5 Sights Not To Miss In Doha, Qatar’s Sleek Cultural Capital

Having long been eclipsed by Dubai, Doha has rarely been the first city to come to travellers’ minds when planning their trips to the Middle East. Despite having played second fiddle to its glitzier neighbour for years, Doha is a stunning destination to visit in its own right. From awe-inspiring Islamic architecture to countless cultural sites of importance and a sleek feel to its modern downtown core, the city offers something to any visitor – regardless of their tastes or interests.

The Qatari government’s considerable efforts to modernize Doha in light of the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup have culminated in astounding results, with striking new buildings, attractions, landmark icons and shops being developed at an unprecedented pace. However, while the city quickly expands, its traditional side continues to exhibit just as strong of a pulse – demonstrating significant artistic flair while staying true to its charming Qatari values.

With Qatar Airways offering an increasing number of direct flights to Doha from major transport hubs around the globe, there’s no better time to visit than now.

The Corniche


The Corniche is a spectacular, seven-kilometre long waterfront promenade located along the Doha Bay. Offering unparalleled vista views of the city, it allows visitors to marvel at a range of architecture, from Doha’s gleaming high-rise towers to its unique Museum of Islamic Art. Given the city’s rapid urbanization, the Corniche provides a pleasant break from its frenetic pace by promoting a green, vehicle-free environment. Head over to the promenade for a leisurely stroll with family or friends, a bout of bicycling or a long run to clear your head.

Best enjoyed in the early evening as Doha cools down, many of the city’s main landmarks can be found along this stretch. Photography aficionados will enjoy the countless opportunities to take snapshots of the city’s skyline, while those searching for a bit of calm amidst Doha’s concrete jungle will appreciate the opportunity to grab a coffee from one of the waterfront shops and relax.

Souq Waqif

Souq Waqif

Souq Waqif, Arabic for “the standing market”, is noted for selling a wide variety of spices, crafts, souvenirs and traditional garments. Although its origins date back to over a century ago, the market was renovated in 2006 to preserve its traditional Qatari architectural style. Located in the centre of Doha, Souq Waqif was once used as a gathering place for locals to trade a variety of goods before becoming one of the city’s most infamous tourist attractions in later years.

Today, its countless shops, stalls and art galleries are visited by thousands of people from around the globe every day and it plays host to a variety of cultural events and local concerts each year. Don’t miss out on shopping for souvenirs here, or taking a leisurely stroll through the souq to appreciate its charm!

Museum of Islamic Art

Museum of Islamic Art

Located along Doha’s waterfront Corniche promenade, the Museum of the Islamic Arts is one of the city’s most iconic cultural sights. Renowned architect I.M. Pei was coaxed out of retirement at the age of 91 to take on the project, which sits on an artificial peninsula overlooking Doha Bay and features a 290,000 square metre park behind the main building.  After travelling across the Muslim world for six months to learn about Islamic history, Pei declined every proposed site for the museum and suggested that a standalone island be constructed in order to avoid the presence of any other large buildings.

The resulting museum is an architectural gem and showcases an impressive collection of Islamic art from across three continents, dating back 1,400 years. The Museum of Islamic Arts (MIA) is widely considered to be one of the world’s most complete collections of Islamic artifacts, with items from across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Visitors can also enjoy an on-site gift shop, library, French Mediterranean restaurant, 200-seat theatre and prayer rooms.

Katara Cultural Village

Katara Cultural Village

The Katara Cultural Village is Qatar’s largest multi-dimensional cultural project. Created as a means for people to come together and experience Qatari culture, the site features cutting-edge theatres, cultural halls and exhibition galleries. Architecture lovers will appreciate the gorgeous Islamic influence of the village’s mosques, amphitheatres and buildings.

Katara Cultural Village acts as a one stop shop for visitors to learn about Qatari society and appreciate the country’s colorful heritage. If you should somehow grow weary of its mystifying sights, the village’s on-site beach and shopping plaza offer up a welcome respite from the Doha heat.

Falcon Souk

Falcon Souk

While in Doha, do not miss the opportunity to learn about the importance of falconry in Qatari society. Located in a traditional building near the infamous Souq Waqif, the Falcon Souk is a fascinating place to visit in the evenings – especially on Thursdays. Here, you can observe customers examining the majestic birds and discussing the intricate aspects of falconry. If the Falcon Souk is quiet at the time of your visit, the staff might even allow you to see the neighboring falcon hospital if asked nicely.

The experience of being up close to these dominating creatures is a memorable one, with most of them hooded in black leather and perched on open railways just a stone’s throw away. Traditional Arabic hunting (that is, hunting involving falcons) is considered a national sport in Qatar – with the rarest pure-bred falcons fetching up to $250,000 each at the peak of their athletic prowess. In addition, thorough-bred judging contests are often held, landing owners up to USD 138,000 if their falcons are deemed to be in top shape.

Banana Island

Located 25 minutes from the heart of Qatar’s vibrant capital, Club Points Owners can enjoy Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara’s luxurious five-star accommodations as part of Anantara Vacation Club’s Club Escapes programme.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can take advantage of the many benefits of Vacation Ownership, please email info@anantaraclub.com or visit our Special Offers page.

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About Anantara Vacation Club Editorial Team

Anantara Vacation Club, launched in 2010, is an exclusive collection of luxurious Vacation Ownership resorts and suites, offering each generation the opportunity to explore the world’s most exciting destinations. Owners can purchase Club Points that determine the length of stay, time of year and the size and type of accommodation. Visit: anantaravacationclub.com Contact us: info@anantaraclub.com

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