emerald azzurra sailing

10 Top things to do in Doha and must-see attractions

As one of the Persian Gulf's fastest growing Arab States and the future host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar is quickly becoming one of the world's top travel destinations. 

Its booming tourism industry is opening explorers up to a wealth of wonders, especially within its historic capital city, Doha. Combining glitzy futurism with timeless Bedouin culture, a Doha city tour will take you through some of the region's most impressive skyscrapers and luxury boulevards. It will also take you to traditional marketplaces and fascinating museums that bring you back to the roots of Qatari culture. 

So, whether you're planning on travelling to Qatar for the World Cup or visiting the Arabian Sea by superyacht, we've put together a list of the top ten things do in Doha. Read all about Doha below, get inspired and join us in Qatar for a truly exceptional experience.

Top things to see in Doha

Stunning city sights

1. Doha Corniche

Stretching more than seven kilometres along the Doha Bay, the Doha Corniche is a truly spectacular waterfront promenade. With views of the glistening city to one side and the seemingly infinite stretches of the Arabian Gulf to the other, it encapsulates the brilliant futurism and the traditional seascapes that Qatari culture grew from. Encircling the entirety of the bay, you'll find many tourists and residents using the Corniche as place to exercise with joggers, walkers and cyclists frequently using it. 

Featuring a wealth of public parks and spaces, the Doha Corniche is also a great place to relax and find shade from the hot Qatari sun. One of these spaces is the beautiful Al Bidda Park. One of the oldest in the city, this park features a cultural heritage centre and views of the nearby bay. It is also a popular destination for birdwatchers. Walking the length of the promenade will bring you to some of Doha's other iconic landmarks such as the National Museum of Qatar and the Museum of Islamic Art. Continue reading this list for a closer look into these must-see attractions. 

2. The Pearl of Qatar

A true symbol of the exceptional luxury and world-class engineering which has recently come to define the entire Arabian Peninsula, this artificial island has created over 32 kilometres of new coastline within the stunning Doha Bay. Located just 350 metres offshore, if you're planning on spending some free time in Doha, we recommend quickly hopping over to the Pearl — even if it's just to wander amongst the newly constructed skyscrapers, decadent fountains, beachfront resorts and manicured esplanades before peeking into the high-end retails shops and luxury car showrooms. 
pearl of qatar

3. The Villaggio 

So much more than just a modern mall, Doha's Villaggio offers a truly one-of-a-kind shopping and travel experience, making it worthy of our best of Doha list, home to over 200 stores, from large luxury brands to traditional Qatari goods. The Villaggio Mall is also houses the Gondolania Theme Park and roller coaster, a ten-pin bowling alley and even an Olympic-sized ice skating rink which is home to the Qatar International Ice Hockey League. Inspired by Italian architecture and landscaping, the Villaggio landmark also features an indoor canal akin to the famous waterways of Venice, allowing for a relaxing and cooling escape from the daytime heat of Doha.

4. Khalifa Stadium 

As Qatar gets set to host 2022 FIFA World Cup, Doha's Khalifa International Stadium will be centre stage as one of the country’s premier football stadiums. With the capacity to host 68,000 spectators, the colossal size of this stadium is enough to take anyone's breath away, especially if you find yourself in amongst the crowd watching your favourite team take the pitch. Named after Qatar's former Emir, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, the Khalifa Stadium is one of the most sustainable stadiums in the world, being the first building of its kind to receive a four-star rating from the Global Sustainability Assessment System.
khalifa stadium
khalifa stadium

Arts and culture

5. Museum of Islamic Art 

At the southern end of the Doha Corniche, within one of the city’s most striking buildings, you'll find over 1,400 years’ worth of Islamic art and cultural artifacts. Inspired by past, present and future, the Museum of Islamic Art combines over a millennium of Islamic architecture and heritage with unique, contemporary designs involving geometric patterns and luxurious stylings. 
This landmark was actually designed by renowned architect I. M. Pei, who designed Hong Kong's Bank of China Tower, the Louvre Pyramid and the John F. Kennedy Library among others. Coming out of retirement to help construct Doha's Museum of Islamic Art, Pei requested for it to be built upon an artificial peninsula in order to diminish any obstructions from future buildings as well as to have its western and northern facades reach into Doha's harbour to highlight Qatar's rich seafaring past.

