By Sarah Schroeder
Images courtesy of iStock by Getty Images
Give me a break! We deserve one every once in a while! Getting time off from school, university, or work can take many shapes and forms. You might want to travel to a far-away place, explore your hometown, or binge on a layover to your next destination. Imagine you have two days – 48 hours – in Qatar, what would you want to do?
There’s no time to waste – no time for planning! That’s why we’ve done it for you! We planned the next 48 hours of your stay in Qatar, whether it’s your first time in the country, or you’ve spent a lifetime here. Let’s be frank – it doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived here, there are still things you haven’t seen, haven’t tried, and haven’t explored. This guide is full of activities, sights, and delicious bites you shouldn’t miss – no clichéd tourist stuff!
Morning trip to the mosque
After arriving at Doha’s Hamad International Airport, why not start your day with a little trip to a mosque? At the Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center(previously Al Fanar) you can learn about Qatari and Islamic culture. If you book in advance, you can even get the novel chance to hear a Muslim sermon in English.
Trip to the Museum
From the Islamic Cultural Center, it’s a short walk across the Corniche to the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA). Incredible Islamic culture and art is exhibited all year-round, and temporary exhibitions have ranged from Chinese terracotta warriors and pearls, to the life of boxer Muhammad Ali. Admire the architecture of the museum while having local dates and gahwa (Khaleeji coffee).
Camel burgers for lunch
Once you’ve quenched your thirst for culture and art, and start feeling hungry, why not go to the Kempinski Residences and Suites in West Bay for a scrumptious three-course business lunch at their Aroma restaurant? Try something new and have a burger with camel meat – you won’t regret it!
Photo courtesy of Kempinski Residences and Suites
Afternoon at the beach
One of our favourite beaches in Qatar has got to be the Fuwairit beach. North of Doha, you’ll find a beach with soft sand, rocks, and great wind for kite-surfing. You can swim and tan at this tranquil beach without feeling claustrophobic!
Dinner with the Afghan Brothers
After the day at the beach, return to the city for delicious Afghani food while sitting on the floor. The prices are very reasonable and you get your own private room – which is fantastic for small and big parties. With your backs rested against cushions you’ll soon find this to be a very comfortable way to eat!
Photo courtesy of Kempinski Marsa Malaz
Discover Doha’s nightlife
Dress up for an occasion and indulge in Doha’s nightlife. Places like Illusion or Wahmshowcase Qatar’s extravagant and decadent side. For an opulent, non-alcoholic evening chill at Burj Al Hamam on The Pearl-Qatar with an aromatic shisha.
Chef’s Garden in Education City
Start the day in Education City, Doha’s hub for education and research at Qatar Foundation. Drive past the Education City mosque, the public art-piece ‘The Miraculous Journey’ by British icon Damien Hirst at the Sidra Medical and Research Center, and visit Qatar’s most beautiful horses at the Al Shaqab Equestrian Club. Then, sit in the club’s Chef’s Garden restaurant for a revitalizing breakfast made with fresh, locally-grown food!
A camel race, then Zekreet!
Ever been to a camel race? In the winter season of Qatar, you can experience an exhilarating camel race at Al Shahaniya, around 20 kilometres west of Doha. From there, it’s not far to Zekreet, where visitors can have a picnic in Film City and drive through the Ras Abrouq rock formations. These mushroom-like rock formations have been carved by the wind!
Have a break, have a karak!
On your way back to the city, do stop for karak. The tea that made its way from India to Qatar, has become somewhat of a national drink. The sugary-spiced milk tea is as common as breathing for those karak faithful!
Hitting the art spots
Re-energized from the karak, you can now enter Qatar’s dynamic and vibrant art sphere. Run into local artists and their works at the Fire Station Gallery, and then see small exhibits all around Katara, Qatar’s cultural village. Here you can find public artwork by Lorenzo Quinn, and eat roasted chestnuts in the winter. Is it time for the second karak of the day yet?
Photo courtesy of Qatar Museums
An evening in the Souq
Stroll through Souq Waqif and browse through jewelry, scarves, wooden boxes, and spices. For fresh homemade Arabic food, having dinner at Damasca One is a must! Dessert is sorted out as well; walk around to find Palestinian kunafah, Turkish ice cream, or Qatari crêpes with yoghurt and honey. For the cherry on top, cross the road to the Corniche for a dhow cruise with flashy lights, loud music, and the most spectacular view you can get of Doha’s skyline!
One more stop!
Don’t leave just yet! If you have time before your departure, grab a coffee on the Pearl – another unique spot with a view, and some of Doha’s best coffee! We recommend trying the turmeric latte at Flat White or the Spanish latte at Eleven Eleven.
What would you like to do in 48 hours in Qatar? What would you recommend to a friend? Let us know how you like the ILQ itinerary for your 48-hour break in Qatar and what quintessential things we missed!
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