What to do in Doha? I’m going to give you the perfect Qatar itinerary and Doha itinerary based on my 3 days in Doha to help you see the best of the city. And give you my Doha travel tips to help you with your trip!
Qatar is a very small country but it is well worth visiting! Doha is going to be the main place in Qatar that you spend your trip and although the city of Doha is pretty big, it benefits from having a really central international airport (Hamad International Airport) meaning you can easily spend 2 days in Doha or 3 days in Doha as I recently did, and still see a lot!
Note – if you have 1 day in Doha or 1 week in Doha, this Qatar itinerary will still help you out!
What do to do in Doha? You can spend your days in Doha seeing the city, visiting museums, skyscrapers, places that look like Venice and more! You can spend time on the beaches in Doha and easily reach the desert outside of Doha, all within 1 trip!
In this Doha itinerary and Qatar travel blog, I’m going to give you my 3 day Doha itinerary plus some extra options if you don’t want to make your trip as city heavy as I did.
I’ll help you work out how to get around Doha and the best things to do in Doha, so yalla! Let’s get into it!
Is Doha worth visiting?
Doha certainly is worth visiting whether you have 1 day or a few days and there are many things to do in Doha and things to do in Qatar to keep you busy!
To help you plan your Doha itinerary, I suggest thinking about what attracts you do the city of Doha and the country of Qatar?
- Are you interested to see what there is post-world cup in Doha?
- Do you want to experience the traditional areas of the city like the Souq and Dhow boats?
- Do you want to enjoy the Middle Eastern heat and relax on a beach or hit up a waterpark?
- Do you want to get out into nature and experience the desert, sand dunes and smaller towns and cities in Qatar?
- Are you in Doha are just a few hours on a stopover in Qatar?
Although Qatar is small, the city of Doha is fairly big and you can’t do everything, especially with just a few days in Qatar so it’s good to know what your priorities for.
For example, I spent my full 3 days in Doha in the city and I didn’t go to any beaches, islands or the desert, but you may want to go to one of these places!
If you have 3 days in Doha but you’re only looking to sightsee for 1 day, have a look at my 1 day in Doha itinerary for a Doha stopover!
Qatar Travel Tips
QATAR WEEKEND – The Weekend in Qatar is Friday & Saturday so Muslims can have their holy day of Friday off work. Saturday was the first day of my trip and I definitely found the city much busier than Sunday and Monday, so keep this in mind when planning your Qatar itinerary.
ARAB TIME – Generally, Arab countries stay up late and this includes many of the Qatar attractions being open later too, including malls and places to eat. So if you have jet leg that makes getting up in the morning hard, don’t worry about starting your day late and ending it late! Do as the locals do!
THE HEAT – November to March is the best time to visit Qatar due to the cooler temperatures, although daytime temperatures are still very high and pleasant. March to October with the summer months in particular are extremely hot in Qatar (and hotter than other countries nearby like the UAE) so keep this in mind when planning what to do in Qatar. This is another reason why locals stay up late!
MONEY – I managed to use my UK bank card for 95% of everything I bought and paid for in Doha which was really handy. I had to pay in cash at the shops in Souq Wafiq but as they packaged up what I brought I just went to the ATM nearby to take out the right cash. This was really handy as I didn’t have to figure out the notes or get too much cash out and not end up needing it.
WHAT TO WEAR – Qatar is a Muslim country but it is very international too. Read my post on what to wear in Qatar to help you with the Qatar dress code!
How to get around Doha
Read my full post on getting around Doha by metro, bus and taxi here!
How to use public transport in Doha
I loved the public transport in Doha. The metro covers a lot of the city, is well connected and is in pristine condition to use. Where the metro doesn’t cover, the bus system is likely to cover.
Plus, metro tickets in Doha are very cheap and there is a 6 QAR cap per day which is about £1.40 at the time of writing this and each trip is 2 QAR, about £0.44p
Just google ‘Doha Metro Map’ to find a copy and save it to your phone.
Best taxi to use in Doha
I took quite a few taxi’s in Doha. They have Uber but I got on better with the app Karwa Taxi. I set up an account when I arrived, I couldn’t add my UK bank card but I was still able to pay by card at the end of every taxi I took.
I didn’t find Doha too hard to walk around, in many places there are pavements but it is a big, and hot, city so it’s fine to walk in some areas but you don’t want to be walking the length of the city.
Hop-On Hop-Off Bus in Doha
If you are limited on time on your Doha itinerary or just don’t fancy working out the metro. I highly suggest getting a ticket for the Doha Hop-On Hop-Off Bu which will take you around the city to all the top Doha tourist attractions and the ticket is valid for 24 hours.
The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus has designated stops at Souq Waqif, Katara Cultural Village, the Pearl and National Museums, these are all of the top places to visit in Doha and with the help of this bus you can visit them all in 1 day! You’ll also get an audio guide to help understand where you are visiting!
