Hotels in Qatar

Qatar Travel Guide

Culture

The small Middle Eastern State of Qatar used to be one of the poorest Gulf states, until the oil boom. Today, it is one of the richest countries in the world with one of the world’s largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas.

Not much is known about Qatar’s history before the 18th-century. Up until then, Qatar was largely inhabited by The Bedouin, an ethnic group of nomadic Arabs. From 1766 onwards, Qatar was ruled by several sheikhs, foreign governments and dynasties. It became an independent state in 1971.

Today, Qatar is a monarchy and the emir is its head. The Al-Thani family has ruled the nation since the mid-19th century.

Whilst everyday life is thoroughly modern, Qataris draw on traditions from their nomadic past and keep practices like falconry and hand-weaving alive. It is a fascinating mix of old and new, past and present and makes for one incredibly interesting country to visit.

Things to do

Doha is a city of contrasts and is a terrific place to experience modern Qatari life and catch glimpses of the past too. For visitors to Doha, there are plenty of things to do, for instance, there is no shortage of shopping opportunities, cafes and restaurants and museums and galleries.

There are plenty of things to do with kids in Doha especially in the numerous malls. Not just home to shops, the malls are also home to indoor amusement parks, ice skating rinks and even boat rides. For something more traditional, stroll around the Souq Waqif market. Browse the stalls and stock up on spices, antiques, pearls and oud (a perfume made from agarwood).

Out of the city is where the real adventure happens. For a thrilling ride, go dune bashing in the desert. For something a little calmer take a camel ride over the soft sand dunes and spend the night camping out in the desert.

When in Qatar you can make the most of the sandy coastline with plenty of watersports and beach days. You can go on a whale shark watching cruise or go snorkelling with the turtles and tropical fish. With its combination of sea and desert, your holiday to Qatar can be as mild or wild as you like.

Food & Drink

Qatari cuisine features a variety of spices for seasoning. It has influences from the Indian Subcontinent, Iran, the Levant and North Africa.

Seafood features heavily in Qatari food, but you’ll find plenty of lamb dishes and vegetarian options too. The national dish of Qatar is machbūs, which consists of rice, vegetables and meat, usually lamb or chicken. The dish cooks slowly, in one pot with lots of spices. This increases the depth of flavour.

Madrouba is another popular dish in Qatar. This type of porridge is made with chicken, overcooked rice and plenty of spices. Popular Qatari desserts include mehalabiya (rose water and pistachio milk pudding), and esh asaraya (sweet bread with cream).

The unofficial national drink of Qatar is karak tea. It is made with black loose tea, evaporated milk and spices such as cardamom and saffron. It is strong and sweet. Coffee is also widely consumed and is served in small cups and sweetened with lots of sugar. It is usually served with locally grown dates.

The consumption and sales of alcohol are tightly controlled in Qatar. However, you can get an alcoholic beverage in licensed hotel bars and restaurants.

Culture

The small Middle Eastern State of Qatar used to be one of the poorest Gulf states, until the oil boom. Today, it is one of the richest countries in the world with one of the world’s largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas.

Not much is known about Qatar’s history before the 18th-century. Up until then, Qatar was largely inhabited by The Bedouin, an ethnic group of nomadic Arabs. From 1766 onwards, Qatar was ruled by several sheikhs, foreign governments and dynasties. It became an independent state in 1971.

Today, Qatar is a monarchy and the emir is its head. The Al-Thani family has ruled the nation since the mid-19th century.

Whilst everyday life is thoroughly modern, Qataris draw on traditions from their nomadic past and keep practices like falconry and hand-weaving alive. It is a fascinating mix of old and new, past and present and makes for one incredibly interesting country to visit.

Things to do

Doha is a city of contrasts and is a terrific place to experience modern Qatari life and catch glimpses of the past too. For visitors to Doha, there are plenty of things to do, for instance, there is no shortage of shopping opportunities, cafes and restaurants and museums and galleries.

There are plenty of things to do with kids in Doha especially in the numerous malls. Not just home to shops, the malls are also home to indoor amusement parks, ice skating rinks and even boat rides. For something more traditional, stroll around the Souq Waqif market. Browse the stalls and stock up on spices, antiques, pearls and oud (a perfume made from agarwood).

Out of the city is where the real adventure happens. For a thrilling ride, go dune bashing in the desert. For something a little calmer take a camel ride over the soft sand dunes and spend the night camping out in the desert.

When in Qatar you can make the most of the sandy coastline with plenty of watersports and beach days. You can go on a whale shark watching cruise or go snorkelling with the turtles and tropical fish. With its combination of sea and desert, your holiday to Qatar can be as mild or wild as you like.

Food & Drink

Qatari cuisine features a variety of spices for seasoning. It has influences from the Indian Subcontinent, Iran, the Levant and North Africa.

Seafood features heavily in Qatari food, but you’ll find plenty of lamb dishes and vegetarian options too. The national dish of Qatar is machbūs, which consists of rice, vegetables and meat, usually lamb or chicken. The dish cooks slowly, in one pot with lots of spices. This increases the depth of flavour.

Madrouba is another popular dish in Qatar. This type of porridge is made with chicken, overcooked rice and plenty of spices. Popular Qatari desserts include mehalabiya (rose water and pistachio milk pudding), and esh asaraya (sweet bread with cream).

The unofficial national drink of Qatar is karak tea. It is made with black loose tea, evaporated milk and spices such as cardamom and saffron. It is strong and sweet. Coffee is also widely consumed and is served in small cups and sweetened with lots of sugar. It is usually served with locally grown dates.

The consumption and sales of alcohol are tightly controlled in Qatar. However, you can get an alcoholic beverage in licensed hotel bars and restaurants.

FAQs when booking a hotel in Qatar

January is the coldest month to visit Qatar, with temperatures ranging from 14°C (57°F) to 22°C (72°F). The hottest month is July with temperatures ranging from 32°C (90°F) to 43°C (109°F).

Yes, but alcohol is only available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars (usually more upmarket hotels). It is forbidden to bring alcohol to Qatar from abroad.

Technically, it is illegal for unmarried couples to stay in a hotel in Qatar due to strict Islamic laws. However, many 4 and 5-star hotels do not ask for proof of marriage certificate from non-Qatari guests.

You should expect to budget between $1100 per week for a trip to Qatar. This will depend on where you are travelling to, what sort of activities you want to do and the rating of any hotel accommodations.

It depends on what you’re looking for from a vacation. Doha is more up-and-coming, with a mix of traditional souks and trendy hotels. Dubai has more family-friendly activities and nightlife options.

Citizens of 84 countries can get a free 30-day tourist visa-waiver on arrival in Qatar. This includes UK and US citizens. If your nationality is not included, you can still apply for a Qatar Tourist Visa or a Qatar Transit Visa to visit Qatar.

Yes, most people can. English is not an official language in Qatar, but it is widely accepted as the second language in Qatar due to it being a former British colony.

As a Muslim country, drugs, alcohol, pornography, pork products and religious books are banned in Qatar and are illegal to bring into the country.

Some of the best (and most authentic) souvenirs to buy in Qatar include Arabic coffee pots, spices, shishas, dates, and jewellery (Qatar is the pearl capital of the world).

Explore popular places in Qatar