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Qatar Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Qatar in 2022

Qatar Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Qatar in 2022

Welcome to Qatar

Modern architecture, traditional markets, and stunning beaches: Qatar is a country that offers a unique experience. This destination is an opportunity to dive into the Arab culture and traditions in very modern cities.

In this ultimate Qatar travel guide, we will share some Qatar travel tips and tricks and everything you need to know before arriving at the Doha or Hamad International Airport and starting this remarkable trip.

Document checklist for Qatar

  • Qatar ETA or Hayya Card

  • Valid passport (valid for at least 6 months)

  • Sufficient funds

  • Return ticket

Essential Qatar travel information

  • Official currency - Qatari Riyal (QAR). $1 is equivalent to approx. QR 3,77.

  • Daily budget for 1 person - Allow a daily budget of QAR 633 ($174).

  • Official language - Arabic.

  • Socket type - Types D and G, 240V supply voltage and 50Hz.

  • Time zone - Greenwich Mean Time (GMT): GMT+03:00.

  • Top 3 cities to visit - Doha, Al Khor, and Al Rayyan.

  • Top 3 landmarks/monuments - Museum of Islamic Art, Katara Cultural Village, and Al Zubarah Fort.

Visa information to visit Qatar

Most travelers don’t need to apply for a consular visa to enter Qatar. Otherwise, visa-free nationals have to present a Qatar ETA on arrival at the Doha or Hamad International Airport, which is an electronic travel authorization. You can use the iVisa Checker Tool to see if you are eligible for the eVisa or need to visit the embassy to get a visa.

Qatar ETA

The Qatar Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) allows visitors to apply for the document electronically. Visa-free countries or travelers who have a valid residence permit or visit visa to either Schengen countries are eligible to apply for the ETA.

It’s a single-entry visa, valid for up to 30 days after arrival. To complete the application, you must have an ordinary passport valid for at least 6 months from your arrival in Qatar.

Hayya Card

The Hayya Card is part of the country’s security strategy for the FIFA World Cup. The digital Hayya Card, also known as a Fan ID, is a mandatory entry permit that allows entry into Qatar during the sporting event and access to stadiums.

This personalized and secure identification document has the cardholder’s name, photo, status, match tickets, Hayya Card number, passport number, QR Code, and other important information linked to it. It’s a single-entry card, valid for 40 days.

Typical costs and budget for Qatar

A basic guide to what you'll spend daily traveling through Qatar on a decent budget.

Daily spending - Around QAR 633 ($174)/per person/per day on a budget vacation. This includes:

  • Meals - QAR 179 ($49)

  • Transport - QAR 67 ($18)

  • Hotel - QAR 695 ($191) for two people. On average, a trip for two for one week will cost QAR 8,862 ($2,434).

Transport and best ways to travel around Qatar

Although locals prefer to drive their expensive sports cars, public transport is an easy way to get around in Qatar. The Karwa bus system is modern and efficient. It connects Doha with every town; the only downside is that it can be slow because of reduced speed limits for buses on major highways.

Due to the World Cup investments, cities like Doha offer a modern and efficient metro. You can use a Qatar Rail travel card to use metro stations or pay via the Qatar Rail app (minimum QR5). In cities, you can also opt for taxis, which are clean, affordable, and strictly metered with the flag fare. Ride-hailing apps also operate in the country.

And, of course, you can do like the locals do and drive. A rental car is an excellent way to explore the country in your own time. Just be cautious because turn signals seem to be optional, and speeding is common, even with a QR6000 fine for running a red light.

Safety in Qatar

Qatar is the safest country among Arab and Middle East countries, according to the Global Terrorism Index 2022. The country has low crime rates and is ranked the safest country in the world in the Numbeo Crime Index in 2021 and 2022. Violent crimes are extremely rare, and petty theft exists but is not common.

However, the country is not very friendly with the LGBT+ community. It’s illegal to be gay and all sexual relations outside of a heterosexual marriage are considered a crime. The local law stipulates imprisonment between 1 and 3 years for sodomy between men, followed by deportation if you are a foreigner.

Be aware that it’s offensive to drink alcohol in public and you can’t import alcohol into the country. There is also zero tolerance for drug-related offenses.

Weather in Qatar

Qatar is one of the Middle Eastern countries in the Persian Gulf. It has a desert climate, so one thing you can be sure of is that you will have hot days on your trip. The best time to visit is during the winter months, December to February, when temperatures are mild and days are sunny, so it feels like spring. The average low temperature in the season is between around 14°C(57°F) and the high around 25°C (77°F).