3 Days in Doha
To get the most out of your trip to Doha, I recommend breaking the city up into areas and seeing each area each day.
This is what I always suggest to do because otherwise you spend half your time travelling the length of the city which is not only time consuming but exhausting.
For example, Lusail, in the very North of Doha is best to be paired with The Pearl and Katara Village as they are all in the same area, whereas Souq Waqif, the National Museum of Qatar and Islamic Museum of Art are best to be paid together as they are all close by.
Map of Doha
I have added everywhere I suggest visiting in this Doha itinerary blog post into this map, this way you can see the areas of the city that have the most Doha attractions and focus on an area a day.
Doha Day Tours
If you fancy seeing the city with a local guide, which is great if you are a bit nervous about being in a Arabic city or are limited on time, have a look into these options to help make your trip much more smooth and deep!
Qatar Itinerary | Day 1
I arrived into Doha Airport the night before and ideally, you will do the same so you can enjoy a full first day in Doha.
Coming from the UK to the Gulf, I always find myself extra tired in the morning and if this happens to you, don’t fear as Arab countries generally stay up later, especially in the summer months, and many of the things to do in Doha will be open later too, so don’t worry if your day starts late, and ends late.
Souq Waqif, Museums, Corniche & Dhow Boats
I recommend starting your day in the Southern part of the city as you will get a real taste of Doha, Qatari culture and incredible views to start your trip!
National Museum of Qatar
Open from 9:00 – 19:00 (and from 13:30 on Fridays) the National Museum of Qatar is a great way to start your Doha itinerary!
It has it’s own metro station so it’s really easy to get to and you will be impressed straight away by the architecture, the cleanliness and the amazing technology of this museum which is basically a welcome to what else is to come with your 3 days in Qatar!
It’s also a great way to understand the country of Qatar, it’s history and people before fully starting your trip.
Everyone loves Souq Waqif and it got so much attention during the World Cup!
Souk’s are one of the main reasons people love visiting Middle Eastern countries but these days I find, many Souks are too touristy, with sellers that are pressuring, or they are for locals and intimidating for tourists.
This is why Souq Waqif is so great! It’s a really good size, without being intimidating, locals go there but it’s very welcoming to tourists. The sellers are not pushy and do speak good English.
Take some time on day 1 of your Doha itinerary to wander the indoor and outdoor streets of the Souq. Get a Karak, Tea Time Souq Waqif is a popular place to get one (google maps link here), and be sure to go inside the Souq Waqif Art Centre, it’s only small but it’s free to enter and is so beautiful.
For some quick and cheap food, go to Shawarma Station! I had the best Chicken Shawarma here!
Note that the Souq closes from 2:00-3:00 pm. All the food places stay open and some shops stay open but generally, most shops close and the streets are cleaned so if you end up there at this time, get some food and relax until 3:00 pm.
Souq Waqif Guided Tour
If you want to get a deeper understand of the Souq and Qatari Culture, I recommend a half day tour with a private guide where you’ll start in Souq Waqif and then be taken to other top Doha places to visit like the Pearl and Katara Cultural Village.
Check prices and availability for a half day private city tour here!
Abdullah Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center (Fanar Masjid)
If you are Muslim or you are interested in Islam and seeing mosques. From Souq Waqif you can’t miss the spiral building popping out behind the Souq streets and this is Fanar Mosque.
It is a centre for people to learn about Islam with people to talk to and of course prayer areas.
The Corniche in Doha is pretty big and it’s unlikely you’ll see all of it on your trip, but I loved the section which is just across the road from Souq Waqif where the Museum of Islamic Art is.
The city skyline from here is so incredible, especially with the traditional Dhow boats in-front!
Head to ‘The Pearl Monument‘ on Google maps for some great photo opportunities.
Museum of Islamic Art
Next up on your list of things to do in Doha should be the Museum of Islamic Art.
Even if you are not interested in Islam, this is still a great place to visit as the building is really impressive and there are many art pieces and architects from around the world.
Qatar Museum Pass
Qatar offer a museum pass which gives access to 5 museums and is valid over 5 days. I suggest buying this at your first museum and then your other museum visits will feel free and it will encourage you to see more to make the most of it. Click here to see the full list.
One of the best parts of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha is the city skyline view from the courtyard area with the big arches! This is one of the top places to go in Doha!
Remember that inside areas like museums are well air conditioned so if you are looking for things to do in Doha in the heat, going inside museums is a great idea!
Dhow Boat Cruise
The Dhow boats are the traditional sailing vessels in Qatar and as you walk along the Corniche you’ll see them all in the harbour.
You can take a dhow boat ride as one of the things to do in Doha which will offer a spectacular view of the city skyline, especially at sunset.
