Qatar Paragliding landscape

Exploring Doha: Why Qatar’s capital is perfect for a short stopover

Qatar’s capital, Doha, is a bustling metropolis, full of excitement and exploration, even on a short 12-hour stopover.

Cruises often feature countless short stops to city ports and, while some guests may choose not to venture from the ship, travel agents should encourage them to make the most of being able to explore an exciting new city, even if for a brief time.

Transit passengers who stop over in Doha, Qatar, for a short stay have the privilege of getting a taste of what this culturally rich city has to offer.

From impressive architecture and fascinating museums to delicious street food and bustling markets, agents should emphasise how guests can go out and explore all that Doha has to offer.

How close is the port to Doha city?

Being conveniently located in central Doha, Doha Port is the ideal base for guests to explore.

The port features a new passenger terminal covering more than 6,000 square metres, and agents can highlight how the immigration, customs and foreign exchange services have never been smoother or easier.

And, with the city’s most popular tourist attractions concentrated in the city centre, cruise guests can easily navigate Doha on foot.

The National Museum of Qatar
Taking its inspiration from the “desert rose” is the National Museum of Qatar

National Museum of Qatar

Cruise passengers can explore this fascinating building – designed by Pritzker prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel – and learn about the story of Qatar, from the past all the way to the marvels of today.

The design of the building itself is what first attracts guests, as the building takes inspiration from the desert rose, which is a naturally occurring crystal geological formation seen in this country in arid coastal regions.

In addition to the museum itself, guests can also visit Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani’s original palace and seat of government for 25 years: the museum is constructed around this building.

With the museum being only a 10-minute drive, or just a 45-minute walk, away from the port, it is easily accessible for cruisers. Children aged 16 and under can visit for free, and adults pay an entrance fee of QAR 50 (about £10.25).

The Corniche

As one of the best places for guests to absorb breathtaking views of the skyline and monuments, The Corniche has the sea on one side and a bustling business street on the other.

Guests can marvel at the impressive architecture that surrounds them, such as The Sheraton, which was built to resemble the shape of an Aztec pyramid.

With a small beach area for paddling and watching the sealife, as well as restaurants and a traditional Doha heritage village, this area allows visitors to get a true feel for Doha.

Souq Waqif

This bustling area gives guests an authentic street life experience, as they can wander through the Souq and appreciate how popular this jewellery is throughout the Middle East.

For more shopping options, visitors simply have to venture down one of the winding alleyways to discover a host of treats, from wooden furniture and handmade instruments to pearl diving equipment.

Travel agents should emphasise to guests that there is more to Souq Waqif than shopping – it’s also a chance to see animals such as camels, horses and falcons.

Museum of Islamic Art

Not only can guests admire panoramic views of the city’s skyline from this building, but the museum itself – featuring domes, arches, geometric patterns and water features – will also please architecture lovers, as it was designed by Pritzker prize-winning architect IM Pei.

It sits on a purpose-built island next to the waterfront. The museum hosts musical performances, film screenings and art classes for the community, as well as an outdoor green space.

Doha, Qatar, Msheireb quarter
Doha’s Msheireb quarter is a showcase for design talent

Msheireb downtown area

This area is the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project, aiming to reverse the trend of high-energy-consumption development in Doha, and a must-see for fans of new architecture.

In the heart of Doha, the area features more than 100 commercial and residential properties, as well as entertainment venues such as Qatar Academy Msheireb. The Doha Design District is also a highlight, featuring and promoting both regional and international talent.

Half-day desert safari

Adventurous visitors can get stuck into the mighty sand dunes by embarking on a desert safari on a half-day excursion – perfect for those who have limited time to explore the area.

Guests can hop in a 4×4 and drive across memorable sandy landscapes, as well as stop off at breathtaking locations such as the Inland Sea, which is the natural border of Saudi Arabia.

Visit visitqatar.qa for more information.

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