When it comes to adventure, Qatar is packed with things to do. The dynamic FIFA World Cup 2022™ is just one of the many adventures you can dive into here. There are desert excursions, water sports and everything in between! To ensure you have a great time and enjoy your Qatar 2022™ experience, here is a three-day itinerary that will help you plan your adventures while you are here.
Note: Feel free to mix and match your favourites from the list to suit your trip.
Desert safaris in Qatar cater to just about every whim. There’s something for everyone – quad biking, dune bashing, sand boarding and swimming in the Inland Sea.
You can’t come to Qatar and leave without a desert safari adventure! Just an hour south of Doha you’ll hit the spot where all the fun is on four wheels. Set off in the morning in a 4×4 to explore the sand and sea.
Tip: A hat, sunscreen and cover-ups for arms and legs are essential. So is plenty of water and a fully charged phone!
Sand boarding has really taken hold in Qatar, so why not join the other adrenaline junkies – especially now that you’re in the golden desert. Grab a sand board and learn how to ride Qatar’s south-eastern dunes. Could this be your Now is All™ moment?
Tip: Before moving on to the more challenging dunes, learn how to sand board on a gentle, easy slope.
Dunes were made for quad bikes. So, once you are done with sand boarding and lunch, give quad biking a go! There really isn’t anything like conquering the Qatari desert on one. So head out of the city and down to the beach where you’ll find rows of all-terrain vehicles lined up for hire to bash the dunes!
Tip: Drive safely. Avoid driving too fast – many desert accidents in Qatar happen with quad bikes.
Travel over the dunes at sunset atop a camel and feel the Arabian breeze – traditional style! The ride may get a little bumpy for those who are inexperienced but it’s all worth the ride.
Tip: To help you balance when the camel stands up, lean back when it raises its back legs first, then lean forward as it raises its front legs.
As night time falls, experience all the comforts of a five-star hotel in a luxurious Bedouin style camping tent. Gather around the communal campfire and relish the authentic Arabic grill dinner before calling it a night!
Tip: Make sure to bring warm layers – it can get cold in the desert at night!
If you’re a football fan, we’re sure you’re a thrill-seeker too. Head up to Al Khor where you will find Purple Island and Al Thakira Mangroves. There’s plenty to see while you kayak through the mangroves – flora and fauna like reef egrets, terns, herons and even jumping fish!
Tip: Wear clothes that are waterproof or quick-dry and provide protection from the sun.
If a rod and line are your thing, there are great fishing spots In Qatar.
Qatar’s crystal-clear waters are teeming with more than 150 different species of fish, such as barracuda, king mackerel, snapper, sheri and hamour – offering unforgettable trips for families, groups or individuals. The north-east coast is the most popular among locals and expats, but you’ll be sure to find great spots all along the coastline.
Tip: Follow all fishing regulations set by the government and do not litter.
Qatar’s landscape is mostly flat but there is one spot where the indoor climbers graduate to once they’ve learnt the ropes: Zekreet. It’s about 80km outside Doha city limits in the west of the country. This really is only for the experienced – those who are well-prepared and aware of the essential safety procedures.
Tip: Stay hydrated – rock climbing is a strenuous activity.
Stand-up paddle boarding
Head back to Doha’s Corniche and try some stand-up paddle boarding. Since there are no big waves in Qatar the water is relatively calm – though it may get a bit choppy in the winter – it’s ideal for stand-up paddle boarding. It may take a certain amount of strength and agility to stay upright but you’ll soon learn the dynamics of balance – you’ll be gliding along in no time.
Tip: All age groups and most levels of fitness can get involved.
Love speed? Want to feel the wind in your hair? Start the day with a speed boat tour around Qatar! Glide over the turquoise waters with ease and comfort. Take in the sights and the sounds of Doha and its shoreline. Feel invigorated and enjoy the wild ride!
Note: There is safety equipment on board and a skipper to make sure you have a safe ride.
Enjoying the many water activities Qatar has to offer? Keep going and try out some more adrenaline pumping adventures. Qatar’s waters are perfect for water sports – wakeboarding, jet skiing, water skiing, flyboarding, foil surfing, parasailing and more. There are a number of operators around Doha that rent equipment and offer lessons.
Tip: Always wear a life jacket and make sure it is the right fit.
Your Qatar 2022™ experience will not be complete unless you go on a traditional wooden dhow cruise – it’s quite the experience and not to be missed. Catch the sunset on the horizon and marvel at the Doha skyline in all its evening glory. These sturdy handcrafted dhows have been used for centuries for pearl diving and fishing, so cruising down the Arabian Gulf on one of these is an absolute must. Music, karaoke and a meal on board are part of the adventure.
Tip: Catch a dhow boat ride from along the Corniche.
