article. Discover places to visit in Doha Qatar, what to do in Qatar including itineraries for Qatar, getting around Doha and where to stay in Doha, especially if you are travelling here alone.
- Solo Travel in Qatar
- Qatari Culture
- About Qatar
- Things To Do in Doha
- Where To Stay in Doha
- Qatar Tours
- Getting Around Doha
- From Doha Airport
- Best Time To Visit Qatar
- Qatar Itinerary
- Plan Your Travel To Doha
- My Verdict
- Related Posts
Solo Travel in Qatar
Qatar is crime-free making it an extremely safe country to visit and Women in Qatar play an active part in the country. Islamic culture is welcoming to foreigners and tolerant of other religions so as a visitor to Qatar you can expect to be accepted and welcomed. Is Qatar safe for women? Western women may get some attention in Qatar but it’s usually just curious stares and not uncomfortable.
There is no dress code for women but it’s recommended to respect the culture by keeping beachwear on the beach and dressing appropriately in public. Wi-fi is everywhere and is free to access and English is widely spoken too. If you’re wondering “Is Doha safe?” Yes, it is. I travelled here solo and had a comfortable time.
Qatari culture is known for its hospitality. It is within their culture to share food, drink and shelter with travellers so you can expect a warm welcome and old-world courtesy if you come here. Make sure to go to a traditional Qatari market or souq. These markets are great place to shop and experience local culture.
Qatar is still an islamic country so if you visit during the holy month of Ramadan you are not permitted to eat or drink in public during daylight hours. The weekend in Qatar isn’t Saturday and Sunday. Instead the work week runs from Sunday to Thursday so expect some businesses to be closed on a Friday or Saturday.
Qatar is a sovereign state in the Middle East that has been independent since 1971. Its long peninsular (11,500 sq. km) extends into the Arabian Gulf and the country has more than 500 km of coastline.
It offers authentic experiences and desert adventures as well as welcoming hospitality. Aside from museums, beaches and desert safaris, you don’t need that long in Qatar but it is a good stopover for a few nights if you are flying with Qatar Airlines. And there are also beach resorts if you plan to just relax for a few days too.
Qatar is a great destination for all types of solos. Active solos can experience sand boarding or dune bashing or take a leisurely stroll along the Doha coastline. History buffs can delve into the past at Al Zubarah Fort. Ocean solos can dive in the ocean or get their heart pumping with a range of water sports. Wildlife and desert lovers can ride a camel, sleep in the desert and experience the art of falconry.
Or for the shopping solo, you can take a sightseeing tour, dine in a nice restaurant and shop to your heart’s content at one of the many malls before sunbathing on the sandy coastline or getting pampered at a spa. And if it is sandy beaches and dunes that you’re after, Qatar has plenty! There are lots of things to do in Doha and beyond.
Things To Do in Doha
Active & Adventure
There is plenty of adventure to be had here and one of the fun things to do in Doha is to take a desert safari Doha tour. Doha is surrounded by desert terrain, making it perfect for the adventurous solo. Experience dune bashing in the Mesaieed desert in the south or drive an ATV through it yourself instead.
There are many tour operators that offer guided desert safaris, where you can experience the beauty of the desert and ride a camel. Qatar's desert landscapes also offer a unique opportunity to try sandboarding, (similar to snowboarding but on sand dunes).
One of the top places to visit in Qatar is Khor Al Adaid. This is where the waters of the Gulf meet the desert dunes and create a spectacular inland sea. This UNESCO-recognised natural reserve is where you can take a camel ride along the beach, drive across sand dunes, spot wildlife or paddle in the Arabian Gulf.
Because Doha has a sandy coastline, you can get active and walk along the Doha Corniche waterfront to see the skyline of the city (it looks like a mini Dubai with all the skyscrapers). Spot the dhows in the water and the high-rise skyscrapers at West Bay. As you walk along, you can see the Museum of Islamic Art, a stunning piece of architecture that sits on the corniche, near the water's edge. It’s also safe to walk here at dusk or you can join the joggers as they run around the bay.
