The State of Qatar in Western Asia is a small but highly prosperous nation occupying the Qatar Peninsula along the Arabian Peninsula’s northeastern coast. It’s the home of over 2.6 million people, both citizens and expatriates. This culturally rich nation is packed with tons of things to do. Check out a few of the important landmarks and best sights to see on your family, solo or group holiday as you look for great things to do in Qatar.

1. Visit the capital

The capital city of Qatar is Doha, and it’s the place to go if you want to soak up all the best things to do the region has to offer. You can walk the promenade along the waterfront or do some incredible shopping at the outdoor markets and vast indoor shopping malls, and you can visit arts and cultural museums dedicated to the history of the region. Doha is the heart and soul of Qatar, and many visitors spend entire trips in the city. The Museum of Islamic Art and the Souq Waqif market alone are worth the trip and both are must-see attractions.

2. Do some swimming, snorkelling, and shopping at Dukhan

Located in the Al-Shahaniya province in western Qatar, the city of Dukhan is around 80 kilometres west of the capital and is known for its beaches and shopping, as well as a range of historic monuments, ruins and attractions. Those who enjoy sunbathing, swimming and shopping are drawn to Dukhan Beach. The nearby mountain peak of Zekrit offers stunning classic Arabic buildings and a direct window into the region’s past. At Dukhan, you can enjoy fine dining, pristine gold-sand beaches with crystal-clear, turquoise waters and head out to find that perfect handcrafted, artisan-made souvenir.

3. Go sea turtle viewing at Fuwayriţ

The coastal village of Fuwayriţ in the Ash Shamal municipality is about 90 kilometres north of the capital. This small village has archaeological ruins that trace its habitation to the 16th century C.E., and it was once among the most important towns in northern Qatar. History buffs can visit the former seat of power of the Al Thani people. One of the more popular and interesting attractions in this village is its beach, where you can experience the unforgettable sight of actual sea turtles in their native habitat as they come ashore.

4. Take in a sporting event in Lusail

No matter what your sporting preference might be, the planned city of Lusail is where you want to go. It’s located right along the coast, just about 23 kilometers from the capital city and has been named as a potential host city for major international sporting events. The city’s infrastructure can host 450,000 people at one time, and it features marinas, golf courses, and a variety of other leisure and entertainment activities. Here, you can see a sporting event or live performance and enjoy fine dining, high-end shopping and other adventure, leisure and luxury activities.

5. Enjoy family entertainment at Umm Salal Muhammed

Umm Salal Muhammed is a small, historic town that offers close proximity to a wide variety of fun and exciting activities that the entire family can enjoy. This town is right around the bend from the Barzan Olympic Park, which features restaurants, green space, soccer fields, tennis courts, basketball, hiking and cycling trails and even a swimming pool. You can also take the kids to Angry Birds World Qatar, a theme park built around the wildly popular media franchise and that includes rides, shopping, games and fine dining. The Barzan Towers date to the 19th century and are built around a desert oasis.

6. Visit Film City for a modern look at the past

The deserted Film City location is a contemporary recreation of an authentic Arabic village from antiquity. It was rumoured to be a production set, but nobody seems to know the whole story around it. Common stories include theories that it’s for a Hollywood production, the Qatar 2022 World Cup promotion or even a native film. Regardless, it allows you to step into the past with a surreal ghost town featuring houses and shops made from mud-brick, and even a mosque. The local caretaker is always happy to welcome visitors and answer questions, and the view from the lookout is spectacular.

7. See the castles at Qalaat al Thaqab

The abandoned village of Qalaat al Thaqab is within just a few kilometres of the medieval Thaqab Fort, a rectangular classical castle with 4 crenellated towers. The region is surrounded by farms, but it offers a chance to visit the past in the local ruins and to see the stunning golden colours and deep blue skies of the desert surroundings. There is archeological evidence of the site having been inhabited as far back as the 10th century, C.E., and it has been the site of historic conflicts in the early 20th century. For those interested in the history of the area, this is a must-visit site.

8. Experience modern adventures at Al Khor

The city of Al Khor is among the largest cities in Qatar and offers everything you could want in a fun and exciting modern vacation. You can visit Purple Island and enjoy white-water rafting. You can do some snorkelling, swimming and water sports at Al Farkiah Beach with its white sands, blue waters and promenade with restaurants, cafes and shops. The kids will love the shaded play areas and small zoo at Al Khor Park. If you’re interested in having a modern adventure in Qatar, Al Khor may be the ideal solution for your holiday plans.

9. Go on a desert excursion from Al Wakrah

As the capital of the Al Wakrah Municipality, this city has a great deal to offer. Not only is it on the shores of the Persian Gulf, offering serene and scenic beaches with white sands and clear waters, it also offers modern amenities like shopping and fine dining. Here you can visit the Al Wakrah Public Garden with its immaculate green space and colourful flowers, walk the Pearl Roundabout and view the statues and monuments or go on a full-day safari tour and see the striking colours of the sand and rock formations.

10. See historic monuments and camels at Zekreet

The village of Zekreet is nestled in the desert but offers a number of attractions for visitors, including ancient and medieval ruins like the Zekreet Fort. The iconic sculpture by Richard Serra called ‘East-West/West-East’ is comprised of 4 standing steel plates in the centre of the desert landscape and to many symbolizes a coming together of cultures. This piece was commissioned by the Qatari government and is a stunning monument to cooperation. You can also see camels in their native habitat or as beasts of burden in the small farming community.

These are just a few of the fun and exciting things you can do in Qatar. Book your Qatar hotel and flight through Expedia today, and start an unforgettable holiday travel experience.