20 Things to Do in Qatar While Visiting for the World Cup

2022 FIFA World Cup Guide: Top Things to Do in Qatar Before & After the Match

Waiting for a football match has never been more fun!

The FIFA World Cup is quite an iconic event for football fans around the world. After four years, the tournament returns with a bang! It will kick off on 20 Nov 2022 in Qatar, the first-ever Arab country to host the World Cup. 

While the country is primarily known for its natural resources, the jewel of the Arabian Peninsula offers so much more! In fact, here are 20 things to do in Qatar while visiting for the World Cup. 

FIFA World Cup 2022 Schedule

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The 2022 Qatar World Cup dates are as follows:

  • Group Stage: 20 Nov – 2 Dec 2022
  • Quarterfinals: 9 – 11 Dec 2022
  • Semi-finals: 14 – 15 Dec 2022
  • Third place play-off: 17 Dec 2022
  • Finals: 18 Dec 2022

Top things to do in Qatar

1. Shop for art and souvenirs at Souq Waqif

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The Souq Waqif is arguably one of the most famous attractions in Qatar. This market in Doha is known to sell many things, including souvenirs, handcrafts, spices, and traditional garments. Before a match for the Qatar World Cup, you may consider grabbing dinner at the market for authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. We guarantee that the food will lift your spirits!

2. Learn about falconry at Falcon Souq

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Historically, falcons were trained by Bedouins to hunt prey. Today, they remain a major status symbol in Qatar. Owning a falcon could cost up to S$11,738 for the best raptors, and they were typically bought at the Falcon Souk. At this famed falcon market, you can watch shopkeepers craft falcon helmets and interact with customers. If you’re daring enough, you can get up close to a falcon and have it perch on your arm for a picture. 

As falconry is significant in Qatari culture, the government has made significant efforts over the years to preserve the tradition and the Souq. 

3. Take an afternoon stroll in Doha Corniche

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The Doha Corniche on Doha Bay provides the best views of the city skyline! The whole promenade stretches to about seven kilometres and overlooks the waterfront. In the late afternoons, you can go for a stroll or stop by a nearby cafe for some Arabian coffee. But if you want the full experience, you can catch a cruise on a traditional Arabian dhow.  

4. Visit the Museum of Islamic Art

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At the end of the Doha Corniche, you will reach Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art. If you want to learn more about the country’s culture before the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the museum is a great place to do that. First-timers will be treated to a massive collection of Islamic art in various forms such as ceramics, Islamic books, and Arabic calligraphy. 

Also read: 7 Interesting Things You Never Knew About Qatar

5. Rent a bike at MIA Park

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After touring the Museum of Islamic Art, why not take a tour of MIA Park, which is also part of the complex? Here, you can enjoy a range of fun activities. For example, you can rent a bicycle for an hour and roam around the area. You can also opt to relax at the park cafe and admire West Bay. For those with children, there are three separate playgrounds for different age ranges. Each one has interactive play equipment that helps children develop their social and physical skills. 

6. Enter a book lover’s paradise at Qatar National Library

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Besides art, there is also a place for bibliophiles that are in town for the 2022 FIFA World Cup! The Qatar National Library is a non-profit organisation in Al Rayyan’s Education City that houses millions of books. Inside, you can expect a modern, sleek interior with rows of bookshelves for miles. While you’re there, you can browse through their extensive collection of journals, books, magazines, and so much more. 

Also read: For Jet Setting Bookworms: 8 Most Impressive and Beautiful Libraries Around the World!

7. Learn about Qatar’s rich history at the National Museum of Qatar

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One of the best ways to fall in love with a place you’ve travelled to would be to study its history. At the National Museum of Qatar, you will get to learn about the entire historic timeline of this beautiful country. Within 11 galleries, expect an immersive experience with feature films and artefact displays. 

8. Admire the architecture of Imam Muhammad Ibn Abd Al Wahhab Mosque

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Since its opening in 2011, the Imam Muhammad Ibn Abd Al Wahhab Mosque has been an important place of worship for those in Qatar. However, it is also a testament to the great Islamic architecture within the city. If you want to admire the opulent sandstone exterior, it’s best to visit the mosque at night. You will get to watch the whole building light up, and the sight is truly something to behold!

9. Fall in love with the vibrant life of the Katara Cultural Village

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Other than the Qatar World Cup, the Katara Cultural Village is the place to be for high spirits. It is essentially a place where artists and scholars meet, but the forum has held numerous concerts and festivals before. Once you pass through the winding passageways and waterways, you’ll end up in the heart of Qatar’s creative scene. Some of its famous attractions include the waterfront amphitheatre and an opera house that is home to the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra.

Also read: Have a Layover in Qatar? Here’s How NOT to Waste It!

10. Try watersports at Katara Beach

Katara Beach is a private beach that is part of the Katara Cultural Village. It spans 1.5km, and many come here to relax or admire the view. On the other hand, outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in a day of fun watersports! Some of the paid activities that are offered are kayaking, waterskiing, dhow and catamaran rides, and wakeboarding. You’re going to have a lot of fun here!  

