Stopping over in Doha for 24 hours? If you have a budget and you like to stick to it when you're travelling, don't worry. We have put together a bunch of budget friendly places in Qatar you can visit while you are on a 24-hour layover in this fabulous country.
Disclaimer: This layover plan is based on an arrival time of 9 am (Qatar standard time). If your arrival time is different, you may consider rearranging the visiting order depending on the opening hours of each location.
Hamad International Airport (HIA) offers you a wide variety of transport options, including car rental, limousine, taxi, bus and metro services.
Hiring a taxi: All airport taxis are operated by Mowasalat; a Qatari state-owned company. You can board a taxi at the Taxi Pavilion located at the left end of the Arrivals hall. All taxis are metered and the minimum flag down fare at the airport starts at Qatari Riyal (QR) or USD 7 and QR 1.20 per kilometre between 5 am to 9 pm and QR 1.80 per km between 9 pm to 5 am.
Bus service: Doha’s bus network connects HIA to various destinations across the city, offering a convenient transport option. You can buy or top-up the Smartcard at ticket vending machines located at the HIA arrivals, HIA ground floor, HIA Bus Pavilion, Doha Bus Station, The Pearl-Qatar also partner merchants. The machine only accepts Cash – QR 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 currency notes. Since it does not have a refund feature, you are advised to pay using the exact amount. There are three types of Karwa Smartcards to choose from:
- Classic Card: QR 30 (USD 8): rechargeable card for long term / future journeys
- Limited Card: QR 10 Card (USD 3): two inner-city trips within a 24 hour period
- Unlimited Card: QR 20 Card (USD 5): unlimited trips across Qatar within a 24 hour period
Doha Metro: The Doha Metro is fully functional with all stations now open with HIA being accessible to Qatar residents and visitors through Doha Metro’s Red Line. Choose the Doha Metro Smartcard you need:
- Standard (including Family Class): Single journey costs QR 2
- Standard (including Family Class): Day pass costs QR 6
- Standard (including Family Class): Travel card costs QR 10
- Gold Club: Single journey costs QR 10
- Gold Club: Day pass costs QR 30
- Gold Club: Travel card costs QR 100
You can top up your reusable cards with Travel Credit, which can be purchased at ticket vending machines in all Doha Metro stations. There is also a free MetroLink service to different locations from all Doha Metro stations.
Check out the map below:
Please ensure you are carrying enough Qatari Riyals to pay for your trip as taxis and buses only accept cash payments in local currency. ATMs are located in proximity to the taxi pavilion for your convenience.
The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is one of Qatar’s most iconic buildings and is world famous for its exotic collection of Islamic masterpieces from different Muslim countries and across three continents, reaching as far as China, India and Spain. The collection is made up of precious stones, jewellery, ceramics, glass, wood, metal, textiles and manuscripts from hundreds of years ago dating from the 7th to the 20th century. Thousands and thousands of visitors pass through its doors every year to witness the marvel and splendour that make up the Islamic world through art pieces collected over the years and carefully conserved so visitors can understand the Islamic traditions, culture and heritage through the centuries.
For more information, visit: https://www.iloveqatar.net/guide/places/all-you-need-to-know-about-qatars-museum-of-islamic-art-mia-and-more
Right across from MIA is Qatar’s traditional market - Souq Waqif (which means the 'standing market' in Arabic). Why not walk around this beautiful must-visit attraction in Qatar that isn’t to be missed, and through its twisting alleyways where you can buy all sorts of goods from saffron, traditional Qatari spices, nuts, perfumes, household items, traditional Qatari clothing, ready-to-wear clothes, fabrics, shoes, toys, sweet and so much more. And, when you’re tired and want a bite to eat, take a seat at one of the many local restaurants and enjoy the Qatari cuisine on offer, but if you’re looking for something else to soothe your hunger, there are many other international cuisines on offer, too.
Um Abdelaziz / Al Refaa (Qatari cuisine)
Shay Al Shoomos (Qatari cuisine)
Al Aker Sweets (Qatari desserts)
Shujaa Restaurant (Afghani BBQ)
A trip to Qatar wouldn’t be complete without a stroll along Qatar’s beautiful Corniche. Watch the waves as they crash against the shore and enjoy Doha’s spectacular skyline that will take your breath away. You can also see Orry the Oryx, one of Qatar’s iconic landmarks that stands tall over the Corniche and was the official mascot at the Asian Games 2006 held in Doha.
As you drive or walk done the Corniche Promenade, you can also see the Amiri Diwan which is the seat of the government from where Qatar’s Amir His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani leads the country on the opposite side. Among its manifold tasks and responsibilities, it keeps H.H. The Amir abreast of the most important developments locally and internationally, submits to him draft laws and other legislative instruments for perusal and approval, and delivers his instructions to the concerned authorities. The Amiri Diwan is next to Souq Waqif and opposite to the Corniche, so you can’t miss it.
Note: The Amiri Diwan is not open to the public, and taking pictures of it is also prohibited.
