The State of Qatar offers experiences combining old and new, traditional and modern. The country’s tourism sector is undergoing rapid development with milestone achievements in various sectors.
Qatar is also an important business hub, particularly for its robust oil and gas industry. Many trade shows and business conferences take place in Doha throughout the year.
In 2019 Qatar witnessed a huge leap in visitor arrivals with 2.1 million visitors, a double-digit growth compared to 2018.
Did You Know? Thanks to Qatar’s strategic location at the crossroads of East and West, 80% of the world’s population is within a 6-hour flight from Qatar, and more than two-thirds can enter Qatar visa-free.
This article explains the types of visas, when to visit, public transport, local attractions, and other important things to consider before visiting Qatar.
Visiting Qatar: Types of Visas
Qatar offers several visa options for visitors. Here are the common types of visit visa options:
|Qatar Visa on Arrival||Visa-free entry for eligible citizens of 90+ countries|
|Qatar Family Visit Visa||Sponsored by an eligible expatriate resident of Qatar|
|Qatar Tourist Visa||Online visa for tourism purposes (currently suspended)|
|Qatar Transit Visa||Free visa for Qatar Airways transit passengers (currently suspended)|
|Qatar Business Visa||Short-term visa for business meetings, conferences, official work, etc.|
|GCC Residents Visit Visa||Visit visa for expatriate residents of other GCC countries|
|Qatar-Oman Joint Tourist Visa||Joint tourist visa to visit Qatar and Oman|
|Electronic Travel Authorisation||Applicable to citizens of some western countries (currently suspended)|
|Visa Exemptions for GCC Citizens||Citizens of other GCC countries do not require a visa to enter Qatar|
Gateway to Qatar
Qatar is centrally located globally, close to Europe, Africa, and Asia. Flights from around the world touch down at Qatar’s Hamad International Airport daily, making Qatar the perfect place for layovers and visits.
Doha, the capital city of Qatar, is modern and rapidly developing, with much construction underway. It is home to most of the country’s best museums and examples of cultural heritage.
Hamad International Airport
Qatar connects to various destinations worldwide, making it an extremely busy transit spot. In fact, Hamad International Airport (HIA) has fast become the global gateway for overseas travellers. Opened in April 2014, the state-of-the-art airport is conveniently located just south of Doha city.
HIA is certified as a 5 Star Airport by Skytrax and was ranked the Best Airport in the World at the 2021 and 2022 Skytrax World Airport Awards. The airport currently serves more than 30 million passengers annually and is undergoing further expansion to support more than 50 million.
Qatar Airways, the award-winning national carrier, is certified as a 5-Star Airline for its airport and onboard product and staff service quality.
The Qatar Airways network connects Doha with more than 150 popular destinations worldwide, including most major cities throughout the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia & North, and South America.
Cruise tourism brings over 100 thousand visitors annually to Qatar, enabling them to enjoy the many landmarks that are mere minutes from Doha Port. The peak season runs from October to May, allowing visitors to enjoy the country’s pleasant winter weather during that time.
Qatar has two major seasons: Summer and Winter. May to September can be considered summer, while December to February is the cooler season. March to April and October to November are the transition months.
Summer temperatures are routinely 50°C during the day and often more than 40°C at night. It’s important to wear sunblock, cover yourself and drink plenty of water when going outside during the day.
During cooler months (December to February), the temperatures average between 14°C and 25°C on most days.
Where to Stay in Qatar
Since most of the attractions are within a couple of hours distance from Doha, you do not have to stay at different hotels during your Qatar vacation.
Doha has the presence of almost all major hotel chains in the world. You can choose from a range of Qatar hotels from TripAdvisor.
Doha’s city centre is just 15 minutes drive from the airport by car. To get from HIA to the city, you can take Airport Taxis available at Arrivals Terminal or request your hotel to arrange a private hotel transfer. It is possible to rent a car at the airport or at the hotels. An international driving license is required for visitors to drive in Qatar.
For travelling around the city, you can use the official taxi network called Karwa Taxi or pre-book a taxi using mobile apps like Uber or Careem. Even though Qatar has a network of public buses, they are not recommended for first-time visitors as their frequency is not guaranteed.
