Forget the fact that you need Qatari Riyals to explore Doha.
Doha, a modern city, is full of history, culture, and contrast. Known as one of New7Wonders Cities, Doha has everything, be it ancient artifacts, a rapidly developing cityscape, or breathtaking panoramic views.
There is a variety of exquisite fine dining experiences, luxurious beaches, traditional souqs, and what not. It does not end here as there are many free things to do that’ll make your trip to Doha unforgettable.
Sounds exciting? So, whether you are just visiting Doha for a quick layover or planning for a longer visit, here are top things to do in Doha. And, they’re all free.
Take a Stroll around the Souq Waqif
If you want to experience Doha culture for free, walk down in the small alleys of the Souq Waqif. Take a stroll, bargain in the winding lanes, and have an authentic experience in itself. Not just shop, you can also dine in at the upscale restaurants that serve almost every regional and traditional dish.
Moreover, whether you are looking for traditional spices, dry fruits, clothing, souvenirs or local gifts and artworks, Souq Waqif (standing market in Arabic) has it all. It is located behind the Al Corniche Street and the opening hours are from 10 am to noon and 4pm-10pm.
Enjoy the Sights of Doha Bay from the Al-Corniche
Al-Corniche is a seaside promenade that stretches for several kilometers.
It runs in a horseshoe shape from the West Bay to the Museum of Islamic Art offering you unparalleled views of the skyline of Doha, Palm Tree Island, and the city. With palm trees across its entire length, it is an ideal place to soak up the atmosphere as the sound of waves hit the stone walls. Then, there are kid’s friendly areas that let you enjoy the breathtaking views with family, for free.
You can visit at any hour of the day, but evening is a great time to make the most of your time.
Learn About Falconry at the Falcon Souq
Falconry is an important part of Middle East culture (as Bedouins lived on this idea), and Falcon Souq is one of those few places, which is dedicated to this hunting practice.
At the Souq, there are a number of shops that specialize in Falcons. Moreover, there is a falcon hospital near to it, where you can know more about Falcon and Falconry.
Take a Dose of Islamic Culture at Fanar
Fanar is a spiral mosque with a stunning minaret design. Known as a basic cultural and religious hub of the city, its main mission is to get Non Arab Muslims to understand how Islam is followed in Qatar.
It also has a library and hosts Arabic classes for people to get people acquainted with the cultural side of Islam.
So, if you are anywhere near Al Corniche or Souq Waqif, do visit this destination. The entry is free and opens from Sunday to Thursday between 5am and 8pm.
Visit the Katara Cultural Village
Inspired by the original Qatar architecture, the Katara Cultural Village is spread over 1,000,000 square meters with small alleys, heritage centers, museums, opera house, art galleries, and an amphitheater. This destination is a great spot to spend some time after sunset or smoke shisha with your fellow travelers.
Katara Cultural Village is located between West Bay and Pearl and is a 5-10 minutes drive by taxi from city centre.
Witness the Traditional Artifacts at the Museum of Islamic Art
Located at Doha’s port, Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) showcases a jaw-dropping collection of art, object, and artifacts from the Islamic world.
Designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, the museum represents the Islamic art from three different continents and treasured masterpieces from all over the Middle East. Inside the museum, you can attend art exhibitions and see different types of ceramics, metalworks, manuscripts, and textiles.
The entry to the museum is free; once you have had a look around the museum, you can relax in park next to museum or the museum’s café.
Explore the Al Riwaq Exhibition Centre
In recent time, Al Riwaq Exhibition Centre is one of the most popular art galleries in Doha. Since its inception, this center works as a host for the city’s interesting exhibitions. Not just interesting, the best art exhibits are done here. And, you can visit any of the exhibitions here for free!
Spend Some Time at Villaggio Mall
Shopping centers are a part of Doha life, but Villaggio Mall stands out as one unique destination. It has a creative architecture that replicates Venice with all those canals and gondolas.
Not only it showcases a stunning structural design, but it also lets you walk through an exciting range of shopping and entertainment options. The mall is so big that it might take you a few hours to explore everything.
Amaze Yourself by Visiting the Pearl Qatar
Known as the epitome of luxury and Arabian Riviera, Pearl Qatar is a man-made island spread in almost four million square meters. It is located on the north side of Doha Bay, built on one of major pearl diving sites, hence the name.
Visit a Beach
Qatar has plenty of public beaches. You can swim or sunbath if you wish to, but, Qatar being a culturally sensitive country, remember to abide by the dress-code in public. However, these beaches are great to see something new and fancy, for birdwatching or trying something like dune bashing if you like.
Visit Zubarah Fort
Located along the north-western coast of Qatar, Al Zubarah Fort and its surrounding 60-hectare archaeological works is an UNESCO World Heritage site, and it is considered one of the hidden gems in Qatar. It covers the remains of a walled coastal town that was one Gulf’s most important pearl diving and trading centres. With a visit to this site, you can see what Qatar was like in the past.
Visit a Museum
The museums in Doha are worth visiting. From the renowned Museum of Islamic Arts to the modern art museum Mathaf, the museums have visitors all through. Some of their special exhibitions are free of charge.
Take a Stroll in the Park
Despite being a desert country, Qatar definitely does not look like one, what with the several public green spaces. From the modern and innovative Oxygen Park to the Museum of Islamic Art Park offering views of the West Bay skyline, there are several parks for you to just take a long stroll on a relaxed evening.
Visit the Many Shopping Malls
Qatar has no dearth for malls, so when free consider visiting one of the many malls here. It could get expensive only based on your shopping compulsions. From the largest mall in Qatar, namely the Festival City, to the new malls of Qatar, there are plenty to visit. So, a visit to the mall cannot to be missed, even if for window-shopping.
Walk along the Doha Corniche
This should be your ideal winter activity. It takes less than an hour to walk along the Corniche, and you can get a great view of several of Doha's popular sites from the Corniche!
However, you’ll have to come back to Doha in a little while to complete your journey. By ticking off this list, the only thing that you will be short of is time.
With so many free, your expenses will be in place, you’ll see the best of Doha city, and you can shop as much you want.
As they say, the best things in life are free.