Qatar travel guide

Discover Qatar, a captivating blend of modern marvels and ancient traditions. This comprehensive guide provides essential information for planning an unforgettable journey to this Arabian Gulf gem. From visa regulations and transportation to cultural insights and safety tips, embark on a seamless and enriching Qatari adventure.

Planning Your Trip

Embarking on a journey to Qatar requires meticulous planning to ensure a seamless and enriching experience. This comprehensive guide will provide you with essential information to optimize your travel arrangements.

Best Time to Visit

Qatar enjoys a desert climate characterized by hot summers and mild winters. The ideal time to visit is during the cooler months, from October to April, when temperatures are pleasant for outdoor activities. Summer (June to September) can be extremely hot, with temperatures exceeding 40°C (104°F).

Flights and Airline Options

Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Doha serves as Qatar’s primary international gateway, offering a wide array of flight connections. Qatar Airways, the national carrier, provides extensive global connectivity with exceptional service. Numerous other international airlines also operate flights to and from Doha.

Visa Requirements

Citizens of over 95 countries are eligible for visa-free entry into Qatar, allowing stays ranging from 30 to 90 days depending on nationality. It’s crucial to verify your specific visa requirements well in advance of your intended travel dates.

Travel Insurance

Obtaining comprehensive travel insurance is highly recommended to safeguard against unforeseen circumstances such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or lost belongings. Ensure your insurance policy provides adequate coverage for your duration of stay and activities planned.

Currency Exchange

The official currency of Qatar is the Qatari Riyal (QAR). It’s advisable to exchange currency upon arrival at the airport or authorized exchange bureaus for the best rates. Major credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments.


Arabic is the official language of Qatar, but English is widely spoken, especially in business and tourism sectors.

Health Considerations

Qatar maintains a high standard of healthcare, but it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare provider regarding necessary vaccinations or health precautions before traveling. Pack essential medications and consider carrying a basic first-aid kit.

Visas and Entry Requirements

Understanding Qatar’s visa and entry requirements is crucial for a smooth and hassle-free arrival experience. Ensure you meet the following criteria before embarking on your journey:

Visa Eligibility

Qatar offers visa-free entry to citizens of over 95 countries, granting stays of varying durations. Nationals of eligible countries can enter Qatar without a prior visa, provided their passports are valid for at least six months from the date of arrival. However, it’s essential to verify your specific nationality’s visa waiver policy to confirm eligibility and permitted length of stay.

Visa on Arrival

Citizens of numerous countries are eligible to obtain a visa on arrival at Hamad International Airport (DOH). This convenient option allows travelers to acquire a tourist visa upon arrival, subject to meeting specific requirements. These may include a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining, a confirmed return ticket, proof of accommodation, and sufficient funds to cover the duration of stay.

Online Visa Application (e-Visa)

For nationals of countries not eligible for visa-free entry or visa on arrival, applying for a visa online through the Qatar Ministry of Interior’s e-Visa platform is required. This streamlined process allows travelers to apply and receive their visas electronically before departure.

GCC Residents

Citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—enjoy visa-free entry into Qatar, provided they present valid GCC identification documents upon arrival.

Important Note: Visa regulations are subject to change. It is imperative to consult with the nearest Qatari embassy or consulate or refer to the official website of the Ministry of Interior of Qatar for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel dates.

Getting Around Qatar

Navigating Qatar is convenient and efficient, thanks to its modern transportation system. Whether you prefer exploring the city or venturing beyond, various options cater to different preferences and budgets.

Hamad International Airport (DOH)

Upon arrival at Hamad International Airport, you’ll find a seamless transition to various transportation options connecting you to your desired destination. Taxis, ride-hailing services, and car rentals are readily available outside the arrival terminals.


Taxis are widely available throughout Qatar, offering a convenient mode of transport, especially for shorter distances. Look for official Karwa taxis, identifiable by their turquoise color, or utilize ride-hailing services such as Uber and Careem for efficient and reliable transportation.

