Qatar Holidays

Qatar Holidays

Until recently, Qatar has not been a place that immediately springs to mind as a Middle East tourist destination like Dubai, but that is all likely to change as the country prepares to welcome the world for the FIFA World Cup 2022. Today, more and more people are waking up to the exciting possibilities of Qatar holidays. Now one of the richest countries in the world, Qatar is developing a tourist industry to match the scale of its sumptuous sporting facilities, and is keen for as many people as possible to experience its warm Arabian hospitality.

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Qatari Riyal

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Unique Atmosphere

Qatar is ideally placed to welcome visitors from around the world, as its location on the western coast of the Arabian Gulf makes it a bridge between East and West, and puts it at the crossroads of international travel routes. Despite this, it has a unique atmosphere that makes you feel as if you are right off the beaten track. With all its rapid economic development and transformation, there has still been a strong commitment not to lose touch with its history and heritage, and consequently you will be enchanted by the harmonious blend of Arabian culture and tradition with modern innovation and luxury.

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, could be considered a city-state. As a small peninsula jutting out into the Arabian Gulf, it has 560 kilometres of coastline, with gorgeous unspoilt beaches lining the western coast, dotted with reefs, islets, mangroves and salt flats. To the south lies the spectacular desert sea of Khor al-Adaid, with its vast undulating dunes.

Dynamic Doha

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, making a dramatic display.

However, 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, with 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 being among the most universal Qatari pastimes.


Beach Delights

Qatar certainly has some fine beaches along its lengthy coastline -- most of the beaches around Doha are located on hotel property, but are open to the public on some days of the week, on payment of an entrance fee. The most luxurious are the Four Seasons and the Intercontinental, where you also have access to pools and other facilities like whirlpools, cabanas and children's playgrounds. The only beach not on hotel property in the Doha area is Katara Beach -- no sunbathing or alcohol allowed here, but it has Qatar's highest concentration of water sports, including kayaks, sailing dinghies, water skiing, wind-surfing and fishing trips.

Al Zubarah

Located on Qatar’s north-west coast and comprising the immaculately restored Al Zubarah 18th century fort and archaeological works that reveal 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 and urban trading as a major coastal town.

Desert Adventure

Qatar holidays would not be complete without a desert adventure, and there are several companies offering this exciting experience. You can be taken on a hair-raising desert safari trip in a 4x4, or ride on a camel on the desert safari. Trips can be half day or full day, or can include an overnight stay in a luxury Bedouin camp, complete with a barbecue meal under the stars.

The sun shines all year in this happy country, though the best time of year for Qatar holidays is November to March, avoiding the scorching temperatures. There is plenty of luxury to be enjoyed here, but what makes the country really special is the contrast of old and new -- the traditional dhows sailing in front of the contemporary Museum of Islamic Art, or the traditional camel racing with robot jockeys. This is what gives Qatar its enduring fascination.

Things To Do


Museum of Islamic Art

Marvel at 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 visitors can simply lose oneself for hours exploring the past in this five-floor impressive building. Visitors can dine at the Michelin starred chef Alain Ducasses’, IDAM Restaurant located on the top floor

Souq Waqif

For an authentic taste of Arab street life and local architecture, nothing can beat a wander through the bustling lanes of Souq Waqif. Besides the treasures on offer, it is a lively dining and entertainment spot, ideal for people-watching. Visit the Souq in the Evening after sunset, it really comes alive and is filled with locals, expats and tourists. For dining in the Souq we suggest a traditional Arabic meal in the evening

Go on a desert safari adventure

An experience not to be missed, besides a heart-raising ride over the dunes in a 4x4, safaris may include camel riding and the chance to visit Qatar’s UNESCO recognised site Khor Al Adaid (Inland Sea). The Inland Sea is one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches deep into the heart of the desert. Round the morning off with a meal in one of the Bedouin-style camps

Al Zubarah Fort

Explore Qatar’s heritage by taking a trip to Al Zubarah Fort (Unesco Heritage Site) and the most significant pearling and trading town in the Gulf in the 18th century (can be explored on an excursion). Recognised in 2013 by UNESCO as a world heritage site this region was famous for pearl- diving and urban trading as a major coastal town


Dhow Boat

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

Traditional Sports

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

Al Thakira Mangroves

A large area of vegetation attracting varied bird life, including flamingos and herons.
Al Thakira mangroves, lying just north of the city of Al Khor, present a large expanse of natural greenery in sharp contrast to the surrounding desert landscape. This area of vegetation with its own ecosystem is notable for attracting resident and migrating bird life, including flamingos and herons. A great way to explore the mangroves is by kayak, available from several local inbound operators and specialist companies

Doha Bus

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 and will run through their own special routes of Doha visiting the popular tourist attractions such as the Souq Waqif, the Corniche, Katara Cultural Village and The Pearl-Qatar

The Pearl

Visit the Pearl-Qatar and witness the Mediterranean-style yacht lined marinas, residential towers, villas and the magnificent Marsa Malaz Kempinski hotel. The chic man-made island just off the West Bay coast is a popular visitor attraction and boasts a wide selection of fantastic cafes and restaurants


  • The infamous Villaggio is home to luxury brands, a theme park and a movie theatre. Venetian styled and comprising of a canal, passengers can take an iconic gondola ride through the mall
  • 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 cruising the luxury retailers available
  • Visit Lagoona Mall which plays with light and space to create a relaxing shopping atmosphere. Shop in the newly opened Mulberry or Vilebrequin or catch up over coffee to rest to shop some more
  • The 500,000 sqm Mall of Qatar opened in 2016 to provide innovative shopping and leisure options, and offer unique experiences that can be enjoyed fully everyday

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.

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.

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

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


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




Sharq Village & Spa, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Doha

5 Nights B&B From £999/pp

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