If you love sports, Qatar holds some major sporting events that you can watch in the Khalifa International Stadium or at one of its waterfront locations. Check what’s on before you arrive.
Arts & Museums
Qatar is the centre of art and culture in the Gulf. For the arty and museum solo, you’ll find performances and concerts as well as public art amongst world-class museums and galleries (they even have international artists performing here). Even the Doha Fire Station looks like a work of art!
If you don’t have time to see all the museums, the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is a top Doha must-see. This well-known museum takes you on a journey through 14 centuries of Islamic art and showcases some of the finest art and artefacts. Or visit the Qatar National Museum. This museum covers the history, culture, and heritage of Qatar, and features exhibits of traditional crafts, costumes, and artefacts.
The Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum is one of the best places to visit in Qatar as it is also one of the most unique in the Middle East. It offers a wide range of Qatari history such as handwoven rugs and traditional wear but the most interesting artefacts are the personal collection belonging to Sheikh Faisal.
The Msheireb Museums are made up of four heritage houses all in a traditional Qatari style which have been restored and turned into museums covering the history and evolution of Qatar. You can get a glimpse into traditional Qatari family life and how it is changing. See Bin Jelmood House, Company House, Mohammed Bin Jassim House, and Radwani House.
A stamp collection may not usually be your thing but the Arab Postal Stamp Museum is worth visiting just for the beautiful Arab-style building that it’s housed in. Inside are stamps from over 22 Arab countries that date over three decades.
For art lovers, there are several galleries. The Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art is a world-class museum that houses both modern and contemporary artwork in drawings, paintings and prints.
But you don’t even have to enter an art gallery to see artwork in Doha. When you are exploring, keep your eyes peeled for public art installations at these locations: Anne Geddes: Healthy Living from the Start at HMC Women’s Hospital. Richard Serra: 7 at the Museum of Islamic Art Park. Tony Smith: Smoke at Doha Exhibition and Conference Centre.
There are many mosques in Doha and Qatar but the Imam Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab Mosque is the largest mosque here. This stunning sandstone mosque with more than 90 domes has fantastic views of the capital’s skyline. It’s advised to book a tour to visit the mosque.
For culture, one of the things to do in Qatar is to explore the souqs. Souq Waqif is an authentic experience that gives you a glimpse into Qatar street life. You feel as though you’re wandering through a traditional street as you walk through bustling alleyways with locals drinking coffee and eating Arabic food. It’s easy to get lost in the maze of souks. There are lots of delicious sweet shops to choose from.
This authentic traditional Qatari market is an ideal place to buy souvenirs and a silk scarf. Just don’t forget to haggle! Here is also where you can find a Falcon Souq. The Middle East is the home of falconry and you see the national bird in this souq. It’s also one of the places to visit in Qatar for free.
Another traditional market to soak up Qatari culture is the Al Wakrah Souq. You can wander the alleyways and spice stalls and just lose yourself in the atmosphere of this seaside market. Then after you’re all shopped out, you can dine in one of the restaurants and sample some seafood by the seaside.
Stroll along the promenade, see the Pearl Monument situated on the roundabout or just spend some time seeing the traditional wooden dhows in the sand. If you do sunbathe here, you need to wear proper swimwear.
Dhow boats are ancient Arabic boats found in the Red Sea and the Middle East. Traditionally used for fishing and other commercial activities, many are now used for tourism and dinner cruises along the river instead. In Qatar, you can book a daytime or evening dhow cruise.
Another of the places to visit in Doha is Katara Cultural Village. This area on the waterfront is great to explore. Near West Bay, this cultural village is bordered by a beach and hills. Visit the Katara Mosque and the Gold Mosque (you may need your sunglasses for the glare on this one). There’s also a Greek amphitheatre with Islamic influences such as the arched entrances.
The village is ideal for art lovers who can explore the Katara Cultural Village galleries. Make sure to look out for the artwork of The Force of Nature II, and Gandhi’s Three Monkeys at Katara Cultural Village.
Or head to the races (camels that is!) Just 20 km west of Doha is Al Shahaniya, a camel race track where you can watch these humped mammals race.
