I’ve visited Qatar a few times, and each time I go back, I fall in love with it a little more. My Dad is based out of the capital city, Doha, for work. When we first visited a few years ago, it was a very different place to what it’s like now. Qatar is a tiny country based in the Arabian Gulf, in between Bahrain and Abu Dhabi & Dubai. It’s a lot more conservative than the likes of Dubai, but is just as modern, and with it being the host city for the Football World Cup in 2022, the economy is booming! Every time we go back, a new skyscraper has cropped up on the skyline, and there’s a range of new different restaurants to try.
There’s a huge amount of Irish expats living and working out there, whether it’s with the airline, or as nurses or teachers etc. It’s also a spot where a lot of people will be passing through when travelling on to further destinations. So maybe you will find yourself with a day or two to kill, in which case, I hope you find this post helpful!
Where to eat
Hakkasan – One of my favourite spots located in the St. Regis hotel. See more here.
Opal – Also located in the St. Regis, this restaurant is the brain child of Gordon Ramsey and definitely worth a try. See more here.
Nobu – You can’t beat the food or the atmosphere in this spot. The upstairs bar is very cool and still worth a visit if you aren’t eating. See more here.
Damaska (located in Souq Wakif) – I had never even thought of trying Syrian food before I visited this place last month. It’s so incredibly delicious and very authentic. See more here.
Megu – This sushi restaurant is located in The Pearl and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. We went last year and I still remember being gutted when our meal was over. See more here.
The Spice Market – This is a very popular spot located in The W Hotel. I’ve never personally been, but my sister swears that she had one of her best meals here, so it’s worth a shot I’d say! See more here.
Mamig (located in Katara) – this is a lovely spot for Lebanese / Armenian dishes. I ate here the very first time I visited and adored it. See more here.
Saffron – if you’re in the mood for Indian food, then look no further! I love this place. See more here.
**Trip Advisor is definitely the best place to start when looking somewhere to dine. Doha can offer you every single cuisine that you can imagine, so if the above don’t tickle your fancy, you’ll find hundreds more to try there.**
**Another point to flag…Alcohol is very, VERY expensive. Qatar is a conservative country and recent tax hikes have led to an increase in the price of alcohol. If you are in the restaurant / bars in hotels, you’ll need your passport to get served. Some places don’t serve any alcohol at all, so don’t be surprised.
What to do
Beach Club – spending a day in one of the beach clubs would be perfect if you’re looking to chill out by a pool with a few drinks. (The Intercontinental is an example of a good one, but if you are staying in the St. Regis, for example, then you can use their one. It depends on your hotel)
Desert Dune Bashing – this is such fun and the best way to see the desert. The best rated on one Trip Advisor is here.
Overnight Desert Stay & BBQ – I’ve never done this, but supposedly it is a must. The best rated on Trip Advisor is here.
Museum of Islamic Art – If you’re in the mood for something a little more cultural…See more here.
National Museum of Qatar (opening in May)
The Villagio – if you love shopping, look no further. This place in INCREDIBLE! All of your high street & designer favourites under one roof. See more here.
Festival City – another must for shopping. See more here.
The City Mall – there’s nothing much to see here, but if you fancy a spot of ice-skating in middle eastern heat, look no further! See more here.
Souq Wakif – to experience traditional Arabic culture, you need to pay this place a visit. You’ll find falcons, camels, authentic restaurants, and lots of little shops and stalls where you can pick up some bits and bobs. See more here.
Katara Cultural Centre – located right on the beach, is a gorgeous place to spend a day. The architecture is gorgeous and there are some great restaurants. As far as I know you can do different water sports from here too. See more here.
Skydiving – I am not a fan of skydiving at all, but apparently it’s incredible in Doha. If this is up your street, then see more here.
Where to stay
St. Regis – The best pool and beach in Doha I think! This hotel is stunning and has so many great food options too. See more here.
The Sheraton – This is hugely popular hotel in Doha. It’s the oldest hotel and is very central. See more here.
The City Centre Marriott – Another option if you want something central. See more here.
Things to note
Qatar is quite a conservative country. Women should dress accordingly and make sure that your shoulders and knees are covered if you are out and about. In the hotels and beach clubs, it’s a lot more relaxed and westernised. People sunbathe and wear whatever they want. It’s just if you’re in the shopping centres or public areas, you need to respect the local traditions. Similarly, with alcohol, it is extremely frowned upon to be drunk or disorderly in public. Be very careful, as this is not somewhere where you want to end up getting into trouble.
Getting from the airport or around the place in general, Uber will be your best friend. You can get an Uber from the airport, or else use the Karwa Taxis (turquoise in colour).
The local currency is Qatari Riyal and works out at about 4.2 Riyal to 1 Euro at the moment.
I really hope that you enjoyed this post, and if you find yourself in Doha, that it proves to be useful.