· Qatar Tourism has rounded up some of the leading attractions to visit outside Doha
· Iconic sites and hidden treasures are never more than 90 minutes away
28 March 2022: Qatar Tourism is calling on holidaymakers and fans attending the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ to take a day trip out of Doha and discover Qatar beyond the capital.
Within the 90-minutes it takes to play a football match, visitors can leave Doha for amazing adventures in mesmerising desert dunes, UNESCO heritage sites, ancient rock carvings, water parks, golden beaches, eco farms, lush green mangrove forests and so much more.
“Just a stone’s throw from Doha are fantastic cultural, natural and family-friendly excursions that some visitors might miss. We’re more than just a city and we want the world to discover the hidden treasures strewn across our peninsula. The beauty of a holiday here is the compactness of diverse experiences, with all our iconic attractions never more than a 90-minute drive away – or the time it takes to watch a World Cup match. For anyone staying in the country for longer than 24 hours, a day trip out of Doha is a delightful highlight of a holiday in Qatar.”Chief Operating Officer of Qatar Tourism, Berthold Trenkel,
“Just a stone’s throw from Doha are fantastic cultural, natural and family-friendly excursions that some visitors might miss. We’re more than just a city and we want the world to discover the hidden treasures strewn across our peninsula. The beauty of a holiday here is the compactness of diverse experiences, with all our iconic attractions never more than a 90-minute drive away – or the time it takes to watch a World Cup match. For anyone staying in the country for longer than 24 hours, a day trip out of Doha is a delightful highlight of a holiday in Qatar.”
Here are 10 of the top out-of-Doha day trips rounded up by Qatar Tourism:
1. Banana Island Resort
The glistening crescent-shaped Banana Island is accessible by boat only. A 25-minute journey from Al Shyoukh Terminal in downtown Doha, the island beach offers an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Guests can travel for the day or stay overnight at Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara, featuring a lagoon pool, spa, golf court, cinema and several restaurants.
Distance from Doha: 25 minutes
2. Heenat Salma Farm
Fans of organic, natural produce should visit Heenat Salma Farm for an eco-conscious experience. A working agricultural farm that grows more than 30 different crops, fruits and vegetables, and produces dairy, eggs, honey and meat, Heenat Salma is a centre for hospitality, education and wellbeing. Visitors can stay overnight in traditional tents positioned around a central fire, which instils a sense of community. There is a pool, wellness room, library and a kitchen where chefs prepare simple, healthy, nourishing meals.
Distance from Doha: 40 minutes
3. Purple Island
Bin Ghannam Island, popularly known as Purple Island, is a hidden gem famous for its abundance of mangroves. The island’s association with purple comes from an ancient Kassite-controlled dye industry, which started more than two-thousand years ago, when the colour was coveted by Roman royalty for their clothing. Sunset is an opportune time to visit Purple Island: go kayaking, or hike around the island to scout the perfect sunset spot for photos.
Distance from Doha: 45 minutes
4. Baladna Park
A green refuge on the outskirts of Doha, Baladna Park is a fun-filled family day out with a children’s adventure land, bumper boats, a petting zoo and reptile cave. The park is run by Baladna Farm, a 100% Qatari business that is one of the largest cattle farms in region, and it provides fresh milk and dairy products to Qatar’s restaurants and residents. The farm is also open to members of the public, who can discover the milking process in purpose-built farms that protect animals from harsh changes in climate.
5. Dhal Al Misfir cave
One of the country’s most exciting natural sites, the 40-metre-deep Dahl Al Misfir is considered the largest accessible cave in Qatar. Estimated to have been formed around 300,000-500,000 years ago, the cave emits an otherworldly moon-like glow due to gypsum despots in the centre of the peninsula. These same minerals give rise to ‘desert roses’ – clusters of crystals that inspired Jean Nouvel in his iconic design of the National Museum of Qatar.
