Thinking about how to explore Qatar is one of those life questions that you didn’t know you needed to know… until you do. Given the appeal of Qatar Airways, their incredible stopover deals, and the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, every traveller needs to know how easy (and cheap) it is to navigate Qatar.
Good job we won’t leave you hanging, then. We’ve got all the info you need on navigating Qatar on foot, by bike, by tram, and on their next-level metro, for virtually nothing.
Explore Qatar by metro
Did you know that Doha Metro is one of the most advanced train systems in the world? Operational since 2019, this state-of-the-art network features 100 km/h trains, driverless carriages, and even a Gold Class for premium passengers.
That would ease any effects of jet lag, surely?
For soccer-mad fans attending the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™, the metro is the most practical and inexpensive way to attend matches. The system links Hamad International Airport (HIA) with five of the eight stadiums. Score (and not just in goals).
A journey costs as little as 2 QAR for a one-way trip (78 Aussie cents) and you can snag a reusable travel card (valid for five years) for 10 QAR ($3.87). Hop aboard the system’s red, green, and gold lines to link the capital’s best cultural, leisure, and shopping attractions.
Want to go further afield? The free Metrolink bus service provides free shuttle rides across the city to metro station entrances, including to the airport. Take the red line to reach Katara, Doha’s go-to destination for arts, culture, and cuisine.
The West Bay line will get you to the city’s skyscraper-laden central district or board Msheireb to access the downtown sustainable revival of the old commercial district. The al fresco dining options here are lush.
Want to explore the iconic National Museum of Qatar and Souq Waqif’s bustling marketplace? Take the gold line. It also gets you to Aspire, Zone, a large green area featuring parks, the Khalifa International Stadium, the 300m-tall The Torch Doha, Villaggio Mall and the new 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum.
Another thing you didn’t know you needed to know, the Sports Museum displays objects such as Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves, Pelé’s World Cup-winning football boots, and Michael Schumacher’s title-winning F1 car from 2000!
If Education City is your destination, the green line will whizz you to the university campuses, parks, stunning Education City Mosque, and the Qatar National Library. The line then extends out to the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium and Mall of Qatar.
If trams are your jam
While Qatar has many amazing traditional sites, their tram is not one of them. This is a whizz-bang modern tram that complements the Doha Metro with a series of tram services in specific city districts.
Want to experience the tram for free? Hop aboard either the Education City Tram or Msheireb Tram. At the heart of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, you’ll find Lusail. The tram, which launched at the start of 2022, provides an extensive route around Lusail.
Lusail is also Qatar’s sustainable city of the future! Sights here include Lusail Stadium (the soccer final’s stadium!) and Place Vendôme. The latter is a giant new luxury shopping mall with a central canal, dancing water fountains, and 500+ high-end and mid-range stores. Stopover shopping just got better (especially as the tram ticket costs are 78c)!
On your bike (around Qatar)
Biker lovers rejoice as it’s never been easier to experience the city on two wheels! The government is focused on active, healthy lifestyles with the continued development of new bike tracks.
The most notable of all the bike routes are the Olympic Cycling Track, which opened in 2020. At 33 kilometres, this track holds the Guinness World Record for the longest continuous cycle path in the world. You can ride this non-stop thanks to five bridges and nearly 30 underpasses.
Out at the Lusail International Circuit, there’s also a 5-kilometre track for cyclists, runners, walkers, and skaters, with free training every Wednesday evening (a great way to meet the locals if you’re in town).
The circuit also hosts F1 cars and MotoGP bikes. Obvs you’re not packing your bike on your vacay, but all is not lost as bicycles can be hired at the track for a small fee.
If you’d prefer a less intense, more lush ride, head to Al Bidda Park, where five kilometres of smooth riding get you connected to the verdant natural greenery.
Another five-kilometre track lies in Aspire Zone Park, where special helmets are provided and a Learn to Ride initiative encourages children to hop onto two wheels. For more cycling-inspired Qatar activities, head here.
These boots are made for walking
To maximise your Qatar cultural hit, a walk around Doha’s Corniche and the downtown area is arguably the best introduction for first-time visitors to soak up Qatari culture.
Stroll the large park outside the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), walking to the nearly 25 metres high ‘7’ sculpture by the acclaimed American artist Richard Serra. His tallest ever creation, ‘7’ is made from seven steel plates in reference to the significance of the number in Islamic culture.
Keep your momentum going at the nearby MIA Park in Doha Harbour along the corniche. You can’t miss the hundreds of dhows (traditional wooden boats) that line the shore. Dhows were the backbone of Qatar’s economy when pearl diving was the country’s main industry.
From the corniche, immerse yourself in the ambience of the Souq Waqif, Qatar’s iconic traditional marketplace. Originally a weekend market for Bedouins, the restored souq offers a maze of narrow alleyways lined with small shops, cafes, and restaurants.
At the souq’s exit, a series of staircases and escalators take visitors up into Msheireb Downtown Doha, a walk that blends Qatar’s ancient heritage into its vibrant future. Msheireb is the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project and comprises more than 100 buildings housing art galleries, shops and cafes.
Overall, walking here is a rewarding glimpse into Qatar’s history and culture, leaving a lasting impression of the Pearl of the Gulf.
For more on the World’s Best Value Stopover in Qatar, head to Stopover in Qatar! Here’s why Qatar has the best value packages for everyone
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