If you want to do a proper stopover with a night or two, arrange this before you buy your flight tickets! Changing the dates on the cheapest tickets afterwards can be costly.
Anyway, the office where you book tours is near the family zone in concourse A. The office near the big Lamp Bear in the centre of the airport is there just for information (in August they had an old list of visa free countries; if you’re from Slovenia and they tell you, you can’t go on the tour, don’t believe them!) The most important precondition is that you can obtain a visa on arrival. For booking they need your passport and you pay right away. Keep in mind you have to be at the office at least 90 minutes prior the tour start and your waiting time has to be more than 5 hours. There are 6 tours at different times and the price is 40 QAR (aprox. 10€)
On our informative tour (read here about 7 interesting facts about Qatar) we visited a few iconic sights of Doha, which made us just hungry for more. 😊
The first stop was a photo stop for the skyline.
We passed the beautiful Museum of Islamic art and stopped in Katara Cultural village, which we liked a lot!
FYI next to the Katara cultural village a huge shopping mall Katara Plaza was just built and opened. If I can judge by the malls in Dubai, then it’s worth a visit. Just look at the outside – like a palace.
When they dropped us at The Pearl, we were impressed by the beautiful architecture of the marina and buildings around it.
We passed downtown heading for our last and longest stop Souq Waqif – an arabian market full of shops, restaurants etc. Here we headed for Souq Waqif Art Center where the inside is like entering a story from 1001 night. As we didn’t have any local currency on us but wanted to buy a magnet as a souvenir (do you collect them too?), we were able to pay with Euros. The friendly seller said it doesn’t matter to him – Euro, Dollar or Pound, money is money.
Considering, that you have to be at the counter at least 90 minutes prior to the tour and that we needed more than 1 hour to get out of the airport, you might think about doing a city tour by yourself. The airport is quite near the city and there are several taxis waiting. A walk on the corniche, a visit to Katara cultural village, a little bit of shopping at the new shopping mall Katara Palace next to the cultural village and ending your day at Souq Waquif might be your DIY Doha city tour to fill a few hours of waiting. Please get some cash at the ATM at the airport as taxis accept only cash.
We enjoyed our tour, but are certain that next time we’ll stay at least overnight in this new bustling and growing city or even longer to explore the desert and everything else.