This is truly one of the best free things in Doha. The entire length of the Corniche has fantastic sights and stunning views. From the Fanar at the start to West Bay across on the end to the beautifully lit up boats along the way, this is the liveliest spot in Doha at any given time. Do the walk at night to see it in all its neon glory, and enjoy the sound of the waves hitting the stone wall that separates the Gulf from the shore. You’ll reach a Costa Coffee at the end, with a nice outdoor seating area and green lawns if you want to just relax.
Doha Fire Station
What used to be Doha’s Civil Defense headquarters has now been transformed into an interesting art hub. Hence, the name. in fact, you’ll see an actual fire truck on the premise and the good news is you can buy sandwiches out of it. The space still retails plenty of elements and seamlessly blends it in with the new theme. Art exhibitions and movies are screened all year long. Most of the exhibitions are free, but it’s best to check beforehand.
Drive through Education City to witness stunning landscapes and award-winning architecture. There are plenty of photo ops and the Ceremonial Court (next to Northwestern University Qatar) is particularly Instagram-worthy. Don’t miss the farmers’ market that takes place every weekend here. Also check out the Texas A&M and Qatar National Library buildings. If you’re here during the day, don’t skip a healthy lunch at Chef’s Garden.
Qatar Foundation, Al Luqta Street (4454 0000).
Easily one of the most beautiful spots in Doha, it’s an hour’s exhilarating drive away. At Inland Sea, you'll witness one of the most spectacular vistas in Doha. A beautiful blue sea on one side, mountainous dunes the other. One of the best overnight camping spots in Doha, this is a truly scenic spot to create lamb chop history.
GPS: 24.861143, 51.516837.
Katara Cultural Village
This cultural hub has plenty of exciting things to explore including its very own Corniche, a Greek-style amphitheatre and loads of cafés and restaurants. There are plenty of events always taking place here from art exhibits and dhow festivals to musical concerts and plays. They’re almost always free, so watch this space for updates. If you’re into luxury shopping, pass by 21 High St for Galeries Lafayette and some of the world’s most luxurious retail brands. The new Katara Hills is another lush green space for a fun picnic and it’s a must-visit. There’s a planetarium for the little ones, too.
Katara Cultural Village, West Bay Lagoon (7739 0029).
The transformation of Lusail into a skyscraper city is unbelievable. Head over to the marina to catch the dancing fountains. There are a few cafés and coffee shops along this strip, and there are benches to sit on and admire the sea or the fountains. The path is supremely clean, is lined with trees and plenty of other flora, and is a beautiful new addition to Doha’s outdoor spots. If you walk to the end of the road across from The Ritz-Carlton, you’ll find a whole green path with coffee shops such as The Ministry of Coffee and the ever-popular Tea Time.
Museum of Islamic Art
This iconic building has been designed by I. M. Pei and it’s pretty high on our list of things to do in Doha. The museum’s permanent exhibitions display beautiful objects from across the Islamic world – everything from metalwork, ceramics and textiles to manuscripts – which date as far back as the 9th century. It’s worth taking advantage of one of the free tours, too. Whatever you end up doing here, don’t forget to enjoy being in one of the most picture-perfect places in the Middle East.
Doha Corniche, www.mia.org.qa (4422 4444).
Msheireb Downtown Doha
Located in Musherib, this is the world’s first fully sustainable downtown regeneration project. The plush new area is beautifully constructed with walking streets, tall buildings and open spaces. There are schools, museums, shopping centres, restaurants and plenty of cafés. Three five-star hotels (Park Hyatt Doha, Alwadi Hotel Doha and Mandarin Oriental, Doha) are located here as well and you can spend a weekend at the town square. MDD is the new cultural hub of the city with the Corniche, Souq Waqif and the museums located very close. A tram with 18 stops also runs around the Msheireb Downtown Doha area.
National Museum of Qatar
Jutting out at the start of the Corniche is Qatar’s extraordinary, new national museum. It is symbolically placed as the starting point of your journey into the heartbeat of downtown Doha and as the previous historic home to the son of the founder of Qatar, Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani in the early 20th century. The museum opened its doors to the public last year and it’s already been named as one of the 100 best places in the world. And we can confirm that.
Museum Park Street, Corniche Street (4452 5555).
Drive up north to the lush mangroves in Al Thakira (popularly known as Purple Island) and take your kayak for a spin (you can easily rent one or go with a guided tour group such as Entalek). You can row, row, row your boat gently down a stream, and experience some of the greenest and most serene scenes in Qatar. A waterproof camera would surely come in handy.
GPS: 25.742060, 51.557683.
For a truly authentic local experience, haggle through the streets of Souq Waqif. Busy, bustling and vibrant, this is one of the most authentic experiences to be had in the city. Although Souq Waqif was rebuilt a decade or so ago, it sits on the original site of a Bedouin market, so the stone and wooden shops are still original and atmospheric. Thursday nights are liveliest. Most of the squares will have food carts set up selling traditional snacks from across the Arab world. It’s easily one of our favourite spots in Doha and just walking around is an experience in itself.
Al Souq (4433 6444).
Make a trip to The Pearl-Qatar to see themed vicinities, brilliant houses, beaches and an overall incredible vibe. There are four main areas – Porto Arabia overlooking a marina with luxury yachts and a walkway lined with restaurants, cafés and retail outlets, Medina Centrale with Spanish street names, some of the best restaurants and the only hypermarket in The Pearl, Viva Bahriya that’s right across Medina Central with a private beach for residents, and Qanat Quartier, modelled behind Venice with canals integrated into the architectural plan. Have lunch or dinner at any of these areas for an unforgettable Doha experience.
If you’ve spent some time at the Corniche, you’ve probably clicked plenty of photos of Doha’s world-famous skyline. What’s left to do is actually be in the middle of all those stunning buildings, or even at the top of one. Qatar’s most vibrant business district is also Doha’s party capital with award-winning restaurants and vibrant nightlife.
Zekreet is fascinating – limestone formations are scattered all around to create Qatar’s very own version of the Grand Canyon. These unique cliffs offer unusual surroundings. The sinkhole is mostly for beginners and if you’re looking for something more challenging, there’s plenty to explore in the area. You might want to check out the Musfir Sinkhole in Zekreet if you’re an avid rock climber.
GPS: 25.637012, 50.846186.
The Zubarah Fort, a UNESCO Heritage Site, was built back in 1938 and was used by the armed forces until around 30 years ago. Now, it’s a museum that showcases a vast collection of pottery and archaeology exhibits. You’ll also find workshops and other cultural activities that you can partake in. It’s the building that’s the main attraction, though, as are the striking views from the battlements. Get in your car and drive around it to find ancient settlements.
GPS: 25.976929, 51.045496.