Beach – Khor Al Udaid
Being a peninsula, Qatar has an extensive coast lined with beaches. And they are what dreams are made of: crystal clear turquoise water, golden sand, unspoiled nature and serenity. The perfect set up for an ideal escape.
That’s why we recommend you spend the day relaxing at Khor Al Udaid – also known as the Inland Sea. It’s 1.5 hours south of Doha and you can reach it by renting a 4-wheel drive or booking a tour – it’s worth the planning once you crest the sand dunes to this unspoiled utopia. Here you can swim, do loads of water activities, walk on the sand or enjoy the view while spotting some of the local wildlife. It’s the perfect way to relax when you need a break between FIFA World Cup 2022™ matches.
Tip: Take some food and water with you to enjoy on the beach – there are no shops or restaurants nearby!
Qatar has no shortage of lush green parks – in fact, most of the FIFA World Cup 2022™ stadiums are also surrounded by green spaces. So, if you are looking for some fresh air before a match, want to stretch your legs or just take in the greenery, look around – you’re bound to find a park near your accommodation. Some of them are even air-conditioned!
Tip: If you are travelling with children, Qatar’s parks are the perfect place to take them as there are play areas and plenty of fun activities.
Katara Hills borders the Katara Cultural Village. Divided into South Hills and North Hills, this lush green landscape features purple-hued walking and running tracks, shady trees and benches to revel in the view and listen to the birds sing! You’ll find hundreds of different trees from around the world – each marked and labelled with its name. These rolling hills span over 360,000m2 – making it one of Doha’s largest parks.
You’ll probably build up quite an appetite exploring Katara Hills. We highly recommend indulging in some Arabic cuisine and enjoying the views at the restaurant at the summit.
Tip: Do not consume food and drinks in the landscaped areas – it’s against the Katara Hills rules.
After you’ve had your fun in the park, it’s time to go down to the Doha Corniche. From here, you can take in the Doha skyline – best viewed at night. Walk the crescent-shaped bay starting from the Sheraton Hotel Park and ending at the Museum of Islamic Art Park. Make sure to stop by the FIFA World Cup™ Official Countdown Clock along the way – can you find your team’s flag?
Dhow Boat Ride/ Cruise
One activity you must do while in Qatar is take a ride on a dhow boat, a wooden vessel traditionally used for pearl fishing. You can find them moored along the Corniche. They’re available for group or private trips
Tip: Take the dhow boat ride or cruise around sunset time to enjoy the view and the lit-up Doha skyline.
If you booked your FIFA World Cup 2022™ accommodation in one of Qatar’s resorts, you will enjoy plenty of relaxing Now is All™ moments. Most of the resorts are located on the seaside – so relax in the sun, take a dip in the water and enjoy the many activities the resort has to offer. Even if you are not staying in one of the resorts, you can still book a day trip and enjoy all the services
Tip: Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Spas are not sparse in Qatar. All the major hotels have their own spas that offer treatments and services to cater to your requirements. You can book couples massages or go on your own. Rejuvenate your mind, body and soul with treatments that are holistic, healing and bring you tranquility. No matter what your preference is, the skilled therapists will take you on a wellness journey that will get you ready to cheer on your favourite FIFA World Cup 2022™ team.
Tip: The spa technicians have the expertise to advise what kind of treatment is best for you.
Qatar Culture Itinerary
National Museum of Qatar
In Qatar for the FIFA World Cup 2022™ and looking to learn more about the host country? The National Museum of Qatar is a great place to start. This museum takes you through Qatar’s past and present to tell you how it became the country it is today. It brings to life the story of Qatar and its people. Designed by the Pritzker award-winning French architect Jean Nouvel, who was inspired by the crystallised desert rose found in the deserts of Qatar, this museum is located on an old palace. The palace belonged to the late Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani – the son of Qatar’s founder – and is one of the museum’s highlights. The museum’s many exhibitions depict the culture and heritage of Qatar through visual representation, contemporary thematic displays, artefacts and so much more – a great way to learn what makes Qatar what it is today! Why not use your digital Hayya Card on matchdays and visit the National Museum in between games – there’s a metro station nearby!
Tip: The museum is wheelchair friendly and there are elevators too.
Next stop is Souq Waqif. Exploring this famous marketplace is a great way to get a feel for Qatari culture. Souq Waqif translates to ‘standing market’, as vendors stood in this trading market and sold their products. It is one of Qatar’s main cultural landmarks. The mud daubed buildings and the winding alleyways depict Qatar’s street life from yesteryear. The shops lining the alleyways sell anything and everything – from traditional clothing to fabrics, spices to nuts and sweets, makeup to oud, souvenirs to antiques, rugs to ornaments, and a whole lot more. Here you can also learn more about Qatar’s oldest profession – pearl diving and trading. There is a famous pearl shop here whose owner is a pearl diver. He will tell you his story about the once illustrious pearl diving profession in Qatar and all you could ever know about pearls.