Car Rentals

Renting a car provides flexibility for exploring Qatar at your own pace, particularly for venturing outside the city. International car rental companies have a presence at Hamad International Airport and within the city. An International Driving Permit (IDP) is typically required for visitors to drive in Qatar.

Public Transportation (Mowasalat)

Qatar’s public transportation system, operated by Mowasalat, consists of an extensive network of buses and a modern metro system. The Doha Metro, with its three lines (Red, Green, and Gold), offers an efficient and affordable way to travel within the city and reach popular attractions. Karwa buses complement the metro network, providing connectivity to various destinations across Doha and beyond.

Limousine Services

For a luxurious and personalized transportation experience, consider hiring a limousine service. Several reputable companies offer chauffeured limousine services for airport transfers, city tours, or special occasions.

Walking and Cycling

While exploring certain areas within Doha, such as the Corniche or Souq Waqif, walking can be an enjoyable experience. Dedicated cycling paths are also present in designated areas, providing an alternative mode of transportation for short distances.


Qatar offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s preference and budget, from luxurious hotels to serviced apartments and budget-friendly alternatives.

Luxury Hotels

Doha boasts an impressive collection of world-class hotels renowned for their opulence, exceptional service, and state-of-the-art facilities. These establishments often feature lavish suites, fine-dining restaurants, rooftop pools, spas, and other exclusive amenities.

Boutique Hotels

For a more intimate and stylish experience, consider boutique hotels that offer a unique blend of design, personalized service, and local charm. These establishments cater to discerning travelers seeking an alternative to larger hotel chains.

Serviced Apartments

Serviced apartments provide a home-away-from-home experience, offering the convenience of hotel-like amenities combined with the spaciousness and comfort of an apartment setting. These accommodations are ideal for families, long-term stays, or travelers seeking self-catering facilities.


Escape to luxury at one of Qatar’s exquisite resorts, often located on pristine beaches or within expansive desert landscapes. These resorts offer an array of leisure and recreational activities, including swimming pools, private beaches, spas, golf courses, and water sports facilities.

Budget-Friendly Options

For budget-conscious travelers, Qatar provides a selection of affordable accommodations, including guesthouses, hostels, and budget hotels. These options provide comfortable and convenient lodging without compromising on quality or cleanliness.

Booking Recommendations: To secure the best rates and availability, it is advisable to book your accommodations well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons or major events. Consider utilizing online travel agencies (OTAs) or contacting hotels directly for reservations.

Things to Do

Qatar offers a captivating blend of modern attractions, cultural experiences, and desert adventures to enthrall every visitor. From exploring iconic landmarks to immersing yourself in local traditions, here are some must-do activities:

Explore Doha’s Skyline and Corniche

Marvel at Doha’s impressive skyline, a testament to Qatar’s architectural prowess. Stroll or cycle along the picturesque Corniche, a waterfront promenade offering stunning views of the city’s skyscrapers and the Arabian Gulf.

Discover Islamic Art at the Museum of Islamic Art

Immerse yourself in the world of Islamic art and culture at the renowned Museum of Islamic Art (MIA). Admire its exquisite collection spanning over 1,400 years and marvel at its iconic architectural design by I.M. Pei.

Experience the Souq Waqif

Step back in time at Souq Waqif, a traditional Qatari market offering a sensory overload of spices, perfumes, textiles, and handicrafts. Explore its labyrinthine alleys, engage with local vendors, and savor traditional Qatari cuisine.

Embark on a Desert Adventure

Experience the thrill of a desert safari, venturing into the vast Qatari desert in a 4×4 vehicle. Enjoy dune bashing, sandboarding, and witness breathtaking desert landscapes, including the iconic “Inland Sea” (Khor Al Adaid).

Visit Katara Cultural Village

Discover a hub of art, culture, and entertainment at Katara Cultural Village. Explore its art galleries, theaters, and performance venues, hosting a variety of events, exhibitions, and cultural performances.

