Doha, the capital of Qatar, is a waterside city built on reclaimed land in the Persian Gulf. Originally developed as a centre for pearls, the city is currently booming on the back of oil wealth in the region. After Qatar’s independence in the 1970s, Doha is symbolic of a young and confident country making it’s mark on the world.

To experience a taste of old Doha, explore the Souq Waqif. It was rebuilt after a fire in 2003 and retains many older features but has also been modernised to compete with nearby shopping malls. The souk is divided in to areas by what is sold, and is a great place for souvenir hunting. Look out for delicious spices, fragrant oud incense or beautifully embroidered clothing. It’s also a great place to check out some typical Qatari hobbies. Look out for the section of the souk dedicated to falconry, wander around the stables of Arabian horses or dodge camels near the Corniche.

The heat in Doha can be intense, so a cooling seafront walk is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The Corniche is a 5km stretch of pedestrianised walkway following the curve of the bay. This idyllic scene was built on reclaimed land and leads to the dhow harbour and pearl monument – a giant oyster shell opening up to reveal an enormous pearl. Also at this end of the bay is the museum of Islamic art. It’s the largest collection of Islamic art in world, and well worth a visit.

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Read more on Doha below with flight options, current weather, maps, and activities to try while you are there.

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