Now that the World Cup season is sadly over, all eyes now move to Qatar as the Arabian country continues to develop its sites and prepare for the coveted football tournament to arrive in 2022. The capital of Doha is growing to be a popular and alternative stopover hub in the Middle East. Visitors are able to see a part of what Qatar has to offer.
The city has something for visitors of all ages. Whether you like to sunbathe, enjoy some watersports, shop till you drop and indulge in the Qatari culture and traditions, Doha can accommodate your needs and can provide a good experience. Here are some spots to visit within the capital.
Located in the Aspire Zone of Doha, entering Villagio Mall is as if you’ve stepped into Italy. The interior décor is well thought out and beautifully constructed as an Italian hill town with the Venetian theme is spread across the entire building.
Within the mall, an indoor canal allows visitors to take lovely gondola rides and snap pictures, which is a very popular feature for shoppers to enjoy. There is also the Gondolania Theme Park and Ice Rink which are favourites for young children.
With over 200 stores including international brands and a wide variety of dining options, people can opt for a full day with Villagio Mall and can be satisfied with the services and activities offered during their visit.
As a popular spot for expats and global visitors, Souq Waqif provides a traditional Qatari environment with its unique architecture. With many small stores and narrow walkways in the area, it represents a normal souk atmosphere.
Souq Waqif also houses the Art Center, where there are several exhibition rooms displaying aged artefacts, sculptures, photography and calligraphy. Lessons also take place in the center, as students improve on their artistic flair.
With Souq Waqif located in the centre of Doha, it is easily accessible and comes alive in the night time with open air entertainment, active restaurants, shisha lounges and many stall sellers using their skills to attract to prospective customers. Put your haggling skills to the test and purchase some traditional Middle Eastern goods such as clothing, jewellery, spices and handicrafts.
Katara Cultural Village
Katara Cultural Village is one of the popular places for locals and travellers to come and spend a good day out. With a variety of features and activities available, visitors will not be bored whilst exploring the entire sites.
As part of the village, there is access to Katara Beach. The designated private beach area provides a safe play area for children and motorised and non-motorised watersports options for adrenaline junkies to enjoy. The visually stunning Amphitheatre is the iconic structure in the village where performances are held. There is also Katara Masjid, which is beautifully designed with its striking mosaic exterior for visitors to marvel at.
Having additional site such the Katara Gardens, the Opera House and Drama Theatre, the Cultural Village truly provides great alternatives for its visitors with different interests. With regular events, workshops and performances held at the village, this is not a location to be missed.
The environment of The Pearl oozes serene opulence. With the towering structures, the calm marinas filled with yachts and the promenades lined with restaurants, this is a place to have some chill time. The vast land is situated on a former pearl diving site that was prominent for Qatar’s pearl trading industry.
As an artificial island, The Pearl was constructed to become a huge residential estate for foreign nationals to be able to own property. The development of the buildings was influenced from different international cultures as different quartiers have been constructed to represent European and Arabic architecture.
When visiting The Pearl, you can opt to visit the main shopping zone of Medina Centrale, which has many international retail stores and luxury brands alongside a wide selection of cafes and restaurants. A wide selection of entertainment services is also provided so visitors are spoilt for choice.
Museum of Islamic Art
Ancient Islamic architecture along with contemporary design is felt throughout this distinctive museum. Built on a separate man-made island, the development is located on one end of the Corniche overlooking Doha Bay.
Regarding the collection, the Museum of Islamic Art displays artefacts spanning over 1,400 years from various countries around the world. Ancient ceramics, calligraphy art, sculptures, glasswork, textiles and jewellery are presented throughout the museum galleries.
Within the museum, there are prayer room facilities, a library, a theatre and a restaurant. The exterior MIA Park provides great views of Doha Bay and the water features and huge arches keep true to the Islamic design influence. With free entry for visitors, The Museum of Islamic Art is one of the standout gems of Doha and is a must visit for those travelling to the city.
Doha is still a developing city however it has the huge potential to pull in more and more visitors over the years. The Qatari city is a very good alternative for a stopover or a short weekend and has the right hotspots and activities for visitors of all ages to experience.