Important facts and information to know when visiting Qatar
The small Gulf nation of Qatar juts into the Arabian Gulf. Best known for its glitzy modern high rises, it still has an ancient Bedouin past, plenty of green parks and many wonderful cultural experiences that families will enjoy.
Visiting Qatar Important Facts
|Official Name||State of Qatar
|Currency||Qatari Riyal 1OR=0.27USD fixed
|Language||Arabic, english widely spoken
|Religion||Muslim (But large expat population of Christians, Hindu, Buddhist)
|Leadership||Constitutional Monarchy, Emir of Qatar is Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
|Important Dates||National Day 18 December; Ramdan, Eid & Islamic celebrations observed
|Electrics||240v Mostly Type G (British), some Type D
|Visas||Free visit visa on arrival for 80+ countries
|Safety||Crime levels low but in political dispute with GCC neighbours
Qatar visa information
- Most visitors can enter Qatar with a free visa on arrival (NB this change was introduced mid-2017)
- There are over 80 countries that are now eligible for the Visa on arrival and 34 countries that are eligible for a 180-day waiver, allowing up to 90 days to be spent in the country – the most generous tourist visa of all Middle East countries
- If you are not eligible for free entry as listed in these 80 countries, but hold a residents permit or visit visa to GCC countries Australia, Canada, UK, USA or NZ you can obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation online free of charge prior to travelling
- If none of the above applies to your country, you can still obtain a Tourist Visa online through Qatar Visa Service which costs 100QAR for 30 days.
Points for family visitors to be aware of in Qatar
- Ladies are not required to be fully covered in public but are best to dress conservatively in public places. Beach clubs and private resorts will have different dress codes. You can find our detailed guide on what to wear here.
- Qatar is a very family orientated country – the Qatari’s tend to have large families and there are usually children’s entertainment hubs to be found wherever you go from parks to shopping malls and restaurants
- You will have no problem getting baby supplies and major international brands from the plentiful shopping malls
General travel tips for visiting Qatar
- Due to the current diplomatic dispute between Gulf nations, you cannot make direct connections between the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, you will need to find connecting flights elsewhere for the indefinite future. The diplomatic dispute should not directly affect tourists in any other way.
See our regional guide to culture and religion for more – coming soon
When is it best to visit Qatar
Qatar is a hot, arid desert country. Summers can be stiflingly hot, up to 50c during the daytimes with mild winters. It can rain in the winter but it is sporadic and unpredictable.
The best time to visit is from November through to April. The springtime sees the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) and many festive events.
Most popular attractions in Qatar
Much of the interest is in the capital Doha, but attractions do spread beyond to the desert.
- Museum of Islamic Art – one of the best showcases in the region in an architecturally stunning building
- Souq Waqif – restored to its traditional glory a hugely popular spot for tourists and locals alike; everything from perfume to pets can be found here
- MIA Park – fabulous parklands including playgrounds in front of the Museum of Islamic Art
- Al Corniche – walk along the cities 4km shoreline on this multi-purpose promenade, spectacular views of the city and the ocean
- Aspire Park – one of the largest, lush park spaces in the Gulf. Includes Aspire Tower, a legacy from the 15th Asian Games
- The Pearl – Modern Doha: a man-made island off Doha’s west bay for high-end hotels and boutiques as well as a marina and many dining options
- Katara Cultural Village – between West Bay and the Pearl, it is home to huge festival events
- Khor Al Udeid – where the sea is surrounded by desert – an inland sea with giant sand dunes to combine the best of the beach and the desert
Qatar with Kids – Our Travel Stories
- How to do a Stopover in Doha – layover at the airport or get out and explore the city & the desert?
- Seeking out the best of Doha with Kids – a look at the top outdoor and indoor attractions in Doha as well as day trips families will enjoy
- What to wear in Doha & Qatar – helping you understand the Islamic dress code for tourists and what kids and adults should wear
- Top attractions and places to visit in Qatar – from the major sites of Doha to heritage sites and exciting natural phenomena around the country
Contribute to this section
Have you been to Qatar with or without kids? We are looking for more contributors to this category, can you help? Pop over and see our contributors page and find out how you can get involved in building our resource library for fellow visitors to Qatar.
Further reading and resources on Qatar
Blogs & Social
Do you have any Qatar based blogs or social channels to recommend?
Visit Qatar – Official Tourism Authority site
Online Qatar – a great resource for local happenings, restaurant guide, jobs and much more
Iloveqatar – another great local resource with detailed guides to local attractions
Here are some popular recommendations for reading resources and guidebooks
Recommended Tours and Drivers
Do you have a favourite tour or driver to recommend?
Movies and literature
Do you have any books or movies based in Qatar to recommend? Know the secrets behind Film City?
Sorry, nothing in this category (yet!) Can you help recommend something.
Plan your trip to Qatar
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NB please check facts with the appropriate authorities before travelling. Information correct to best of our knowledge as at September 2019. This page contains affiliate links