Things To Do In Qatar During The World Cup 2022
Some people may have heard about the beautiful country of Qatar because of the upcoming 2022 World Cup that they’re hosting. Some might have already known what it is (and approximately where it’s located), but few know what kind of beauty awaits them once they arrive!
Qatar is a hidden gem of the middle east, a land of tradition and culture that has so much to offer that you might even forget about the World Cup while you’re there. The capital city of Doha was founded 200 years ago in the 1820s, but settlements in the area date back to the 17th century! As soon as you arrive, you’ll get a sense of the long and beautiful history of the city, the country, and the people who live here.
Qatar is a beautiful and adventurous country, so why not check out as many destinations as you can while there for the football? We’ll mention spots in the city of Doha, the country’s capital, as it’s where the Cup will be held. But we just can’t go without bringing up other things to see and to in the country – there are just so many!
The city of Doha offers plenty of adventures and beautiful landmarks that you can visit. The main thing you won’t find in our list is the actual stadium and the facilities built for the World Cup.
While those are impressive and should be on your to-do list while you’re visiting, it doesn’t make sense to waste time with them as you’ll have to see them anyway!
The city of Doha has not just one but about a dozen museums and art galleries within its borders. And these are world-class Museums built by famous architects, and they contain some genuinely mind-blowing history, both of the world and the country of Qatar itself.
The National Museum of Qatar should be first on your tour of them all. Architect Jean Nouvel designed it, and the odd shape of the building is based on the desert rose crystal, which can be found all over the country. It was initially opened in 1975, but the new building replaced the old museum in 2019.
The museum is split into three parts: Beginnings, Life in Qatar, and The Modern History of Qatar. Which part should you focus on the most, you ask? Well, all of them!
Other must-see museums include the Museum of Islamic Art, the Doha Museum of Illusions, Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum, 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Al Thuraya Planetarium, and the Msheireb Enrichment Centre. And that’s just a handful that we picked out for you; you’ll probably spot many more while sightseeing in the city.
Okay, so you don’t want to waste all of your time visiting museums, or maybe you have already seen them! What’s the best thing to do to catch your breath? Well, shopping, of course! Though you might need to catch your breath before actually going on your shopping spree because the Malls here are a site-seeing adventure as much as the Museums.
The first (and our personal favorite) spot you have to visit is the Villaggio Mall, a massive Venice-inspired shopping mall that’s pretty much a small city in its own right.
The mall covers about 360,000 sqm, with about 180,000 sqm being the shopping grounds. The rest are pretty much small streets surrounded by little buildings that are luxury brand stores, some of which can pretty much only be found in Qatar and a few other places in the world! Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Gucci, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana – the Villaggio Mall has it all.
And if you want to take a break that we mentioned a moment ago, you might as well do it on one of the Gondola Rides that you can take on the artificial rivers that run through the area.
But why stop at just the Villaggio? That’s just one interesting pick of the bunch. While it’s no small shopping mall by any means, the actual biggest one in the city is the Doha Festival City shopping mall. It has over 400 stores to choose from while also being the first in the region to offer a Vox 4D Cinema Complex if you’re in the mood for some entertainment. Oh, and don’t forget Qatar’s first indoor snow park because it’s located in the DFC!
But there’s so much more shopping that you need to do across the city! Other notable places would be the Mall of Qatar, the Place Vendôme Mall, Galerie Lafayette, and Souq Wakra.
It doesn’t matter if you go to Qatar this year and never come back to the country again; you will undoubtedly create some beautiful memories while here. One of the things that stays with all those who visit is the stunning beaches surrounded by the beautiful blue water.
And what better way to experience the water than enjoying some local watersport activities. The water is warm pretty much all-year-round, so no matter when you’re here, you’ll be able to jump in and enjoy yourself. Some notable activities are scuba-diving, kite-surfing, parasailing, kayaking, or the crowd favorite – banana boating!
But most of the other activities can be found at the Katara beach, Sealine beach, the Al Thakira Natural Reserve, and a few other spots.
Please note that Katara beach is the only public beach in Doha, but you can go for a jet-ski tour around the coastline from there if you want, which gives you access to all of the significant site-seeing spots in the city!