Another option would be to use the newly constructed Doha Metro. You can read our complete guide to Doha Metro here: Doha Metro Map, Stations, Timings, Ticket Prices
Places To Visit in Qatar
Qatar has a long list of interesting places to visit. Some of the more popular attractions include:
- National Museum of Qatar
- Museum of Islamic Art
- Souq Waqif
- Katara Cultural Village
- The Pearl Qatar
- Mall of Qatar, Place Vendome, and other shopping malls
You can see a comprehensive list of tourist places in Qatar here.
How to Dress While in Qatar
Since Qatar is an Islamic country, it is important to dress appropriately. Loose-fitting and modesty-covering clothing is the preferred style. Women are not required to wear the hijab or veil their heads in public.
Tourists are generally expected to cover their shoulders and knees at a minimum. Beachwear is acceptable at private beaches and swimming pools inside hotels.
The national currency of Qatar is the Qatari Riyal (QAR). One QAR is equivalent to 100 Dirhams. Qatar Banknotes are available in values of QAR 500, 200, 100, 50, 10, 5, and 1. Coins in circulation are 25 Dhs (QAR 0.25) and 50 Dhs (QAR 0.5).
Since Qatar Riyal is pegged to US Dollar, the value of USD 1 is around QAR 3.64. Banks and ATMs across the country take major international credit cards and debit cards.
Working Hours in Qatar
- Normally, the work week in Qatar is from Sunday to Thursday.
- Government offices operate from 7 am to 2 pm.
- Private offices operate from 8 am to 4 pm, or 9 am to 5 pm.
- Shopping malls generally are open from 10 am to 10 pm and up to midnight on weekends.
Most shops and offices change their working hours during Ramadan. Visitors should refrain from eating and drinking in public, except in hotels, during the hours between sunrise and sunset.
FAQ on Visiting Qatar
Which is the best time to visit Qatar?
The best time to visit Qatar would be between December and February. During these months, the weather is cooler, and there are several outdoor events happening around the country,
Is it safe to visit Qatar?
Yes, Qatar is a very safe country to visit as the crime rates are low. Violent crimes, especially towards foreigners and women, are extremely rare.
Can you drink alcohol in Qatar?
Alcohol is regulated in Qatar, and it is prohibited to drink in public places. However, alcohol is available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars.
Is Qatar expensive to visit?
Qatar is a moderately expensive place to visit. Even though there is zero tax on products and services, accommodation and eating out can be expensive for tourists.
How many days would I need to visit Qatar?
Since most of the sightseeing in Qatar is based around Doha, you can see the major tourist attractions in three or four days.
- Qatar Visa On Arrival: Complete Guide
- Transit Passengers Guide To HIA
- How To Do Ehteraz Pre-Arrival Registration
- Doha Metro Map, Stations, Timings, and Ticket Prices
- Carrying Medicines To Qatar: Things To Know
- Check Qatar Visa Status And Validity
- How Much Cash and Gold Can Your Bring To Qatar
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6 thoughts on “Visiting Qatar: The Complete Guide (2023)”
Is to possible to change or extend tourist visa to work visa.?
Hi Shibla, In some cases, if your work visa is approved, you may be allowed to change your visa type without leaving the country. There will be an additional fee. Note that this may not be possible in all cases.
We arrive in Qatar at DOH November 24 at 6 AM.
Are we allowed to leave the airport and visit the area for 8-10 hours that day?
Thank you in advance for your reply.
Hi Robert, Due to the World Cup, the visa-on-arrival service (or any kind of tourist visa) is unavailable during that period. As per the current rule, you need a Hayya Card to visit Qatar from 1 November, and it is only available for those with a match ticket. There is still five weeks to go before your travel date. So please check back after a few weeks in case the rules change.
can you please send me a paper map of Doha?
Thanks a lot!
Have a nice day!
Hi Reuven, If you are in Qatar, you can buy a paper map from any book store or supermarket. If you are outside Qatar, you can buy on Amazon. Good day to you.