Desert, beaches, caves, rocks, but also markets and skyscrapers, Qatar is all this and much more!
Among wonderful natural landscapes, archaeological sites of significant historical importance, colorful Arab souqs with indescribable scents and elegant and sumptuous cities, a trip to this small country will surprise you with its unique and magical charm.
Here is a small guide for you to better organize your trip and on what to see in Qatar: cities and attractions not to be missed!
- Khor Al Adaid
- Purple Island
- Ras Abrouq
- Dahl Al Misfir cave
- Mangroves of Al Thakhira
- Al Zubarah
- Fuwayriţ Beach
- User questions and comments
1 - Doha
The first place we want to recommend in Qatar is the capital, Doha, there city in which you will land that deserves more than a hit and run from the airport. While the Arab and Islamic culture is well established, Doha is actually a modern and cosmopolitan city. The main feature is its 7 kilometer bay, entirely surrounded by a pleasant promenade known as the Corniche, along which there are various installations, parks and beautiful beaches such as Katara Beach.
Another landmark in Doha is The Pearl, an extraordinary man-made island, engineering masterpiece in the shape of a pearl necklace. On this island there is the most important museum in the city, the Museum of Islamic Art, which exhibits a large collection of objects related to the Islamic world from different countries. Absolutely not to be missed is the Souq Waqif, a typical Arab market with clothing, handcrafted souvenirs, objects of all kinds, food and spices. But how much does it cost to spend a few days in Doha? For accommodation you need to calculate at least € 25,00 per night, transport costs a few cents, while meals have an average of € 10,00 per person.
2 - Khor Al Adaid
It is true that Qatar is surrounded by the sea, but there is also a so-called "Inland Sea". It's about a large natural reserve formed by an expanse of water from the coast and penetrated into the territory, completely surrounded by one of the natural landscapes typical of each country in this area: the desert! In the extreme southeast of Qatar, this one huge expanse of red and golden sand with high dunes is ready to welcome many visitors every day in search of peace and a unique experience, curious to discover a natural environment so special and unspoiled that it is included in the Unesco lists!
To visit the desert, there are several proposals that depart directly from the capital Doha or from the other main towns of Qatar. You can choose between a adventurous quad tour or a characteristic trek on the back of a dromedary, a simple one day tour or a suggestive two day tour spending the night in the desert. Prices are around € 100,00 and include everything (means of transport, guide, accommodation, meals, etc.) and trust me, it's really worth it!
3 - Purple Island
The original name of this islet is Jazirat bir Ghanim, but Purple Island is also known as Al Khor Island as it belongs to the territory of the homonymous town. It is in fact an extension of the mainland within the bay of Al Khor, a well-known seaside resort in the north. The visit of Purple Island will only take a few hours of your time as there is a unique archaeological site dating back to the second millennium BC and an ancient purple dye industry from which the name of Purple Island comes from.
The rest of the day can be spent practicing the two main activities of the island, fishing and birdwatching, or simply relaxing along the stretch of beach. Furthermore, Purple Island is a great place to camp and spend a night in total tranquility at very affordable prices.
4 - Ras Abrouq
Ras Abrouq is one extraordinary area composed of limestone rock formations with a strange and bizarre mushroom shape, formed by the wind over thousands of years. This landscape extends along the west coast of Qatar, precisely in the village Zekreet, whose inhabitants now live off tourism, a tourism increasingly interested in these natural rocks that receive many visits every day. To tourists it is even allowed to climb to the top and enjoy a beautiful view of the wonderful pristine beaches that surround the entire area and make the context even more suggestive, especially at sunset.
Obviously, given the tourist interest of this area, there is no shortage of proposals from various local tour operators to visit Ras Abrouq comfortably and without worries, with quite low prices starting from € 60,00 including guide, transport and dinner.
5 - Dahl Al Misfir cave
Another natural attraction not to be missed in Qatar is the Dahl Al Misfir cave, in the central and desert area of the country, considered by visitors one of the most exciting Qatari destinations. It's about a 40 meters deep plaster cave characterized by a natural fluorescent glow so as to seem a magical and otherworldly place. This effect is a geological phenomenon due to the gypsum deposits that make up the cave and form the so-called "desert roses" with a particular rose shape and indescribable light.
To visit this cave the options are different: rent a car and drive there or choose a complete desert tour that also includes this attraction. The cost of this excursion is around € 100,00 but it will be a day in which you will feel like you have ended up on the moon!
6 - Mangroves of Al Thakhira
Still keeping to the nature theme, in Al Thakhira, in the north-east of Qatar, there is a natural landscape that contrasts with the desert which we are used to in Qatar. It's about a beautiful and extensive mangrove forest, a natural area covered with thick and dense vegetation very similar to a green paradise to be explored, in some places aboard a kayak and in other small points even on foot. In the forest many species of migratory birds live such as herons and flamingos that every year find their ideal ecosystem to live, feed and reproduce.