Next on our list is a beautiful promenade that stretches out for 11 kilometers and overlooks Doha’s waterfront while giving you a picturesque view of its distant skyline. You can just walk along and soak in the beauty of the whole city until you eventually run into one of our favorite landmarks in the city – the Al Dafna Park.
The park is a beautiful garden with palm, olive, and neem trees everywhere and delightful seasonal flowers surrounding them. It doesn’t matter if you’re alone or with your whole family, coming to the Corniche is a meditative experience we all need!
But it’s not all sitting around and watching sunsets (though that would be enough already); the park contains swings and slides for your kids to enjoy. Also, while you visit one of the restaurants, try your hand at some tennis, football, or volleyball on one of the many courts. And don’t forget the restaurants, because some of the best in the city are located here!
Also, the already mentioned Museum of Islamic Art Park is here, meaning that you even have some cultural spots to check out while here!
Before we continue to some things you can do outside of the actual city of Doha, the last thing that has to be mentioned is the fine dining that can be found all across the city. Doha is truly a heaven for food lovers, as the restaurants range from small and authentic to some of the classiest places in the region!
So where can those restaurants be found? Our first recommendation is the Souq Waqif, a century-old marketplace located in the district of Al Souq, one of the city’s central districts. The marketplace is vast, and you’ll go from buying traditional spices and souvenirs to dining in high-class restaurants!
But don’t just stick to the Souq Waqif – there are plenty of restaurants. For instance, visit the Three Sixty, a revolving restaurant located on the 47th floor of a skyscraper called The Torch. But that restaurant offers Mediterranean cuisine; perhaps you’d enjoy something traditional while you’re in the country? Well, in that case go for the Al Sufra at Marsa Malaz Kempinski.
Al Sufra translates to the dining room in English, and it’s pretty much the perfect place for traditional Middle Eastern meals from Qatar and the countries around it. Oh, and it’s located in a 5-star luxury resort.
The Katara Cultural Village site offers some of the essential architectural marvels that Qatar has to offer. But if we had to pick just one, it would be the Katara Mosque.
It’s not designed like other mosques in the country, as it is a blue tile mosaic with hints of yellow and red all over the place. The three spiked pillars that can be found on its outside, aiming toward the sky, will probably attract you to it first, but the detailed mosaics on the wall of the interior are what will truly knock you off your feet.
Al Zubarah Fort and the Abandoned Village
The Al Zubarah Fort and the abandoned village around it are currently the one and only UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country. We recommend checking out these beautiful ruins that date back to the 1760s. Walk around the high fortress walls and into the beautiful towers that watch over it.
You can also catch an exhibition that will show you everything you need to know about the history of this abandoned village and trust us; there’s plenty to learn!
Al Thakira Mangroves
The next must-do option in the country would be to kayak through the Al Thakira Mangroves, located north of the beautiful Al Khor. The city itself shouldn’t be missed, but kayaking through the beautiful water while surrounded by perfect greenery is an absolute must!
And if that sounds good, we most definitely recommend checking out Purple Island – another beautiful spot that shows Qatar’s beauty. It’s located near Al Khor city, and is about an hour away from Doha. The island is filled with Mangroves and serene greenery. Kayaking is a great option on the island, but you won’t make a mistake by just taking a long walk and enjoying the exotic beauty!
Al Mafjar Beach
The Al Mafjar beach is located in the north of the country. The beach is an excellent spot for some water sports activity, but while swimming and snorkeling sound good, there’s a much better reason to visit the spot. Firstly, the beach and the previously mentioned Purple Island have something in common – mangroves!
The beach transitions into nearby mangroves at some point, and located close by is an abandoned village that’s become quite a popular tourist spot over the years. It’s quiet and beautiful, but more importantly, it gives you a small window into what it was like to live there all those years ago.
Even the drive from Doha won’t be boring. Qatar’s landscapes are more than enough to make up for sitting around in the car along the way!
Qatar truly is one of the most beautiful parts of the middle eastern region. Its landscapes and architectural marvels should be experienced by everyone who gets the chance. The World Cup truly helps out a lot with this, and let’s not forget the impressive stadium that the country has prepared for football lovers, as it is a proud moment for Qatar. We wish you amazing times in Qatar – following our guide, we’re sure you’ll enjoy it!