Food – Qatar Restaurants
There are a wide range of restaurants and cuisine here. Aside from the traditional Middle Eastern and Arabic restaurants, you can find steakhouses within hotels such as the Doh Marriott and Movenpick, Asian Hotel in the Grand Hyatt and Intercontinental, Chines at the Oryx Rotana and Radisson Blu, as well as seafood restaurants in Sharq Village & Spa and the Katara.
There are also international restaurants within the Ritz-Carlton and Grand Hyatt to name just a few. Enjoy Latin American food at Toro Toro in Marsa Malaz Kempinski, and for vegan food head to Evergreen Organics at The Pearl.
For coffee and cake or a spot of afternoon tea head to one of these: Seasons Tea Lounge at Four Seasons Doha, W Cafe at W Doha Hotel & Residences or Cafe Murano at Marsa Malaz Kempiniskix.
For history lovers, one of the Qatar best places to visit is Al Zubarah Fort. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is reminiscent of the country’s turbulent past. It used to be one of the Gulf’s important ports for both trading and pearl diving, and you can explore the archaeological site here to learn more about its fascinating history. It is far from Doha (more than 100 km away) but even the ride here will transport you to the past.
If you are planning to venture further out than the capital and see more than the Doha places to visit, Al Shamal is a coastal town that showcases the pearl trade of the country. This coastal town dates back to the 18th century and has hundreds of coastline that you can walk along.
In the north lies the Al Jassasiya Rock Carvings. These carvings that lie within an abandoned quarry are said to be 1,000 years old. There are approximately 900 carvings here from fish and scorpions to carvings of dhows.
For a small country, there is a variety of nature. It’s not just sand dunes here. You can see rock formations sculpted by the wind at Zikreet Peninsula (along with unspoiled beaches), and gypsum caves at Dhal Al Misfir. Or kayak through mangroves at Al Thakira where you can paddle your way through lush Arabic scenery.
If it’s water sports that you’re into, you can try kitesurfing, parasailing, sailing and kayaking here. You can even try your hand at fishing at the popular fishing spot called Al Dhakira. Take a traditional dhow cruise to experience the sea without getting wet or dive with one of the dive centres.
For those who want to escape the city centre, Banana Island is the place to go and one of the top things to do in Qatar for those seeking somewhere exotic. Just 20 minutes from the centre you arrive by yacht on a private island where you can jet ski, paddle board or just lounge around on a beach making the most of a day pass on this island owned by Anantara.
Or just go to the beach. Qatar has many beaches, both on the Gulf coast and on the eastern coast of the peninsula. Just remember to not walk around outside of the beach in your bikini or swimsuit. Fuwairit Beach is one of the most beautiful but it isn’t close to the city. You’ll have to hire a car and go off-road or get a driver instead as it’s about 100 km outside of Doha. It’s generally closed in November when the sea turtles nest here.
Shopping in Qatar
For the shopping solo, Qatar has many malls with several in Doha. Window shop at the Al Asmakh Mall (Centrepoint), City Centre Doha, The Gate Mall, Lagoona Mall, or the Total Plaza within Doha itself.
One of the Doha best places to visit is the Pearl-Qatar, an artificial island off the coast of Doha that has been developed into a luxury residential and shopping district. You don’t even have to shop here as you can just walk along the marinas and sightsee at this ‘Arabian Riviera.’
Or venture outside the capital for the Ezdan Mall, Hyatt Plaza, Landmark Mall, The Mall, The Pearl-Qatar, Al Khor Mall, Dar Al Salam Mall, Gulf Mall, and the 01 Mall. If it’s a shopping experience you want, Qatar is a great location for it.
Where To Stay in Doha
Similar to most of the Middle East, Qatar’s accommodation is fantastic value for the service and quality that you receive. Qatar has a range of accommodations to choose from whether you prefer international brands or budget guesthouses. Expect to find spas, pools, gyms and private beaches included within 5-star contemporary and luxury accommodations. Other options are boutique hotels, apartments, beachfront apartments and resorts outside of the city.
Stay within Doha and you’ll find most of the city’s top attractions within walking distance. West Bay is the main financial district with many restaurants and places to shop. Or you may prefer to stay near the Corniche and explore the waterfront promenade instead.