Explore The Pearl-Qatar

Indulge in luxury and leisure at The Pearl-Qatar, a man-made island featuring upscale residences, marinas, designer boutiques, and fine-dining restaurants. Stroll along its promenades, admire the yachts, and enjoy waterfront dining.

These are just a glimpse into the plethora of experiences that await you in Qatar. Whether you seek cultural immersion, adrenaline-pumping adventures, or simply a relaxing getaway, Qatar has something to offer every traveler.

Culture and Customs

Qatar possesses a rich cultural heritage deeply rooted in Islamic traditions and Arabian hospitality. Understanding and respecting local customs and etiquette is essential for a harmonious and enriching travel experience.

Dress Code

While Qatar is generally tolerant of different cultures, it is customary to dress modestly in public places. Both men and women should avoid revealing clothing, such as shorts, sleeveless tops, or short skirts. Covering shoulders and knees is a sign of respect.

Religious Observances

Islam is the predominant religion in Qatar, and religious observances are an integral part of daily life. During the holy month of Ramadan, it is respectful to refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours.

Greetings and Interactions

Qataris are known for their warm hospitality and welcoming nature. When greeting someone, it is customary to shake hands with your right hand. However, avoid physical contact with the opposite gender unless initiated by them.


While photography is generally permitted in public areas, it is crucial to be mindful of local customs. Always seek permission before photographing individuals, especially women. Refrain from photographing government buildings, military installations, or sensitive areas.

Dining Etiquette

When dining in Qatar, it is polite to wait for the host to offer you food or drink. Eating with your right hand is customary, and it is considered disrespectful to leave food on your plate.


Tipping is not mandatory in Qatar, but it is a common practice to show appreciation for good service. A 10% service charge is often included in restaurant bills.

By respecting these cultural norms, travelers can demonstrate their appreciation for Qatari heritage and foster positive interactions with locals.

Food and Drink

Qatari cuisine tantalizes the palate with its aromatic spices, flavorful ingredients, and diverse culinary influences. From traditional dishes to international flavors, Qatar offers a gastronomic adventure for every discerning diner.

Traditional Qatari Cuisine

Indulge in the rich flavors of Qatari cuisine, characterized by the use of fragrant spices, slow-cooked meats, and rice-based dishes. Sample local delicacies such as machbous (spiced lamb or chicken served with rice), harees (wheat porridge with meat), and threed (meat and vegetable stew).

International Flavors

Qatar’s cosmopolitan nature is reflected in its diverse culinary scene, offering a wide array of international dining options. From Michelin-starred restaurants to casual eateries, you’ll find cuisines from around the world, including Italian, French, Japanese, Indian, and more.

Seafood Delights

With its extensive coastline, Qatar boasts an abundance of fresh seafood. Indulge in succulent grilled prawns, flavorful fish curries, or enjoy a traditional seafood platter at one of the many restaurants along the Corniche.

Dates and Sweets

Dates hold cultural significance in Qatar and are enjoyed in various forms. Sample different varieties of dates, such as Khalas, Sukkary, and Barhi, or savor traditional desserts like luqaimat (sweet dumplings) and umm ali (bread pudding).

Coffee and Tea Culture

Coffee and tea play a central role in Qatari hospitality. Experience the traditional Qatari coffee, known as gahwa, a strong and aromatic brew often flavored with cardamom. Tea is another popular beverage, served with mint or cardamom.

Note: Alcohol consumption is restricted in Qatar and is generally only available in licensed hotels and restaurants.


Qatar offers a diverse shopping scene, from traditional souqs to luxurious malls, where visitors can indulge in retail therapy and find unique souvenirs. Whether seeking local handicrafts, designer labels, or international brands, Qatar caters to every taste and budget.

Souq Waqif

For an authentic Qatari shopping experience, head to Souq Waqif, a labyrinthine market brimming with traditional goods. Discover spices, perfumes, textiles, handicrafts, and souvenirs while immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere.

