Once again, the shiekdom of Qatar has been rated as the safest country in the world for visitors. It is best known for dramatic skyline of ultra-modern skyscrapers, picturesque beaches and ancient markets.
Since the country is a peninsula, it offers the perfect blend of sun, sand, and sea. And now that the crowds attending the recent FIFA World Cup soccer games have gone home, it’s an ideal time to visit.
The safety title is via the Numbeo Crime Index 2023, the world’s largest cost of living database.
The rating is based on factors including quality of life, housing, crime rates, and quality of healthcare, transport facilities, and other similar statistics. The index surveyed 142 countries and Qatar ranked first.
This is the fifth time Qatar has been top-rated. Qatar’s main city, Doha, also has a top-rated airport, and fast rail transportation between the airport and downtown.
Post-soccer, Qatar also is marketing some of the top tourism trends for 2023 – family travel, wellness travel, culinary and cultural experiences, and outdoor adventure
What to See and Do in Qatar
National Museum of Qatar
Designed by “star-chitect” Jean Nouvel, this dramatic structure draws inspiration from and recreates the naturally occurring crystal formations – the desert rose.
The museum houses 11 galleries which allow visitors to witness the changing fortunes of the country. Spread across 430,500 square feet, it gives a voice to Qatar’s heritage whilst celebrating its future.
It is adjacent to the former palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim al Thani.
This ancient and traditional market is popular with both local residents and visitors.
The labyrinthine alleys present cultural wonders like regional music, artistic shows, and local eateries and restaurants.
Khor Al Adaid
A UNESCO-recognized site, this is s one of the few places in the world where the sea meets the desert at what locals call The Inland Sea – a tidal lake – about one hour from Doha. Dunes here reach 100 feet or more.
The undulating sand dunes are a popular destination for recreational safari and dune bashing. Rent an ATV and climb the dunes.
Or sit quietly at one of the watering holes and watch a parade of oryx, gazelles and other wildlife. Go fishing, or, take a camel ride.
Bin Ghannam Island
Also known as Purple Island – because this is where the purple dye industry was located several thousand years ago – this is a green oasis of trees, plants, flowers and wandering rivers.
It’s popular for birdwatching, and also just one hour from Doha.
Qatar National Library
Every book is visible is designed by another world-renowned architect, Rem Koolhaas.
It is built to resemble two pieces of paper that are pulled apart and folded diagonally at the corners to create a shell-like structure. The library provides a holistic environment that fosters learning, growth, and innovation.
The Pearl – Qatar
This artificial man-made island spread across 4 million square meters and houses hotels, charming cafes, and a number of restaurants.
It also has an iconic marina view with luxury boutiques, residential buildings, and more.
Katara Cultural Village
This is a self-styled cultural village nestled between the modern city lights of Doha.
In addition to several noteworthy mosques, there is a large outdoor amphitheatre, art galleries, restaurants and shopping. For many Qataris, it is the go-to destination for art, culture, and cuisine.
Travel Trends in Qatar
Doha Quest is a theme park featuring a mix of adrenaline-heavy thrill rides, media-controlled simulators, virtual reality experiences and miniature thrill rides for the younger guests.
The Museum of Illusions offers captivating exhibits about the human brain, perception, science and vision. And there are child-friendly exhibits, with innovative audio-visual techniques and interactive technologies, at the National Museum of Qatar.
Those interested in renewing and refreshing with holistic and natural wellness should visit Qatar’s largest wellness destination and first wellbeing property in the Middle East, Zulal Wellness Resort.
Using traditional Arabic and Islamic medicine, plus holistic wellness, Zulal is a haven for wellness enthusiasts, immersing guests in true serenity, surrounded by a natural and picturesque landscape.
Also, the newly developed Andaz Doha offers invigorating Hammam treatments where guests can experience ancient Eastern cleansing ritual.
The Rosewood Doha, opening in 2023, which will feature Asaya, the hotel chain’s signature wellbeing concept, offering total discretion and relaxation, along with a fitness center with state-of-the-art training equipment.
Authentic Food & Culture Experiences:
Qatar is great destination for food enthusiasts. Travelers can taste local Qatari dishes at Shay Al Shomous at Souq Waqif, famous for its charismatic owner Shams Al Qassabi. Gahwetna at The Pearl-Qatar serves authentic local delicacies, such as moshakshaka and zaatar.
For extravagance, Jiwan at the National Museum of Qatar, takes diners on a contemporary journey of Qatari cuisine. At Saasna, in Msheireb Downtown Doha, Qatari chefs prepare local classics such as baddawi, saloona meat and saffron cake.
To become immersed in Qatar’s historical roots and traditions, travelers can visit Al Samriya Farm and the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum. The museum houses the Sheikh’s personal collection, including Islamic art, Qatari heritage, vehicles, handmade carpets, coins and currency, from more than four continents.
Visitors also can enjoy a cultural session at Embrace Doha to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Qatari culture and traditions. These highly interactive and engaging cultural experience are authentic and cover Qatari hospitality, greetings and traditional clothing norms
What to Wear in Qatar
Qatar is less strict than some other Middle Eastern destinations. But –
Both male and female visitors are expected to show respect for local culture by avoiding excessively revealing clothing in public. It is generally recommended for men and women to ensure their shoulders and knees are covered.
That means no shorts, mini-skirts or tank tops.
Qatar has an extensive program for accessibility.
The Accessible Qatar smartphone app provides information about accessibility and facilities at different public and touristic venues across the country.
Ooredoo Qatar has partnered with Wheel the World to offer accessible tourist experiences to differently abled visitors.
For more information, visit www.visitqatar.com.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA) and is a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)
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