24 Hours In Doha

Doha, the capital of Qatar, is a major crossroads for travelers from Asia, Europe, and Africa. If you find yourself with a day-long stopover in Doha, you’re in luck: Qatar’s entry rules are quite accommodating, and it’s a fantastic chance to experience the culture and vibe of this modern, cosmopolitan city. While Hamad International Airport offers plenty to do, stepping out for a mini-stay is highly recommended.

For your 24 hours in Doha stopover, there’s a lot on offer: museums featuring stunning architecture and collections, shopping centers filled with top luxury brands, both indoor and outdoor amusement parks, beautiful sandy beaches, worldwide culinary delights, and luxury hotels that are surprisingly affordable. In short, you’ll get a taste of Qatar that might just make you want to come back. To help you plan, here are some suggestions for a 24 hours in Doha.

Local breakfast

24 Hours In Doha Shay Al Shomoos
Local breakfast at Shay Al Shoomos

Starting your day with a good breakfast is crucial. While your hotel might offer a convenient option, consider beginning your day more authentically. Visit Shay Al Shoomos, a restaurant founded by Shams Al Qassabi, the first woman to open a business in Souq Waqif.

Here, you can dive into Qatari culture through its food. The menu features delicious local breakfast items like Regag, a thin, crispy crepe often served with cheese or honey. There are also several plant-based options for those seeking a lighter meal. It’s one of the highlights of Souq Waqif and a fantastic way to start your day by engaging with the local cuisine.

Morning shopping or museum visit

After filling up on a delicious breakfast, there are many enjoyable ways to spend your morning during 24 hours in Doha.

Visit a museum (2 to 3 hours)

The Museum of Islamic Art 

Museum Of Islamic Art 24 Hours In Doha
Museum of Islamic Art

The Museum of Islamic Art is a top destination for lovers of art and history, standing out as one of Qatar’s essential museums. Here, visitors can explore a vast array of Islamic art that spans 1,400 years, including exquisite jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and ancient manuscripts. Beyond the indoor exhibits, the museum also offers stunning views of the Doha skyline from its outdoor areas, providing a perfect backdrop for photos.

After exploring the museum, enjoy a morning coffee while taking in the panoramic views of the sea. Then, wander through the nearby Mina district, where colorful houses, a bustling fish market, and beautiful city views make for a picturesque experience.

Mina District 24 Hours In Doha
The colorful houses of the Mina district

The National Museum of Qatar

This museum, notable for its distinctive architecture resembling a desert rose, takes you on a journey through the country’s history, from prehistoric times to the present day, through many interactive exhibits. If you’re visiting Qatar with kids, The National Museum Of Qatar is an ideal spot, offering interactive galleries tailored to be both educational and fun.

Other museums in Doha

Msheireb Museums 24 Hours In Doha
Msheireb Museums

If you’ve already explored those two museums, Doha still has more cultural treasures to offer. Consider visiting the 3-2-1 Olympic and Sports Museum, one of the world’s largest sports museums. It showcases 17,000 sports objects and memorabilia, including a boxing glove worn by Mohammed Ali at the 1960 Rome Olympics, a Ferrari driven by Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher, and a jersey worn by soccer legend Pelé from Brazil.

Another fascinating destination is the Msheireb Museums, which tell the story of Doha’s transformation from a simple fishing village to the bustling metropolis it is today. With these options, your morning in Doha is sure to be both informative and unforgettable.

Shopping in a luxury mall (2-3 hours)

Villaggio Shopping Center 24 Hours In Doha
Villaggio Shopping Center in Doha

If museums aren’t your thing, Doha offers a fantastic alternative: its luxurious shopping malls, which are more than just places to shop—they’re experiences in themselves.

Opening at 9 a.m., Villaggio Mall is a great spot for family shopping. Its design, inspired by the tranquil beauty of Venice with canals and painted skies, is an attraction on its own. With an indoor amusement park, a cinema, and an ice rink, your day is set to be filled with entertainment. For a bit of luxury, make sure to explore the Via Domo section, a haven of high-end shopping.

