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    72 hours in Qatar – how to make the most of your stopover

    72 hours in Qatar – how to make the most of your stopover

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    Some prefer to just get it over and done with in one hit, but many Australians swear by a stopover when they’re headed for Europe. Whether it’s on the way there, on the way home, or both, a stopover helps to make a long-haul journey more palatable, and gives you a bonus side-holiday. Quickly rising in popularity, and in the spotlight as 2022 FIFA World Cup host, there’s a lot to fit into a Qatar stopover.

    We’ve put together a few options for a three day stay. This itinerary is jam-packed, so you might like to just pick and choose a few. Of course, this also be determined by your flight schedules, and the time of year you are visiting and therefore the weather. During the hotter months, you’ll likely opt for more of the indoor activities. There are lots of ways to get around including buses, taxis, metros and private cars – you can find out more about getting around here and your personal travel manager can guide you.

    Day 1


    After a long flight, no doubt the tummy will be grumbling, so let’s begin with some local cuisine. In the heart of Souq Waqif you’ll find the first restaurant owned and operated by a Qatari woman – Shay Al Shoomos. When a restaurant is crowded with locals, you know it must be good, so grab a seat, and dig into your traditional Qatari breakfast because you have exploring to get to. Depending on your self-discipline with the 40 vendors in this market selling jewellery, clothing, local delicacies, homewares and more, you could be here a while. Try not to let this be your only visit to the Souq – it really comes alive at night and is worth returning to see.

    Souq Waqif Qatar

    Souq Waqif

    Your next stop is Katara Cultural Village. Katara is the ancient name for Qatar, and this is just the place to see the old meeting the new. It’s all about art, history, architecture and culture, with views across the city. The blue tiles of Katara Mosque literally sparkle in the sunlight, as does the lavish Golden Mosque. Once you’ve wandered through the galleries and theatres that take your fancy (likely the classical Greek-style amphitheatre), head over to the public beach for a dip in the Gulf before your café lunch at Boho Social where the vibrant and fresh décor matches beautifully with the menu.

    Katara Cultural Village Qatar

    Katara Cultural Village


    Your afternoon is all about museums – take your pick between the National Museum of Qatar and the Museum of Islamic Art. The buildings alone are architectural masterpieces, the former resembling a desert rose, and the latter designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei. The National Museum is the former residence of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani and houses 8,000 objects which tell the story of Qatar past, present and future. The Museum of Islamic Art houses one of the finest collections of Islamic art in the world including ceramics, carpets and manuscripts spanning a thousand years. It’s a tough choice.

    Museum of Islamic Art

    Museum of Islamic Art

    National Museum of Qatar

    National Museum of Qatar


    You’re going to want somewhere spectacular for sunset, so we recommend ascending to Sora on level 21 at the Park Hyatt for a pre-dinner sundowner and sweeping vista of the Doha Corniche (or waterfront promenade). While Qatar doesn’t have any Michelin-starred restaurants, it does have eight restaurants by Michelin-starred chefs. Take your pick from one of these depending on the cuisine that takes your fancy, and enjoy a luxurious dinner before returning to Souq Waqif, which really comes to life in the night.

    Sora Park Hyatt Doha

    Sora – Park Hyatt, Doha

    Day 2


    We recommend a leisurely start to day two with breakfast in bed, or at the in-house restaurant at your five-star hotel. This afternoon is going to be full of adventure, so this morning is all about indulgence and relaxation. Luxury is serious business in Qatar – pampering and wellness are next level. Think yoga atop a skyscraper, or a palatial spa experience where the foyer of Al Messila, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, is a mere hint at the grandeur behind closed doors. Retail therapy should also be on your radar for this morning – and the options are seemingly endless with high-end shopping to malls that seem like palaces, and bustling souqs. You’ll find brands and designers from all over the world, but you’ll quickly learn that Qatar has a unique design scene of its own.

    Al Messila Resort & Spa

    Al Messila Health Center, Qatar

    Afternoon / Evening

    Now, let’s get you out of the city. This afternoon and evening is all about adventure and the desert! Being just under 15,000 square kilometres, you can get just about anywhere in a couple of hours. After lunch at leisure, your driver will take you to your first stop … the Inland Sea. It’s accessible only by 4×4 or dune buggy, so hold on tight. This desert marvel is UNESCO heritage listed and one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches into the desert, creating an arid tropical environment which has no known parallel in the Middle East or indeed elsewhere in the world. You’ll also get a chance to ride a camel, try dune bashing, or sand boarding. You’ll have worked up an appetite by the time the sun is setting, so your driver will take you to a luxuriously appointed Arabian desert campsite where traditional cuisine will be served in an elegant and memorable setting.

    Qatar Desert

    Day 3


    If you’re up for another little trip out of the city, consider a visit to East-West/West-East. 14-metre-tall steel structures strut out from the desert as if out of place but also perfectly in place. Spanning one kilometre, they represent isolation and the passage of time; something almost every human on earth can relate to after the last couple of years. Or, if you’re one of the billions who follow the FIFA World Cup, you might like to make your morning all about its 2022 tournament, with 64 matches played across eight climate-controlled stadiums (and architectural wonders). Take a stadium tour to learn just how it became the world’s first carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup.

    East-West / West-East

    East-West / West-East


    A leisurely afternoon at The Pearl (or Arabian Riviera as it’s also known). This fascinating man-made island is a lovely place to casually wander Venice-inspired canals and bridges and browse designer boutiques before being forced to make the difficult decision of which of the charming restaurant or café you will try.

    The Pearl Qatar

    The Pearl


    And for a dinner to cement your new-found love for Qatari culture and cuisine, we recommend dinner at Bayt Sharq where you will find a feast of traditional dishes served in one of the oldest houses in the city.

    It’s time to start thinking about heading off for your next journey, whether it’s onto your main holiday, or homeward bound. There’s no doubt we have filled your 72 hours in Qatar with a lot to do and see, although with a fine balance of time spent exploring, time spent indulging, and time spent relaxing. In fact, there’s so much more to see and do, you might need to stop over in both directions.

    Right now, you can stop over in Qatar from just $38 for two nights accommodation. Speak to your local personal travel manager who can help you get started.Your local personal travel manager can help to organise a Qatar stopover to suit your tastes, budget, and the time you have to spend there.

    Qatar Stopovers


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