Best ways to experience Qatar on a value budget
Qatar is preparing for hosting visitors during FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
With more than one million visitors set to visit Qatar for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, fans should be rest assured that incredible experiences, local culture, food and flavours are all available at fantastic value for money – or even for free.
Chief Operating Officer of Qatar Tourism, Berthold Trenkel, said, “Qatar is easy and exciting to explore without breaking the bank. All visitors will find a raft of inexpensive restaurants, transport options, activities, and lots of attractions to enjoy either for free or at great value. Qatar is one of the safest destinations in the world, centred around the warm hospitality characteristic of the local culture.”
Things to do for free
- Picnics at the park: Qatar has numerous lush green parks – the perfect place for a family stroll and a picnic. Aspire Park has lakes, kid’s play areas and views of the 300-metre Torch Tower. Al Bidda Park stretches down the coastline and has many sporting activities on offer, along with rentable barbecue spaces. Adjacent to the Museum of Islamic Art is MIA Park with the best vantage point of the Doha skyline. The small but stunning Onaiza Park has a pretty garden area and winding walking track.
- Public beaches: Those willing to venture 1 hour 20 minutes outside Doha should seek out Fuwairit Beach for its powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters. Fuwairit Beach is a hotspot for kitesurfers and home to a hatching site for the endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtles. Closer to the capital is Sealine Beach, in the desert dunes of the south, or Katara Beach, inside Katara Cultural Village within Doha itself.
- Soak up the culture: Katara Cultural Village has a stunning beach promenade, an impressive open-air amphitheatre and network of exhibition galleries and cutting-edge facilities. Souq Waqif is the country’s bustling traditional marketplace, offering souvenirs, spices, and numerous budget-friendly food options. The newly developed Msheireb and Education City districts each provide a free tram service to tour the wonderous avant-garde architecture for a dose of how the past meets the present in Qatari design and culture. The latter also houses the Qatar National Library with its intriguing paper plane design, while Msheireb has museums that celebrate the history of four heritage houses.
Haggle for a bargain
In Qatar’s souqs, or markets, a friendly bit of haggling is expected to find the right price for both parties. The iconic Souq Waqif, in the oldest part of Doha, offers numerous shops and stalls. Popular items for sale include pashmina shawls and scarves, oud wood or oil, dates and spices, intricate wooden boxes, Dalla Arabian pots for coffee and modern jewellery at the suitably entitled Gold Souq. Visitors can also haggle when booking a cruise aboard a traditional wooden dhow boat, which are lined up along the Corniche and provide a relaxing way to watch the sunset.
Eat well for less
Qatar offers a wide range of local and international cuisine and being on a budget doesn’t mean skimping on quality and flavour. Guests can enjoy food at a budget at Shay Al Shomous, Chapati & Karak, Turkey Central.
In Doha, one of the easiest ways to get around is the new metro system. The state-of-the-art network features 100 km/h trains, driverless carriages and a Gold Class for premium passengers. Other transport options include a comprehensive bus service, taxis and ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Careem.
Six of the best value hotels
- Four Points by Sheraton Doha: With 120 rooms or suites available, the hotel sits right across a metro station and is just a short walk from Msheireb Downtown Doha.
- Holiday Inn Doha – The Business Park: It is located in the centre of the bustling financial district – perfect for a 'bleisure' break. It’s a 15-minute drive from Hamad International Airport and a few minutes away from top attractions including Souq Waqif, Museum of Islamic Art and National Museum of Qatar.
- The Curve Hotel Qatar: Overlooking the Arabian Gulf in a design that follows the curvature of the Corniche, the hotel sits in the heart of city skyline
- Centro Capital Doha: A 4-star affordable brand of the Rotana hotels, it has a stylish design and modern amenities in the middle of the historical old Doha district.
- Strato by Warwick: It is located close to the Hamad International Airport with elegant interiors
- Swiss-Belinn Doha: In the heart of the capital amid comfortable and trendy surroundings, the hotel is near Quest Doha, and Msheireb Downtown Doha.
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