The Mall of Qatar is another family-friendly option, opening at 9 a.m. as well. It offers a wide range of stores for every taste and budget, a children’s theme park, and an impressive dining area known as the “Oasis,” featuring dancing fountains and free shows.

For lovers of ultimate luxury, head to Place Vendôme Qatar, located in the new Lusail district. Inspired by Parisian architecture, this upscale shopping center is a maze of designer boutiques, jewelers, and gourmet restaurants. Less focused on children’s activities, the charm of the sparkling windows and the temptation of sweet treats in an elegant café will still amaze them.

The Vendôme Mall 24 Hours In Doha
Place Vendôme Mall shopping center in Doha

Take a scenic stroll on The Pearl (2 hours)

Qanat District In Pearl 24 Hours In Doha
Qanat District in Pearl Qatar

If you’re looking for a picturesque spot, head over to The Pearl, a standout attraction in Qatar. This man-made island cluster is famous for its high-end boutiques, eateries, and cafes. Wander through the Qanat district, often called the “Venice of Qatar,” with its own version of the famous Rialto Bridge, making it one of the country’s most “Instagrammable” locations.

Walking along the marina, you’ll be awed by the luxurious yachts docked there, enhancing the area’s opulence. The Pearl’s upscale shops contribute to its sophisticated atmosphere. For families, the “piano stairs” are a fun feature, creating musical notes as you step on them, sure to entertain kids and music enthusiasts alike.

After this walk, take a break in one of the many cafes in the area. Enjoy a refreshing drink while gazing out over the bay. It’s the perfect place to end a busy morning in Doha.

Piano Stairs 24 Hours In Doha
Piano stairs at Pearl Qatar

Tasty lunch break 

Time does fly when you’re traveling, especially with just 24 hours in Doha! After a morning filled with new experiences, you’re likely to be hungry. Luckily, Doha offers a wide array of dining options. Here are some suggestions for a satisfying lunch:

Zengo: Located on the top floor of the Kempinski Hotel, Zengo offers Asian fusion cuisine with a contemporary twist. While enjoying your meal, you’ll be treated to stunning panoramic views of the city. It’s an ideal spot to indulge yourself while taking in views of Doha’s skyline, including prominent skyscrapers like the Burj Doha and Tornado Tower, as well as the towers of Pearl Qatar.

24 Hours In Doha Zengo

Yasmine Palace: Perfect for those who love to combine shopping with dining, Yasmine Palace is situated in the Place Vendôme shopping center. This beautifully decorated restaurant serves a variety of oriental dishes, making it a perfect lunch stop during your shopping spree.

Jiwan: If you find yourself near the Qatar National Museum around lunchtime, consider dining at Jiwan, located on the museum’s top floor. With a menu crafted by Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, this restaurant offers modern Qatari cuisine along with stunning sea and skyline views, allowing you to blend art, history, and gastronomy seamlessly.

Thalatheen: Vegans and vegetarians in search of a delicious meal should check out Thalatheen, conveniently located near the Qatar National Museum. This restaurant is a haven for plant-based cuisine enthusiasts.

Thalatheen 24 Hours In Doha

Exciting afternoon

After a delicious and invigorating lunch, the afternoon awaits you, with several options to entertain you. Here are our suggestions.

Desert safari (4 to 5 hours)

 24 Hours In Doha Khor Al Adaid
4×4 in the dunes of Khor Al Adaid

If you got an early start to your day, you might still have time to venture out to the desert. An hour’s drive south of Doha takes you to Khor al Adayd (also spelled Khor Al Adaid), the perfect spot for a thrilling Dune Bashing session in a 4×4 or buggy. Here, you can witness the unique and breathtaking sight of sand dunes meeting the sea. This natural wonder is among the distinctive and lesser-known attractions that make Qatar so intriguing.

To make your desert trip even more memorable, consider ending it with a barbecue at a traditional Bedouin camp. It’s a delicious way to incorporate an authentic experience into your visit.