With a collection of art stretching from over three continents, dating from the seventh to the 20th century, the cultural artifacts you will find inside the museum itself will surely be some of the best attractions you see in Doha. Its collection includes regional metal- glass- and woodwork, rare Quranic manuscripts, as well as textiles, ceramics and jewellery which provide a unique look into Islamic, Arabic and Qatari history. 
museum of islamic art

6. Souq Waqif 

In the centre of Doha, you'll find Souq Waqif. Located where Bedouins and Qatari locals once met to trade a variety of goods and livestock, exploring this traditional marketplace will feel like a step back in time. Meaning ‘the standing market’, Souq Waqif represents a longstanding tradition of regional commerce, Arabic architecture and a rich historical identity. Explore its narrow alleyways, peering into stalls selling traditional garments, spices, handicrafts and souvenirs, while enjoying a range of musical, theatrical, sporting and acrobatic performances taking place in the Al Rayyan Theatre or in one of Souq Waqif's public areas. 
souq waqif
souq waqif

7. National Museum of Qatar 

Still interested in the vibrant history of Doha? If so, then you need to make sure you take a trip to the National Museum of Qatar while visiting the nation's capital. Enclosing the Old Amiri Palace –  which once served as the residence of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani –  today, the grounds feature Qatar's premier museum, and are home to a variety of archaeological artifacts, rare ethnographic materials and regional treasures. 

The NMoQ frequently hosts exhibitions on the natural history of the Qatari desert and the Persian Gulf, Bedouin artifacts, such as rare Bedouin poetry, and exhibits on Arabia's tribal history and the establishment of the Qatari state. The building itself, renovated in 2019, is based on the beautiful features of the ‘desert rose crystal’, a stunning geological formation which forms in the arid sandy environments of the Arabian Peninsula.
the national museum of qatar

Historic and religious sites 

8. State Grand Mosque 

Capable of holding over 30,000 worshipers, Qatar's State Grand Mosque, or the Imam Abdul Wahhab, is by far the largest mosque in the country. Blending traditional and modern elements, domed ceilings, stunning archways and marble floors, the mosque stands out for its simplistic beauty and classic sandstone construction. Sitting atop a hill, it offers unparalleled views of the Doha skyline, and the mosque is open to visitors of all religious affiliations. 

Enjoy a guided tour of the State Grand Mosque for a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the Islamic tradition of Wahhabiesm in the building's remarkable prayer halls and breathtaking library before spending time in one the lush gardens. Want to continue your immersion into Qatari culture after spending some time in the State Grand Mosque? Nearby is Doha's Katara Cultural Village, featuring galleries, waterfront restaurants, theatres and even a planetarium.
grand mosque
the grand mosque

9. Barzan Towers 

Just 15 kilometres north of Doha is a brilliantly restored 19th century fortress. Meaning ‘high place’ in Arabic, Barzan sits atop the Jebel Lusail hill where it overlooks the town of Umm Salal Mohammed. Originally built in the late 1800s to protect the valley below, which is a vital region for rainwater collection, the purpose of the towers may have also been to keep an eye on the nearby coast and anyone diving for precious pearls, as well as for lunar observations. Later, the Barzan Towers acted as a line of defence against an imposing Ottoman Empire. 
We recommend taking the short trip from Doha to explore the thick walls of this historic fortification for yourself, and marvel at its traditional Qatari design and the impeccable views of the valley and coast below before relaxing in a nearby oasis for some respite from the intense Arabian heat. 
barzan towers
barzan towers

10. Al Koot Fort 

Looking to step foot into Qatari history, but not interested in leaving Doha? The Al Koot Fort is a spectacular historical military landmark located right in the heart of Qatar's capital city. Rebuilt in 1927 at the order of the above-mentioned Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, Al Koot was originally a police station and jail, before eventually being used by Sheikh Abdullah to protect the critically important Souq Waqif from raiders, thieves and bandits.
Today, the Al Koot Fort is a heritage museum, offering travellers a unique glimpse into Qatari daily life with traditional handicrafts, artifacts, and exhibits featuring local artworks, ornaments and historical photos on display.
al koot fort

Begin your Qatari holiday today 

Combining one-of-a-kind exploration with modern luxury on the ocean, an Emerald Cruises voyage on board one of our innovative superyachts will bring you into the heart of Doha and the surrounding Gulf. With just 100 guests on board, you'll experience a truly intimate and immersive journey as you visit rare ports of call which larger vessels simply cannot reach. 
Ready to start planning your adventure? Download your FREE superyacht cruises brochure today and take a glimpse into the exceptional EmeraldEXPERIENCE that awaits you. We look forward to welcoming you on board.