What to see in Doha during a layover

dhow, skyline, doha, qatar, doha by night

More and more passengers are transiting through Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar nowadays. Since Qatar Airways flies to so many destinations, it is very likely that you may have a layover at Doha. A layover in Doha can last a few hours or as long as 24 hours. Qatar no longer requires a visa anymore for many countries so you can visit Doha without paying for a visa on arrival. I visited Doha before flying Qatar Airways First Class on the A380 in October 2016. In this article, I will share some tips on what you can see during a layover in Doha.

Museum of Islamic Art

At the airport, taxis are waiting to bring passengers to the city. When driving to the city with all the skyscrapers, you will pass by the Museum Of Islamic Art. The museum is definitely worth a visit and the entry is free of charge. In the museum, you will see a great collection of islamic art from all parts of the world. You will also have a fantastic view over the skyline of Qatar.

museum of islamic art, Doha, qatar

Museum Of Islamic Art with the skyline of Qatar in the background.

Souq Waqif

In a five minute walking distance from the museum, you will find the historic part of Doha. It is like an old village where Doha started growing hundreds of years ago. I highly recommend to visit Souq Waqif to taste the Arabic atmosphere. However, most vendors in the shops are originally from India and Bangladesh.

Souq Waqif, qatar, doha

Souq Waqif

Are you done with looking around in the shops and bargaining to buy a nice souvenir? Enjoy a visit to a nice cafe and order a delicious mint tea. I highly recommend to drink enough fluids during a visit to Doha because the temperature can reach over 40 degrees Celsius in the summer. When I visited Doha in October 2016, it was only 30 degrees Celsius.

mint tea, doha, qatar

Arabic mint tea

The modern Doha

When it gets dark at night, it seems like you are walking around Las Vegas with all the lights. Some buildings change color. In the last decades, a skyline has been added. Popular buildings are the Aspire Tower and the famous Burj Doha which is also known as the Doha Tower. The latter was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, whom is also known for the Torre Glòries in Barcelona. Most buildings are used as office space.

Doha, qatar, skyline

Doha looks like Las Vegas during the night.

It is certainly nice to walk around among all those buildings. In addition, it is even more fun  to take a Dhow to admire the skyline from the water. Along the quay are several Dhows and almost all of them are served by people from Bangladesh. Be sure to negotiate a good price to avoid paying too much.

dhow, skyline, doha, qatar, doha by night

Skyline of Doha seen from a Dhow.

Bottom line

In this article I have provided you with some tips of what you can see in Doha in 24 hours. The Museum Of Islamic Art is certainly worth a visit. Then take a look around in the Souq Waqif and end your day with a boat ride on a Dhow for a spectacular view of the modern Doha skyline. The city is not as big as Dubai therefore, you can see everything within 24 hours. The only thing I found sad is that Doha does not have beaches. If you ever have a long layover in Doha, I definitely recommend leaving the airport to see the city. I really like the skyline at night with all the lights.

Have you ever explored Doha during a layover? Or have you already visited Doha as a destination? Let me know below in the comments.

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