Keep in mind that the best time for this adventure is from October to March when Qatar enjoys its mildest climate.

Amusement park (3 to 4 hours)

If you’re vacationing in Qatar with kids, or looking for a little action, consider spending the afternoon at an amusement park. Doha has a lot of them. One of them is the Doha Quest , an indoor amusement park with more than 20 attractions and games. Among them, an indoor roller coaster called EpiQ Coaster, the largest in the world, promises an unforgettable day for children and adults alike.

24 Hours In Doha Quest

Just an hour away from Doha, you’ll find another thrilling destination: Desert Falls Water & Adventure Park. Situated at the Hilton Salwa Beach, this is Qatar’s largest water park. It features a wide array of slides, lazy rivers, and wave pools. With over 50 attractions and 18 activities, an afternoon full of excitement and fun is guaranteed.

Excursion and water sports (3 to 4 hours)

Kitesurfers At Fuwairit Beach
Kitesurfers at Fuwairit Beach

If aquatic activities are more your thing, consider going on an excursion that includes water sports. A trip to Al Thakira will allow you to kayak through the unique mangroves, offering a truly special experience. On your way, make a stop at the Panda House near Al Khor to see the only giant pandas in the region.

For kitesurfing enthusiasts, Fuwairit Kite Beach in the country’s north is one of Qatar’s top kitesurfing destinations. The conditions here are perfect for the sport, promising moments of thrilling excitement. It’s one of the key attractions that draw visitors to Qatar.

Late afternoon relaxation

The end of your day in Doha should be just as memorable as the beginning. Here are some of our top picks for a fantastic evening.

Visit to Souq Waqif (1 to 2 hours)

Souq Waqif 24 Hours In Doha
Souq Waqif during the day

As the sunlight starts to dim, wandering through the labyrinth of Souq Waqif is one of the best ways to savor the day’s final moments and enjoy a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

In Souq Waqif, make sure to take in the vibrant merchant stalls filled with spices, clothing, and perfumes, and explore its art center. Don’t miss the falcon souk, a highlight of Souq Waqif, where you can get up close with these majestic birds of prey.

Then savor local sweets and enjoy a local coffee or Karak tea to enjoy the ambiance even more.

Souq Waqif Boutique
Souq Waqif boutique

Relaxing at the beach (1 to 2 hours)

If you prefer a relaxing moment and aim to leave Qatar with a beautiful tan, heading to the beach is an excellent choice. Winter is especially one of the best times to visit Qatar for beachgoers.

Set aside 1-2 hours to unwind on the beaches in central Doha, such as Katara Beach, Doha Sands, or B12 Beach Club. These spots are perfect for soaking up the sun and enjoying the soft sand. Katara Beach is particularly great for families, and many of these beaches offer restaurants and cafes where you can grab a refreshing drink.

Katara Beach 24 Hours In Doha
Katara Beach

Visit to Katara Cultural Village (2 hours) 

Traditional Dovecotes At Katara Cultural Village
Traditional dovecotes at Katara Cultural Village

If you want to learn more about Qatari culture at the end of the day, consider visiting the Katara Cultural Village. It’s just 10 minutes away from the center of Doha.

There you can admire the art galleries, the splendid Golden Mosque, the Katara Mosque, the giant dovecotes, the giant murals and the impressive amphitheater. 

Take the time to stop at the village’s cafes and restaurants, before heading to one of the many kiosks on Tasty Street to enjoy an ice cream or sip a bubble tea.  

An unforgettable dinner

Having dinner on a Dhow during your layover in Doha is an unforgettable experience. These traditional wooden boats, which were once used for fishing and trading, have been transformed into floating restaurants. They offer a variety of delicious meals while cruising the turquoise waters of Doha Bay. This provides a perfect opportunity to watch the sunset! You can begin your cruise from the Corniche at the Dhow Harbour close to the Fanar mosque of Souq Waqif, or from Pearl Island Qatar.