Below are recommended accommodations which are especially good for solo female travellers. For all other accommodations, click on the link below and search for reviews by other solos.
* Check prices and availability for all Qatar accommodations
Accommodation in Qatar
Swiss-Belinn Doha – I stayed in this chain hotel in Oman and loved it. The one in Doha has 24-hour reception with equally as friendly staff, a choice of restaurants and is close to a metro so it’s easy to get around. Prices start from £82/$98 per night for a superior double room. * Check prices, dates and availability: Swiss-Belinn Doha
Voco Doha West Bay Suites – If you prefer a studio apartment, the voco Doha West Bay Suites has suites and rooms with world-class service and a health club and restaurant serving all types of cuisine. Prices start from £88/$105 per night for a studio. * Check prices, dates and availability: Voco Doha West Bay Suites
Wyndham Grand Doha West Bay Beach – I love the Wyndham hotels. I stayed in one in Kuwait and recommend them. The one in Doha is beautifully designed and in a great location on West Bay Beach. Prices start from £156/$186 a night for a superior king room. * Check prices, dates and availability: Wyndham Grand Doha West Bay Beach
Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated Qatar activities. Using local companies, you can choose a range of tours and activities through their platform. Choose from a desert safari Qatar with a camel ride, safari and sandboarding experience, a 24-hour hop-on hop-off bus ticket, and a Doha City Tour of Souq Waqif, Katara and Pearl-Qatar Island.
Some of the tours require a minimum of 2 people or are twice as much to do alone for a private tour but there are some experiences you can book solo. It’s really simple to use, just check the reviews for your Doha tour, check the price and availability then book online. * Check Get Your Guide tours, prices and availability
Getting Around Doha
Getting around Doha, the capital of Qatar, is easy on foot but if you prefer to take Qatar transport, there are several options for getting around in Doha:
Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Doha and are a convenient way to get around. You can hail a taxi on the street or book one through a ride-hailing app. You could also hire a limousine if you’re feeling flash or use the Uber app. Good taxi companies are Al Million Taxi, and Karwa Taxi.
Metro: Doha has a modern metro system that connects the city centre with several suburbs. The metro is a convenient way to get around, and it is also air-conditioned, which is a welcome relief during the hot summer months.
Bus: Doha has a public bus system that connects the city centre with several suburbs and will take you around the country as far north as Al Shamal. Buses are a cheap and convenient way to get around, but they can be crowded at peak times.
Car Rental: If you want to have more flexibility and independence, you can rent a car in Doha. There are several car rental companies located at the airport and in the city centre. I have used Discover Cars and recommend them. • Check car hire prices
From Doha Airport
Hamad International Airport (the Qatar airport code is DOH) is located about 20 kilometres (12 miles) east of the city centre. There are several options for getting from the airport to where you are staying in Qatar.
Taxis are available at the airport and are a convenient way to get to your destination. The fare from the airport to the city centre is typically around QAR 60-80 (from $17 USD). The airport is connected to the metro system, and you can take the Red Line to get to the city centre. The fare from the airport to the city centre is QAR 5 (about $1.50 USD).
There are several bus routes that connect the airport with the city centre. The fare is QAR 5 (about $1.50 USD). * Check Rome2Rio for your route If you have rented a car, you may prefer to pick it up as soon as you arrive at the airport. * Check car hire prices
Hoppa offers airport transfers and can arrange to collect you from the airport and take you there too. * Check prices for airport transfers
Best Time To Visit Qatar
Being in the Middle East, Qatar has a desert climate and you can expect sun all year. Year-round sunshine is pretty much guaranteed in Qatar and it hardly rains except in winter when it is only a quick shower. Visit in January and you can expect temperatures of 17 degrees Celsius. In the height of the summer during July temperatures can even get as high as 40 degrees so you may want to avoid the summer months and visit in the spring or autumn months for a more comfortable temperature.
One-day Qatar Itinerary
If you’re limited on time, take a DohaBus city tour and hop on and off all the major attractions. It’s a good way of learning more about the country and getting an overview. Stop at the Museum of Islamic Art for a morning of education before hopping back on for a lunch stop at The Pearl-Qatar, next to the marina, before seeing the Katara Cultural Village.
