Qatari Rial (QAR)
Dialing Code
Annual Visitors

Qatar Travel Guide

The eyes of the world are on Qatar right now. In just forty years, this small Gulf state has been catapulted from one of the poorest countries in the region to the richest (per capita) in the world. Fuelled by oil and natural gas revenue, Qatar is developing at breakneck speed, and everything from universities to shopping malls, 5-star hotels to football stadiums (thanks to the controversial 2022 World Cup) springing up along the desert floor.

Modern Qatar is, for all intents and purposes, a city-state. Over half of the country’s population lives in and around the capital, Doha. Most other towns are Qatari Oil compounds. The country does also have its share of natural beauty. Gorgeous beaches line the western coast in places like Dukhan and the spectacular Khor al-Adaid (Inland Sea) in the south complement the country's many charms.

While the skyscrapers, malls and manmade beaches suggest that Doha is an understudy to Dubai, in reality, Qatar remains a deeply traditional country, sharing far more in common with neighbouring Saudi Arabia. However, in the last few years, under Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar has rapidly pursued liberal globalisation. With more rights for women, massive humanitarian investment and a safe haven for political and religious exiles during the Arab Spring, Qatar is attempting to distance itself from its far more religiously conservative neighbours.

While it is in the process of liberalisation, Qatar has not lost sight of its deeply ingrained religious and cultural heritage: alcohol is only served in hotel bars and restaurants; work calendars are very much decided by religious commitments such as Ramadan; traditional sports such as falconry and camel-racing remain popular pastimes. Indeed, much like the geometrically patterned Islamic Art found all over the country, Qatar is a complex, yet beautiful country, steeped in its traditional history.


Hare | © OpenStreetMap contributors

Major Airports