Along the Corniche, you will see a number of boats called Dhows which are traditional sailing boats mainly used in the Arab region. If you have a little bit of time, you can book dinner on a Dhow cruise, otherwise, you can enjoy a 20-minute trip on a Dhow, taking in the beautiful scenery and skyline of Doha. Ask the Dhow captain to blast your favourite songs as the boat sails across the waters of the Arabian Gulf.
When it comes to mosques in Qatar, none can beat the grandeur and magnificence of the Imam Abdul Wahhab Mosque nestled in a prominent neighbourhood of Doha and visible from a distance. It is not too far from the Corniche and has been built on a large hill so it can be seen from afar. The mosque was opened to the public in 2011 and is also well known as the Qatar State Grand Mosque. This Grand Mosque has a contemporary design with a traditional Qatari twist to its simple, yet elegant façade and its stunningly beautiful interior design and décor.
The façade of the Grand Mosque is made up of sandstone and has preserved traditional features of Qatar’s rich heritage and its prolific history. At night time, the mosque is lit up with strategically placed lighting that adds to the overall marvel of Qatar’s most prominent mosque. There are 93 domes on the Grand Mosque; 65 of them make up the outer quadrangle of the mosque, while 28 larger sized domes protect the central hall.
If you are a non-Muslim and wish to visit this Grand Mosque, entry is free, but there are some mosque etiquettes and guidelines that must be followed. Read more here: https://www.iloveqatar.net/news/general/visiting-mosques-in-qatar-a-short-guide-for-expats
Katara (‘Valley of Cultures’) Cultural Village is one of Qatar’s most famous landmarks and a must-visit place for visitors, and all those who want to experience Qatari culture at its best. It is a cultural icon that signifies Qatar’s growth and development into the world of arts and culture through different creative means. Katara is a place where the Qatari culture meets different cultures and embraces them through various artistic endeavours and cultural activities aimed at promoting cultural understanding in Qatar with the hope of uniting people from around the world.
It is home to a large number of multi-cultural activities that take place in its various state-of-the-art concert halls, art exhibition galleries, theatres and its signature amphitheatre. There are also interesting and thought-provoking art installations that are bound to get your attention, along with beautifully kept gardens, architecturally beautiful mosques, and, of course, the magnificent birdhouse that you must have seen in pictures.
Katara is divided into a number of different regions where visitors can walk around freely through its traditionally styled alleyways, which are known as ‘Al Fereej’ and give you the feeling you are strolling through an old Qatari Souq with a modern feel. Katara has a lot to offer – from restaurants to cafés, festivals to concerts, symposiums to social events, performances to kid-friendly activities, beaches, and so much more.
Chapati and Karak (cafe; Qatari street food)
Aliwilim (Qatari street food)
The Pearl-Qatar is a man-made island off the West Bay coast featuring Mediterranean-style yacht-lined marinas, upmarket residential towers, villas and internationally renowned hotels, as well as luxury shopping at top brand name boutiques and showrooms. A popular dining spot with dozens of restaurants, its waterfront promenades are lined with cafes and restaurants serving every taste – from a refreshing ice cream to a five-star dining experience. The Pearl-Qatar is a popular visitor attraction by virtue of its chic elegance, outdoor atmosphere and al fresco dining. Hence its inviting description as the ‘Arabian Riviera’.
Which Wich (sandwiches)
Karak Mqanes (Qatari, cafe)
The National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) is dedicated to bringing to life the unique story of Qatar and its people. It actively gives voice to the nation’s rich heritage and culture and demonstrates our extensive network of ties with other nations and people around the world. Designed as a vibrant and immersive space, diverse communities can come together and experience Qatar’s past, present and future. When you visit the museum, you’ll get to learn more about Qatar’s ancestors and the dhows that were once a very important part of the country’s legacy, how the early cities were formed and the transformation of the country that has led up to modern Qatari society. Exhibitions in the museum merge historical objects with modern influences and signify the impact made by the rapid change in the Qatari lifestyle through innovative presentations and contemporary techniques with whole walls turning into movie-like screens and mobile phones guiding visitors through the thematic displays.
Villaggio is located on Al Waab Street in the west end of the city. It’s housed on a total plot size of 360,000 sqm that hosts a dedicated mall area of 183,000 sqm, and, providing 90,000 sqm of world-class shopping at reasonable prices, 15,000 sqm of luxury brands and 3,300 car parking slots. It has Venetian styled interiors combined with an astonishing range of shopping, dining and entertainment venues to make it a unique and unforgettable attraction in Qatar; one that no visitor can afford to miss. There is a Venice-like canal in the centre where you can enjoy a Gondolania ride for just QR 10 per person.
Villagio food court
After a long day of visiting the must-see attractions in Doha, and shopping at Villaggio, you can sit and relax at the many cafes and restaurants available across Aspire Park or enjoy the different activities on offer at one of Qatar's biggest parks, which also include open-air gym stations, children's playgrounds, and a beautiful lake where you can participate in the boating activities.
Sources: Qatar Rail; Mowasalat
What do you think of our things to do in Qatar on a 24-hour layover? Will you try them out when you are transiting through Qatar? Do let us know your thoughts in our Comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!
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