Distance from Doha: 55 minutes
6. Al Jassasiya Rock Carvings
Nobody quite knows when these nearly 900 carvings, known as ‘petroglyphs’, were created. Discovered in 1957, the distinct carvings feature shapes including fish, ostriches, dhow boats and cup marks, across a 700-metre area. Some suggest the art dates back more than 2,000 years, others put the date at just a few centuries ago. Either way, the carvings offer a tantalising glimpse into an ancient past and are Qatar’s most exciting enigma.
Distance from Doha: 1 hour
7. Al Zubarah Fort
Qatar’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, Al Zubarah Fort is a pristine example of a traditional Arabic fortress. The walls overlook the ruins of a once bustling pearling town that saw fierce tribal battles as powerful empires
fought for regional dominance. Visitors who head up to the site will find a museum with artefacts from this historical era, including cannonballs, coins and the weights used by pearl divers who used to plunge down 14 metres to search among thousands of oysters before finding that one rare gem. On the way to Al Zubarah are the remains of the ghost town of Al Jumail, which offers another fascinating glimpse into Qatar’s humble past.
Distance from Doha: 1 hour 15 minutes
8. Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas
On Qatar’s southwestern tip is one of the country’s best-kept secrets. A nirvana for lovers of sun, sea and sand, Hilton Salwa Beach Resort has 3.5 kilometres of soft white beaches and landscaped gardens. Within the grounds is one of the largest theme parks in the Middle East, Desert Falls. The park features 18 attractions, with 56 rides and slides, from the Sea Caves Water Park to the Desert Street Circuit Go Karting.
Distance from Doha: 1 hour 20 minutes
9. East-West / West-East
Richard Serra’s breath-taking public art installation in the Qatari desert comprises four 14-metre-high steel plates spread out over a kilometre. Pictures of the striking display routinely set Instagram accounts alight, as the pillars stand in stark contrast to the soft brown hues of the surrounding desert. Also in the area is the Umbrella Rock Mountain, Zekreet Fort and the abandoned film set known as Film City, all worth a quick look.
Distance from Doha: 1 hour 20 minutes
10. Inland Sea
There are rare few places in the world where desert dunes greet the shores of the sea. The spectacular ‘Inland Sea’. or Khor Al Adaid, in the south of Qatar is one, and those with an afternoon to spare should seriously consider visiting, accessible only by 4×4 vehicles. Visitors should coincide their excursion with the sunset or sunrise for the best photos, and keep an eye out for turtles, the Arabian oryx and flamingos, before taking a dip in the warm sea waters.
Distance from Doha: 1 hour 30 minutes
Note to editor
All distances taken from Doha’s central West Bay area.
Qatar is a peninsula surrounded by the Arabian Gulf in the heart of the Middle East, with 80% of the earth’s population within a six-hour flight. Ranked the safest country in the world in 2022 by Numbeo, Qatar welcomes all travellers, and guests from over 95 countries can enter visa-free. Qatar has an incredible variety of easily accessible tourist attractions, a plethora of fauna and flora including Whale Sharks and the majestic national animal the Arabian Oryx, and most experiences are a unique combination of cultural authenticity and modernity. From iconic museums to high-rise restaurants, from thrilling desert adventures to world-famous events including none other than the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, there is something for all types of travellers and budgets. Travellers set to transit through Qatar should turn one holiday into two with the world’s best value stopover packages, launched by Qatar Airways and Discover Qatar and supported by Qatar Tourism.
About Qatar Tourism:
Qatar Tourism is the official government body responsible for the development and promotion of tourism in Qatar, facilitating the sector’s exponential growth. Qatar is a destination where people of the world come together to experience unique offerings in arts, culture, sports, and adventure, catering to family and business visitors, rooted in Service Excellence. Qatar Tourism seeks to boost the entire tourism value chain, grow local and international visitor demand, attract inward investment, and drive a multiplier effect across the domestic economy. The Qatar Tourism Strategy 2030 sets an ambitious target to attract over six million international visitors a year by 2030, making Qatar the fastest growing destination in the Middle East.
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