Many travelers going from Europe to Asia or the other way around fly via Qatar. One great advantage of flying with Qatar Airways is the possibility to stay in the city for 1 or 2 days with no extra cost before boarding your connecting flight home. What can you do in 24 hours?
Flying with Qatar Airlines has great advantages. And that is not just because the airline offers excellent services. Anyone staying in the city instead of getting onto the next connecting flight can stay in 4 and 5 star Qatar hotels for very little money. And that gives you the opportunity to go see the city. I decided to do exactly that when I flew home from Thailand in March 2019. What can you do in 24 hours though? Here are three Qatar sightseeing tips for you.
1. The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA)
I went to see the beautiful and famous Museum of Islamic Art. The museum is great for 3 reasons. First of all, the building itself is really cool and offers you some memorable photo opportunities.
The museum is built on an island off an artificial peninsula near the traditional dhow harbor. A park surrounds the eastern and southern front while two bridges connect the southern front with the main peninsula that holds the park. The western and northern facades are marked by the harbor showcasing the Qatari seafaring past and offer great views of the city skyline. Inside, the building has a lot of interesting architecture as well. Second, the exhibitions of Islamic art are very beautiful and impressive. And third, you can read a lot of interesting facts about Islamic art history from all over the Middle East. There is a lot to learn here. I know I did.
2. The Pearl of Qatar
Another must-see while visiting the capital of Qatar is the lovely Pearl marina. The Pearl is an artificial island of nearly four square kilometers, part of which is still under construction. It is a residential area with many cool apartment buildings and luxury housing, which all look great. The marina is called “The Pearl” was because the island was built on one of Qatar’s previous major pearl diving sites. Qatar was one of the major pearl traders of Asia before the Japanese introduced cheaper and more affordable pearls. The Pearl helps to represent Qatar’s rich past in the pearl industry before oil became its main product. The marina has 12 districts, each of which has a distinct architectural style. Now I could delve in and tell you all about the details, but I think your visit to the Pearl should still hold some surprises, right? I definitely recommend a walk along the marina and housing districts while you are in Qatar. You’ll find a lot of great sights and photo opportunities.
3. Shoppping Malls and Skyline
It wouldn’t be a Middle Eastern city if it didn’t have huge and luxury shopping malls. Shopping is one of the Qatari’s favourite ways to spend their free time. There are many shopping malls to choose from. Al Hazm, which only opened 2 years ago in 2017, is a great place to see because of its islamic architecture, marble, and blinding luxury. There are a lot of great places to eat here, too. It’s a short drive from the city centre to get here but definitely worth a visit. A shopping mall closer to the city itself is Doha City Center. The benefit of this mall is that the drive here gives you a great view of all the skyscrapers and skyline of Doha. If you like modern architecture, I definitely recommend an Uber drive through the business district on your way to this mall. I really enjoyed seeing all the tall buildings right opposite the City Center shopping mall.
Is there more to do and see in Qatar? Oh yes, most definitely. But if you have only 24 hours I think the above will be enough. Get yourself an Uber to drive you from the airport to your hotel and to the places mentioned above and you won’t have to tire yourself out or waste time with other forms of transport. The Ubers are cheap and give you a chance to chat with expat locals while on your way to one of your destinations! Listen carefully and you’ll get free sightseeing tips for the places you are headed for.
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