Earlier this month I was invited to Doha to review the things to do in Doha in summer. As part of the Doha Summer Festival organized by the Qatar National Tourism Council many things are organized in the summer to keep people entertained.
I first asked myself, if I should really go to Doha by 46degrees. As I like the heat much better than the cold I decided why not. At least I would know what people mean when they say it is REALLY hot in the Middle East in summer.
Of course by such temperature you can’t be too active and walk around all day but there are still plenty of things to do. Even in the summer you might see Doha from a different angle. With much less tourist and do things you would maybe not do otherwise.
Eat at amazing restaurants
With started our few days in Doha with a Lunch at Smat, a restaurant that was awarded best restaurant in Doha in 2019. It serves Qatari specialities. A great way to discover the Qatari culture. We ate among other : Harees Nata, a very traditional dish. It is veal cooked for 6 hours in Harees wheat. Quite special but definitely worth trying!
Over the next few days we tried many other great restaurants. Doha has plenty of them and from all cultures. All with an interior more amazing than the others. Because everything is just always extra in Doha. We ate Turkish at Sukar Pasha at the Katara Cultural village, Asian at Spice village and Iranian at Parisa (if you don’t eat there, at least enter to see how beautiful is this restaurant. It is situated at Souq Waqif).
Museum of Islamic Art and Qatar National Museum
Museums are definitely some of the things to do in Doha in summer. There are plenty of museums in Doha but those two are probably the most interesting. Both museum are great architectural structures.
The Museum of Islamic Art
The Museum of Islamic Art was designed by Im Pei and following what the museum showcases : Islamic art over + 1400 years, the top of the structure remembers the veiled women of Qatar Beside this, the museum also has amazing views over the Doha Bay! A great place to see the sunset!
The Qatar national museum
The Qatar national museum was designed by French Architect Jean Nouvel ( I am a bit proud here) who was inspired by the desert rose crystal for the structure. The building is huge and looks so complex I am wondering how complicated it has been to design it. Inside is told the story of Qatar. From the prehistoric until now. It also shows how Doha looked like in the 80’s. It is so impressive how much the city has changed in such a short period of time.
Day trip to Banana Island
Doha has two main island. the most famous one is the Pearl. I haven’t had the chance to see it yet but it is definitely on my list for next time and Banana Island. While The Pearl is kind of a city in itself where you can shop, go to restaurants, etc Banana Island is a leisure island. It belongs to the Anantara group. Therefore it is a luxury hotel but you can go there for a day and enjoy the beach, the pools, spa (it is amazing by the way we had a massage there), and other facilities. It is perfect if your hotel don’t have a beach for example or if you want to pamper yourself. The sea is so clear, I called it the Maldives of Qatar!
Things to do in Doha in Summer : SHOPPING
Doha has plenty of malls. Actually locals love to go to the malls especially in the summer because there is AC and malls have a special program for entertainment that is especially interesting if you have children. We visited 2 malls : Mirqab mall where they drop balloons every evening. In the balloons there a vouchers for the stores. No need to say the children went crazy here 😀 We also visited Festival city in the North of Doha. It is a HUGE mall with an amusement park inside : Angry Birds which attractions are inspired by the video game and movie.
I am not so much into malls but malls in Doha are different and are worth visiting. You should add at least one to your itinerary when in Doha. Next time I would want to visit the Villaggio mall that looks like Venice and where you can find all luxury brands. It was awarded by Forbes to be one of the best mall in the world.
Summer in Qatar means even more entertainment
As I said above, summer in Qatar (SIQ) is an operation created by the Qatar National Tourism council. During summer they organized a bunch of events ranging from live concerts, comedy shows, game parks etc. Best is to check the program to see what is going on!
Highlights at Souq Waqif and Falcon hospital
One of the things to do in Doha in Summer or any season! You just can’t miss the Souq Waqif. The Souq Waqif burnt a few years ago but it has been rebuilt since. The Souq Waqif is a great experience if you like shopping and bargaining. It will also be a good place to buy souvenirs. Don’t miss the handicraft area where you can find only 100% Qatari products. Also did you know that pearls were a big thing in Qatar in the past? If you are interested in this or if you want to buy yourself some pearl jewelry, don’t miss the Old Pearl diver shop. The owner dives himself to get the pearl he sells you and he is the only one in the souq to do so.
What you should not miss is the Falcon Souk. There you can buy falcons but it is also the place where their owner drop them in the morning and pick them up in the evening after work. A nursery for falcons! Don’t miss also the falcon hospital next door. It is an hospital dedicated to falcons. Indeed this bird is the national animal in Qatar and most people have one or more at home! Fascinating.
For more birds there is also a part at Souq Waqif interesting to see that is dedicated to them. There you will see all kind of birds from pigeons to parrots.
In the souk, we also played Dama, a traditional game from the Middle East. It is normally reserved to men but there are a few places in the souk where women can play too!
Finally if you like art, there is an alley where you can buy drawings and paintings.
Summer in Qatar : Book an hotel by the beach or with a pool
As summer is very hot in Qatar you might want to also refresh yourself at the beach or at the pool so I would recommend to book an hotel with a beach or pool. We stayed at the Sharq / Ritz Carlton. It is a luxury hotel situated 15 minutes way by car from the city center. It was absolutely amazing with two pools and a large private beach. Also I liked it a lot as many young people were hanging by the pool. Always nice to meet new people!
Things to do in Qatar in Summer – Fazit
There are plenty of things to do in Qatar in Summer. So don’t be afraid of the high temperatures if you have the chance to go. From what I saw French people were not afraid of it. I saw so many French people in vacation when we were there 😀
Also from what I had heard before I was thinking that 3 days in Doha are enough but if you want to enjoy if fully and maybe add a trip to the desert i would recommend to stay at least 5 days!