Qatar Holidays

Qatar Holidays

Unlike nearby Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Qatar is not a place that immediately springs to mind as a Middle East holiday destination. However, that is likely to change as the country is showcased to the global football community as it prepares to host the FIFA World Cup 2022 starting in November.

As one of the richest countries in the world, Qatar is rapidly developing as a tourist destination and has plenty to offer the visitor including inviting beaches, luxurious hotels, state-of-the-art sporting facilities, world heritage sites and designer shopping malls, all of which are complemented with warm Arabian hospitality.

Featured Qatar Hotels

Travel Info

Language

Arabic


Currency

Qatari Riyal


Local Time

+3 hours

Weather in Qatar

weather in Qatar

Getting to Qatar

With a flying time of just under seven hours Qatar is easily accessible from the UK with Qatar Airways offering up to four flights a day from London.

Best time to travel to Qatar

The best time to travel for a Qatar holiday is from November to March when the temperatures are warm, but comfortable enough to spend time exploring. It can be scorching in July and August with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius.

Getting around Qatar

Qatar is a tiny country, about half the size of Wales, and with more than half its population living in and around the capital Doha, it could be considered a city-state. The Doha Bus is the first double-decker tourist bus in Qatar and is a fantastic way to see the capital city of Doha. Each bus has a tourist guide who will run through their own special routes of Doha visiting the popular tourist attractions such as Souq Waqif, the Corniche, Katara Cultural Village and The Pearl-Qatar.

 

Reasons to visit Qatar

Beaches in Qatar

As a small peninsula jutting out into the Arabian Gulf, Qatar has 560 kilometres of coastline, with gorgeous unspoilt beaches lining the western coast, dotted with reefs, islets, mangroves and salt flats. Qatar has some fine beaches along its lengthy coastline, most of which form part of the hotel grounds but are open to the public on payment of an entrance fee. The most luxurious can be found at the Four Seasons Hotel and the InterContinental where you will also have access to swimming pools, cabanas and children's playgrounds. The only beach not on a hotel property in the Doha area is Katara Beach -- no sunbathing or alcohol is allowed here, but it does offer a range of water sports, including kayaks, sailing dinghies, water skiing, windsurfing, and fishing trips.

Qatar’s cultural and historical sites

Despite its rapid economic development and transformation, there has still been a strong commitment to maintain Qatar’s history and heritage, blending Arabian culture and tradition with modern innovation and luxury. Located on Qatar's north-west coast the immaculately restored Al Zubarah 18th-century fort is where archaeological works have revealed the ruins of a well-preserved walled town. Recognised in 2013 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site this region was famous for pearl-diving.

Doha - Qatar’s capital

Doha is also firmly grounded in Arabian culture. The older part of the town is full of traditional souqs, the most famous being Souq Waqif, built on the site of an old Bedouin marketplace.

The city's greatest showpiece is the fabulous Museum of Islamic Art, designed to reflect the essence of Islam in its architecture, with bright white limestone cubes illuminated at night and reflected in the surrounding sea. Explore the magnificent collections of the finest Islamic art and artefacts from around the world, spanning 14 centuries of history. Guided tours can be arranged, or you can delve into the past of this five-floor impressive building at your own pace. Visitors can dine at the Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasses’, IDAM Restaurant located on the museum’s top floor.

Shopping in Qatar

From traditional souqs to glitzy malls, shoppers will not be disappointed with a visit to Qatar. Souq Waqif is a maze of small shops selling a dazzling array of Middle Eastern merchandise. As well as spices, herbs, perfumes, carpets and jewellery, there's a special section devoted to falcons. Falconry, along with camel racing, is a popular Qatari pastime. Visit the Souq in the evening after sunset, where it comes alive and is filled with locals, expats and tourists.

Villaggio is home to luxury brands, a theme park and a movie theatre. Venetian in its design, visitors can take an iconic gondola ride through the mall’s canal. Festival City became Qatar’s largest mall when it opened its doors in 2017. With over 530 shops to choose from, shoppers can spend a full day browsing the luxury retailers. Lagoona Mall and the Mall of Qatar also offer plenty of shopping and leisure facilities.

Desert Adventures

A holiday to Qatar would not be complete without a desert adventure, and there are several companies offering this exciting experience. You can be taken on a thrilling desert safari trip in a 4x4, or ride on a camel on a desert safari. Trips can be half or a full day or you can include an overnight stay in a luxury Bedouin camp, complete with a barbecue meal under the stars. To the south lies the spectacular desert sea of Khor al-Adaid, with its vast undulating dunes. Also known as the Inland Sea it is one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches deep into the heart of the desert.

