Doha, Qatar cruises
Your guide to Doha.
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.
A fascinating mix of modern high-rises and ancient souks, Doha is a culturally enriching port call with a wealth to explore. Lush parks, premium shopping and a sprawling promenade are just the tip of its appeal while its many museums offer an insightful journey through centuries of Arabic and Islamic history. You’ll find the world’s largest collection of Islamic art in the city and relics of Qatar’s past at both the National Museum and Katara Cultural Village. Many tourist attractions line the Corniche, Doha’s 7km landscaped promenade, but its most famous attraction - the vibrant Souq Waqif – is located away from the coast, in a historic district unchanged for centuries.
Eating and drinking.
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. Rosewater, Yemeni honey and dates all feature while camel meat, cooked at length to enhance its tenderness, is another staple of Qatari cuisine. At lunchtime, shawarma (a wrap of thinly sliced grilled meat) offers a fulfilling meal, but Qatari’s most popular dish by far is Machboos. Fried rice similar to an Indian biryani, you’ll encounter this traditional dish throughout Doha, most notably at the authentic restaurants surrounding Souq Waqif.
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. At the other end of the scale, you have the historic Souq Waqif. One of Doha’s most visited sights, this ancient labyrinth offers a quintessential Middle Eastern shopping experience. Clothing, spices, jewelry and Bedouin rugs are among the native wares you’ll find here, alongside dried fruits, nuts and woody incense.
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.