Qatar is a country that is going through a huge upswing. It is in the process of rapid growth and Doha, the capital and main city, sees something new spring up every month. Luxury hotels, spas, world-class restaurants, malls and architecturally unusual buildings sprout up constantly. Sport, cultural offerings and leisure activities are the areas, which are changing most rapidly, all this change doesn’t mean neglect for the past though. There still remains today a respect and celebration of the past. Alongside the cutting-edge modernity, there’s still a chance to shop in vibrant souks and markets, explore fascinating heritage sites and attend top-class equestrian events.
Qatar isn’t just a modern metropolis in the desert; there are a heap of things to do that don’t always spring to mind. Seeing as you are in desert country there are plenty of desert-based adventures to undertake. The sand dunes are heart-racingly high and breath-takingly steep, making the drive across the desert to the sea a true spectace. If you want to take your experience further than why not spend a night in luxury Arabian tents or pitch your own, eat local food and sleep under the stars.
For those with an interest in Islamic history and art, look no further than the Museum of Islamic Art. Designed by architect I.M. Pei, he built it in mind to be on a standalone island so that no new buildings would obstruct it. It can be found just off the Corniche, the design of the museum is absolute perfection as it actually looks like it’s floating on water from some angles. Once you step inside you take a look at Calligraphy, Islamic patterns, Jewelry and Textiles from three continents, with some of the items dating from the 7th to 19th century. The museum also features high profile rotating exhibits year-round. For an impressive business lunch or a memorable date night, try Idam, French-born chef Alain Ducasse’s first restaurant in the Middle East.
Qatar’s desert location makes the Al Thakira Mangroves stand out. This is without doubt one of the country’s most iconic spots — this large spot of greenery and water has its own ecosystem. This place is a remarkable find in an otherwise sandy, scorching desert. Here, you can observe bird life, herons and flamingos have been migrating to the region for years. The best way to experience the mangroves is to rent a kayak and get lost in the greenery!
Everyone knows the FIFA World Cup is coming to Qatar, the biggest sporting competition is heading here because it is one of the fastest growing places in the middles east. New stadiums and infrastructure are being built all over the country, truly state of the art stadiums, they are a sight to behold. Football is the most popular sport among the local and expat community, but it isn’t the only sport that draws a crowd. The ATP World Tour, which stops in the capital every winter. The Qatar Moto Grand Prix, World Superbikes and Qatar Masters Golf Tournament are also annual events. So too are Qatar’s traditional sports — Arabian horse racing, camel racing, and falconry.