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Qatar may not be first on your travel list with news of blockades and its extreme summer conditions, but fear not! Qatar is welcoming tourists from around the world by relaxing visa requirements so that more visitors can enjoy its mouth-watering local and international cuisine, entertainment and mind-blowing architecture. Here are 11 reasons why Qatar should be a must-visit on every traveler’s checklist.
Although the summer is a harsh time to visit this country, the winter months are absolute bliss. With rainfall that lasts only 2-3 weeks during the winter with a pleasant temperature, the weather is perfect for travel, relaxation and sight-seeing.
The country is easy to reach by air with an average flying time of 6-7 hours from the south-east countries and mid-west for a quick trip away from the eat-sleep-work routine. There’s a reason why it’s called the Middle East. Qatar’s tour operators provide travelers with the best view of everything the country has to offer. It’s best to book prior to your trip but you could also just go with the flow and see what suits your travel plans and interests.
Nowhere in the world are you likely to see such a high blend of cultures other than the Middle East where east literally meets west. Locals comprise of a little more than 15% of the population with the rest being expats from various parts of the world. With a blend in culture, diversity, food, ethnicity and tradition, Qatar is home to international cuisine and diverse lifestyles.
Popular public beaches like the Al Ghariya, Zekreet, Dukhan, Al Wakrah, Fuwairit and Maroona beach are a must visit for every tourist who loves the sun. Apart from these, most five star hotels have their own private beaches for guests to enjoy a sun tan session as well.
A UNESCO heritage site, the Zubarah fort is a sight not to miss for history geeks. The Coast Guard used the sturdy fort as a station until the mid-1980s when it was turned into a museum to display findings uncovered in the nearby Al Zubarah archeological area. Barzan towers, located in Umm Salal Mohammed municipality built in the early 1900s, was recently restored to preserve this monument, which was earlier used as a watchtower. The Doha Fort, also known as the Al Koot Fort is another historical monument right in the middle of Souq Waqif. Built originally as a police station, it has now been converted to a museum.
The country prides itself on its hospitality and the well-being of every individual visiting this country by offering spa packages that are hard to resist. Inculcating therapies as well as therapists from around the world, the country’s finest five star hotels offer the best from the relax realm.
For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the country offers adventure in the form of desert safaris, film city excursions, road trips, scuba diving, fly boarding and other water sports. You also must take in the view of the famous Doha Corniche Skyline, The Pearl-Qatar and Katara Cultural Village among others.
Absorbing food cultures from around the world, Qatar is home to international flavours. For fine dining, try Nobu for sushi or Zafran for Indian food or Isaan Thai at Grand Hyatt for some yummy papaya salad. Hip restaurants include the Grand Joud Café famous for its Mansaf (Jordan’s national food), Al Shami restaurant for its mixed grill (Syrian specialty) and Shakespeare & Co’s continental brunch option which are a must try on your visit. Regular joints include Tea Time, Chai & Karak, Filli Cafe and Mandarin that offer daily bites like club sandwiches, fried rice and sips of chai and Turkish coffee.
With Qatar adopting a collaboration with various countries each year, the place has plenty to offer art lovers. The current Deutsche Bank exhibition for the Qatar German Year of Culture is a must see at the Doha Fire Station, which includes pieces of the artwork from the German headquarters. ‘Driven by German Design’ at the Al Riwaq Museum traces the development of German design over more than six decades, from the 1950s to the present day and provides a glimpse into the future. A wait and see battle is ongoing for the upcoming year’s Qatar Australia Year of Culture.
The Corniche skyline alone is a piece of art unique to this country’s must see features. Be it the Qatar National Convention Center shaped like the branches of a tree by Arata Isozaki, National Museum of Qatar designed like the petals of a desert rose by Jean Nouvel, or the Al Thumama Stuadium designed like the cap worn by Arab men by Ibrahim M Jaidah, this country has plenty of architectural gems to enjoy.
Come 2022, Qatar will host the biggest sporting event in the world – FIFA World Cup 2022. With magnificent stadiums being built across the country, the World Cup will be a perfect stage for visitors to explore this country even further. Qatar’s fan base at present is split between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid in the league. One of Qatar Football Association’s first division club – Al Sadd Sports Club also houses international footballer Xavi Hernandes until 2018. Amidst the ongoing political crisis in the Middle East region, the efforts by the Supreme Committee for Legacy and Delivery are on track in terms of providing infrastructure and the latest technology.