The Corniche? It’s just a road – what’s the big deal?
Just a road? Let us stop you right there. The Corniche is really like a gym, park, picnic spot, cultural area, and landmark all rolled into one. At this time of year, it’s one of our favourite spots in the city.
Well, I suppose that’s fair. Elaborate.
You’re bound to have seen all the #fitnessgoals types jogging alongside the water. In total, the whole thing is seven kilometres long (just don’t run the whole thing before realising you don’t have the energy to make it back to the car; we learned the hard way) and one of the only truly pedestrian-friendly areas of the city. Little outdoor “gyms” are also dotted along all of the paths. Who needs an expensive membership when you’ve got a free, al fresco workout area on your doorstep?
That’s all very well and good, but I’m not much of a runner.
You don’t need to be sporty to join in. This is a lovely location for a leisurely stroll. The paths meander in and out of palm trees, and there are grassy areas if you fancy a game of bat and ball. It’s a pretty lively area – especially on weekends when it fills up with families and big groups of friends. And, anyway, if you wound up sitting out on Al Mourjan’s terrace rather than exercising, it wouldn’t be the worst thing, would it?
I do like that idea of a picnic...
We thought you might. If you don’t want to faff around making your own sandwiches, you can just pop over the road to the souq and pick up a Middle Eastern feast from any of the fantastic restaurants. Opt for Souq Waqif favourites Damasca One or Bandar Aden and it will be for next to nothing, too.
So, why is this area so cultural?
We obviously don’t need to tell you about the Museum of Islamic Art and its fascinating collection of ancient Arabian artefacts. This is also the epicentre of the city, so to speak, or at least was back in Qatar’s early pearl diving and fishing days. Dhow Harbour is still a hive of traditional activity, especially early in the morning.
In the evening, LED lights illuminate the mini wooden dhows that criss-cross the water. Hop on for a ride, or just admire the scene while making your way around the bay.
When you put it like that, there’s really quite a lot to see.
You can spend an entire day here, easily, if you combine it with a trip to the museum and the souq. Ideal at this time of year, not least because it will occupy your visitors for a while during the holiday season.