Did you know the kite surfing is really great in Doha? If, in fact, you’ve never even thought about kite surfing in the Middle East, maybe you should. It’s excellent.

Furthermore, it isn’t hard to get to Doha, the capital city of Qatar and hub airport for Qatar Airways. Seattleites can fly direct to Doha, which is often a quick stop on the way to another final destination. But it’s worth extending that layover to explore the area, especially when you can stay in a 4-star hotel for only $14 a night.

Maybe kitesurfing isn’t your thing. Maybe you’re worried that your lower back can’t take it. Not to worry. There are a lot of other great things you can do in Doha with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Here’s a sampling.

Culture and arts

The Museum of Islamic Art was a highlight of Priya Mareedu’s recent visit. She’s also known as @thewildindiangirl on Instagram and she loved learning more about the city and its history.

“Our driver was also our guide and he knew so much about the area,” she says. “I didn’t know how important pearls were in the history of the place and loved hearing about the role jewelry played in their culture.”

The museum is built on its own little island and in addition to housing some amazing treasures, they also host concerts and open-air cinemas. Visitors can also rent pedal boats and bicycles to explore or have a picnic on the museum grounds.

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If you can’t get enough of the Bedouin culture, you can also visit the National Museum of Qatar, and the Katara Cultural Village. You can see just about anything there — a play or an opera or an art or photography exhibit. Sometimes they host markets and festivals and even workshops for those who want to learn something new. 

Shopping and dining

The Pearl shopping area is named after the region’s pearl-diving trade and is full of special treasures and delicious nibbles. You’ll get the high-end experience in this part of town. If you’re in the market for designer brands and names, this is your place.

If you’re looking for a more authentic Arabian shopping experience, and to, say, purchase a new falcon, there’s good news. You can get the bird and any other supplies you might need at the Souq Waqif open-air market. From shoes and antiques, custom perfumes to gold jewelry and spices to local works of art, there’s shops for everyone here and you’re bound to find something truly unique. If you’ve worked up an appetite exploring and shopping, the souq has plenty of street vendors and restaurants. Circle around the general courtyard to grab a samosa, stuffed vine leaves or sweet dumplings.

Nature

There are all kinds of islands around Doha, like Banana Island and Purple Island, along with many beautiful beaches. You can rent a kayak and explore the mangroves, spot some flamingos and go scuba diving, or catch some local fish in the tropical waters of the Arabian Gulf.

If you choose to venture away from the coast, water-lovers are still in luck — there’s an inland sea that stretches into the desert, and for those looking for something different, a visit to the Brouq Nature Reserve, home of sculptor Richard Serra’s “East-West/West-East” is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

The city is also full of green spaces, walking tracks and playgrounds. You can find a bit of urban nature wherever you are.

Sports and adventure

If you’re a sports fan, you can time your trip around the 2022 FIFA World Cup and plan to visit one of the eight stadiums scheduled to host events. That’s not something you can see in Seattle every day. And if you decide you want more, maybe you can catch a horse race, one of the most significant traditional sports in Qatar, hosted during the season.

Head out to the wildlands of the desert to find adventure. You can ride a camel, or do some sand dune boarding, or maybe enjoy an Arabian barbeque lunch in the middle of nowhere. For Mareedu, their sand dune adventure was a highlight of her trip.

“I thought it was going to be a casual drive,” she says. “We went at sunrise and when we were at the end of our photo shoot, the driver asked us if we’d put our cameras away. Then he took us on this crazy drive up the side of the dune. I was screaming for my life and think my husband has hearing loss because of it. It was crazy and one of the most fun things we did on the trip.”

And, finally, if none of that works for you, there’s always kite surfing. Doha offers perfect wind and water conditions for beginners all the way to advanced surfers.

Qatar Airways now flies out of SEA Airport. Wherever you choose to fly, our onboard experience maintains the highest standards of hospitality and hygiene while ensuring your safety and comfort.