With 2,000 years of history and a vibrant futuristic multicultural capital, Qatar has developed at a fast pace in the past few decades without losing its touch with ancient traditions and culture. When landing, all you see are gleaming skyscrapers, and after you arrive you’ll be mesmerized with the Old Town and its narrow streets. Get ready to lose yourself and enjoy the tranquillity of one of the safest countries in the world.

If you’re heading to the Arab Innovation Academy 2020, you definitely need to know exactly what to do in Qatar during your free time. We have created a cool list to help you to explore Doha and surrounding areas. Let’s go!

1. Souq Waqif

Let’s start our list by visiting the heart of Doha. The Souq Waqif is a traditional market area with a history spanning hundreds of years. What was once a place where Bedouins would bring their sheep and goat to trade is now a market that was rebuilt in 2003 after being destroyed by a fire. 

Things to do in qatar | Souq Waqif

Get ready to discover a bit of Qatari culture in all of its aspects. Lose yourself in colours by trying some of the traditional garments and get dazzled with memorabilia and jewelery that will make you feel like you’re in a museum. 

Don’t leave the market without checking out the Falcon Souq, where you can have a glimpse of falconry, a tradition in Qatar. 

2. Museum of Islamic Art

Qatar is like heaven for architecture enthusiasts. Past, present, and future blend in skyscrapers and buildings, so you may want to add a few buildings to your Qatar itinerary. 

The Museum of Islamic Art is a must for every traveler discovering Qatar. Designed by I.M. Pei, the architect of the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, the MIA has the world’s largest collection of Islamic Art. 

Museum of Islamic Art

Apart from its treasures from all continents, the Museum of Islamic Art impresses with its architecture and strategic position off the corniche. 

AIA tip: Students under 25 years old get a 50% discount on admissions.

3. National Museum of Qatar

Qatar is full of stunning museums, making it difficult to choose only one to visit. The National Museum of Qatar was designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel, who used Qatari’s Desert Rose as inspiration for the project.

National Museum of Qatar from Danilo Lauria on Vimeo.

The NMQ unfolds the story of Qatar in its more than 1.5km of galleries, which are divided into Beginnings, Life in Qatar, and Building the Nation. 

Find out more about Qatar’s Museums here.

4. The Pearl Qatar

Want to know how it feels to live like the rich and famous? Make sure to save time for The Pearl Qatar, a man-made island that became a symbol of luxury. Get ready to be amazed by yachts, high-luxury buildings, private villas, and a vibrant shopping district. 

The Pearl Qatar: one of the main attractions in Doha

If you have spare time, we recommend you try a dhow boat cruise and experience the island known as Arabian Riviera.

5.  Dune Bashing

Exploring the desert while riding a camel is almost like a childhood dream for many travelers. As time goes by, you may want to add a bit of adrenaline to this experience, which is exactly something to do in Qatar.

Board a 4×4 in the dunes and feel like you’re on a breathtaking roller-coaster in the middle of the desert. There are many ways across the dunes, so you can go from smooth rides to thrilling experiences that you’ll never forget. 

6. Delve into Al Thakira Mangroves

You may think of Qatar as an arid landscape, however, the country has a large area of greenery and water. The Al Thakira Mangroves is filled with wildlife, birds, and flamingos.

The best way to explore this green oasis is by renting a kayak and getting lost in the mangroves. 

7. Reach the top of The Aspire Tower 

There’s nothing like experiencing Qatar from the top. Head to the top of The Aspire Tower—also known as The Torch Doha—a 300-metre tall skyscraper hotel and symbol of the 2006 Asian Games. 

This architectural gem hides modern interiors, a panoramic swimming pool, and a 360-degree rotating restaurant that will give you the perfect view of the city.

Deciding what to do in Qatar isn’t an easy job, but by following this list, you’ll experience its best. Follow the Arab Innovation Academy on Instagram or check our blog to learn more about the biggest entrepreneurship program in the NEMA region.