Qatar Tourism shares how fans can spend 100 hours in the country
The country is expecting more than one million visitors to come to Doha
To mark 100 days until the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Qatar Tourism has revealed how fans can spend 100 hours in Qatar while visiting for a match.
With more than one million visitors set to descend on Doha for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, fans will be searching for activities to pack into their schedules whilst not attending matches. Qatar is perfectly placed to provide visitors with every type of experience they may be looking for. And with each fan’s ‘Hayya Card’ – required to enter Qatar – providing free public transport, including the new air-conditioned metro on match days, it will be quick and convenient to discover the peninsula’s best sites and things to do without breaking the bank.
Action and adventure – 24 hours (Day 1)
With more than 560 kilometres of coastline, the calm crystal waters of the Arabian Gulf make Qatar an ideal spot for water sports. From beginners to the experienced, adventurers should try stand-up paddle boarding around The Pearl-Qatar, go sunset kayaking through lush green mangroves, or have a thrilling jet ski ride exploring the stunning skyline. Then, a visit to the undulating sand dunes of Qatar’s desert is a must-do. Only an hour’s drive from Doha, one of the most popular tours is to experience the stunning Khor Al-Adaid or ‘Inland Sea’, recognised by UNESCO as a natural reserve with a beautiful landscape. The journey commonly includes dune bashing in a 4x4, swimming in the beautiful waters and, of course, a camel ride.
Back in the city families looking to get their thrill-fix should visit Doha Quest, the latest of Qatar’s theme parks which opened last summer and offers an array of attractions for all ages. The highlights are the two Guinness World Record-holding rides - the ‘Tallest Indoor Rollercoaster’ and the ‘Tallest Indoor Drop Tower Ride’.
Art and culture – 48 hours (Day 2)
Culture, art and history are around every corner in Qatar. One of the most breath-taking public art installations is East-West/West-East by Richard Serra, which comprises four, huge, 14-metre steel plates amongst the Ras Abrouq rock formations in Zekreet.
For those wishing to stay in the city, a number of iconic museums include the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ), with its captivating design in the shape of desert rose crystals, the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) designed by I. M. Pei, and the new 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum – an ambitious project, billed as the world’s most innovative sports museum.
Later, stroll through Souq Waqif, a traditional market, best experienced in the evening when the alleyway shops and restaurants come to life and fill with locals, residents and curious visitors. Try the local cuisine, pick up a souvenir, or just enjoy the hustle and bustle.
The beach – 72 hours (Day 3)
After an action-packed 48 hours it is time for some rest and relaxation. Whether you want to read a book, sunbathe on the sand, or have a refreshing dip in the sea, a day at the beach is a must. For uninterrupted sunset views, try Al Shamal on the north coast and Fuwairit Beach. Those after a family-friendly break can visit Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas, which has 3.5 kilometres of powder-soft beachfront, Desert Falls Water & Adventure Park and recently launched a dolphin cruise. Another option is taking a short boat ride to the glamorous Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara, which this summer reopened a surf pool and launched whale shark excursions.
Affordable exploration – 96 hours (Day 4)
Qatar offers something for everyone and for all budgets. The capital has a variety of eclectic city districts where it is fun to simply stroll around and discover all the hidden nooks, street art and culture. One of the most intriguing areas is the Pearl-Qatar, an expansive man-made island to the north of Doha that features Mediterranean-style yacht-lined marinas, boutique shops and colourful Instagrammable streets in the Qanat Quartier zone. For an area that blends more Arabian heritage with modern sustainable urban architecture there is Msheireb Downtown Doha with its trendy cafes, art galleries and museums.
Visiting fans will be among the first to experience a range of new tourism developments set to launch just before the tournament begins. Exciting openings include Lusail Winter Wonderland on a sandy island, a state-of-the-art kite beach resort Fuwairit Kite Beach, the first “Entertainment Island” in Qatar Qetaifan Island North, and new public and private beach areas forming part of the West Bay North Beach Project.
It is also worth a wander through one of the glittering shopping malls. The largest are the Mall of Qatar and Doha Festival City, with theme parks and family-friendly eateries amongst many hundreds of household-name brands. On the luxury end is Galeries Lafayette with its outdoor air-conditioned walkways and the new Place Vendome, which has a grand outdoor canal, dancing fountain, and architecture inspired by the famous high-end shopping street in Paris, Rue de la Paix.
Finally, no itinerary in Qatar is complete without sampling food from across the mix of local and international restaurants. There is a raft of new options such as ADRIFT Anda by celebrity chef David Myers, and Lobito de Mar at the Marsa Malaz Kempinski hotel. Visitors will also find a huge variety of budget friendly, delicious street food options, from tacos to shawarma. These are often all grouped together in a convenient zone such as the Lusail Night Market. For an authentic local snack, every fan must try Qatar’s acclaimed café restaurant Chapati & Karak, named after an Indian-inspired flatbread treat and sweet tea available together for only a couple of dollars.
Now for the match – 100 hours
For those final four hours it is time for a match. Qatar is the first ever Middle Eastern or Arab nation to host a FIFA World Cup and has made extensive plans to ensure every traveller is treated to the experience of a lifetime.
Chief Operating Officer of Qatar Tourism, Berthold Trenkel, said, “From thrilling water sports to shopping at the souqs, exploring mesmerising museums to soaking up the sun on the beaches, there is something for every type of traveller when they come to Qatar. We invite football fans from around the world to explore our plethora of attractions, all with the promise of a warm welcome and generous hospitality that is customary of Arabian culture.”
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