If you’re looking for local food, this is where you will find many delicious options – machboos, madrouba, shakshouka, thareed, regag, luqaimat – but if you’re not feeling too adventurous, there are plenty of other cuisines available.
Tip: Don’t forget to visit the area where Qatari women are selling homemade local delicacies.
Head over to Msheireb Downtown Doha – the very heart of the city. It is just a stone’s throw from Souq Waqif! Msheireb was once the commercial hub of the city. It has since been refurbished to become the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project and one of the smartest cities on earth. Here you will find Msheireb Museums. The museums are made up of four traditional houses dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. These four courtyard houses have preserved the memories of old Qatar along with its traditions and cultural heritage. Each house has its own unique story to tell!
Once you have visited Msheireb Museums, you can grab a snack with some tea or coffee at one of the many restaurants and cafes dotted around Msheireb Downtown Doha
Tip: For a self-guided audio tour of the area, download the Msheireb Museums app.
Katara Cultural Village
After you have had breakfast, head over to Katara Culture Village. This village was conceptualised to bring different cultures together to celebrate diversity through art and culture in one single place. Located on the beachfront with a view of the Arabian Gulf and surrounding West Bay, Katara is a great place for FIFA World Cup 2022™ fans to mingle and learn about each other’s cultures. There are great artworks and sculptures, art galleries, exhibition areas, and performance arenas including cinemas and a Greek-style amphitheatre. There are even workshops and festivals that take place all year round. As you move around the different fereej, or alleys, you will find restaurants and cafes in mud-daubed buildings, two beautiful mosques and the most famous Katara landmark – the pigeon towers. If you want to shop, walk down the chic 21 High Street that is air-conditioned and houses the famous French department store – Galeries Lafayette!
Tip: If you have the time, check out Katara Beach. There is a fee – but it’s worth it!
Al Zubarah Fort
If you’d like to get out of Doha and explore other parts of the country between matches, take a road trip after lunch. Visit one of Qatar’s main strongholds – Zubarah Fort. It was built in 1938 by Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani to function as a coast guard station on the ruins of an old fort. Located in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Al Zubarah, the fort is now a museum where you can learn more about the fort’s history – less than an hour’s drive from the capital.
Tip: Entry to Al Zubarah Fort is free!
Al Jumail Fishing Village
Not far from Al Zubarah Fort is Al Jumail Fishing Village. This abandoned village was once bustling with fishers who earned their living fishing or diving for pearls. Today, it’s a town in ruins but gives an insight into Qatar’s culture and how people lived before oil was discovered. Once you’ve finished exploring, head back to Doha and grab a shawarma or falafel sandwich to munch on before you call it a night.
Tip: Don’t forget to bring a camera! This is a great spot for some awesome photos.
Al Shahaniya Tour
After you have had a nice breakfast – maybe a traditional Qatari one – it is time to visit the camels at Al Shahaniya. Camels have been a part of Qatar’s deserts for centuries and have played a significant role in its history, too. After being used to move from place to place, to carry big loads, and as a food source, camels became a source of entertainment at Qatari weddings – with camel racing. Today, it is one of Qatar’s national sports and a very lucrative business. At Al Shahaniya, you will find Qatar’s main camel racing track – a sight of many important local and international competitions and festivals. Since you are here, watch one of the races. They are very exciting, and the interesting thing is the jockeys are robots! These robots are remote controlled and strapped to the camel’s hump. You’ll often see the owners or camel herders racing in their 4-wheel-drives beside the track with remote control in hand.
Tip: If you get there before 10 AM, you can watch the camels’ grooming and training rituals.
Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
Not too far is the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum – a must visit. This private museum contains items Sheikh Faisal has pickedin up on his numerous travels. This private collection – of over 30,000 artefacts and items – will take you on a journey of time and place. Here, you will find relitocs dating back to the dinosaur era, through to the early Islamic period, then to Qatar before and after oil was discovered, right down to today. You will find the world’s largest private collection of weapons and swords here. You’ll also gain an insight into early Qatari life and the culture of the area
Tip: There are 12 themes to go through, so make sure you have plenty of time to revel in the past!
Abdul Wahhab Mosque
Return to Doha and head Abdul Wahhab Mosque. This is Qatar’s grand mosque, which was refurbished and constructed on a mosque that was built by Qatar’s founder Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani in memory of his father who passed away while Sheikh Jassim was in Al Zubarah taking part in a military campaign. When he got back, he was told that his father had died.
