One Full Day in Qatar

From Dawn to Late Night in Doha and Its Surroundings

Qatar was not our initial destination, but I love to book flights through places that I can knowingly take advantage of a free stopover. Flying Qatar Air through Doha gave me just that perfect possibility.  When planning a stopover, it is necessary to narrow down how long we would need to do the things we wanted to do. Just like Brunei, we figure one full day would just about do it, but with flight times and a chance to take night photos, we stayed two nights and one full day. It was perfect!

One Day Qatar

We arrived at about 10:30 pm, pretty late at night for us.  Enough time to pick up the rental car and head to the hotel and go right to sleep so that we could head out bright and early. Everything went rather well, until we hit the downtown area where we were unprepared for the amount of construction going on in the area that our hotel was located, and even using a GPS we had a bit of a difficult time getting there.  We did get there, though, and fell right into bed.


It was imperative to get to the one and only UNESCO World Heritage site in Qatar, Al Zubarah, and since it was about an hour out of Doha. We decided to go there first so we wouldn’t be rushed,  and then we could take our time doing the other sites around the city.

One Day Qatar

We love to stop along the road, and really take our time in a place.  On the way to Al Zubarah, not only did we get to stop and buy some gigantic and delicious pomegranates, but we also got to see a group of Arabian gazelles and oryx.  The desert is a harsh climate, and I’m pretty sure they were either owned or at least protected by the owner the land, but it was still interesting to view them.  There must have been some recent rain because we also saw lots of people out picking some kind of plants along the road to take home as well.




One Day Qatar

Qatar is one of the places in the Middle East that holds camel races.  The races are held late on Saturday afternoon.  We were there on a Saturday, but really didn’t have the time to go to the actual races.  Instead we were lucky enough to see the teams walking their camels on or around the track.  Many of them had team colors, and it was a fascinating sight.

One Day Qatar

Back in Doha, we drove downtown on the way to the Corniche.  We saw vendors, like this shoestring guy, and some beautiful architecture, like the building below.

One Day Qatar

The Corniche is a walking path where you can see the entire skyline of the modern part of Doha.  It also is where the boats dock that will take you around the bay, and it’s a great place to park if you are on your way to the Museum of Islamic Art as well.

One Day Qatar

The boats are very distinctive and some have gorgeous carvings on the stern.

One Day Qatar

My absolute favorite part of the visit was to the Museum of Islamic Art, and one thing we loved about it was the hours.  We were there in the late afternoon to early evening, and we were able to witness the Doha skyline go from day to night.

One Day Qatar

The sunset over the bay was beautiful, and we enjoyed a nice walk down from the museum while the last orange-y slivers of day faded into the desert.

One Day Qatar

At long last, we took a much needed break and headed down to the Souq Waqif where we found a great dinner of lamb, pilav, grapeleaves, and mezzes, chased down with tea.  We’d only been in Doha for 24 hours, but boy did we pack a lot in.

Have you ever been to Qatar?

One Day Qatar


This post is linked with Nancie’s Travel Photo Thursdays, Sunday Traveler, and Travel Photo Mondays, and Travel Tuesdays.




What to do on a one day stopover in Doha, Qatar


  1. Reading your blog I’m always amazed at how much you actually do in a very short time abroad. Of course you don’t get to know the country but you must really enjoy getting a taste of the place and seeing some spectacular sights. I love your sunset picture there is nothing more beautiful than sunset in the desert with Palm trees. For me that’s the definition of exotic. Hopefully I’ll soon get to see a Saudi Palm tree sunset…

    1. Jameela, I hope you do! I do a lot of short trips interspersed with long trips, but Qatar really is a small place so it didn’t really take long to get a small taste of it.

  2. Parts of Qatar really look like it’s in the middle of the desert with absolutely NOTHING surrounding it! And then parts of it looks so modern with all the skyscrapers by the waterfront. Such a huge contrast. I also absolutely adore that picture of the men riding the camels!!

  3. I have never been to Qatar, although it sits on my bucket list. Looking at your photos it reminds me a bit of Oman, a country I loved visiting. The night skyline is my favorite shot here.

  4. HI Corinne, you certainly packed a lot in a day. We took Qatar Airlines once from NY to Delhi. We chose the flights with the shortest connection and we later regretted not making a long stopover like you did. We’d like to do so next time. You seemed to have planned your itinerary well. Starting with the UNESCO site was a good idea. I’ll keep this in mind.

  5. My hubby has been to Qatar but didn’t leave the airport during his layover. All he showed me was a photo of the sunrise over the tarmac, so your photos are definitely more enlightening than his. Parts of Doha look much more modern than I expected. I like that shoestring vendor and the camels, too. Thanks for clarifying that they were part of an organized race, not a regular mode of transportation in the modern day.

  6. What a great tour! I love that first shot of the camel. I went back and looked at it again, and realized he was on his phone! 🙂 I really want to see this part of the world, and that may just happen early next year. Fingers crossed! Thanks for linking up this week.

  7. I have a couple friends who have lived and worked in Doha and while they’ve shared some photos of their time, this gives me a completely different perspective. It looks like you were able to do and see a lot in the short time you were there.

    1. Jessica, Renting a car and driving ourselves was a piece of cake. Doha traffic was a little busy on Saturday afternoon, which slowed us down a little, but we still loved it!

  8. I have been to Qatar – and to Doha! I spent a few weeks there in 2010, and its great to visit those days through your photos and stories. Lots of familiar sites, and the architecture is really incredible there.
    Sorry you didn’t get to actually witness the camel races though. They’re pretty hilarious! Truly nothing like I’ve ever seen before, and well worth the trip to the racetrack for a few hours of entertainment!

  9. Lovely photos! That museum looks simply fantastic. I’ve never been anywhere in the Middle East, but I’m definitely interested in going someday!

  10. Oh wow that is so cool! Layovers like this and having an entire day in such a wonderful and different place are just amazing – you get to see and explore something you’d otherwise not have gone to! To imagine you had 24h in Qatar is so cool!

  11. What a cool experience, you do manage to pack a lot into one day. It is just amazing to see camels, the desert and than the city and harbor. I love the view of the boats and water. The night shot of the skyscrapers is awesome. Great post and photos, thanks for sharing your trip!

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