I saw many guys offering Dhow Boat rides around the area of the Museum of Islamic Art so there’s no need to book one in advance, just go down here, negotiate a price and head out on one!
Note – I’m not 100%, but I’m pretty sure they will only accept cash.
As evening approaches, MIA Park right next to the museum starts getting busy with locals enjoying the cooler temperatures and this is when you should do as the locals do!
There are a few food and drink stalls in the park. I got a Karak and Chapati and took it down to the waters edge to watch the sun setting over the city and it was such a beautiful way to end my first day in Doha.
Souq Waqif at night
The Souq area has a great atmosphere at night so for what to do in Doha at night, be sure to head back there if you are still in the area, get some dinner sat outside and take in the local market areas that seem to pop up once the sun sets, especially on the weekend.
Is Doha safe at night?
On this note, Doha is a very safe city. One of the big pieces of feedback from the World Cup was how safe women felt so don’t be worried about being out in the dark in Doha, especially if it’s still before midnight and there are many people and families around you.
Night Tour of Doha
As mentioned, Doha opens up in the evening as most Middle Eastern cities do so there’s no better time, especially in the summer when the temperature cools at night, to go on a tour with a guide!
This highly rated private Doha night city tour takes you from Souks to Skyscrapers in just a few hours and transports you in an air conditioned vehicle with a local guide. This is a perfect option if you have limited time in Doha!
Qatar Itinerary | Day 2
Katara Cultural Village, The Pearl, Lusail
Today is the day to explore the more Northern parts of Doha on your Qatar itinerary.
If you are a bit limited on time with just 3 days in Qatar as I was,
I recommend starting at Katara Cultural Village and working your way North because by the time you get to Lusail in the evening, there will be more going on as they have night markets and night shows in Lusail.
Katara Cultural Village
Katara Metro Station will take you right into Katara Cultural Village and the area is open all day and free to enter.
Here are things to do in Katara Cultural Village but I recommend visiting the Blue Mosque (read my post on what to wear in Doha for mosque attire), getting a Karak from Chapati & Karak, heading to the beach and renting a kayak or boat if you wish and enjoying the other restaurants and shops within the facility.
The Pearl area of Doha is so iconic to the city. The Pearl Marina is full of expensive yachts and Qanat Quartier is like a fake Venice but tastefully done!
Many expats live in this area as you’ll see from the big apartment tower blocks and it’s kind of crazy to think that people do live here!
Anyway, to get to the Pearl by public transport, you need to take the metro to Legtaifiya Station and get a bus from outside. I used google maps to help me with the bus number as there is no metro station on the Pearl.
The Pearl Marina
To see the marina and walk around it, find ‘Qatar Dragon Boat‘ on google maps and head towards here. This will take you to a nice pedestrian walkway with plenty of places to sit, plus many cafes and restaurants.
Qanat Quartier Canals
If you’re like me, you’ll want to see this colourful part of Doha with canals because it’s easily one of the best places to visit in Doha!
Looking at Google Maps, it can be hard to work out exactly where this area is, find ‘Qanat Quartier Canal, The Pearl‘ and ‘The Breakfast Club‘ on Google Maps and this will take you to the exact area you see in my photos below.
There are many places to eat and drink around here but do be prepared for higher prices in the cafes and restaurants as this is a fancier part of the city. I had brunch at Volume Cafe which had seating right by the water and was really nice!
For more ideas on what to do in Doha and things to do at the pearl in Doha, you can take a boat ride around the canals. This would be a fun thing to do with children in Doha as they are very relaxed rides.
If you fancy meeting a guide on the Pearl to check out the best places to eat on the Pearl and have a boat ride, check out this awesome tour:
Next on your Doha itinerary, head up to Lusail!
Lusail is actually it’s own city, and not part of Doha city, which I didn’t realise until I’d finished my Doha trip! But due to its geographical location to the rest of Doha, it does feel part of it!
Lusail is very new and there’s a lot going on!
Lusail Katara Hotel Towers
One of the most iconic buildings in Doha / Qatar now and one of the best places to see in Doha is this crescent moon shaped building which is known as the Katara Towers and the Lusail Katara Hotel!
The best way to see it is to go to the Lusail Marina Promenade, the closest metro station is Marina Promenade and you’ll get a great view of the building across the water!
Lusail Night Markets
One of the best things to do in Doha is visiting the Lusail night markets, especially for things to do in Doha at night. Some markets are open in the day time, and here is a full list of food trucks at the Lusail night markets.
The night markets are also best accessed from Marina Promenade station and the views across the water from here are so incredible day and night.
Lusail Winter Wonderland
For more things to do in Doha at night, and things to do in Doha with kids, check out if the winter wonderland is still on.
It’s first season was around the World Cup and it continued on throughout the winter months. I imagine it will close for summer but if you are visiting Doha from November to March, check here if it’s open again!