On the other hand, summer temperatures are intense: the maximum is around 43°C(109 °F). This season goes from June to August and is definitely hot and sunny, but it could be hard to enjoy outdoor activities.

Spring and Autumn are also pretty hot, just a little more comfortable than summer. But it is a country where you don’t need to worry about rain or snow spoiling your plans any time of the year. You will find clear sky days on your vacation!

Qatar Travel Tips: Popular cities and towns to visit

Are you ready to get your Qatar Airways flight and explore this fantastic Islamic country in the Arabian Gulf? There is a lot to enjoy: sand dunes, Islamic art, celebrity chef restaurants with international dishes, and fantastic hotel beaches. But before that, you need a good itinerary so you won’t miss a thing. Here are some cities you should visit:

  • Doha - The capital city has sand dunes and a blue ocean to enjoy beach and water sports. In the city center, you can shop, visit historical museums, and try typical food in the local restaurants.

  • Al Khor - The city was famous for pearl diving. It’s an excellent place for relaxing days at the beach and exploring the mangroves.

  • Al Wakrah - A typical Arabian town where you can experience a bit of the taste of medieval life in Qatar and the traditional culture.

  • Al Zubarah - It’s been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013. It’s home to preserved historic buildings such as palaces, courtyard houses, fisherman’s huts, and mosques.

  • Al Rayyan - The city has a remarkable historical center with fortifications and mosques dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

Popular Attractions: Can’t Miss Sites in Qatar

Here are some Qatar travel tips about what you must-do and see in the country.

  1. Visit the Museum of Islamic Art. The Museum of Islamic Art collection with items with 1,300 years of history.

  2. Watch a performance at the Katara Opera House, in the Katara Cultural Village. It’s the home to the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, which puts on around 40 concerts a year.

  3. Explore the Al Thakira Mangroves. It’s a unique habitat where gray and white mangrove trees grow abundantly, having adapted to the salt water.

  4. Visit Souq Waqif in Doha. The traditional market is a fantastic place for shopping for fabrics, spices, sweets, souvenirs, and art.

  5. Visit Al Zubarah Fort. This UNESCO World Heritage Site in a ghost town is surrounded by archaeological works that date back to the 1700s.

Visiting Qatar: Typical Qatari food to try

  • Majboos - This traditional dish is made with spiced rice and slow-cooked chicken, lamb, or any other kind of meat.

  • Baleelat - The dish has a particular taste that mixes sweet and savory. It consists of fried vermicelli seasoned with cardamom, saffron, and rose water, which gives it its sweetness. It’s topped with an egg omelet and often with pistachios.

  • Thareed - This is a popular recipe during Ramadan, one of the favorite options to break the fast. It’s a slow-cooked stew, spiced and made of meat and vegetables.

Vaccine information for Qatar

It's important to know what routine vaccines and COVID-19 measures are required when traveling to Qatar. You can check the CDC website to learn about all vaccine requirements for visiting Doha and other Qatari cities.

Please note that all travelers coming from China are required to submit a negative PCR test result taken within 48 hours of the time of departure.

Ramadan in Qatar

Qatar is a Muslim country, so Ramadan is special for the country’s calendar. It happens in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. The Ramadan fast includes no food or water during daylight hours for the entire month. Some religious people also abstain from gossip, arguments, and physical intimacy during daylight hours.

These deprivations intend to purify physically and spiritually. At sunset, people get together to break their fast with hearty meals, known as Iftar (a large feast). The Mosques used to set up large tents to offer free Iftar.

It’s a religious date, so there are proper rules and etiquette for Muslims and non-Muslims. Non-Muslims don’t need to fast, but the recommendation is to follow the local customs. So during Ramadan, avoid public displays of affection and be aware that eating, drinking, smoking, or chewing gum in public is illegal during this time of the year.

Fun facts about Qatar

Qatar is a unique place, and there’s so much to learn about the Qatari culture! Find some fun facts to be even more fascinated about this destination!

  1. Khor Al Adaid is one of the only places in the world where the sea meets the desert. The area became a nature reserve in 2007.

  2. Just 15% of the country is Qatari. Expats living there were motivated by the great weather, the laidback lifestyle, and the tax-free salaries. There are now more than two million immigrants living in the country.

  3. Qatar is even home to the longest drilled oil well in the world, at 40,320 ft. The country drilled its first well in 1939 and started to export crude oil as early as 1949.

  4. The Doha Metro is a Guinness world-record holder. During its construction, it set the world record for the largest number of tunnel boring machines operating simultaneously in a single project.

  5. It’s the 9th richest country in the world, with a Gross National Income (GNI) of $56,210 per capita.

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