Doha, Qatar cruises
Rising up from the desert, Doha is an ambition being brought to life by the world’s most talented architects, constantly creating awe-inspiring new shapes and angles across the ever-changing skyline.
Known as the shining jewel of Qatar, Doha sits on the east coast lapped by the warm waters of the Persian Gulf.
Doha port guide
Capital of Qatar, one of the world’s richest countries, Doha is a dynamic and progressive city boasting luxury shopping, fine dining and museums as exuberant as those you’d find in Dubai.
Yet beneath its sparkling surface lies a historic center untouched by the hand of time, where heady spices hang in the air and the contemporary skyscrapers seen throughout the city are notably absent.
It’s this juxtaposition of old and new that makes Doha such an intriguing and memorable port of call in the Middle East. Whether browsing its designer shops or haggling in its bustling souks, Doha will offer no end of enchanting contradictions.
Here is our guide on everything you need to know about exploring the port city of Doha.
Top landmarks and sights in Doha
A fascinating mix of modern high-rises and ancient souks, Doha is a culturally enriching port call with a wealth to explore.
The Pearl Monument
The Pearl Monument can be found on Corniche Street at the Doha Bay promenade. This famous sculpture depicts an open oyster shell with running water and is a popular photo stop.
This fountain honors Qatar’s pearling history, the country’s primary industry before the discovery of oil.
Katara Cultural Village
Katara Cultural Village is a cultural and commercial complex in Doha. With an amphitheater, museum, shops, restaurants and access to a public beach, this attraction invites guests to explore the range of activities on offer.
Shops and exhibits are often free to enter and there is no charge to enter Katara Cultural Village.
The city’s most famous attraction - the vibrant Souq Waqif – is located away from the coast, in a historic district unchanged for centuries.
One of Doha’s most visited sights, this ancient labyrinth offers a quintessential Middle Eastern shopping experience. Clothing, spices, jewellery and Bedouin rugs are among the native wares you’ll find here, alongside dried fruits, nuts and woody incense.
Aspire Tower in Doha stands at 300 meters tall. This skyscraper building is a hotel located in the Aspire Zone complex and serves as a focal point of the city.
With 50 floors, this tower is one of the tallest buildings in the world and the tallest in Doha.
Things to do in Doha
From big-name designers to fragrant spices, shopping is a serious pastime in Doha. You’ll find the city’s most premium shopping experience on a manmade island called The Pearl. Branching off Doha’s coastline, this futuristic city offshoot is awash with luxury labels and represents the crème de la crème of international fashion brands.
Nature and parks
Doha boasts many lush green spaces with playgrounds, walking trails, and barbeque facilities for guests to enjoy. The biggest park in the city is Aspire Park which covers 88 hectares of land.
Al Bidda Park, 5/6 Park, and Oxygen Park are additional parks scattered across the city with picnic areas, cultural centers, open lawns and sports fields.
At the National Museum, you will find the world’s largest collection of Islamic art in the city and relics of Qatar’s past. Here you can discover Qatar’s rich heritage and culture set in an immersive and vibrant space.
The museum is open from 9am to 7pm Saturday to Thursday and 1pm to 7pm on Friday. Tickets can be purchased online. Your ticket covers admission to the museum and exhibitions.
Cunard Shore Experience
Sail a traditional dhow boat into the Corniche Bay or set your pulse racing with an exhilarating four-wheel drive across Qatar’s sand dunes.
Doha is a great destination for outdoor lovers with everything from sandboarding (the Middle East’s answer to snowboarding) to sea diving possible from the city. One popular excursion is the UNESCO nature reserve of Khor Al-Adaid, home to Qatar’s Inland Sea.
It’s the only lagoon system of its kind anywhere in the world and a thriving habitat for a diverse array of turtles and endangered marine life. The crystal-clear waters are a joy to swim in, while the journey from Doha takes you directly through the desert.
Eating and drinking in Doha
A port call to Doha is the perfect opportunity to sample authentic Qatari cooking in all its indulgent sweet and savory incarnations. A combination of African, Indian and Mediterranean influences, Qatari dishes favor bold flavors.
Rose water, Yemeni honey and dates all feature while camel meat, cooked at length to enhance its tenderness, is another staple of Qatari cuisine.
At lunchtime, a shawarma (a wrap of thinly sliced grilled meat) offers a fulfilling meal, but Qatari’s most popular dish by far is Machboos. A fried rice similar to an Indian biryani, you’ll encounter this traditional dish throughout Doha, most notably at the authentic restaurants surrounding Souq Waqif.
Getting around, Doha transport
Thanks to well-maintained roads, paths, and public transport routes, getting around Doha is simple and straightforward. The city boasts plenty of parking alongside car rental, taxi service, metro, and bus routes.
Doha port is located a short walk from the city center. Typically, a shuttle bus service runs to the city center shopping mall from the port.
Additionally, walking is a great way to explore the intricate corners of Doha. This city is considered one of the safest cities in the world.
Doha port facilities
The port facilities at Doha port include Duty-Free, a café, a taxi stand, a bus stop waiting area and tourist information services.
Doha quick tips
The Qatari riyal (QAR) is the local currency in Doha, Qatar. Card payments are widely accepted however there may be a foreign transaction fee.
However, some flea and street markets may not accept card payments, so it is recommended you carry some cash during your visit.
Tipping is not expected but is a common practice in Qatar. A bonus of around 10%/15% of the total bill for exceptional service is greatly appreciated.
Doha has a hot desert climate with short, mild winters and long, extremely hot summers. In Doha, there is very low annual rainfall.
Temperatures are expected to reach highs of 42°C during the summer in Doha while the winter months reach lows of 14°C.