It’s not just the athletics that will be worth seeing when you visit Qatar for the IAAF World Championships
Doha is getting ready to welcome the world for a feast of athletics action later this year but the Qatari capital also has much more to offer.
Here are some experiences simply not to be missed when you make a trip for the IAAF World Championships, taking place from September 27 to October 6.
Click here to read more about the IAAF World Championship Doha 2019.
Walk through history at the Museum of Islamic Art
The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is the jewel in the crown of Doha’s cultural offering. MIA’s stunning display of the finest art and artefacts from across the Islamic worlds have earned the museum wide recognition.
Visitors can stroll through 14 centuries of Islamic history and see award-winning collections of paintings, metalworks, ceramics, textiles and manuscripts. MIA is also home to IDAM, a fine-dining restaurant run by highly acclaimed chef Alain Ducasse.
Stroll along the Doha Corniche
This 7km long waterfront promenade and park, stretching in a semi-circle around the entire length of Doha Bay, is one of the capital’s showpiece features. It not only offers spectacular views of the city but also provides a vehicle-free recreational oasis, ideal for a jog in the cool of the morning, a relaxing family picnic or a leisurely evening stroll.
Soak up the atmosphere in the Souq Waqif
The bustling alleys of Souq Waqif offer an authentic taste of Qatar’s local culture, architecture and history as a trading hub.
Its network of small shops and stores sell a rich variety of Middle Eastern fare, ranging from spices, dates and nuts to perfumes, jewellery, clothing and handcrafted souvenirs. Visitors can soak up the atmosphere while enjoying the traditional music, art and cultural shows which take place in the Souq.
An eclectic mix of restaurants and cafes offer traditional Qatari food as well as dishes with Asian and North African influences. The market is also home to art galleries, a traditional falconry market, a visitor’s centre and Qatar’s first hotel, the Bismillah Hotel, built in the 1950s.
Visit the Katara Cultural Village
The Katara Cultural Village and amphitheatre houses theatres, two mosques, art galleries and a venue which hosts year-round concerts, shows and exhibitions. The village also features a public beach offering a range of watersports and fine-dining restaurants.
See the Pearl-Qatar
Close to Katara lies the new man-made island of The Pearl-Qatar, which boasts impressive marina esplanades, luxury towers, villas, high-end boutiques and Mediterranean-style waterfront walks.
A day at the camel races
Professional camel racing is traditionally known as the sport of the sheikhs and Qatar’s Al-Shahaniya camel racing track is located an hour’s drive into the desert north of Doha.
The track hosts domestic and international tournaments every Friday between October and February. The racing camels are ridden by remote-controlled robot jockeys dressed in colourful racing silks.
Explore Al Zubarah Fort
Just over 100km from Doha lies Al Zubarah, which was once a prosperous coastal town in the Persian Gulf before it was destroyed in 1811 and abandoned in the early 1900s.
Today it is one of the most extensive and best-preserved examples of 18th-19th century settlements in the region.
After careful restoration, the town’s Fort was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013, the first such place in Qatar. The site houses a visitor centre and is a leading tourism attraction.
The National Museum of Qatar
Opened this year, the museum makes a dramatic addition to the Doha landscape with its design inspired by the local desert rose. This unique building embraces the newly restored Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al-Thani and provides visitors with many ways to participate, learn or to relax.
A 220-seat auditorium and rolling programme of events ensure each visit offers a new perspective. The dedicated research centre and laboratories provide new study opportunities.
For those looking to relax and take time out, new food venues include a stunning rooftop restaurant, while a newly landscaped park offers family-friendly interactive learning.
Take a dhow boat cruise
Cruise the Arabian Gulf’s calm waters and experience Qatar’s seafaring heritage aboard a traditional wooden dhow boat.
Typically sporting long thin hulls, dhows played an important role in Qatar’s trading history.
The traditional boats are decorated with fairy lights and cruises offer spectacular views of Doha’s skyline as guests tuck into an on-board BBQ buffet.
Find the sea in the desert
Around 60km from Doha in the south-eastern corner of the country lies one of Qatar’s most impressive natural wonders, the ‘Inland Sea’ or Khor Al Adaid.
A UNESCO-recognised natural reserve with diverse flora and fauna and its own ecosystem, this is one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches deep into the heart of the desert.