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Posted On: 11 October 2019 08:00 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 10:18 am

Places to visit in Qatar on a 6-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 an art lover with 6-hour transit, what are the best places you can visit to satisfy your artistic taste? Read on, to know our recommendations!

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.

Transportation:

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.

As an art lover, we're sure one of the first places you'll be looking out for is the museums, and we have some great ones. Since you have a short layover of six hours, we suggest you go either to the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) or the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), and if you feel you can manage, maybe you can see them both.

1. The National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ)

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

Details

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. Museum of Islamic Art (MIA)

If you decide to go straight to MIA, don't you worry; this option is as good as the first one. To reach this museum, you can book a ride using Uber and Careem applications on your mobile phones. You can also go out of the airport, find the taxi stand and ride a taxi going to the museum. MIA is less than half a kilometre away from the NMoQ and you can walk there.

MIA was built in the mid-2000s and was opened to the public on 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.

Museum of Islamic Art

Details

Location: MIA, Corniche Street, Doha - Qatar
Distance from Hamad International Airport: 18 minutes (13.9 km)
Average taxi fare: QR 30 / USD 8
Entry fee: QR 50 (visitors); Qatar residents: free; children (age 16 and under): free
Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday: 9 am - 7 pm, Friday: 1:30 pm - 7 pm
Phone: +974 4422 4444
Website: Museum of Islamic Art

Other 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. Souq Waqif

After visiting two museums, either the National Musem of Qatar or the Museum of Islamic Art, the best place to go next is Souq Waqif. The bustling alleys of Souq Waqif offer visitors an authentic feel of traditional commerce, architecture, and culture. The Souq has a wide array of small shops of Middle Eastern merchandise from traditional Qatari spices, seasonal delicacies such as nuts and fresh dates to perfumes, household items, ornate jewellery, local clothing, handicrafts, souvenir bargains and so much more.

Visitors will surely enjoy Souq Waqif's traditional feel and its historical vibes by just walking around the market place. If you get lucky, you may see cultural shows that sometimes take place along its streets and showcase various Qatari traditions through music and dancing. Fanar Qatar Islamic Centre, also known as the spiral mosque, is also one attraction that you shouldn't miss here. It has become one of Doha's most-loved landmarks, and is located in the Souq area, a stone's throw from the Corniche Street that magnificently enlightens the area at night.

Details

Location: Souq Waqif, Doha - Qatar
Distance from the National Museum of Qatar: 10 minutes (2.3 km)
Average taxi fare: QR 15 / USD 4
Distance from the Museum of Islamic Art: 13 minutes (2.5 km)
Average taxi fare: QR 15 / USD 4

Nearest Metro station: Souq Waqif

Places to eat in Souq Waqif

Tea Time

After you've finished appreciating various arts and cultural exhibits in the area, we recommend that you go to this next location, Tea Time, especially if you're looking for the perfect pick-me-up - Karak tea - and something light to eat. They have delicious sandwiches and tasty juices at affordable prices. It's located at the heart of Souq Waqif and has been serving Karak and light meals for many years now. According to the locals, your trip to Qatar just won't be complete if you don't visit this local eatery.

Tea Time
Image Courtesy: Zomato

Details

Location: Al Souq St., Doha - Qatar
Cuisine: Karak tea, sandwiches, hamburgers, shakes and juices
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
Average cost:
QR 10 - QR 20 / USD 2.75 - USD 5 per person

Parisa Souq Waqif Restaurant

If you're someone who loves architecture, you'll surely be dazzled when you eat at Parisa Souq Waqif restaurant. The restaurant serves authentic Persian delights which you can enjoy in its mesmerising interior that combines hand-painted Persian artwork of myths and legends with intricate mosaics and amazing ornate chandeliers and thousands of tiny mirrors that were handpicked from Iran and assembled here in Doha. At Parisa Souq Waqif, the authentic Persian dining experience is 100% guaranteed.

Details

Location: Al Souq St., Doha - Qatar
Cuisine: Middle Eastern and Persian
Special Diets: Vegan and gluten-free options
Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday: 12 pm - 12 am; Friday: 12:30 pm - 12 am
Average cost:
QR 50 - QR 120 / USD 13 - USD 32 per person

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!