Place Vendome Mall
Lastly, you should definitely plan a visit to Vendome Mall (google maps link here) on your Doha itinerary!
The gulf is all about the malls and the malls in Doha are seriously something else! They are so big, so clean and pretty empty if you compare them to shopping centres in the UK and elsewhere in the world!
And as I say in my Riyadh guide, in the Gulf, going to a mall is experiencing local life, so don’t think you can’t go to shopping centre on a trip like this, you can and should check one out!
Place Vendome Mall is the newest mall in Doha and it is huge at 1,150,000 square metres. The architecture from the outside looks like a hotel or state building because it’s inspired by classic French-style architecture which is why I’m suggesting it as one of the top places to see in Doha on your Qatar itinerary!
Walking through the fancy entrance doors from the metro station (Lusail Central station) made me feel like I was walking into a building I shouldn’t be going in as it was so huge and fancy, but then I saw H&M and Zara!
Outside in the courtyard they do a dancing fountain show. It’s on the hour every hour during the day and every half hour in the evenings. It feels like a mix of Caesars Palace in Vegas and a mini Dubai!
For another really cool mall in Doha, check out Villaggio Mall because it looks like Venice inside! There are a few ‘Venice mall’s in the world including Las Vegas and Macau so its pretty cool to see one here in Doha too! The shopping is good too!
Qatar Itinerary | Day 3
Desert Tour, Banana Island or Seeing missed parts of City
Today is a great day to get out of the city of Doha on your Qatar itinerary, or stay in the city, re-visit parts you loved or go to places you missed in your first 2 days in Doha.
Desert Day Trip
You are in a Desert country so why not make the most of it but going out on a desert half-day tour from Doha.
You might have been on a desert evening tour in Dubai, or Abu Dhabi, and the Qatar desert tours seem quite similar. They are touristy but an easy trip to do and a lot of fun!
Because tourism in Qatar isn’t as popular as the likes of the UAE, many of the desert tours will offer private tours and only a few offer shared tours.
The benefit to shared tours of course is that the cost will be lower, but if there are a few of you then a private tour could work well!
Get picked up at your hotel and head out into the desert of Qatar for some dune bashing, camel rides, sandboarding and a traditional Qatari dinner with entertainment!
Here are the most highly rated SHARED tours to the desert from Doha:
Safari, Camel Ride, Sandboarding and Inland Sea Tour
Here are the most highly rated PRIVATE tours to the desert from Doha:
Half Day Desert Safari, Camel Ride, Sand Boarding, Inland Sea Visit through Viator
Private Combo Doha City And Half Day Desert Safari Tour (No Hidden cost) through Viator
Desert Safari Dune Bashing and Inland Sea Day Trip
Private Half-Day Desert Safari Tour + Camel Ride
Private Full-Day Desert Tour with Dune Bashing, Inland Sea & Meal
Banana Island Day Trip
If you can’t bear going to this part of the world with the heat and sun and not spend some time at the beach or swimming, look into Banana Island and add it to your Qatar itinerary!
When it comes to beaches in Qatar, there are 2 types of beaches, public and hotel beaches.
On public beaches, women and men must wear modest clothing and swimming attire, whereas in the hotel beaches people can wear bikinis, swimsuits, swim shorts etc. So when it comes to sunbathing in Qatar, unless you are staying in a hotel with a beach, you will need to look for a hotel with a beach you can visit for the day.
Day trips to Banana Island from Doha are popular because the island is so close by.
The boat terminal to get to Banana Island is close to Souq Waqif and the Museum of Islamic Art. It’s called Al Shyoukh Terminal and the boat is just 20 minutes from Downtown Doha to Banana Island.
Anantara Hotels run Banana Island Resort and they offer a day pass for it’s pool, beaches and money towards it’s restaurants which you can view here and here is some more information on how to do a day trip to Banana Island from Doha by a local travel blogger.
Hotels with a beach in Doha
If beach days in Doha are what you are after, look into booking a hotel with a beach, this way you can go as you please and wear what you want! Look into hotels with a beach in Doha on booking.com here!
Here are some more hotels with private beaches in Doha so you know you can wear what you want on the beach!
I hope your found this Doha itinerary and Qatar itinerary helpful and my Doha travel guide tips have helped you plan your trip! I found 3 days in Doha the perfect amount of time but you could stay longer or shorter!
- For more of my posts from this region you might like see:
- What To Wear in Qatar & Qatar Dress Code for Tourists!
- How to get around Doha as a tourist!
- How To Spend a Qatar Stopover & Spend 1 Day in Doha!
- 40 AMAZING Things To Do in Abu Dhabi!
- 5 Must-Try Yas Waterworld Rides in Abu Dhabi!
- How To Visit The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque from Dubai!
- Places to Visit in Kuwait City on a 1-2 Day Kuwait Itinerary!