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Posted On: 12 October 2019 08:00 am
Updated On: 13 October 2021 06:11 pm

Places to visit in Qatar on a 12-hour layover for art lovers

Arvin Garcia
Arvin Garcia
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Travelling the world is fun. You get to meet different people and experience diverse cultures and traditions. But sometimes, long layovers can be exasperating. However, if you can turn those hours of layover into a worthwhile experience by exploring the country you are in while in transit.

Qatar is home to many museums, art exhibits, public arts, and cultural heritage sites that art lovers would want to explore and discover. If you're artsy with 12-hour transit, what are the best places you can visit to satisfy your artistic taste? Let's count the ways.

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 order of the places to visit 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 metred and the minimum flag down fare at the airport starts at 25 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. You can book Karwa taxi services in advance by calling the call centre on +974 800 8294 or via the Karwa App available on Android and iOS. To know about other taxi services, click HERE.

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 Arrivals, Ground Floor, Bus Pavilion at HIA. 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

[UPDATE] DECEMBER 2020 - Hamad International Airport Station opened with the rest of the Red Line!

Doha Metro: HIA will be soon accessible to Qatar residents and visitors through Doha Metro’s Red Line. A single journey costs QR 2 for Standard cardholders (including Family Class), while a day pass costs QR 6. A single journey costs QR 10 for Gold Club members, while a day pass costs QR 30. You can top up your reusable cards with Travel Credit, which can be purchased at ticket vending machines in all Doha Metro stations. For information, click HERE

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.

1. The National Museum of Qatar

From its magnificent exteriors, admirable landscape to its glorious interiors, the NMoQ will definitely capture the hearts of art lovers. NMoQ is the country's ultimate source of pride when it comes to its rich cultural heritage and traditions.

It was designed by French architect, Jean Nouvel to inspire people living in Qatar. The museum boasts of curved disks, artistic intersections, and cantilevered angles — all inspired by the local desert rose making it a dramatic addition to the Doha landscape. Time Magazine included NMoQ as one of the World's 100 Greatest Places to visit. Isn't that amazing?

National Museum of Qatar

Designed to be both immersive and experiential, art lovers are taken into different worlds in three "chapters" of Qatar's rich history when inside the museum. These marvelous stages include the Beginnings, Life in Qatar, and The Modern History of Qatar, each theme is presented across eleven highly individual galleries. For art lovers, a visit to the National Museum is a welcoming experience to marvel at Qatar's diverse culture and splendid history.


Location: Museum Park Street off the Doha Corniche, Qatar
Distance from Hamad International Airport: 12 mins (11.8 km)
Average taxi fare: QR 25 / USD 7
Entry fee: QR 50 (adult visitors); Qatar residents: free; QR 25 for students and free for children under 16
Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday: 9 am -7 pm, Friday: 1:30 pm - 7 pm; last entry one hour before closing.
Phone: +974 4452 5555
Website: National Museum of Qatar

Nearest Metro station: National Museum (Gold Line)

2. The Museum of Islamic Art

MIA was built in the mid-2000s and was opened to the public in December 2008. Under the patronage of the Chairperson of the Qatar Museums Authority’s Board of Trustees, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the museum has flourished and, today is considered one of the most iconic structures here in Qatar.

In 2017, it was visited by approximately 411,869 people from all walks of life. The MIA is a must-see attraction by visitors, adults and children alike, especially art lovers who want to enjoy and understand Islamic culture through profound art exhibits. The good thing is that it's less than half a kilometre away from NMoQ and you can walk there.

Museum of Islamic Art


Location: MIA, Corniche Street, Doha - Qatar
Distance from the National Museum of Qatar: 6 minutes (1.7 km)
Average taxi fare: QR 10 / USD 2.75
Entry fee: QR 50 (visitors); Qatar residents: free; children (age 16 and under)
Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday: 9 am - 7 pm, Friday: 1:30 pm - 7 pm
Phone: +974 4422 4444
Website: Museum of Islamic Art

Places to visit:

Aside from the museum itself, art lovers can also visit two famous public art installations located in MIA Park, which is adjacent to the museum itself. Entry to the park is free and it's open to the public 24/7. These are the Liam Gillick installation and Seven by Richard Serra.

Liam Gillick

Liam Gillick’s "Folded Extracted Personified" is a large-scale interactive work installed throughout MIA Park consisting of multiple unique “head-in-the-hole” panels.

7 by Richard Serra

In Islamic culture, the number seven has spiritual significance. Richard Serra pays homage to this in this sculpture – constructed from seven steel plates. The powerful piece faces the sea in MIA Park, embracing the surrounding greenery and delighting spectators as they relax by the coast.