Afternoon – Treat yourself at one of the luxury spas or spend an afternoon window shopping and escaping the sun at one of the elegant shopping malls.
OR: Head to Soul Waqif for an authentic street atmosphere and to grab some authentic souvenirs. Souq Waqif is a traditional Arabian market that has been restored and modernized. Here you can shop for traditional crafts, spices, and souvenirs and if you haven’t had lunch you can stay here to enjoy some Middle Eastern cuisine at one of the many restaurants.
If it’s adventure that you’re after, (you are in the Middle East after all), get your heart pumping on an exhilarating desert safari, across sand dunes to Khor Al Adaid. Stay in the desert to experience the sunset and see the stars in a Bedouin camp where you can experience a traditional barbecue, before retiring back to your hotel for the evening.
Three-Day Qatar Itinerary
9 am – Gain an insight into Qatar’s past and present at the Msheireb Enrichment Centre situated on the Corniche. Not only does it provide an introduction into the heritage and culture of the country but you’ll also learn about its exciting plans for future development too.
11:00 – Continue your morning of culture and learning at the Museum of Islamic Art.
13:00 – Take in the rest of the Doha sites on a hop-on hop-off bus tour, stopping wherever you want en route.
16:00 – See Doha at night aboard a dhow cruise. Sailing around Doha Bay you’ll see the Corniche in all its panoramic glory and the spectacular high-rise business district of West Bay.
19:00 – Experience a traditional market and street life at the lively Souq Waqif before soaking in the atmosphere even more by dining at one of the Middle Eastern restaurants here.
07:00 – Venture outside of Doha to Al Shahaniya to watch the camel races. Then continue onto Zikreet Peninsula to see unusual wind-carved rock formations and spend time at unspoiled beaches.
12:00 – Along the west coast is Al Zubarah where you can explore the archaeological site of the country’s fascinating history and fort.
13:00 – Take the east coast back to Doha stopping at the Al Thakira Mangroves and Al Khor city on the way.
19:00 – Head to Katara Cultural Village for some more culture.
09:00 – Make the most of your hotel’s facilities and relax at the pool or have a spa treatment.
12:00 – Do some last-minute shopping at one of the shopping malls and stop for a bite to eat too.
15:00 – Travel southward to Souq Waqif Al Wakra before reaching Sealine for a desert safari. This is the starting point for safaris and you can travel across the dunes to see the unique Inland Sea of Khor Al Adaid.
18:00 – Stay in the desert to sample a traditional barbecue then stay overnight to immerse yourself in Bedouin hospitality, sleeping under the stars at a desert camp.
- Can I drink the water? Tap water is meant to be okay to drink but you may prefer to take a water filter with you. * Check water filter prices
- Is tipping expected? Restaurants include a service charge but 10% is customary. QR10-20 for hotel porters and QR80 for drivers and tour guides.
- Fixed price or barter? You can haggle in the souqs. If you're unsure how to haggle this article will help.
- Any ATMs? You can find plenty of ATMs and restaurants and shops that accept credit cards.
- Which side of the road do they drive? The right-hand side of the road.
- Good for vegetarians? There are vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Doha
- Any Seven Wonders of the World? No, but the desert is amazing.
Plan a Trip To Doha
Current Time in Doha
Budget – Budget approx £140/$170 a day staying in comfortable accommodation and doing activities.
Capital of Qatar – Doha
Population of Qatar – 2.6 million
Time – GMT + 3 hours
Language Spoken – Arabic and English is spoken as a second language
Currency – Qatari Riyal
Do I need a visa for Qatar? Citizens of 38 countries including the UK can obtain a 30 day Qatar tourist visa on arrival for QR100
Flights to Qatar – from Europe it takes approximately 5 to 7 hours to Qatar
Best Time To Go To Qatar – January, February, March, November, December.
Is Doha worth visiting? Yes! I give Doha 4 stars. I spent time in Qatar solo and found it incredibly safe and beautiful.
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