24 Hours In Doha
Traditional Dhows in Doha Bay

If you’d rather stay on land, consider going back to Souq Waqif for dinner. This traditional market is full of life and offers a genuine Middle Eastern food experience. But it’s not just about local dishes. You can find Qatari, Moroccan, Egyptian, Syrian, Italian, Thai, and various other international cuisines here.

For Yemeni food in a basic setting with affordable prices, choose Bandar Aden restaurant. If you’re after a more upscale dining experience, Parisa and Damasca One are the places to go.

Parisa Doha

Parisa offers a stunning setting that feels like it’s straight out of an Arabian Nights story, while Damasca One provides a taste of genuine Syrian dishes in a sophisticated oriental atmosphere.

For a fine dining experience, head to Nobu, one of Doha’s most chic restaurants. Nobu is a culinary institution that promises unforgettable Japanese fusion cuisine. Creative dishes, prepared with careful attention to detail, combine with panoramic views of the bay, providing a dining experience like no other.

Nobu Doha

Enjoy Doha at night

For those looking to enjoy the nightlife, Doha has several top-notch bars to make the most out of your 24 hours there.

La Vista 55, on the 55th floor of the InterContinental Doha The City, offers a spectacular panoramic view, making it a fantastic spot to wrap up your visit in style.

La Vista Doha

Nearby, at the JW Marriott Doha, you’ll find The Den, a European-style piano bar perfect for enjoying cocktails in a quieter setting. It’s great for a peaceful evening or a final drink before going back.

Across from the JW Marriott Doha, the Marriott Marquis City Center’s Aqua Lounge has a welcoming vibe with stunning views of Doha’s towers. This outdoor bar is known for its shisha and has air-conditioned cabins for staying cool in the summer.

24 Hours In Doha

Lastly, Skyview at La Cigale Hotel is famous for its terrace that offers a sweeping view of Doha, complete with a DJ for entertainment.

Where to sleep during your 24 hours in Doha? 

Doha is packed with luxurious hotels and palaces that are more budget-friendly than those in France. The key is to pick a hotel near the main attractions you plan to visit.

For visits to Katara Cultural Village, Souq Waqif, and museums, staying in West Bay or Souq Waqif is ideal. In West Bay, four hotels have direct access to City Center Mall, a big shopping mall. You can choose from Le Méridien, JW Marriott City Center, or Rotana Hotel.

If you prefer being closer to Souq Waqif, the Museum of Islamic Art, and the Qatar National Museum, the Alwadi Hotel and Park Hyatt are excellent choices. Alternatively, boutique hotels in Souq Waqif like Arumaila or Al Najada offer more budget-friendly rates without compromising on comfort.

Alwadi Hotel Doha
View from Alwadi Hotel room with balcony

Finally, note that some airlines, such as Qatar Airways, offer particularly attractive stopover packages for short stays in Doha. Currently, a night in a 4-star hotel starts from 14 USD (or around 13 euros) and in a 5-star hotel, from 20 USD (or around 18 euros). If necessary, check the latest prices on the Qatar Airways website. 

How to get around Qatar during a short stay?

When visiting Qatar, you have plenty of transportation options.

Starting with taxis, they’re a convenient choice for short stays in Doha. You can find them near major attractions and shopping center exits. Most taxi drivers in Doha speak English, and the fares are usually reasonable. Remember to check if the meter is on to avoid unexpected costs.

Uber is another option, offering the advantage of geolocation. It’s easy to find a ride from anywhere, track your trip in real time, and pay directly through the app, which adds convenience and safety.

Lastly, the Doha Metro is an affordable choice at just 50 cents for a one-way ticket. The metro covers the whole city, making it easy to visit all major attractions. It’s fast, clean, modern, and simple to use, even for newcomers. It’s also safe for solo women travelers. Plus, it’s convenient for getting to and from Doha’s Hamad International Airport.

Metro Doha
Inside Doha Metro

For short trips around the city, consider using electric bikes or scooters. These are found all over the city and offer an environmentally friendly way to explore at your own pace while enjoying the outdoors.