3. Msheireb Museums

Next on the list is Msheireb Museums. This cluster is located in the very heart of Msheireb Downtown Doha and covers the history of Qatar along with its rich culture and traditions. Msheireb Museums celebrate the history of four historic heritage houses that played a vital role in the development of Qatar’s national history. ‬They reveal unique aspects of Qatar’s cultural and social development that inspired and helped build Qatar to reach the status it enjoys in the world today. The four Heritage Houses that make up the Msheireb Museums are the following:

  • Mohammed Bin Jassim House - This house promotes traditional values and Msheireb's transformation through the years.
  • Company House - Relives the successful story of the time when Qatar first discovered oil.
  • Bin Jelmood House - Gives an overview of how Qatar became instrumental in providing extensive knowledge and awareness about slavery and human exploitation through the years.
  • Radwani House - This house shows the traditional way of Qatari life during the old days.
Msheireb Museum


Location: Msheireb Downtown Doha, Doha - Qatar
Distance from the Museum of Islamic Art: 10 minutes (2.2 km)
Average taxi fare: QR 15 / USD 4
Entry fee: Free of charge and last admission is 30 minutes before closing.
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday: 9 am - 5 pm, Friday: 3 pm - 9 pm, Saturday: 9 am - 5 pm
Phone: +974 4006 5555
: Msheireb Museums

Nearest Metro station: Msheireb (Red, Gold, Green)

4. Katara Cultural Village

Katara Cultural Village is a perfect place for art lovers. Its a place where people are given the chance to share cultures and nurture each other's understanding and concept of peace. In a world where digital communication is the number one form of communicating, Katara's goal is to provide a platform for people across the world to come together and share the wealth of Qatar's vibrant cultures, embrace differences and to discover similarities that unite people regardless of their origin.

Katara Cultural Village


Location: Al Moasses St., Doha - Qatar
Distance from Msheireb Museums: 17 minutes (10.6 km)
Average taxi fare: QR 30 / USD 8
Opening hours: Katara is not restricted to a specific time, visitors are warmly welcomed anytime. But stores, restaurants, museums, art galleries, and shops have different opening hours depending on their regular schedules.
Phone: +974 4408 0000 / Call Center: 182
Website: Katara Cultural Village

Nearest Metro station: Katara (Red Line)

Places to visit in Katara:

Chapati and Karak Cafe

Katara Cultural Village offers a lot of restaurants and dining establishments to all its guests and visitors. If you feel like having a laidback snack while drinking your favourite coffee and eating a scrumptious meal, then Chapati and Karak Cafe is a good choice for you. It has an outside seating area which is a nice relaxing spot. Their bestsellers include sweet chapati and hot Karak chai that will definitely take your breath away.

Location: Inside Katara. Click here.
Cuisine: Cafe and street food
Special Menu: Karak tea, rolls, karak chai, and cheese paratha
Opening hours: 24 hours
Phone: +974 4408 1408
Average cost: QR 20 / USD 5 for two (approx.)

Katara Mosque

The Katara Mosque, which is located in the vicinity of the Katara Cultural Village, is one of the most recommended structures to see in Katara because of its majestic beauty and elegance. Art lovers will surely appreciate its beautiful architectural design from its exterior to its interior. The colour, design and patterned tiles it possesses represent its indescribable uniqueness. The mosque is modern, clean and has a very positive vibe when you're inside it.

Location: Inside Katara. Click here.
Opening hours: No time restrictions
Entry fee: Admission is free

Katara Art Center

Katara Art Center is an independently run platform founded in 2012 by Tariq Al Jaidah, dedicated to contemporary art and trans-disciplinary creative endeavours, projects, and practices. It acts as a hub for emerging cultural communities in response to the need for a critical grassroots and multidisciplinary framework in Doha. Artists, designers and the public are encouraged to expand and challenge their understanding of contemporary art and creative disciplines at this centre. It regularly holds art exhibitions that are sure to mesmerise you and leave you enthralled.

Location: Katara Cultural Village, Building 5
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday: 11 am - 9 pm and Friday: 5 pm to 9 pm
Entry fee: Admission is free
Phone: +974 4408 0244
Email: [email protected]

Visual Art Center

The Visual Art Center acts under the umbrella of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. It offers its services to those who are interested in all aspects of visual art. It covers basic drawing techniques, painting, all fields of printmaking, graphic design and illustration, photography, ceramics, basic design, and computer graphics.

Location: Inside Katara Cultural Village
Opening hours: Sunday to Monday: 7 am -1 pm
Phone: +974 4408 1371
[email protected]

If you want to find out what is happening in Qatar during your stay, download the Qatar Events App! Available on Android and iOS and the app is completely free!