Shopping and Eating in Qatar

By | November 25, 2022

Shopping and stores

In Doha, there are many modern malls with prices below Dubai, the most popular being Festival City Mall, City Center and Villagio. As a souvenir, we recommend purchasing high-quality textiles – clothes in the national style, tablecloths, towels, bed linen, as well as gold jewelry – the sample is often low, but the products are beautiful and durable.

You should definitely look into the perfume shop, where you can mix oil perfumes yourself.

The most reckless shopping is at the Souq Vakif market: camel figurines, daggers, dalla coffee pots, bronze figurines, carved wooden boxes, Arabic lamps, carpets, henna with stencils, hookahs, rosaries – you won’t be able to leave without shopping. Most shops are open from 8:00 to 12:00 and from 16:00 to 21:00, Thursday is a shortened day, Friday is a day off. Markets are open from early morning until late at night.

Cuisine and restaurants in Qatar

Qatar became rich only recently, and earlier the inhabitants of the harsh desert were very limited in products: dates, camel milk and butter – that’s all the food was prepared from. Modern chefs are adopting Arabic gastro-traditions, which means that hummus, kebab, tikka masala chicken and mutabal eggplant paste appear on the menu.

Mandatory tastings are stew with mahbus rice, stuffed grape leaves “varak enab”, bulgur with parsley “tabule”, lamb with nuts “gyuzi”, and desserts – puff bread pudding with almonds and raisins flower water, cinnamon and pistachios.

Pakistani and Indian eateries are everywhere, as well as coffee shops, where coffee is often served “in Bedouin style” – weak, but very sweet, sometimes seasoned with cardamom. The average check in an inexpensive cafe is 25 QAR per person, in a restaurant – 160 QAR for two.

Entertainment and attractions in Qatar

There are few attractions in Qatar: monumental fortifications, residences of rulers, metropolitan skyscrapers and cultural and historical museums. Spectacular skyscrapers line the Corniche, but the best sea views are from the nearby Barzan Towers.

The oldest fortress is Al-Wajba, Al-Kut Fort has been turned into a museum with handicrafts, paintings and photographs. Rarities are also exhibited in the UNESCO-protected fort of Al-Zubara, but it is better to study history in the National Museum (off. site in English) and the Museum of Islamic Art (off. site in English) with manuscripts, ceramics and other artifacts.

Favorite tourist activities are desert jeep safari with stops at Bedouin camps, falconry and camel racing.

The most famous temples are the Great and Spiral Mosques, the Christian Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. In the ethno-village “Katara” (off. site in English), the life of the indigenous people was recreated, an amphitheater, an art gallery, a restaurant, shops with pearls and even a private beach were opened. And if you get tired of ethnicity, you can admire the wealth of Sheikh Faisal bin Qasim – in his museum (off. site in English), among other things, luxurious retro cars flaunt.

Holidays and events

The most colorful Qatari festivals are Spring at the Souq Waqif market, Summer with concerts and shows, and an international gourmet food festival in March. At the beginning of spring, the stage of the world golf championship starts, the second February Tuesday is declared the National Sports Day. June 27 marks the Day of accession to the throne of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, December 18 is the National Day of Qatar in honor of gaining independence. Important religious holidays are the Day of Sacrifice Eid al-Adha and the end of Ramadan Eid al-Fitr.

Soccer World Cup

In November-December 2022, Qatar will host the final of the 22nd FIFA World Cup, and this event will definitely become special. Firstly, this is the debut world championship not only for the country, but for the entire Middle East. Secondly, for the first time in the Northern Hemisphere, autumn and winter are chosen as the time of the event, because in the summer it is incredibly hot in the desert.

For the duration of the championship, strict Islamic rules will be softened a bit: alcohol will be sold in fan zones, and LGBT representatives will not be imprisoned.

Thirdly, the scale is worthy of the richest state in the world. Roads, stadiums, hotels and entertainment complexes are already being actively built, more than 200 billion dollars are planned to be invested in the preparation – the ’22 championship risks becoming the most expensive in history. Stadiums based in Doha, Lusail, Al-Khaur, Al-Shamal, Umm Salal, Al-Rayyan and Al-Wakr, all without exception will be equipped with modern air conditioning systems that maintain the temperature at +27 °C.

Eating in Qatar