Shopping Malls

Qatar boasts an array of opulent shopping malls, offering an unparalleled retail experience. Explore a wide selection of designer boutiques, department stores, and international brands, all housed within luxurious settings. Some popular malls include the Mall of Qatar, Villaggio Mall, and Doha Festival City.

Gold and Jewelry

Qatar is renowned for its exquisite gold and jewelry. Discover intricate designs and high-quality craftsmanship at the Gold Souq or visit reputable jewelry stores in shopping malls for a more contemporary selection.

Traditional Handicrafts

Seek out unique Qatari handicrafts, such as intricately woven carpets, pottery, and traditional wooden chests. The Cultural Village Foundation (Katara) and Souq Waqif offer a selection of shops specializing in local crafts.

Department Stores and Hypermarkets

For a wide range of goods, from groceries to electronics, visit one of Qatar’s department stores or hypermarkets. These offer a convenient and affordable shopping experience, with many located within shopping malls or as standalone outlets.

Shopping Tips: Bargaining is customary in traditional souqs, so don’t hesitate to negotiate prices. Credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments, but it’s advisable to carry some local currency for smaller purchases or in souqs.

Safety and Security

Qatar consistently ranks among the safest countries globally, with a low crime rate and a strong emphasis on security. However, exercising vigilance and adhering to basic safety precautions is always advisable when traveling.

General Safety

Qatar has a low crime rate, and visitors generally feel safe and secure in public areas. However, it’s prudent to take common-sense precautions, such as safeguarding valuables, being aware of your surroundings, and avoiding walking alone in unfamiliar or poorly lit areas, especially at night.

Road Safety

Qatar has well-maintained roads and a modern transportation infrastructure. However, driving can be challenging due to traffic congestion and varying driving practices. Always wear seatbelts, adhere to traffic regulations, and be particularly cautious at intersections.

Emergency Numbers

In case of emergency, dial 999 for police, 998 for ambulance services, and 997 for the fire department.

Health and Medical Facilities

Qatar boasts a high standard of healthcare, with both public and private hospitals and clinics offering quality medical services. However, it’s recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses during your stay.

Cultural Sensitivity

Respecting local customs and traditions is paramount in Qatar. Familiarize yourself with basic etiquette guidelines, such as appropriate attire and behavior in public. Avoid public displays of affection, especially between unmarried couples.

Legal Matters

Qatar has strict laws regarding drug use, alcohol consumption, and public decency. Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations to avoid any legal issues during your stay.

By exercising common sense, respecting local customs, and staying informed about safety guidelines, travelers can enjoy a secure and memorable experience in Qatar.

Health Information

Prioritizing your health while traveling to Qatar is essential for a safe and enjoyable trip. Here’s a comprehensive guide to health information, precautions, and medical facilities in Qatar:


No specific vaccinations are mandatory for entry into Qatar. However, it’s advisable to ensure your routine vaccinations are up-to-date. Consult with your healthcare provider regarding recommended vaccinations based on your health history and itinerary.

Food and Water Safety

Qatar maintains high standards of food hygiene. It’s generally safe to consume food from reputable restaurants and eateries. However, exercise caution with street food and opt for bottled water for drinking.

Sun Protection

Qatar’s desert climate brings intense sunshine. Protect yourself from sunburn and heatstroke by wearing sunscreen with a high SPF, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Heat Precautions

During the summer months, temperatures in Qatar can soar. Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day and stay in air-conditioned environments whenever possible. Be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Medical Facilities

Qatar boasts a world-class healthcare system with a network of public and private hospitals and clinics. Medical professionals are highly trained, and facilities are equipped with advanced technology. Ensure you have travel insurance that covers medical expenses during your stay.


Pharmacies are widely available throughout Qatar, dispensing both prescription and over-the-counter medications. Most pharmacies operate during regular business hours, and some offer extended hours or 24-hour service.

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