To visit the forest it will not be difficult to find a boat and all the necessary equipment at the numerous agencies nearby which now live thanks to this tourist attraction. The excursion costs around € 30,00 and is highly recommended early in the morning or just before sunset both for the more livable temperatures and for the suggestiveness of the landscape.
7 - Al Zubarah
Qatar is not just nature, on the contrary it houses archaeological sites of great cultural importance for the country. In fact, in the north of the west coast stands Al Zubarah, a site declared a World Heritage Site consisting of a fortress and 60 meters of archaeological excavations. The fort is nothing more than an ancient settlement in the area, but the best in terms of conservation even if it has had to undergo some restoration given its distant construction in the eighteenth century. Within the surrounding walls you can observe the remains of the most prosperous coastal city in the Persian Gulf, whose life was based on fishing and trade, especially in pearls and ceramics, to become the most important trading center in the area and with connections to the Indian Ocean.
It is possible to visit it every day from 9:00 to 16:00 for free, and also you will receive all the necessary information at the tourist office at its entrance.
8 - Fuwayriţ Beach
Qatar, albeit minimally, is also chosen by tourists for its crystal clear sea. In some places such as Fuwayriţ Beach, in the north of the east coast, the Persian Gulf gives its best with incredible blue waters and a golden, rocky and sandy shoreline at the same time. Here is It is possible to practice snorkeling and diving to be fascinated by the crystal clear seabed and their rich marine fauna, or simply to sunbathe in total relaxation.
Despite its beauty, Fuwayriţ Beach it has not yet been stormed by mass tourism and it is therefore possible to enjoy a very quiet and natural beach. Also, staying in this area is quite cheap. Hotel prices start from less than € 10,00 per night while a meal is consumed at the restaurant with an average cost of € 5,00 per person.
9 - Dakhira
Dakhira is one coastal town very popular with tourists, made such both by its beaches and by its privileged position. It is in fact located on the east coast of Qatar just an hour's drive from the capital Doha, therefore very close to the life of the city but also far enough away from the chaos of the city, so as to remain in the tranquility of the beaches. Dakhira, with a long golden sandy shoreline and crystal clear waters, is therefore a great place to spend your vacation.
But this village is also the ideal place to immerse yourself in local traditions, it is enough to know that there are no means of transport except dromedaries !. Here, in fact, people live, as well as of course from tourism, mostly from fishing and farming. As this is a very touristic area, inevitably prices are higher than in the rest of the country. In fact, we speak of about € 80,00 per night for accommodation and meals starting from € 20,00.
10 - Mesaieed
The last destination that we want to offer you in Qatar, always keeping the sea and beaches theme, is Mesaieed, una a decent sized seaside resort but this time south of the capital Doha. Also in Mesaieed the peculiarity lies in the long golden beaches, the blue waters and the dunes of a desert landscape all around. The activities that can be practiced are the most varied: snorkeling, beach life, adventurous jeep tours on the sandy slopes or quiet walks on a camel.
Mesaieed is therefore a place able to offer everything a traveler can look for during a trip to Qatar, therefore nature, relaxation, fun and contact with local life, even if all this has a higher cost than other places less traveled by tourists. For example, accommodations start from € 60,00 per night and meals are around € 20,00 per person, while any excursions and tours range from € 35,00 to € 100,00 based on type and duration.
Travel informed: useful information
- Inhabitants: 2.700.000
- Capital: Doha
- Languages: Arabic and English
- Local currency: Qatari Riyal (QAR) / € 1,00 = 4,06 QAR
- Weather: desertic; in summer, from May to October inclusive, the maximum temperature can exceed 50 °, with humidity that can reach 90%, while in the winter months, from December to March, the minimum can drop even below 10 ° - find out more about when to go to Qatar
- Time zone: + 2h compared to Italy, + 1h when daylight saving time is in effect
- Travel / health insurance: recommended.
Where it is
Qatar it is located in the Arabian Peninsula, a territory between Africa and Asia that politically belongs to the Asian continent. This country is surrounded by the sea, overlooking the Persian Gulf, and only borders Saudi Arabia to the southwest.
Security, visa and necessary documents
- Entry requirements: you need a passport with a residual validity of at least six months and a return ticket; a visa is not required for tourist stays of less than 90 days, while it is mandatory for business stays for a maximum duration of 30 days
- vaccinations: no vaccination required
- Restrictions: ban on the import of alcohol, chewing tobacco, pork, oriental material and publications considered pornographic under Islamic law
- Safety: Qatar is, on the whole, a safe country with rare episodes of crime and a general risk of terrorism; air links with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt are interrupted due to the closure of the borders with these countries, but there are no areas of particular caution; before leaving, we advise you to consult the official website of the Farnesina in the Qatar section
- Useful Tips: due to the desert climate that is too hot and muggy, it is preferable to visit Qatar during the winter and in any case bring sun protection and light clothing
Tours and excursions in Qatar