Qatar is a Middle Eastern country that features a futuristic capital- Doha, beautiful shorelines facing the Persian Gulf and a center full of desert dunes. The culture here is rich and vibrant. Whether you’re a city slicker, beach bum, art lover, history buff, foodie or desert jockey, you are sure to have a wonderful vacation in Qatar.
Qatar experiences a long, very hot and dry summer that runs from May to September with daily highs of up to 45°C/113°F while during the peak of Winter in December through to February, temperatures can drop to 5°C/ 41°F. Rain typically only falls during the winter months as well. So be sure to dress for the weather.
If you intend to explore Doha mainly then the metro and public buses are a pretty easy way to get around. However, if you plan to go further afield into the sand dunes of the desert or over to the inland sea then you are best to hire a 4-wheel drive. Qatar is one of the world’s leaders in the export of oil. Before this was their booming trade, pearls actually were. There is a giant pearl statue as well as a landmass called the pearl dedicated to the memory of their humble beginnings. Qatar is so culturally rich and a vacation here is sure to be one you won’t forget. So let’s discover this pearl of the Middle-East.
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Let me tell you why Qatar is the pearl of the Middle-East. The Middle-East is known for it’s huge impact on the global stage of oil production. This region produces nearly 30% of the world’s supply of oil, Qatar is no exception with its contribution. However, before oil, Qatar’s biggest export was pearls. Not only do they have a pearl statue dedicated to this once booming industry but they have also created an artificial island spanning 1.5 square miles. This artificial island designed to look like pearls is the first area in Qatar to be available for freehold ownership by foreigners.
The Pearl-Qatar is almost as iconic as the Palms in Dubai. The Pearl is a modern development that is best appreciated from the sky due to its unique formation. These apartments and properties are the first in Qatar to be available to foreigners on a Freehold basis. So you can imagine the price tag on these properties. The helicopter ride goes for 35 minutes. Kids must be aged 5 years and older to participate. Anyone in a wheelchair, as long as they are able to transfer into the helicopter seat and wear the seat belt, they can also participate in this scenic experience.
The Pearl Monument is a sculpture depicting an open oyster shell with running water. It is located along the Corniche and is beautiful both in the day and at night. Its significance is that pearls were Qatar’s main industry before oil, making it a monument to the past.
The Pearl Fountain – نافورة اللؤلؤة puts on a spectacular, colorful immersive display of light, water and music. This captivating and coordinated show will awaken your senses. The show runs from 6 pm to 9 pm on weekdays and from 6 pm to 10 pm on weekends. Don’t forget your camera! Now enough of pearls, let’s move on to some of Qatar’s incredible cultural sights!
Katara Cultural Village is the place to go for any history and culture lover. It is the one stop destination where you can see a lot of Qatari culture. There is parking on-site and it is free to explore. There is a beach, amphitheater, museum, art gallery, an ornate mosque along with cafes, restaurants, shops, sculptures and a beach. Everything is just so visually captivating. Please be respectful if visiting the mosque, to be fully clothed and to remove your shoes.
The Grand mosque also known as Imam Muhammad bin AbdulWahhab Mosque was built in 2011. It is open to all visitors of any religion outside of prayer times. Please always be respectful, wear modest, loose fitted covered clothing, no shorts and women should bring a scarf. Be sure to also remove your shoes at the entrance. This large, contemporary designed mosque houses 3 libraries and has separate prayer halls for men and women. There is strictly no photography in the women’s prayer hall and children under the age of 7 are not permitted. This impressive mosque can accommodate over 30,000 worshipers at any given time.
The National Museum of Qatar was built in 2019 and is as interesting on the outside as it is on the inside. It features unique and modern architecture and houses thousands of years worth of history including the first maps of the region and ancient Qurans. It also houses some stunning pieces of jewelry. The most notable artifact has to be the Pearl Carpet of Baroda which was made in 1865. This incredible carpet was embroidered with more than 1.5 million Gulf pearls. While beautiful to look at, I can’t imagine it being comfortable to walk on. There is a cafe and gift shop on-site for your convenience.
Qatar is full of stunning architecture and the Pei-designed museum of Islamic art in Doha is no exception. It opened in 2008 and has a variety of exhibits displaying art and sculptures that date back more than 1,400 years. There are free guided tours available along with a large gift shop and cafe on-site for your convenience.
Corniche Tourist Boat Rides offer a unique opportunity to ride in a traditional Arab boat called a Dhow. Call ahead to book a spot. The most magical time of day to experience this cultural boat ride is in the evening which makes it quite romantic. These traditional vessels were used for centuries, long before Qatar rose to be a world leader in oil. They were used to collect pearls and fish. In fact, pearls were the biggest industry in Qatar before oil. Don’t forget your camera for this one.