Dhow Boat cruises in Qatar

Spend the evening soaking up the spectacular panoramic views of the Corniche and Doha’s glittering skyline on a traditional dhow boat cruise. The dhow boats were once used for fishing and pearling, the two first occupations of Qataris.

The Pearl-Qatar

The Pearl-Qatar is a chic man-made island located off the west bay coast. Known as ‘Arabia’s Riviera’ it has a distinctive Mediterranean feel. Here you will find luxurious yacht-filled marinas, designer shops, the impressive Marsa Malaz Kempinski hotel as well as a wide range of cafés and restaurants.

Qatar’s traditional sports

Traditional sports of camel racing and horse racing are still widely popular today. Al Shahainya racetrack is an hour’s drive to the north of Doha where visitors can view remote controlled robot jockeys racing the camels.

Natural Qatar

Al Thakira mangroves lie just north of the city of Al Khor. This large expanse of greenery is in sharp contrast to the surrounding desert landscape. It has its own ecosystem, attracting resident and migrating bird life, including flamingos and herons. A great way to explore the mangroves is by kayak.

Multi-centre holidays

With excellent flight connectivity a holiday to Qatar can be combined with other destinations for a multi-centre holiday including the Maldives and Seychelles.

Events & Festivals

Shop Qatar
7th January – 7th February

The first edition of Shop Qatar is taking place from 7 January – 7 February 2017. Fantastic discounts will be available of up to 50% on a range of products including clothes, electronics, cosmetics and accessories. Participating malls include Mall of Qatar, Ezdan Mall, Hyatt Plaza, AlKhor Mall, Lagoona Mall, Gulf Mall, Landmark, Dar Al Salam Mall, The Gate and The Pearl-Qatar. The Shop Qatar festival will also feature products designed by students and other local designers, displayed at pop-up stores throughout the participating malls. Also on offer during the festival is a variety of entertainment including the Broadway musical Cats, live music, stand-up comedy acts featuring top international star Trevor Noah, culminating with a fashion show. Festival partners include the newly opened Mall of Qatar, Qatar Airways and Ezdan World.

Doha Triathlon
20th January

Since making its Olympic debut at the Sydney Games in 2000, Triathlon has enjoyed tremendous growth and in a country like Qatar, blessed with warm winters, clear azure waters and flat open roads, the sport has flourished. TriClub Doha regularly holds events, and on 20 January 2017 will host a new competition, the Doha Triathlon. Competitors will swim in the tranquil waters of Doha bay before heading off on the bike course along the Corniche towards the imposing towers of West Bay, where they will turn, heading back to the iconic Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) Park to transition into the run course. Athletes will run through the lush green oasis of MIA park, finishing opposite the magnificent “7” sculpture by American artist, Richard Serra.

Katara Winter Festival
22nd – 26th January

2017 will mark the fourth winter festival. This coincides with the mid-term break for schools in Qatar and also academic holidays in Saudi Arabia. There will be family-friendly performances, activities and shows during the late afternoon and evenings.

Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
26th – 29th January

Considered as Qatar’s ‘must-attend’ sporting and social event, returning in January 2017 for its 20th edition, the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters tournament is set to take place 26 - 29 January 2017. In 2016 the event was attended by over 25,000 spectators and broadcast to a global TV audience of over 400 million viewers who saw Branden Grace become the tournament’s first ever double champion. 2017’s tournament will see Graeme McDowell compete for the first time since 2012 and Ryder Cup stars play for the million dollar prize on offer.

Souq Waqif Spring Festival
Two weeks between January – February

2017 will mark the fourth Souq Waqif Spring Festival. The festival is free and open to the public. There will be family-friendly performances, activities and shows during the late afternoon and evenings.

CATS
1st – 4th February

Andre Lloyd Webber’s Broadway musical CATS will be performed in Qatar at the QNCC as part of the Shop Qatar Festival.

Qatar National Sports Day
14th February

Celebrated annually on the second Tuesday of February, the National Sport Day has been singled out by authorities in Qatar as a day for physical activity. It was established in 2011 by the Former Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Numerous events take place in different locations in Qatar including The Pearl, Aspire Zone and Katara.

