Doha is the capital and most populous city of Qatar. From Montreal, Canada, there is a direct flight with Qatar Airways to Doha.
Located on the country’s northeast coast, Doha is a vibrant economic and cultural center known for its state-of-the-art shopping malls, museums and tourist attractions. The city also hosts many international events, such as conferences and exhibitions, and sporting events like the 2022 Football World Cup.
Doha offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity, with historic buildings alongside state-of-the-art structures. It is an ideal place for tourists and business travellers looking for a stimulating and culturally rich experience.
Here is what I recommend you to see during a stopover in Doha, as I did during the World Cup.
Doha stopover - What to see
National Museum of Qatar
The National Museum of Qatar is an art and history museum in Doha. It houses a unique collection of pieces that reflect the history and culture of Qatar.
The museum is built in the shape of a date flower and features interactive exhibits, films and audio-visual installations to immerse visitors in the history and culture of Qatar. The National Museum of Qatar is a must-see for art and history lovers and those who want to learn more about Qatari culture.
I visited it at nightfall, something I recommend to get a nice light on this amazingly designed structure.
To visit the National Museum of Qatar, I recommend you buy the Culture Pass. This will give you access to many museums and galleries in Qatar. During the Football World Cup, the One Pass was available for only 99 QAR (about 35 CAD).
The purchase of the Culture Pass costs even less than the single entrance to this museum! I took the opportunity to visit the Museum of Islamic Art located on the Corniche.
Doha Museum of Islamic Art
After the Qatar National Museum, I went to the Doha Museum of Islamic Art, about a 15-minute walk away.
The Doha Museum of Islamic Art is dedicated to Islamic art and history. It houses a permanent collection of Islamic art from around the world, including illuminated manuscripts, gold and silver coins, ceramics and textiles.
The museum also offers temporary exhibitions on Islamic art and history themes. If you’re a fan of architecture, you’ll love the modern architecture of the museum building, designed to incorporate elements of Islamic art into its structure.
Moreover, inside and outside the Museum, you will enjoy a beautiful view of downtown Doha.
The Souq Waqif, a lively traditional market
Souq Waqif is a traditional market located in the heart of Doha, near the Corniche. It is considered one of the region’s oldest and most authentic souks.
Souq Waqif offers a variety of products, from textiles to jewelry, spices, handicrafts and even a bird market. It is a lively place where locals come to do their daily shopping and where tourists can discover the local culture and traditions.
During the World Cup, it was also the place where many fans of the different teams gathered. During my evening visit, the Souq Waqif was exceptionally crowded.
Souq Waqif also offers a variety of restaurants serving local cuisine and traditional cafes to relax and enjoy the lively atmosphere. It is a must for those who want to experience the true spirit of Doha. I recommend you go at the end of the day.
The Corniche, a seaside promenade
The Doha Corniche is a seaside promenade located in downtown Doha. It stretches for more than 7 km along the bay of Doha and offers a breathtaking view of the sea and the downtown towers. The Corniche is truly a meeting place for Doha residents and tourists alike, with its cafes, restaurants, green spaces and children’s play areas.
During my visit in the middle of the Football World Cup, the Corniche was closed to traffic, making it even more pleasant to walk along. It is an ideal place to relax, run (a special surface has been designed for those who wish to jog), swim in the sea or simply enjoy the view of the city.
Katara Cultural Village
The Katara Cultural Village is a cultural complex located north of Doha. It offers a variety of cultural events such as concerts, festivals, art exhibitions and theatrical performances. The Katara Cultural Village also houses cultural centers, conference rooms, concert halls and green spaces.
It is considered one of the most important cultural centers in the region and plays a crucial role in promoting Qatari culture and art. The Katara Cultural Village is a meeting place for Doha residents and tourists alike, who can experience local culture and traditions while enjoying the city’s vibrant cultural life.
I recommend you to go to the beach during the day:
Then come back in the evening to enjoy the village’s animation. During my visit, fishermen were giving a demonstration on board their boats.
The atmosphere is really different in the evening:
The new district of Lusail
Lusail is a trendy neighbourhood located north of Doha, Qatar. It is a futuristic development district with many green spaces, shopping centers, entertainment centers, high-end residences and restaurants.
Lusail is also known for its futuristic stadium that hosted the 2022 soccer world cup.
I watched an incredible match between Portugal and Switzerland in the round of 16 (won 6-1 by Portugal).
Place Vendôme, on the other hand, is an upscale area of Doha, home to many luxury stores, prestigious hotels, high-end restaurants and entertainment centers.
It is an excellent place for shopping, business and high-quality leisure in Doha.
There’s even a Marriott Bonvoy hotel integrated into the Place Vendôme that I stayed in: Le Royal Méridien Doha.
Activities to book in Doha
Here are some recommendations of activities you can book in Doha with our partner Viator:
Doha offers a variety of attractions to suit all tastes and budgets. You can easily visit the city’s major attractions in a stopover of less than 24 hours.
However, I recommend you spend at least 2 to 3 days visiting the central part of Doha and extending your visit to Qatar for a week!
Here are some other articles written after this trip: