A visit to the state of Qatar is a gateway to a world of adventure and excitement. There’s a world of activities to enjoy – from medieval fortresses dating to the 10th century to ultramodern high-rise buildings, and the best in live entertainment, arts and crafts, fine dining and shopping. Whether you’re a couple on a romantic weekend for 2 or a whole family, check out this recommendation for a 3- and 5-day itinerary to visit Qatar and have an unforgettable trip.

Day 1: visit the capital of Doha

Doha is the capital of Qatar and a visit to this city of nearly 2 million people is a must-visit option for your time in the country. Much of what you want to see is within less than an hour’s drive from the city centre, so your whole day is easily planned. You’ll start your tour of Doha with a stroll along the Doha Comiche, then visit the Grand Mosque and Museum of Islamic Art, then end with a trip to the Pearl.

Walk the Doha Corniche promenade

The Doha Corniche is the waterfront area of Doha, which extends 7 kilometres along the bay in a horseshoe shape, and is the region where many celebrations, festivals and holiday events are held all year long. It’s among the most popular attractions for visitors in the country. It offers stunning views of the bay, the city skyline and the wealth of entertainment, dining, and shopping options in Doha. You can find handcrafted souvenirs and enjoy live acts any time you like.

The national Grand Mosque of Qatar

The Grand Mosque, first opened in 2006, is a stunning combination of traditional touches with modern architectural design. It’s the home of the Muslim faith in Doha, and is an incredible sight to see. It’s about a 10-minute drive from Doha Corniche and will take about 40 minutes to view. Visitors should be highly respectful of the cultures and traditions of the region.

See history at the Museum of Islamic Art

Another way to experience the heart of Muslim culture and heritage is to take another 10-minute drive to check out the landmark Museum of Islamic Art. This museum is at the far end of the promenade, and was designed by famous architect I. M. Pei. It stands just off of an artificial peninsula along the harbour, and houses 1400 years of Muslim artworks, documents, crafts and exhibits covering three continents. It’s a shining testament to the impact Islamic culture has had on the world. Touring the Museum of Islamic Art should take about 2 hours, possibly a bit longer if you linger to view the artefacts.

Take a trip to the Pearl

The Pearl is a human-made island that covers almost 4 square kilometres, and is an upscale residential neighbourhood. It’s about 30 minutes from the Museum, and is worth a visit as it stands testament to what humanity can create. Here there are upscale shops, fine dining restaurants and progressive skyscrapers. It’s also the first place in Qatar where foreign nationals are permitted to own land and property. Touring the Pearl will take only about 40 minutes, though a stay can extend for hours depending on how long you spend seeing the sights and enjoying the shopping.

Day 2: Head for the City of Al Khor

After spending a day in Doha, head for the northern coastal city of Al Khor, where you’ll enjoy beaches, parklands and all sorts of adventures. Where Doha is the capital of Qatar, Al Khor is the capital of its own municipality. Spend a day here checking out the water sports and archaeological site on Purple Island, walking the coastal beach and taking the kids to see zebras and other animals at Al Khor Park.

Purple Island

Purple Island, also known as Al Khor Island, is the home of an archaeological site that dates to the second millennium, B.C.E. That means there are artefacts here that date back to the Bronze Age and even the Neolithic period. It’s also a place where you can enjoy water sports like rafting and snorkelling. If you’re an archaeology fan or you like water sports this is a place to visit. If you fancy it, the island alone can take an entire day, or you can tour it in just about an hour.

Walk along the beach at Al Farkiah Coast

The Al Farkiah Coast offers a beach with soft, white sands and clear blue waters. A walk along this scenic beach off the Al Khor Coastal Road will be a relaxing break in your day. It’s open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and is just about one hour from Doha, even closer to Al Khor. It’s a free place to visit. Since it’s a beach, you can spend as little or as much time as you like relaxing here.

See the zebras at Al Khor Park

Al Khor Park is a great way to spend an afternoon. You can walk the green, grassy lawns, enjoy immaculate gardens with colourful flowers and see zebras and other animals at the small zoo onsite. There are shaded playgrounds for the kids, an aviary, a waterfall and even a miniature golf course.

Day 3: gardens, beaches, shopping and fun at Al Wakrah

On day 3, head for another capital city, this one of the Al Wakrah municipality. The western edge of Al Wakrah is along the Persian Gulf shores, and it’s just south of Doha. It was originally a fishing and pearling village and today has grown to be the home of over 80,000 people. Here you can walk immaculate public gardens, spend time on a family beach and see the Pearl Roundabout.

Enjoy the waterfront park at Al Wakrah Public Gardens

Al Wakrah Public Gardens are a sight to behold, with manicured lawns, fountains, a sandy beach and a playground for the kids to enjoy. You’ll also find tended flower gardens with brilliant colours. It’s a superb way to spend a few hours relaxing in the middle of a green paradise surrounded by desert.

See the Pearl Roundabout historic landmark

The Pearl Roundabout, also called the Shell Roundabout, is an historic monument in Al Wakrah. It’s essentially a high tower with a sculpted top that resembles a seashell. It’s a marker of the town’s history as a fishing village, and is a popular attraction for visitors. This iconic location is well known as a spot for photo opportunities. A photo here should take only a few minutes.

Relax at the Al Wakra Municipality Family Beach

This beach is built for families to enjoy a few hours away from the world. It’s a broad, gold-sand beach with shallow turquoise waters and a very gentle surf. There’s also a large and colourful playscape for children. It’s a great way to round out a fun 3 days in Qatar.

Days 4 and 5

If you’ve got more time to spend, you can also develop an itinerary for 2 more days in Qatar. On day 4, check out the municipality of Ash-Shahaniyah, where you can enjoy horseback riding or camel rides, parks, zoos and a wide range of other attractions that the entire family will love.

On day 5, head to the abandoned historical village of Qalaat al Thaqab. It’s surrounded by a number of traditional fishermen’s villages where you can catch pristine views of the ocean from lighthouses and watchtowers. Here you can also view the ruins of castles like Thaqab Fort, which date to the middle ages.

Book your trip to Qatar on Expedia today and get great deals on hotels and flights, then use this itinerary as a guide to plan out your exciting local activities.