Good times are guaranteed!
The FIFA World Cup 2022™ promises plenty of nail-biting matches and exhilarating action for football fans from all over the world. Between matches adrenaline seekers will find plenty of other adventures in Qatar.
Whether you prefer water or land, the city or the desert, you will find activities for every mood. Try kite surfing, jet skiing, dune bashing, rock climbing, camping, and much more. Good times are guaranteed!
Things to Do
Al Maha Sanctuary
An Arabian oryx sanctuary about half an hour west of Doha
Arabian oryx were almost extinct in the desert due to hunting. Today, the national animal of Qatar is fully protected, with more than 1,000 animals in reserves around the country. Al Maha Sanctuary breeds 75-100 calves each year. Pop-in visitors are welcome, or you can visit with a tour company.
Khor Al Adaid (Inland Sea)
Combine the desert with the sea at this UNESCO-listed refuge for wildlife
The ocean floods the desert here, something that happens at only two other places in the world. You can see Arabian gazelles, turtles and sea cows, plus cormorants, terns and ospreys. Snorkelers can spot hamour fish and rays in the clear waters. Dune bashers will also be in their element.
Zekreet Stone Formations
Explore Ras Abrouq and you’ll feel like you’re on the moon
The landscape here is as lunar as it gets. Mushroom-shaped limestone rock formations sculpted by nature dominate the entire area, which enjoys tranquility on most days. This is where Doha’s rock climbers gather, as well as being close to many unspoiled sandy beaches. Enjoy picnics here or, for the more adventurous, set up an overnight desert camp.
Just an hour south of Doha you’ll hit the spot where the fun is on four wheels
Dunes were made for quad bikes, there really isn’t anything like conquering the Qatari desert on one. That’s why every weekend in winter, the thrill-seekers of Doha head out of the city and down to Sealine Beach where rows of all-terrain vehicles are lined up for hire.
Travel over the dunes at sunset and feel the Arabian breeze
Being in the desert on top of a camel is a truly cinematic experience. Although a one-hour ride is probably enough epicness if it’s your first time, as it can be a rough ride for the inexperienced. Nevertheless, this really is a bucket list must. Most hotels and tour operators offer excursions.
Under the stars in five-star style
Experience all the comforts of a five-star hotel with an unforgettable desert adventure. Luxury 'bayt al sha’ar' style camping tents are carpeted in the traditional style, come with double or single beds or can be set up for families. Seating is usually arranged around the campfire as a communal relaxation space and dinner is an Arabic grill for that authentic vibe.
Desert safari nights in Qatar cater to just about every whim
Desert safaris have something for everyone: quad biking, dune bashing, sand boarding... or you might prefer a casual drive over the dunes and a relaxing dip in the Inland Sea. Then retire to your camp, where luxury nomadic-style tents with carpeted floors and a lavish barbecue await you.
As exhilarating as it gets in a 4x4
Get all revved up and speed over the dunes with experienced drivers who know how to give you goosebumps without driving into scary territory. When you’ve had enough, you can take a cool dip in the Inland Sea, then chill beside the campfire and enjoy a traditional Arabic barbecue.
Roll this way for rock climbing
Qatar’s landscape is mostly flat but there is one spot where the indoor climbers graduate to once they’ve learnt the ropes: Zekreet. It’s about 80km outside Doha city limits, heading west. This really is only for the experienced – those who are well-prepared and aware of the essential safety procedures.
Enjoy the ride of your life on Qatar’s south-eastern dunes
Sandboarding has really taken hold in Qatar, so why not join the other adrenaline junkies? Small groups are taken out from Doha in 4x4s which also serve as improvised ski lifts. A hat and cover-ups for arms and legs are essential. As too are sunscreen, water and a fully charged phone.
Al Ghariyah Beach
A pristine stretch that’s popular with campers and day-trippers
If you’ve never experienced the wonders of desert camping, you should try it here. The area is a golden sand paradise with a clear blue sea and plenty of water sport activities. Hire jet skis, quad bikes and dune buggies – there aren’t any big dunes to bash, but it’s still a lot of fun.
Al Thakira Beach
A large coastal stretch at the north end of Al Khor corniche
Many come here to explore the mangroves and salt marshes. Kayakers and birdwatchers come to see reef egrets, terns, herons and hordes of flamingos as they arrive from Africa. It’s also great for a lazy day at the beach – perfect before one of the evening matches at nearby AI Bayt Stadium.
Make a beeline for the coastline
Qatar’s 600km of coastline offers ample opportunity for everyone to do all kinds of activities. Whether you want to splash around with the kids, take long walks or do water sports, there’s loads to explore. Beaches are plentiful – popular with families and groups soaking up the sun, picnicking and barbecuing. Some are open to all, while others are reserved for families.
If calming waves soothe your soul, Dukhan could be your paradise
Dukhan Beach suits all kinds of beach goers. One area is suited to afternoon picnicking or barbecuing. It's rocky around the shore so not ideal for swimming, but it does have a playground and a host of family activities. The other area is perfect for camping and swimming as it's a large sandy open space.
If there is a more elegant large bird than the flamingo it’s hiding somewhere
Luckily for Qatar and its visitors, these beautiful creatures flock here on-mass in the wintertime. Actually, 300 species of migratory birds arrive at Qatar's beaches and water bodies but the first is usually the shockingly pink feathered type. There really is something very special about seeing flamingos in the wild – giving a real sense of tranquillity and wonder.
