Travel Blog

Qatar: Where the Past Meets the Future

Jun 24, 2019


Browse a traditional bazaar, spend a night under the desert stars at a Bedouin camp, discover innovative museums and centuries of Islamic art housed in brilliantly-designed architecture, and experience a city that has its eye towards the future.

Discover Doha, Qatar’s Blossoming Capital City

In Doha, start with the museums. The National Museum of Qatar, designed by Jean Nouvel, takes its inspiration from the “desert rose,” the crystals that form in dried desert salt basins, with its curved structures and intersecting spaces. Wander the galleries that trace the history of Qatar back to the stone age. Learn about natural history, Bedouin culture, and the region’s rich maritime history.

If you have time for two museums, the Museum of Islamic Art, designed by the legendary I.M Pei, draws from various Islamic architectural traditions. The building is designed to capture the changing light of the desert. Inside, learn about Islamic artistic traditions while marveling at treasures from this incredible collection, including Islamic manuscripts, textiles, and jewelry.

Shopping in Doha also takes you back in time. Souq Waqif is a living museum of Bedouin culture, dating back to the days when the Bedouins would trade spices and goods. Today, the hundred-year-old souq is a kaleidoscope of incense shops, spices, and crafts. After shopping, visit another of Doha’s historic landmarks: Al Zubarah Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers one of the most well-preserved examples of an early Doha settlement. Half sunken in the desert sand, Al Zubarah Fort is only partially-excavated, giving guests a glimpse into an ancient world. Admire the crenellated architecture and learn about the history of the region’s pearl divers and early trading activities.

Doha’s foodie scene offers restaurants serving traditional Machboos beside celebrity-chef helmed restaurants bringing refined flavors to Qatar. Plus, the proliferation of Arabic coffee shops make it a coffee paradise. You can also find endless shopping, dining, and experiences at the artificial-island The Pearl-Qatar, a fascinating and incredible man-made region.

After a day of exploring, take a dhow cruise on the Arabian Gulf from the Doha Corniche and view the city from the water. You’ll also want to stroll along the Doha Corniche, where you can people-watch, admire the Arabian Gulf, and take in the skyline. Doha will soon join the world’s stage when it hosts the 2022 FIFA Soccer World Cup. Beautiful five-star hotels, incredible food, and unique experiences await travelers who discover this breathtaking city.

Experience Bedouin Culture and the Desert

After exploring bustling Doha, venture out into the wilderness, where vast expanses and experiences await. Ride a camel into the desert. Spend a night over the fire at a Bedouin camp. The sand desert is not far from Doha, and you can easily take a day trip from the city. Journey to the spectacular Inland Sea, one of the few places on Earth where desert dunes meet the water. Take a thrilling desert dune bashing drive and experience the adrenaline-packed thrill of rolling over the dunes. 

Natural wonders abound in Qatar. View the lunar landscape of the Ras Abrouq Rock Formations. Visit the Dahl Al Misfir Cave, with its stunning glowing “desert roses.” See the Al-Reem Biosphere Reserve, where you can watch for the Arabian Oryx and other wildlife. Kayak the Al Thakhira mangroves and learn about how these trees preserve the coastal ecosystem.

Whether you’re looking to connect with the tranquility of the desert, want to experience Bedouin culture and cuisine, or are looking for a new city experience, your Travel Associates Advisor can match you with a Qatar vacation package that’s just right for you.