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Posted On: 14 October 2019 07:00 am
Updated On: 10 October 2019 11:39 am

Things to do in Qatar on a 48-hour layover

Khadiza Begum
Khadiza Begum
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If you have a layover lined up in Qatar then you are in for a treat as and there are a lot of things to see and do in this beautiful country. 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

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.

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.

Transportation in Qatar

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: HIA is 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. 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.

DAY 1

1. Check out the National Museum of Qatar

The National Museum of Qatar is one of the best-loved landmarks in the country. A visit to this museum is an all-encompassing journey, carrying you from millions of years ago to the edge of tomorrow.

The National Museum of Qatar has designed and developed a wide variety of exciting and engaging learning resources for school, family and youth audiences. Hands-on interactive gallery spaces, family trails, student activity booklets, art-trolleys, handling collections, gift shops, and outdoor playgrounds —all contribute to creating a dynamic and fun environment for young learners. To know more about this museum, click HERE!

Details:

Location: Museum Park Street across from the Corniche in Doha
Distance from Hamad International Airport: 12 min (11.8 km)
Transport cost: QR 25/USD 6.87
Opening hours: Sun-Wed: 9 am-7 pm, Thurs & Sat: 9 am- 9 pm, Fri: 1:30 pm -9 pm (Last ticket one hour before closing when Sun-Wed, one and half hours Thurs-Sat)
Gift shop opening hours: The Gift Shop and the Children’s Gift Shop: open Saturday through Thursday from 9 am- 
7 pm and Friday from 1.30 pm-7 pm
Museum entry fee: QR 50 (for an adult) free for the child (0-16 years of age), no ticket required for 0-3 years
Resident of Qatar:
Free (Upon presentation of valid QID card or Qatari driver’s license)
Email: [email protected]
Website: https://nmoq.org.qa

2. Discover Doha city's gem - the Souq Waqif!

Despite the popularity of modern air-conditioned shopping malls – and there are many superb examples in Doha - it is notable that a primarily ‘outdoor’ attraction like Souq Waqif still remains one of the most popular tourists' 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 favorite buy. You can haggle your way to get the best purchase at the lowest price. When shopping for authentic local souvenirs pearls should be on top of your list and for the best deal in town look no further than the "Pahlwan Saad Ismail Al Jassim – The old pearl diver" shop, known just through word of mouth.

Also if you like to experience the authentic tradition of Henna Art, you will spot professional henna artists at Souq Waqif who design beautiful henna art.

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 Souq 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 Majbooj, 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 Souq Waqif, a separate building houses a treasure trove of shops known as the Gold Souk. They all offer the finest 18/22-carat gold jewelry, with rings, necklaces – anything that your heart desires.

Details

Location: Souq Waqif
Distance from National Museum of Qatar: 8 min (2.3 km)
Average taxi cost: QR 10/USD 2.75
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.

Restaurant/cafe recommendation at Souq Waqif

Tea Time
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

3. Walk along the Corniche, go on a dhow cruise to enjoy the panoramic view of Doha!

Enjoy a walk along the famous Corniche, stretching as it does for a whopping 7 km - a firm favorite 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. You can haggle your way to get the best fare at the lowest price.

If you want to know more about some interesting facts about Dhows in Qatar, Click here HERE!

Details

Location: Corniche, Doha - Qatar
Distance from Souq Waqif: 500 m
Average
Transport cost: 10 min walking distance
Dhow trip cost:
On average QR 20/USD 5.48 for per person.

4. Visit the State Grand Mosque

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.

Details

Location: The State Mosque
Distance from Corniche: 10 min (2.5 km)
Average
Transport cost: QR 10/USD 2.75
Phone:
+974 4425 0250

5. Immerse yourself in Katara Cultural Village

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 11am-2pm and 5pm-11pm.

Details

Location: Katara Cultural Village, Doha
Distance from The Pearl Qatar: 10 - 12 min (5.3 km)
Average taxi cost: QR 12
Recommended visiting hours: 11 am-2 pm and 5 pm-11 pm
Phone: +974 44080000
Email:
[email protected]
Website:
http://www.katara.net/en

Cafe recommendation

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

6. Explore the Pearl-Qatar

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 on 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.’

Details:

Location: The Pearl Qatar
Distance from Grand Mosque: 17 - 20 min, (12.2 km )
Average taxi cost: QR 20/ USD 5.5
Phone: 4409 5155
Website: https://www.thepearlqatar.com/

Restaurant/Cafe recommendations

Karak Mqanes
Location: 23 La Croisette, Porto Arabia, Pearl Qatar, Doha
Opening hours: 8 am - 12 am
Cuisines: Cafeteria (Chai Karak)
Phone: 974 3394 9898
Email: [email protected]

Yasmin palace
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)
Average Cost: QR 290 for two people (approx.)

DAY 2

8. Go on an adventure in the desert

Your visit to Qatar will not complete without a desert safari trip. With high dunes and long sand valleys, you'll never get bored of adrenaline-fuelled dune bashing in Qatar. Once in the dunes, you will simply enjoy the roller coaster rides, immerse yourself in Bedouin culture and enjoy the wide-open stunning desert views. A variety of tour operators offer dune bashing trips.

4WD driving on a sand dune in the desert, called dune bashing, in the south of Qatar
(4WD driving on a sand dune in the desert, called dune bashing, in the south of Qatar)

Details

Location: Inland Sea
Distance from airport:

Tour duration:
6 to 8 hrs
Time:
all year round depending on the tour operator
Phone:
+974 3339 3323, +974 7745 1196 (Whatsapp for further info)
Tour cost:
starts from QR 170/USD 46.6 per person
Tour Operator:
Qatar Inbound Tours, Arabian Adventures

9. Shop and enjoy the vibrant environment of the Villaggio Mall

A must for all in Doha, the stunning Venetian ceiling seems to move as you walk and transport you back to an Italian masterpiece. 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. Fantastic for high-end shopping with luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Gucci, Valentino and Dolce, 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.

Details:

Location: Villaggio Mall, Al Waab St, Doha
Distance from
Transport cost:
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]
Website: http://www.villaggioqatar.com/

Restaurant recommendations at Villagio mall

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 44134772

Dunia
Location: Food Court, Villagio Mall
Phone: +974 44447555
Opening hours: 9 am – 12 midnight
Average Cost: QR 170 for two people (approx.)

10. Hang out at the Aspire Park

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.

Details

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!

If you want to find out what is happening in Qatar before it happens, download the Qatar Events App! Available on Android and IOS and the app is completely free!