From November up until around January, you'll find them around , Abu Nakhla, Al Karana, Al Khor and Al Thakhira, up until around January.
A pristine, sandy stretch of coastline close to the city
This is the city’s beach playground. For younger children there’s a play area with water slides and bouncy inflatables. Older ones can find their thrills on banana boats and doughnut rides. Teens and adults alike can try kneeboarding, water skiing, parasailing, high-powered boat rides and jet skiing. Tons of fun for the entire family.
About 45km north of Doha is the village and beach of Simaisma
The perfect beach to chill out on. You can buy refreshments at the quad bike hire point or from the food trucks scattered along the coastal road. If you’d like to stay overnight, simply bring a tent – but please be sure to clean up your area before you leave.
About 45km north of Doha is the village and beach of Simaisma
The beach here is immaculate, the sand is golden. It doesn’t stand up to sandcastle building but can still create a fantastic day out for young children. Food and drinks can be bought here, or the outdoor chefs among us can set up on one of the brick-built barbecues.
Heroes in a half-shell
It’s emotional watching baby Hawksbill turtles dashing out to sea - especially when they’ve been listed as an endangered species. Thankfully, huge efforts have been made in Qatar to restore their population and habitat. They’ve since made these shores their own - returning every year to nest and lay their eggs on Fuwairit Beach and several other spots along the coast.
If a rod and line are your thing, there are great fishing spots In Qatar
Qatar’s crystal-clear waters are teeming with more than 150 different species of fish, such as barracuda, king mackerel, snapper, sheri and hamour – offering unforgettable trips for families, groups or individuals. The northeast coast is the most popular among locals and tourists, but you’ll be sure to find great spots all along the coastline.
Waterjet-powered fun in the sun
Most watersports businesses have a flyboarding rig or two around. And some luxury hotels are also now in on the buzz. It’s the newest experience in the watersports scene. If you’re a beginner, your instructor will put you through the paces and make sure you have enough knowledge before you power off into the air projected by the water.
Search for and surf uncharted offshore breaks on a hydrofoil
Since hydrofoil surfing exploded onto the scene, dedicated surfers and newcomers have been hooked – not least in Qatar. You can join them and get your own foil-time around the coast. There are a number of watersports operators around Doha who will rent you equipment and offer lessons.
There’s no limit to the fun that can be had on a jet ski around Qatar
Zooming across the waves on a powerful jet ski has to be one of the most exciting things you can do in a wetsuit. Qatar’s flat, glassy waters create the perfect aqua-based playground. Machines can be hired from any number of operators around Qatar’s beaches and marinas.
Paddle through the mangroves at Al Thakira nature reserve
There’s plenty to see while kayaking through the mangroves at Al Thakira nature reserve, including reef egrets, terns, herons and jumping fish. Sunset to full moon kayaking events offer a different take on the experience – why not spend the night out at Purple Island and enjoy a traditional barbecue?
Another outdoor thrill you can add to your experiences in Qatar
There are plenty of sailing clubs and all sorts of craft that can be hired here. Of course, you’ll also want the right type of waters and a fair breeze, so the shallow nature of Qatar’s coastal areas and regular offshore winds mean you can glide majestically on the Arabian Gulf year-round. Prepare to be blown away.
Pro and amateur divers will find treasure in the warm depths of Qatar’s waters
The coastline around Doha has several reefs waiting for exploration, as well as lots of shipwrecks. These “artificial” reefs have created a great environment for a large variety of marine life – corals, crustaceans and fish. You’ll be able to sight groupers, batfish, barracudas, batfish, cuttlefish, groupers, needlefish, nudibranchs, sea breem and many, many more.
Stand-up Paddle Boarding
No waves, no worries
You won’t find big waves around Qatar but Doha’s beautifully calm waters are much better suited to stand-up paddle boarding. It does take a certain amount of strength and agility to stay upright, but the dynamics of balance are soon learned. Any age group and most levels of fitness can get involved. You’ll be gliding along in no time.
Qatar offers the perfect waters for wakeboarding
Operators usually run groups of four people at a time for 60-90 minutes. If you’re experienced and want to join a group, try contacting wakeboarding clubs for people looking to fill spaces on their boat. For learners, there’s plenty of schools – just remember practice makes perfect. You’ll be showing off your new skills, selfie stick in hand, before you know it.
Seize your moment as you ski across the waters of the Gulf
For healthy types who’d rather do exhilarating watersports than bench presses and squats, there is water-skiing. Hanging onto a rope behind a motorboat that’s speeding across the sea is a major workout. Learners, don’t be put off - it’s not easy to stay up at first, but stick with it and you’ll soon be loving the cool spray of your face and warm sun on your back. Those who’d like to seize the moment a can contact one of the many operators in Qatar offering to rent the equipment and take you out.
Feel the wind in your face as you enjoy the ride
Wave-sailors will be blown away with conditions around Qatar. One of the popular places to head for is Fuwairit Beach in the northern tip of Qatar – there's a firm blow there making it a hotspot for wind and kitesurfers. Over on the west around Dukhan, the waves are more choppy, putting a smile on the faces of any who want to 'chop, hop and jump' around.
There are plenty of places to hire the gear and clubs to contact if you want to learn and hang out with others into the same vibe.