Qanat Quartier precinct is a private suburb within the Pearl Qatar. There’s that word again, pearl. See I told you Qatar was the pearl of the Middle-East. This stunning, picturesque area will make you feel as though you’ve been transported to Venice. A much cleaner and newer version of Venice of course. This Venice features classic Venetian charm with an Arabian twist. Ride a boat along the canal ways, shop in their boutiques or even have a meal in one of their Italian restaurants, this little suburb has it all. Be sure to take lots of photographs and confuse your friends and family back home.
Speaking of Venice, Qatar really has a thing for that Italia city. Villaggio Mall is an Italian themed luxury shopping mall. This large shopping mall features luxury retailers, stunning architecture and even a 164 yard/ 150 meter long indoor canal with gondola rides. There is a fake city with its own sky, an adventure park, ice skating rink, cinema and numerous food outlets. Shop till you drop in this beautiful mall that has to be seen to be believed.
The Aspire Tower is also known as The Torch Doha. This unique building made of steel mesh stands 984 feet/ 300 meters tall. Designed for the 15th Asian Games that was hosted by Qatar in December of 2006. It houses 50 floors with a five-star hotel, sports museum, health club with pool, a revolving restaurant called Three Sixty featured here on Tripio as well as Torch Tea Garden also featured right here on our app. Now it wouldn’t be a trip to Qatar without venturing out into the desert. Full of both history and adventure, let’s check out all the amazing activities found in the Qatari desert that are all featured right here on the Tripio App.
Zubara Fort – Qatar, a coral fortress made out of stone and mud. It was constructed in 1938 and is the first archaeological site recognized by UNESCO world heritage in Qatar. The interior of the fort features art exhibitions and showcases archaeological objects. This is a must for the history buff.
Inland sea tours offers a range of camel safari rides through the desert. Choose the adventure that suits you, they have everything from morning rides to all-day and even overnights. What an incredible experience to share with these unbelievably resilient animals in the Qatar desert plains.
Sandline Dunes offers ATV rentals so that you can really race across the sand dunes at your own pace. This has to be the most adrenaline fueled way to explore and experience the sand dunes of Qatar. Rental is by the hour and you will be given a safety briefing. Ensure to have enough water with you and be wearing adequate attire for the weather. Drivers must be over 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. Now go race over some dunes!
These are the largest sand dunes in Qatar and are located by the Inland Sea. Hire a 4 wheel drive and go sand bashing on these dunes. It’s a fun and exhilarating adventure. Please be aware that there are no services out here so ensure to bring lots of water, snacks and have a fully charged mobile phone. When hiring your car, be sure to opt for full insurance, you know, in case the sand dunes get the better of you. How fun! These sand dunes also allow you to look over into Saudi Arabia. Be safe and bash those dunes!
Musfur Sinkhole and cave is 131 feet/40 meters deep. To get to it, you will have to either be in a 4 wheel drive as you turn off the main paved road and onto a 0.9 mile/1.5 kilometers section of gravel road. If you rather not drive it, park your car before hitting the gravel road and walk 15 to 20 minutes to the cave. The cave is significantly cooler than the temperature outside which makes a cooling change during the height of summer, however, if you choose to explore in winter, the cave is quite cold. Be careful and practice caution as you explore as rocks move and it can be difficult to navigate. Located around 40-50km away from the city of Doha, Dahl Al Misfir is the largest known accessible sinkhole in Qatar. This exciting natural site allows sunlight to pear through creating a euphoric glow.
Qatar was recently thrown onto the global stage with the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Lusail Stadium is known as Lusail Iconic Stadium and is the largest stadium in the country with a seating capacity of 88,966. It is a football stadium that was one of the 8 converted for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and of course the one that held the final. A variety of events are held here from concerts to sporting matches. This makes for a wonderful evening out for the whole family. The architecture itself will captivate you.
The Middle-East is known for having amazing food, brilliant spices, creamy hummus and so much more. Al Nahham Restaurant serves up Middle Eastern cuisine with a lovely view over the ocean. Do not leave without trying their signature dessert, kunafa. It is a sweet, sugar spun pastry layered with cheese. It is divine. They also do great seafood, mixed grill and homemade hummus. Kids menu is available.
I hope you have enjoyed my blog on the Pearl of the Middle-East which is Qatar. You will find an array of adventures be it cultural, culinary or just plain adrenaline seeking right here on Tripio. Start creating your own custom itinerary right now on the Tripio app and begin a vacation you will never forget. Select your preferences and let the Tripio app generate your very own custom top 10. Travel has never been so easy, adventure is out there and Qatar awaits.
Craving more of the Middle-East? Check out The Best Adventures In Jerusalem, The Holy Land
-Gemma Winchester, Tripio Guru
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