Arabic, English, Persian, Urdu
Qatari Riyal
Flight time
6 hours and 45 minutes from the UK
time difference
UTC/GMT +3 hours
best time to go

Introducing Qatar

This Arabian peninsula may not have been on your radar before now but today, it’s very much the up and coming for anyone who wants a Middle Eastern destination off the beaten path. Comprising of both desert and beaches, it’s a charming little travel spot with a bit of everything for every type of traveller. Camel rides? Tick. Water sports and swimming? Tick. Luxury malls? Tick. International fine dining? Yep, we’ve got that too. Step inside the exciting world of Doha and you’ll wonder why no-one ever talks about Qatar as a favourite destination for Middle Eastern holidays. Experience it for yourself though and you’ll realise it easily could be, it simply hasn’t been discovered by the masses yet.

We wouldn’t go as far as saying that Qatar’s Doha is the new Dubai, but it certainly has everything that the UAE can offer, just on a much smaller scale. So if you want the same sort of luxury, the same sort of glitz and glam, and the same exciting mix of beach and city living but without the crowds, head to Qatar for a comprehensive cultural travel experience that will change your mind about Middle Eastern travel forever. With a coastal landscape dotted with futuristic skyscrapers and surrounded by arid desert and dramatic dunes, Qatar is an eccentric clash of urban charm and Mother Nature. The new and old create a thought-provoking contrast and you’ll witness everything from shiny tower blocks to limestone architecture, with a growing art scene to rival even that of some European cities. But whilst the country launches itself forward to become a chic, contemporary destination for inquisitive travellers, it doesn’t make the mistake of trampling all over its past; for those who love history just as much as everything else Qatar can offer, this country is the perfect melting pot of time, people and places.


Doha is a great place to stay if you are looking for family friendly hotels and many resorts are enclosed so you can relax knowing that your little ones are safe within a dedicated tourist site. There are many restaurants in the city and the rest of Qatar that offer kid-friendly menus and even Qatar’s Hamad International Airport is well equipped with baby strollers, infant toilets, activity rooms and priority boarding for families. Qatar is safe for family travel but all travellers are advised to check foreign travel advice websites for updates on safety.


Qatari cuisine is influenced by traditional Arab food and Levantine cuisine and consists of tasty rice, meat and vegetable dishes, often cooked with a whole array of wonderful spices. Seafood is also a staple and many dishes will include the use of dates for a mild, sweet flavour. Some must try dishes include Qatari Machbous, Kabsa, Ghuzi roast lamb, and Balaleet noodles. Arabian coffee is also very much at the heart of the food and drink culture here, so don’t forget to stop at the local coffee shops and cafes.

History and Culture

The people of Qatar can be divided into three groups; the Bedouin whose ancestors were the nomads of the Arabian Peninsula, the Hadar who were once town dwellers, and the Abd people who are descendants of slaves. The three groups are intermingled and all identify themselves as Qatari and their official language is Arabic. Other languages spoken include English, Farsi and Urdu.

Top Locations in Qatar

Khor Al Udaid Beach
50 miles south east of Doha is the glorious Khor Al Udaid Beach, one of the most spectacular attractions of Qatar and one that never gets too crowded no matter what season it is. This beautiful beach strangely located inland offers a unique day to night experience; by nightfall, the water recedes and leaves a landscape of stunning sand dunes. The best way to reach Khor Al Udaid Beach is by 4x4 vehicle.
The Pearl-Qatar
This spectacular manmade island in Doha is well-maintained and beautifully pristine, offering a serviced beach area which is very safe for families travelling with children. And with the shoreline dotted with hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes, you will have everything you need right at your fingertips for an easy and convenient beach day out.
The Corniche in Doha
The Doha Corniche has been described as “the most beautiful corniche in the world” and its stretches several miles along the Doha Bay for the perfect coastal stroll. It’s a great city walk with flat and easy terrain which offers spectacular sea views, and it’s suitable for all ages. This pretty promenade is bursting with a huge choice of restaurants and cafes too, many of which offer al fresco dining so you can really enjoy the panorama. If you’re looking for the perfect spot to taste Qatar’s famous seafood dishes with a view, don’t miss the Doha Corniche.
Souq Waqif
Known as the “cultural heart of Doha”, this incredible shopping destination is the perfect place for people watching. Rub shoulders with locals, expats and tourists alike, go shopping for souvenirs or simply kick back with a coffee and watch the world go by. This market has been cleverly redeveloped to resemble a 19th Century souq so you will feel like you’ve travelled back in time and with coffee culture being a big thing in Qatar, the cafes are not to be missed either. Despite the gentrification of the surrounding area, this delightful market remains to be as traditional as can be so you’ll stumble across some great finds and unique gifts from local sellers.
Landmark Shopping Mall
For modern retail and family entertainment, head to Landmark Shopping Mall in the Al Gharaffa area of Doha. This enormous shopping complex offers wide a choice of retail brands, amusement and arcades, entertainment and a multiplex cinema. There’s a big food hall offering fast food (both international and Qatari) and parking is available outside.

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