What Can I Do in Doha During a 48-Hour Stopover?
Qatar's cosmopolitan capital is setup for international visitors, whether they are working long-term or just transferring from flight to flight. Delicious cuisine, massive shopping malls, atmospheric souks, seafront attractions, and fantastic museums are all part of the mix. So don't ask what can I do in Doha in 48 hours? What can't you do during a stopover? That's the real question.
Things to do during your Doha stopover
Doha may be relatively small, but there's a lot to see. Start with the Grand Mosque in Jubailat, and then stroll the corniche, which fronts onto the Persian Gulf. After that, it's time to feed your mind. Doha has recently added a clutch of world-class museums to its portfolio, and you can probably see them in a day of intensive sightseeing. The National Museum is the standout, taking visitors on a tour of Qatar's past and present. The Museum of Islamic Art houses one of the world's leading collections of Middle Eastern masterpieces in its ziggurat-like design, while the Museum of Illusions offers something unique – a wacky trip through the world of magic and deception. And naturally, you don't need to enter a single museum. Doha offers water sports, golf, bowling, cinemas, and much more.
Sights in Doha that everyone should pack into their stopover
Be smart about scheduling your Doha sightseeing since 48 hours isn't a long time in global cities. However, there are some sights that every visitor should include in their itinerary, even if they only catch a glimpse for a few minutes in between museums or restaurants. The exterior of the National Museum is a showstopper, with its petal shaped discs (and it looks even better at night). The Radwani House provides a peek into Qatar before development took hold, while Al Zubarah Fort goes back even further, having guarded the port since the 1700s. But recent additions to the city are just as spectacular. For instance, the Pearl Development features an iconic oyster and pearl fountain, while the downtown skyline is almost as jaw-dropping as Dubai. Head over to Pearl Island in the evening to see it light up in all its glory.
Where to snap a selfie during a Doha visit
If modern travel to you means adding to your social media profile, finding Doha's premier selfie-snapping locations will be a top priority. Fortunately, Qatar's capital isn't short of potential candidates. Show off your jetset lifestyle with some pictures at the Four Seasons Marina or pop into the Parisa Souq Waqif to be papped alongside its gorgeous golden interior. The capital's mosques make for an elegant and exotic backdrop to anyone's vacation snaps, while the imaginative architecture and artistic treasures of the National Museum will be the perfect selfie setting for intellectual wanderers. And when they are complete, the city's 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums will surely be the place for sports fans to show off their tan.
What to eat during a Doha stopover
Qatari food may not be as famous as Japanese sushi or Argentine barbecue, but like everything else in the emirate, it's on the rise. Local cuisine will be familiar to mezze lovers, while dishes like the biryani-style machboos show an Indian and Persian influence and saloona stews will satisfy vegetarians and meat eaters alike. There are also some irresistible sweets to be enjoyed, including rosewater flavoured mehalabiya and luqaimat – a kind of saffron and cardamon dumpling covered in rich syrup. But the beauty of Doha is that local food isn't your only option. The city welcomes chefs from every continent, and the hotels are often known more for their incredible menus than the quality of their accommodation. Most of the best restaurants can be found in or around the Souq Waqif, so make that your evening destination after exhausting the sight-seeing and recreation options.
Dive into Doha's retail scene
Doha is rapidly becoming one of the Middle East's major shopping centres. Just like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the city has invested in huge malls which dwarf similar locations in Europe, mixing designer brands, fine food and recreational attractions. If you want a high-end shopping spree, don't miss Al Hazm or the Mall of Qatar. Both are architecturally sublime and crammed with global brands. But if you want something more authentic, head to the city's souks. Set on the Doha seafront, the Souq Waqif Al Wakra offers exotic perfumes, dates and nuts, and even traditional swords. It's a great place to shop in between dips in the ocean or non-alcoholic cocktails at laid-back beach bars.
Be prepared for your stopover in Doha
Thanks to its position as the global hub for Qatar Airways, Doha regularly welcomes short-term visitors. Many transfer straight to connecting flights, but others choose to stay. And as we've seen, there's a lot to see, buy and eat in the nation's ever-changing capital. If you choose to set aside 48 hours in Doha when booking your flight with BudgetAir, plan ahead to make the most of your time. Be ready to use taxi apps when you're in town, as they are easily the best way to get around. And remember: wear light clothing. Doha is a seriously hot city, and you'll be so much more comfortable if you pack sensibly.
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