What to do in Doha in One Day.

If you have a day to spend in Doha, then chances are you may be on a layover/stopover with Qatar Airways, and are wondering what you could get up to in a short space of time. Qatar Airways most likely will have put you up in a decent hotel, if you had at least a 12+ hour stopover. But sitting around in your hotel is no fun and you should get out and explore a little.

You can do any of these things in whatever order you like, but advice is given on what order is recommended.

The first place you should head to is the Museum of Islamic art. It’s a beautifully designed building (see the featured photo at the beginning of the post) and is situated next to the old harbour with the modern skyscrapers in the far distance to contrast the old and new.

Inside is a large collection of  Islamic art showcasing some very important historic pieces. There may be special displays on while there so check when you arrive. Even if you aren’t really into museums it’s worth taking a look around, if anything for the great views and architecture.

Dhow boats in Doha in Qatar

Dhow boats in the old harbour.

After the museum go next door to the old harbour. It’s not a huge place, but there are some traditional dhow boats giving the area an old atmosphere, making you think about what it may have been like long ago.

Men regularly go there to fish and you can easily relax by the water watching them, or take a slow stroll along the esplanade. Maybe you can get chatting to them and learn about fishing!

Next up head to the old souq (market) nearby (only a 5-10 minute walk) and get lost in the maze of narrow winding alleys, with the smell of spices giving a sense of the exotic. Markets are one of the best places to get a feel for a city, and the same can be said in Doha.

The market can get busy, so take a break in any of the cafes around area and enjoy a cup of tea, or whatever takes your fancy. Sitting there with your drink you can watch the world go by, observing the hustle and bustle of the traders and buyers alike.

Old city in Doha

At the entrance to the souq.

If you were interested in buying any souvenirs while in Doha, then the souq is a great place to do that. Just remember to bargain hard as the first price given is always to high.

Traditional clothes are popular to buy, such as headscarves worn by the men in the photo above.

Souq in Doha in Qatar

Spices in the market.

After the souq you can wander over to the new city, either by a very long walk along the waterfront esplanade, or a taxi. If you are short on time or the sun is too strong, then take a taxi (they are cheap). Otherwise it’s a very long but nice walk past the old harbour and into the new.

The contrast between the old area of the souq and the new modern city is huge. With all the gas money in Qatar they have the money to build, and they certainly have. There is what seems to be a never-ending road of new skyscrapers, filled with government buildings and businesses, and massive new shopping malls and eateries.

Get a taste of modern Qatar and take a walk through the big shopping malls. There you can see families out shopping and if arriving in the evening, people eating out relaxing. Join in and enjoy some local foods, such as the tasty kebabs.

Skyscrapers in Doha in Qatar.

The modern city.

You could then spend the rest of the night maybe finding a club to go to, or head back to the hotel to take a little advantage of the free hospitality given by Qatar Airways.

This is just a brief description of some things you could do while there. This is not a post about absolutely everything there is to see, as I only had a 20 hour stopover and managed to do what I have wrote about here.

I’m sure you could find other things to do there, however I was quite pleased managing to do what I did at a very relaxed pace.

Enjoy Doha for the time that you have!

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Books to Read on Doha and Qatar –


Jonny Duncan is a freelance blogger and photographer. He specialises in budget travel and outdoor adventures with over 20 years of experience. He started blogging in 2013 and has helped many travelers plan their travels since.

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