The small Gulf state of Qatar may be a deeply traditional country, but in the last 40 years, it has developed at breakneck speed, with shopping malls, five star hotels and football stadiums (in preparation for the 2022 World Cup) all springing up along the desert floor.
Yet amongst all the modern skyscrapers and expansive boulevards, Doha maintains its Arabic roots, particularly in the bustling alleys of Souq Waqif. In this maze of small shops there's a dazzling array of Middle Eastern merchandise from spices and seasonal delicacies to ornate jewellery, clothing and souvenirs. In addition, the souq has an eclectic mix of restaurants and cafes serving regional dishes and treats from Asia and North Africa, while music and cultural shows add to the ambience.
For a glimpse of Qatari heritage, visit the Falcon Souq where you can admire these revered birds; check out Al Koot Fort (Doha Fort) or head to the fabulous Museum of Islamic Art, which rises from its own purpose-built island and includes 14 centuries of the finest art and artefacts from across the Islamic world. At the purpose-built developments of Katara you'll find impressive theatres, galleries, performance venues, top restaurants and a well-maintained public beach.
Also not to be missed is the magnificent Doha Waterfront Promenade, which stretches four miles along Doha Bay and is where you'll find cafes and restaurants along with the dhow harbour, which evokes echoes of Qatar's great seafaring past.
Invitingly described as the 'Arabian Riviera' the Pearl-Qatar is a man-made island off the West Bay coast and has Mediterranean-style yacht marinas, internationally-renowned hotels with private beaches, luxury shopping at top named boutiques and dozens of restaurants serving every taste.
For something more thrilling, head to the desert for some dune bashing, or perhaps visit the impressive Khor Al Adaid or 'Inland Sea', a UNESCO recognised natural reserve with its own eco-system. This is one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches deep into the heart of the desert and can only be reached across the rolling dunes. Another UNESCO World Heritage site can be found on Qatar's north-coast, namely the immaculately restored Al Zubarah Fort, which is one of the most extensive and best-preserved examples of an 18-19th century settlement in the region.
If you're keen to discover what makes Qatar unique, let Premier Holidays create the perfect Doha holiday for you…
- Spectacular attractions
- Fabulous shopping
- Culture and heritage
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Glorious beaches