You won’t believe you’ll find this in Doha

Oct 09,2015

This once-sleepy capital has awoken in recent years and offers a surprisingly diverse mix of food, culture and adventure. Whether you’re there for business or just passing through, there’s more to Doha than just The Pearl-Qatar. Throw away the tourist guides, and you’ll discover paddle boarding in Venice-like canals, camel racing and one of the world’s most exotic car collections. Here are a few star picks by Millennium Hotels and Resorts.

Chill out by the water

A decent meal can do wonders for your jet lag, and Katara boasts an international selection of restaurants alongside its scenic waterfront promenade. Home to several art galleries, an open-air amphitheatre and a public beach, it’s popular among local Qataris and the large expat population.

Amphitheatre at Katara

Sitting on a man-made island alongside the harbour, the Museum of Islamic Art is a well-known tourist attraction, but there’s more to it than just art and artefacts. Hidden away on the top floor is IDAM, a fine dining restaurant opened by renowned French chef Alain Ducasse and designed by the equally famous Philippe Starck. It serves both Qatari classics like roast camel and more contemporary cuisine including an elaborate flower salad.

Action under the desert sun

While food and culture are the preferred leisure activities in Doha, there’s plenty of adventure to be found within the city. If you want a unique photo opportunity (and a little exercise), you can try paddle boarding the pastel-coloured canals at Qanat Quartier, a giant replica of Venice.

Doha's Venice-like canals

If you’d prefer to see the desert landscape up close and personal, a ‘dune bashing’ tour will take you on a 4x4 journey down to the Saudi border and the inland sea that separates the two countries. Speak to your Millennium concierge who can organise a driver to pick you up and give you a first-hand glimpse of the shifting sands.

On your way back, it’s worth making a stop at the lesser-known Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum. Located about an hour outside of town, this is an old fort housing the Sheikh’s private collection of vintage cars, toys and trinkets. The museum’s 15 halls hold more than 15,000 artefacts, including ancient Qurans and Yemeni daggers. The opening hours are as ad hoc as the collection, but for a fascinating snapshot of local culture it’s unsurpassed and puts more official museums to shame.

Credit: Photo by Jenny Brown/CC BY 2.0

If that isn’t enough excitement for one day, the Losail International Circuit allows you to take your own car around the track on public days. So if you’ve ever harboured a desire to rent a seriously fast sports car and see what it can do on an open stretch of road, this is the perfect opportunity.

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