*The trip to Doha was sponsored by Qatar Airways, and the post contains affiliate links. If you
make a booking through the links in this post, I receive a small commission, which does not affect the price you pay.
A stopover in Doha, Qatar, is an excellent way to get to know the city but Doha is an exciting destination also for a full holiday. The airline is known for its world-class service and its business class has often been voted as the best in the world.
I have flown on the wings of Qatar Airways in both classes more than 20 times. Qatar Airways is definitely one of my favorite airlines, and it’s often my first choice when travelling to many destinations. In short, Qatar Airways, a part of Oneworld, is a great airline with an excellent modern fleet of aircrafts.
What to do during a one-day stopover in Doha, Qatar?
If this is your first stopover in Doha, Qatar and you spend a day in the destination between flights, I recommend a traditional city tour, which will give you an idea of what the city has to offer in a couple of hours. You could organise a city tour for yourself, but I recommend taking an organised tour or booking a driver for a few hours.
- Join a city tour:
You don’t have to book a city tour beforehand. You can make the booking at a counter at the airport as you arrive in Doha. A tour of the city stops at the most important sights; Katara, The Pearl, Museum of Islamic Art, and the Souq Waqif.
- A private tour of the city
For my first stopover in Doha, Qatar I booked a driver for four hours and visited the same sights that are usually included in a group tour – this gave me more time for example at the Souq Waqif, and I could use all the time I wanted to explore while keeping things easy. I booked the transport at the counter at the airport.
Even more than these options, I would recommend the new stopover.qa, which I have used during two of my trips to Doha to book a private driver and a tailor-made program. The company is still quite new, services are being added all the time. If you can’t find a suitable product, contact the company through the e-mail address on the site.
12 things to know before travelling to Doha, Qatar
I got questions about travelling to Doha, Qatar from my Instagram followers and put together a list of the most common ones. Here are my answers based on my experiences on three trips to Qatar.
1. Do I need a visa for a stopover in Doha?
If you hold a Finnish passport like myself, you won’t don’t need a visa to Doha for a stay of fewer than 90 days. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the trip and when you arrive, you must hold a return ticket or a ticket to another destination.
Do you hold a passport for another country? Read more about which passports are accepted for a
visa-free stopover in Doha here.
2. How to dress in Doha?
Doha is still considerably more conservative than, for example, Dubai, and it’s polite to wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders, even if you’ll see all kinds of tourists on the streets. Usually, no one seems to be offended. Travellers should always try to show respect with the way they dress, and in Doha, for example, a long summer dress will be appropriate for a woman for any situation. It’s best to avoid shorts, see-through and very tight clothes and tops that don’t cover the shoulders.
3. Is Doha a safe destination for women who travel alone?
Doha is absolutely an easy and safe destination, where many people also speak good English. You can walk the streets of Doha and the alleys of the souq without being bothered both during the day and night. The city also has low levels of crime and almost no use of alcohol.
The equality between men and women in Qatar is, on average higher than in other Arab countries. Men and women stay fairly separate in public spaces, and there is, for example, a specific female waiting area in front of Souq Waqif.
4. What are the prices like in Doha?
The prices in Doha vary a lot, but food in local restaurants is often considerably cheaper than in
Finland. Taxis are also affordable. If you choose to dine at hotel restaurants or other restaurants
aimed mainly at tourists, the prices can still be even higher than in Finland.
One evening we also had some drinks at a rooftop bar at a hotel, and the price of one glass of
sparkling wine was around 20 euro.
5. How much time do I need for my stopover?
To leave the airport and take part in an organised city tour, you must have at least 5 hours between
your flights. I have had one stopover that was around 6 hours, another that was around 8 hours, and
on my latest visit, I stayed for four days but would have liked to stay even longer.
6. How do I book a stopover?
Stopovers are booked at the same time as your Qatar Airways flights. If you want to make sure that you have enough time to visit Doha, choose ‘multi-city’ instead of a return when booking your flights on the airline’s website.
My 6-8 hour stopovers were booked as a traditional return, and I have chosen the flights so that I have enough time left between the flights – this usually saves you money if the schedules match. If your stopover is overnight and you stay in the city for more than 12 hours, you will be offered an extremely affordable hotel accommodation in 4-5 star hotels. The price of accommodation starts at 20 euro, so effectively you only pay a small booking fee.
7. Can the stopover last for several days?
The stopover hotel offer is available for four consecutive nights. Doha is quite small in size, so you will be able to get a good feel for the city in a day. Qatar, however, is a fascinating country and offers experiences also outside the capital – we didn’t run out of things to do and experience during our four-day stay. So I recommend spending more than one day on a stopover or a trip just to Doha.
8. Can you drink alcohol in Doha?
Qatar is a Muslim country, and alcohol is not commonly served in most restaurants. For example, in the Souq Waqif area, alcohol is prohibited, even though the restaurants get lively at night. Alcohol is served mainly in the restaurants and bars of international hotels, and it can get costly.
Last time we visited the new Infinity rooftop bar at the M Gallery for a few drinks. It has excellent views of the city and is located a stone’s throw from Souq Waqif.
9. What time of the year should you travel to Doha?
You could travel to Doha at any time of the year, but summers are excruciatingly hot. In the summer, the temperature can rise to 40-50 degrees Celsius. In the winter, the coldest temperatures during the night can be around 10 degrees. In November, Doha pampered us with +28 degrees and sun every day.
10. Does the current political situation affect safety?
Qatar is generally a safe destination for travel. In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and
Bahrain cut ties with Qatar. There is no traffic between these countries and Qatar. This political
situation hasn’t affected safety in the destination in any way, so travelling in Doha is safe.
11. Can you find vegetarian food in Doha?
The food in Qatar is very similar to Morocco, Lebanon, or, for example, Israel, so vegetarians
should have an easy time in this destination. Of course, the local cuisine includes meat, but
hummus, breads, salads, and beans make finding vegetarian food easy. Many people recommend
the Evergreen Organics restaurants in Doha for vegans, but I haven’t had time to visit yet.
12. Can you easily spend a week in Doha, or what’s a good duration for a trip? How is Doha in comparison to Dubai?
I enjoyed staying in Doha for four days, and actually, I would have liked one day more so I could have taken a trip to the southern sand dunes. One day is enough to get an idea of Doha and see the main sights. I would say 3-5 days in Doha is the perfect duration for a trip.
If you compare Doha with Dubai, both offer luxury hotels, desert adventures, shopping, and Arabic culture and delicacies. Doha is a considerably calmer and a little bit more conservative destination, and Dubai can even feel like it has some American influence compared to Doha. Both have their pros and cons, but I enjoy Doha way more.