Doha Watches & Jewellery Exhibition
20th -25th February

The 14th edition of Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE 2017) will be held from 20 – 25 February 2017 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC) and is set to attract over 500 of the most exclusive luxury watch and jewellery brands from across the world. The exhibition will showcase creative brilliance, master craftsmanship, limited edition pieces and the latest trends in the industry. This year’s event will present an impressive list of international brands including Chanel, Cartier, Rolex, Van Cleef & Arpels, Boucheron, and David Webb as well as regional and local brands showcasing emerging Qatari talent.

Picasso-Giacometti Exhibition
22nd February – 21 May

Qatar Museums in collaboration with the Musée National Picasso and the Foundation Giacometti will present the first exhibition dedicated to Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti. The exhibition will run from 22 February – 21 May 2017 at the Fire Station Artist in Residence in Doha, becoming the first to showcase these artists in the Middle East. The major exhibition brings together more than 80 pieces by the two great artists including key works.

Qatar Motorcycle Grand Prix
23rd – 26th March

The Qatar Motorcycle Grand Prix is a motorcycling event that is part of the FIM Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. The Losail race track in Qatar represents the debut race of each MotoGP season. In 2016, Lorenzo came first followed by Dovizioso and Marquez.

Qatar International Food Festival
23rd March – 7th April

The festival showcases Qatar’s diverse dining options combined with local and international cuisine, across more than 60 diverse food stalls, as well as cultural and hospitality experiences. Locals and visitors alike will have the opportunity to sample authentic Middle Eastern cuisine and as they wander around the vibrant festival, their palates will take on a culinary journey across the globe. Prominent chefs will be present, showcasing fine dining using the freshest ingredients and latest food trends, as well as a number of one-of-a-kind dining experiences. For thrill seekers, take to the sky for a delectable three-course meal, elevated 40 meters in the air with the ‘Dinner In The Sky’ experience. The festival will reflect Qatar’s range of dining options including several high-end restaurants that have opened in the last couple of years, such as two Gordon Ramsay restaurants at The St. Regis Doha.

Ramadan
27th May (For 30 Days)

Eid al-Fitr
25th June

Qatar Goodwood Festival
1st - 5th August

Goodwood Racecourse in the UK celebrates five days of racing

Qatar Summer Festival
August

The Qatar Summer Festival offers a chance to enjoy a spectacle of creativity, fun and excitement featuring art zones, live shows and performances, shopping promotions and a one-of-a-kind entertainment city.

Eid al Adha
31 August

Eid al Adha
1st & 2nd September

Eid Al Adha Festival
8-12 September

Visa

For nationals of the countries listed below, the waiver will be valid for 180 days from the date of issuance and entitle its holder to spend up to 90 days in Qatar, during either a single trip or on multiple trips

     

1. Antigua and Barbuda

14. Germany

27. Poland

2. Austria

15. Greece

28. Portugal

3. Bahamas

16. Hungary

29. Romania

4. Belgium

17. Iceland

30. Sebia

5. Bulgaria

18. Italy

31. Seychelles

6. Croatia

19. Latvia

32. Slovakia

7. Cyprus

20. Liechtenstein

33. Slovenia

8. Czech Republic

21. Lithuania

34. Spain

9. Denmark

22. Luxembourg

35. Sweden

10. Dominican Republic

23. Malaysia

36. Switzerland

11. Estoria

24. Malta

37. Turkey

12. Finland

25. Netherlands

 

13. France

26. Norway

 

For nationals of the countries listed below, the waiver will be valid for 30 days from the date of issuance and entitle its holder to spend up to 30 days in Qatar, during either a single trip or on multiple trips. This waiver may be extended for a further 30 days.

     

1. Andorra

17. Guyana

33. Peru

2. Argentina

18. Hong Kong

34. Russia

3. Australia

19. India

35. San Marino

4. Azerbaijan

20. Indonesia

36. Singapore

5. Belarus

21. Ireland

37. South Africa

6. Bolivia

22. Japan

38. South Korea

7. Brazil

23. Kazakhstan

39. Suriname

8. Brunei

24. Lebanon

40. Thailand

9. Canada

25. Mecedonia

41. Ukraine

10. Chile

26. Maldives

42. United Kingdom

11. China

27. Mexico

43. United States

12. Colombia

28. Moldova

44. Uruguay

13. Costa Rica

29. Monaco

45. Vatican City

14. Cuba

30. New Zeland

46. Venezuela

15. Ecuador

31. Panama

 

16. Georgia

32. Paraguay

 

 

 

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