If you’re flying through Hamad International Airport, and find yourself with a layover of over 24 hours, there are plenty of ways to keep the entire family entertained. To help you maximise your stay in this beautiful city and to experience a taste of Qatar, read on our guide to find out everything you need to know!
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 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 center 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
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. 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 you 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.
Enjoy a walk along the famous Corniche, stretching as it does for a whopping 7 km - a firm favourite for walkers, health enthusiasts, and tourists alike. Cool, cosmopolitan and constantly changing, the Corniche blends urban uniqueness with seaside charm.
You’ll spot dhows tied up all along the Corniche in Doha – there are more than 500 of them. The Dhow is an integral part of Qatari culture and before the oil era, they were mainly used for pearl diving, fishing and transporting goods. Today, to keep those traditions alive, the ancient craft still serves the people of Qatar, elegantly evoking the essence of our centuries-old maritime heritage. You can get on board of a Dhow in Qatar just by paying QR 20. And if you want to reserve the entire dhow for your whole family and friends for a long island tour, you have to pay around QR 1500 to QR 2,500.
If you want to know more about some interesting facts about Dhows in Qatar, Click here HERE!
Distance from airport: 24 min (13.4 km)
Average taxi fare: QR 30/USD 8.24
Dhow trip cost: On average QR 20 for per person.
Despite the popularity of modern air-conditioned shopping malls, it is notable that a primarily ‘outdoor’ attraction like Souq Waqif still remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Doha. The numerous alleyways and small shops offer traditional garments, spices and seasonal delicacies such as fresh dates and nuts, perfumes, ornate jewelry, clothing, handicrafts and a treasure trove of souvenir bargains. Coffee pots and embroidered pashminas are a favourite buy. And the Souq is also home to dozens of restaurants offering different kinds of cuisines from Qatar or Yemen through to Syrian, Iraqi and Indian dishes.
Additionally, a group of women sells home-cooked food in an open setting in the Souk to satisfy your craving for homemade Qatari food. Very affordable, their prices range from QR 5 to QR 20, and they offer traditional dishes such as Majboos, Harees, Kousa Mahshi, Mathrooba and many more. One of the favourite dishes is freshly-made, flat crêpes. You can choose a variety of toppings.
And close to Souk Waqif, a separate building houses a treasure trove of shops known as the Gold Souq. They all offer the finest 18/22-carat gold jewellery, with rings, necklaces – anything that your heart desires.
Location: Souq Waqif
Distance from Corniche: 500 m
Average taxi fare: 10 min walking distance
Opening hours: Most shops operate from 10 am to noon and re-open from 4 pm till 10 pm. Most restaurants open all day, from 8 am to midnight. Some may even open 24 hours.
Location: Opposite Qatar Police Station, Souq Waqif
Opening hours: 24 Hours
Cuisines: Cafeteria (recommended drink is Chai Karak, price: QR 1/ USD 0.27 for a small cup)
Aljasra Traditional Qatari Food
Location: Opposite Fanar, Souq Waqif
Opening hours: 8:30 am – 11 pm
Cuisines: Qatari (try out their chicken and lamb machboos)
Average cost: QR 120/USD 33 for two people (approx.)
Phone: +974 5529 8871
Al Shujaa Restaurant
Location: Near the Bird Souq
Opening hours: 4 pm – 12 am
Average cost: QR 35/USD 9.61 for two people (approx.)
Cuisines: Afghani (recommended food is Afghani kebab)
Bandar Aden Restaurant
Location: Near Arumaila Hotel
Opening Hours: 8 am - 11 pm, Friday 12:30 pm - 11 pm
Cuisines: Khaleeji (It's known for authentic Yemeni dishes along with traditional floor seating)
Average Cost: QR 100/USD 27.47 for two people (approx.)
Phone: +974 4437 5503
In the heart of downtown Doha, near to Souq Waqif, the Msheireb museum provides a unique insight into the past. You can find here the preserved historic, cultural houses that cover the history and rich culture of Qatar. With four houses that use technology and tradition to bring alive ancient stories and make them contemporary. With four heritage houses - Bin Jelmood House, Company House, Mohammed Bin Jassim House, and Radwani House, their artifacts take you back to traditional Qatari culture.
Location: Msheireb Museums
Distance from Souq Waqif: 600 m
Average taxi fare: 10 min walking distance
Entry fee: Free
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Friday: 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Saturday: 9:00 am –5:00 pm, Sunday: Closed (last Admission 30 minutes before closing)
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +974 40065555
Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Mosque—more commonly known as the State Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in Qatar with 90 domes, 18 entrances. 28 large domes cover the central hall while 65 domes cover the outer quadrangle. Located at the Jubailat district of Doha, the State Grand Mosque covers a total area of 175,164 sq.m. and can hold a congregation of 30,000 people. Constructed in the first half of the 20th century, the mosque features a fascinating mix of both traditional Arabic and modern architecture. To know about Mosque visiting etiquette, click HERE.
