When traveling from North America to Asia or Africa, why not stopover in Qatar. Thanks to Qatar Airways, travelers can now more easily experience the capital city of Doha — a world-class hub and luxury stopover city. Qatar Airways offers free stopovers to all passengers, allowing them to experience Qatar for up to four days at no extra cost. So stretch your legs, stash your bags and prepare to discover a whole new country.
How to spend your stopover in Doha
1. Indulge your inner adventurer.
If you’ve got time to venture out of the city, there are plenty of ways to see Qatar. Just 60km southeast of the city is Qatar’s inland sea, Khor Al Adaid. It’s a UNESCO-recognized natural reserve with its own ecosystem and one of the few places in the world where the sea reaches deep into the heart of the desert. To explore more of Qatar’s desert by camel, sand board or buggy, travelers can arrange a Desert Adventure. Whether you choose to go out for just the day or experience Bedouin-style camping and spend the night, it’s an experience you’ll never forget. For another adventure, the Sheikh Faisal Museum is only an hour outside of Doha and houses an impressive private collection of artifacts that paint a picture of Qatari culture and life.
2. See the world from another perspective.
The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is the largest institution to celebrate everything from ancient to contemporary work produced by artists from all over the Islamic world. The building that houses MIA was designed by the legendary IM Pei and is commonly referred to as the “eyes of Doha” as it looks out onto the Arabian Gulf. From there, take a shuttle to Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, which focuses on modern to contemporary Arab art.
Qatar’s commitment to culture extends to a range of impressive public art installations by leading international artists. These include:
- Ahmed El Bahrani: The Challenge 2015 at the Lusail Multi-Purpose Sports Hall
- Anne Geddes: Healthy Living from the Start at HMC Women’s Hospital
- Damien Hirst: The Miraculous Journey at Sidra Medical and Research Centre
- El Seed: Calligraffiti at Salwa Road Tunnels
- Lorenzo Quinn: The Force of Nature II at Katara Cultural Village
- Louise Bourgeois: Maman at Qatar National Convention Centre
- Richard Serra: East-West/West-East at Zikreet
- Richard Serra: 7 at the Museum of Islamic Art Park
- Sara Lucas: Perceval at Aspire Park
- Subodh Gupta: Ghandhi’s Three Monkeys at Katara Cultural Village
- Tom Claassen: Arabian Oryx at Hamad International Airport
- Tony Smith: Smoke at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre
- Urs Fischer: Lamp Bear at Hamad International Airport
3. Where heritage and history come to life.
The Katara Cultural Village showcases some of the architectural traditions of the region. This recent development seeks to preserve the cultural heritage of Qatar, complete with an impressive amphitheater, art galleries and performance venues sharing space with world-class restaurants and an active beachfront.
At the Al Zubarah Fort, you’ll find archaeological treasures and one of the most extensively preserved examples of an 18th-19th century settlement in the region.
4. Bring something back home.
For those looking for a more down-to-earth, traditional shopping experience, the Souq Waqif is a bustling market filled with smaller shops that offer an array of Middle Eastern crafts. From spices and food to perfume, clothing, jewelry, textiles and souvenirs, you’ll be sure to find something unique to take home. If high-end luxury shopping is more your style, Doha doesn’t disappoint. The Pearl is one of the premier shopping centers, located on a manmade island off the West Bay coast. Some of the world’s biggest brands boast impressive storefronts. Or, you can venture to the newly opened Festival City which combines shopping with other favorite vacation pastimes like a theme park, winter sports, over 500 stores, food courts and more.
Know before you go:
- Travel Visa: Travelers must be booked through Qatar Airways to add Doha as your stopover. So, book your flight first then submit your e-ticket number to reserve your free visa.
- Dress Code: Like many Middle Eastern countries, Doha is a modern city steeped in tradition. Travelers are expected to respect the basic tenets of its dress code. Learn more about what to wear.
- Alcohol: If you’re looking to sip cocktails (or the country’s legendary mocktails), you can head over to one of the many five-star hotel bars.
- Etiquette: Just as you would expect visitors to adhere to your house rules, the same applies in Doha. Learn about its customs and rules, and apply that to your visit. It’s just good manners.
You travel to experience the world – so consider experiencing Qatar. Whether for business or pleasure, experience luxury, culture, Arabic hospitality and history when you visit Qatar.
For more information, please visit VisitQatar.qa and qatarairways.com.
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