Anyone can visit the mosque regardless of their religious affiliation when it is not prayer time and tours can also be arranged. And, if you are a Muslim coming for one of the five prayers, we are sure you will find other football fans rooting for the same time as you!
Tip: Dress modestly – covering your legs and shoulders – when visiting the mosque.
Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre
Though football is the most popular sport in Qatar, not far behind is horse racing – also part of the country’s culture. That is why Al Shaqab is a must visit to learn about Qatar’s equestrian culture, especially if you love horses. This centre pays tribute to the Arabian horse – it was this breed that led Qatar’s founder Sheikh Jassim Qatar bin Mohammed Al Thani to defeat the Ottomans in 1893 paving the way for the country’s independence. Al Shaqab was built on that very area.
Designed to look like a horseshoe, Al Shaqab gives around 1,000 Arabian horses world-class care and training. Many of its horses have won major international equestrian championships
At Al Shaqab, you will get to see how these horses are groomed and trained using a treadmill, swimming pool and even a jacuzzi! You’ll also get the opportunity to pet the horses and take pictures with them. And, if you are there at the right time of day, you can watch them show you why they are some of the best horses in the world in the outdoor or indoor arena.
Tip: If you are travelling with children, get them a pony ride.
Qatar National Library (QNL)
Another place you can explore Qatar’s culture and traditions is at QNL, which is near Al Shaqab. Housing over a million books, this modern library will give you an insight into the country’s heritage through its books, films and the Heritage Library located in the basement. Here you will find an ever-growing collection of old periodicals, books, maps, atlases, photographs, manuscripts and documents in Arabic and other languages. Some of these date back to the 15th century and provide an insight to Qatar through the ages.
Tip: While you are at QNL, it is worth looking up the material the library has on the FIFA World Cup™ through the years – there are over 50 books on the subject.
Call it a night after you visit.
Why not start the day with a visit to a local farm? There are a number that allow visitors and are just an hour’s drive from Doha. At all these farms, you will see things done like they were in the past so you can discover olden-day farming and agricultural techniques that have now been modernised. Here, you can pick fruits and vegetables, feed the animals, enjoy nature as you feast on a traditional farm-to-table meal – and unwind after your favourite team won a FIFA World Cup 2022™ the evening before!
Tip: To make the most of your trip, arrive early so you can pick fruits and vegetables – the places fill up really quickly.
Souq Al Wakrah
Want to do some more exploring before you call it a night? Next up on the itinerary is Souq Al Wakrah to enjoy the nightlife. Souq Al Wakrah pays homage to the fishing village – Al Wakrah – and is a traditional-style seaside marketplace complete with mud-daubed buildings, courtyards, narrow pathways and traditional Qatari vibes. Set on the Arabian Gulf, Souq Al Wakrah is not too far from Al Janoub Stadium – where some of the FIFA World Cup 2022™ matches will be played! So, if you are watching one of the exciting matches there, it is worth visiting this souq. You will find lots of dining options opening onto the promenade, shops that sell different local and cultural items, and activities to do on the beach.
Tip: If you like seafood, you will love the different local restaurants in the area!
Museum of Islamic Art (MIA)
Head to MIA – one of the most iconic museums in Qatar – after grabbing a bite at Souq Waqif or Msheireb Downtown Doha, which are close by. It opened in 2008 and its popularity placed Qatar on the cultural map. Designed by renowned Pritzker prize winning architect I.M. Pei, who also designed the Louvre in Paris. The museum pays homage to Islamic art and culture and their place in world history. It has one of the world’s most diversified and comprehensive Islamic art collections, which has come in from all four corners of the world. Each artefact – whether it is metalwork, ceramic, jewellery, woodwork, textile, coin or glass – has been carefully selected and curated by experts. Each one with its own story and historical background. Along with its permanent collections, MIA puts on temporary exhibitions throughout the year with collections on loan from different countries. The MIA gift shop is a treasure trove of souvenirs – a definite must visit.
Adjacent to the museum, there is a huge lush green park that overlooks the Doha skyline and the Corniche. There are play areas that cater to children of different ages, a cafe and it is a great place to take a break before you move on to your next cultural experience!
Tip: Don’t forget to catch Richard Serra’s sculpture – 7 – at MIA Park. It’s the tallest public art installation in Qatar and is made of seven steel plates – celebrating the spiritual and scientific significance of the number seven in Islamic culture.
Your Qatar 2022™ experience will not be complete unless you go on a traditional wooden dhow cruise – it’s quite the experience and not to be missed. Catch the sunset on the horizon and marvel at the Doha skyline in all its evening glory. These sturdy hand-crafted dhows have been used for centuries for pearl diving and fishing, and cruising down the Arabian Gulf is an absolute must. Music, karaoke and even a meal on board are part of the adventure.
Tip: Check the weather before you go on a dhow cruise.