11. Skydive over the Persian Gulf

Looking for an activity that might just break you out of your comfort zone? Look no further than skydiving! It’s one of the top things to do in Qatar for adrenaline junkies, and you’ll be able to see the whole Persian Gulf from your vantage point. But do be warned, it’s not for the faint-hearted. 

Also read: 9 Must-Try Adventure Activities in Qatar for an Absolutely Thrilling Holiday

12. Step into a world of luxury at The Pearl

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The Pearl is an artificial island that is located off the coast of Doha. Many have referred to it as the Arabian Riviera due to its prestigious offerings. Here, you can admire the architectural landscape and check out the restaurants in the Qanat Quartier. Finally, admire the yachts that line the marinas; because if you ever find yourself in a superyacht, then you know you’ve made it in life!

Also read: 10 Photo Spots in Doha to Light Up Your Instagram Feed

13. Go shopping at Qatar’s biggest mall

What is a better way to celebrate the 2022 FIFA World Cup than a shopping spree? Doha Festival City is Qatar’s biggest largest shopping mall and the best for retail therapy. Shoppers will be able to treat themselves to over 400 outlets, 18 movie screens, and lots of dining options. If you want some fun, top off your time with a visit to Snow Dunes Theme Park — it’s probably the closest thing to experiencing a winter wonderland on this side of the globe. 

Also read: 12 Shopping Destinations Around the World You Have to Visit in Your Lifetime!

14. Rent a luxurious villa on Banana Island

One of the best ways to savour the best of what Doha has to offer would be a glorious beach getaway on Banana Island. It’s only accessible via ferry from Al Shyoukh Terminal, but we promise you the 25-minute journey is worth it! Despite its small size, the artificial island is known for its prestigious resorts and scenic marinas. You can spend your entire day just swimming in the crystal clear waters, or winding down with a spa session.  

Also read: 8 Secret Beaches in Asia You Probably Didn’t Know About

15. Discover history at Al Zubarah Fort and the abandoned village

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Visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites is one of the top things to do in Qatar. For this, we recommend Al Zubarah, a former pearl fishing town that dates back to the 1700s. Today you can visit the remains of this archaeological site, including the Al Zubarah Fort. Compared to the modern skylines of Doha, this famous attraction truly shows you a different side of the city. 

16. See where the deserts meet the sea in ​​Khor Al Adaid Natural Reserve

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Besides the Qatar World Cup and futuristic attractions, the country is also known for their natural landscapes. The Khor Al Adaid Natural Reserve is another UNESCO-recognised site you have to visit. It is located on the border between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. At this “inland sea,” you’ll encounter natural rock formations, diverse flora species, and animals like dugongs and Arabian gazelles. Isn’t that exciting?

Also read: Here Are All the Countries With Zero Travel Restrictions

17. Camp underneath the stars in Ras Abrouq

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Just 70km east of Doha, you’ll find yourself looking up at the Ras Abrouq Rock Formations. The natural attraction is made up of limestone rock that has been eroded by the coastal winds, thus forming a unique moon-like pattern throughout the landscape. While some choose to stand back and admire the cliffs, the more adventurous may opt to climb them. 

18. Explore Dahl Al Misfir Cave

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An underrated gem to explore in Qatar would be Dahl Al Misfir Cave. It goes 40 metres deep, with an ethereal entrance that greets you when you step in. With the light refracting against the cave crystals, you might just be convinced that there’s a whole other world on the other side. 

19. Go on a desert safari

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For a lot of travellers, conquering the sand dunes is a quintessential experience in the Middle East. As such, going on a desert safari is one of the top things to do in Qatar, followed by camel rides and dune bashing. During the day, you can go on guided tours that let you stop by a camel camp for refreshments. At sunset, you can reach the top of the sand dune and watch the skies change colour. It’s truly the perfect way to conclude your journey through the desert. 

Also read: 8 Things to Do on an Overnight Desert Safari in Dubai

20. Kayak through Al Thakira Mangroves

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Last but not least, you have to also visit the Al Thakira Mangroves. Many have fallen in love with the lush greenery that surrounds a lake, and the views of the deserts on the horizon. If you want a truly unique experience, you can go kayaking through the belt. Hopefully, you’ll be able to witness certain birds like flamingos and herons!

Also read: 9 Reasons Why Qatar Should Be Your Next Travel Destination

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As you can see, there’s more to see and explore in the country beyond the 2022 FIFA World Cup. With these Qatar attractions and activities, you’ll fall in love with this underrated Arabian gem in no time!

Featured image credit: Deepak Siva | Unsplash

About Author

Natasha Effendy
Natasha Effendy

Natasha is a wordsmith and digital content creator who's been trying to write her way into the adventure of a lifetime. If she's not writing, you'd definitely catch her nursing her addiction to romance and fantasy novels with a cup of tea.