A stylish place to spend some cool time, Katara has art exhibitions to stimulate the most cultural mind, top-notch restaurants and bars, an open air-theatre, fairs, markets, and cozy restaurants, many of which specialize in amazing seafood. Katara’s private beach spans 1.5km, providing a relaxed beach experience or adrenaline-boosting activities. There is also a play area where your kids can enjoy a wide array of activities, games, and rides. We would humbly recommend that you visit Katara between 11 am-2 pm and 5 pm-11 pm.
Location: Katara Cultural Village, Doha
Distance from State Grand Mosque: 10 - 12 min (5.3 km)
Average taxi cost: QR 12/USD 3.3
Phone: +974 4408 0000
Email: [email protected]
Al Jazeera Cafe
Location: Building 4, Katara Cultural Village, Katara, Doha
Opening hours: 8 am – 11 pm
Cuisines: Cafeteria (Recommended foods are Avocado and goats cheese sandwich, tuna sandwich, chicken wings, Croque madame waffles)
Phone: 974 4034 2220
The Pearl is an artificial island situated off the West Bay coast in Doha. This beautiful island is spread over about 4 million square meters. The residential development in the island has planned to cater to both national and international residents and guests alike. The island features many exciting avenues such as apartments, residential towers, villas, many shopping destinations with many luxury brands, Mediterranean-style yacht-lined marinas, and exotic beaches. It also boasts the best quality dining, with renowned restaurants, cafés, lounges, bakeries, and confectioneries. The Pearl is a delight for tourists, justifying its description as the ‘Arabian Rivera.’
Location: La Croisette 31, Porto Arabia, Pearl Qatar, Doha
Opening hours: 6 am – 11:30 pm
Phone: +974 4411 1502
Cuisines: Arabian (try out their chicken kibbeh)
Located on Al Waab Street, in the west end of the city, and within Aspire Zone, Villaggio is one of the most sought after destinations in Qatar. The interiors are Italianate-themed along with a 150-meter long indoor canal with gondolas. The
stunning Venetian ceiling seems to move as you walk and transport you back to an Italian masterpiece.
Fantastic for high-end shopping with luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Gucci, Valentino, and Gabbana. Villagio also offers various entertainments and activities for your kids. With indie boutiques and designer destinations, you can spend a wonderful few hours with a well-deserved coffee and cake at the iconic bakeries and trendy coffee shops there.
Location: Villaggio Mall, Al Waab St, Doha
Distance from Pearl-Qatar: 32 min (22.3 km)
Average taxi fare: QR 35/USD 9.6
Mall opening hours: Sunday to Wednesday – 9 am to 10 pm, Thursday & Saturday – 9 am to 11 pm, Friday: 9 am – 11 am & 12:30 pm – 11 pm
Gondola Rides: Saturday till Wednesday from 9 am till 11 pm, Thursday and Friday from 9 am till midnight. Cost of Gondola Ride is QR 10 per person (4 persons in the boat), QR 20 for a single-person ride (one person in the boat)
Phone: +974 44227400
Email: [email protected]
Wok of Fame
It has a wide variety of continental dishes for buffet.
Location: Beside Pinko, Villaggio, Al Waab, Doha
Price: QR 120 for two people (approx.)
Cuisines: Arabian, Asian, Continental
Phone: 974 4413 4772
Location: Food Court
Opening hours: 9 am – 11 pm
Phone: +974 44151920
Average Cost: QR 65 for two people (approx.)
After a whole day of sightseeing and shopping, you deserve to take a break and there is a perfect place for you to relax while the kids let off some steam. Behind the Villagio mall and Hyatt Plaza, Aspire Park is located which is a great place to have picnics and family outdoors while overlooking the Aspire Tower (a 300-meter modern hotel, which served as a giant torch for the 15th Asian Games), especially at night. It has a lake, playgrounds, running tracks, open spaces and much more! With its three cafés, there are also plenty of opportunities to refuel.
Location: Al Waab Street, Al Waab, Doha - Qatar
Distance from the Villagio mall: 1.6 km
Average taxi fare: Walking distance
Entrance fee: Free
Timing: 24 hours
Phone: +974 4413 8188
So, what are you waiting for? What else could be better than spending your stopover in Qatar with your loved ones visiting the many breath-taking places Qatar has to offer, discovering all the stories they have to tell, and the wonderful memories they will leave you with. And if you find the article useful, don't forget to like and share this article - you know it keeps us going!
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