Home » Destinations » Middle East » Tips for a 26-Hour Stopover in Doha, Qatar
Tips for a 26-Hour Stopover in Doha, Qatar

Tips for a 26-Hour Stopover in Doha, Qatar

by Michael Soncina
This article may contain affiliate links. This means that clicking on or purchasing products we recommend through a link may earn us a small commission. For more information read our disclaimer page.

Share this article with your friends!

Ever since I was a child, I have had dreams of Arabian nights. Nomadic cultures, grand mosques and Silk Road souks have always sparked my imagination. So when booking a trip to Singapore, I noticed I could arrange a stopover Doha Qatar; I could not let the opportunity pass me. After spending just short of 26 hours in Doha, I can tell you Hamad International Airport is the perfect hub for a city starting to bloom into a tourist destination.

To be completely honest, if you were to compare Doha to food, I would suggest you have a taste as opposed to a meal. A few hours on a Qatar stopover in the city are more than enough. Apart from the malls, souk (open-air market, or bazaar), Katara Cultural Village Amphitheater and the Islamic Art Museum, there just is not much there. With this said, though, a trip to the city is easy to organise.

Tips for a 26-Hour Stopover in Doha, Qatar - Katara Cultural Village Amphitheater

Qatar Airlines Free City Tour Service

If you book on Qatar Airlines, like I did, they offer a complimentary tour of Doha. The Doha stopover tour is based on a first come first serve system (6 am being the best time to meet.) The sign up is easy to find at the airport under the giant “B.” The Qatar stopover tour generally goes past the Islamic Art Museum, the embassy district and ends at the souk. The Doha free tour remarkably showcases the wealth of Doha and what a Gulf capital has to offer. The nicest feature of this tour is the 30 minutes at the end where you can explore the souk. It is the only place in the city where locals and tourists seem to mix, and the falafel is pretty good too.

Tips for a 26-Hour Stopover in Doha, Qatar - Falafell

Stopover Doha Qatar Independent Tour

If you’re like me and prefer touring independently, you can pick up a visa at the airport. The visa costs around USD 30 and gives you 24-hour access to the city. As I mentioned before, the free city tour covers most of the highlights of the city, but if you want to visit the Islamic Art Museum or the souk in-depth, you will need to grab a visa.

Tips for a 26-Hour Stopover in Doha, Qatar - Museum of Islamic Art

The museum is free and has an extensive collection of Islamic art organised chronologically with the highest floor left for alternating exhibits. If you are looking for souvenirs, the gift shop on the main floor has a fantastic selection of books, trinkets and art. One of the best features of the museum is the café overlooking the Gulf making for a beautiful and relaxing break. Since I was at the museum on a Saturday, the park next door was holding their weekly market. Only 15 % of Doha are locals while everyone else is a migrant worker. This Saturday market is a perfect opportunity to see the city’s diversity: Indonesians, Thais, Malaysians, and Indians all selling their cultural foods. The entire park smelled like pad thai, beef soup and Indian Biryani. Oh and just a warning but the Indonesian meatballs were super spicy! In addition to food, the park was full with various vendors selling handmade art or second-hand clothes.

Tips for a 26-Hour Stopover Doha, Qatar

Doha Stop over Airport Hotel

If you choose to stay in the airport during your time in Doha, there are a couple of great options to spend a long layover. For those who want a high level of comfort, the “Airport Hotel”, yes that’s the official name, offers the best option. The Doha airport short stay hotel located in Hamad airport is only available to people on a layover. The rooms are well-organised and offer all of the amenities one comes to expect from a 4-star hotel. All hotel reservations come with access to the “Vitality” — a fitness centre with a pool, gym, massage area, and squash court. If you do decide to use the lounge, remember to bring your bathing suit and a towel, but for those who forget, bathing suits are available for around 30 USD. One of the coolest aspects of the fitness centre is the squash court. For those travelling alone, the spa will rent you running shoes and will even provide someone to play with; it’s a great way to kill some time. With this said, though, for an 8-24 hour layover a hotel room is approx. 200 USD and I do not recommend this option unless you have money to burn.

Tips for a 26-Hour Stop over Doha, Qatar - Airport Hotel Vitality Pool

For those looking for a more economical option for their Doha layover, the “Vitality” lounge also offers an all-access pass for around USD 30 giving you access to everything the spa has to offer. Another option right below the hotel and Vitality fitness centre are two lounges. The Al-Maha transit lounge and the Oryx transit lounge can both be accessed for $55 USD an evening. Though these two lounges are located on the same floor right next to each other, there is only one main difference in the way that they operate. The Al-Maha transit lounge is the one affiliated with all the airline and credit card point programs. So if you have that platinum American Express travel card, you can get free access to the lounge for the duration of your layover in Doha. In my opinion, though, the Oryx lounge is the better choice with its quiet room, video games, and a free flow of alcohol and snacks. In summary: the Oryx offers a lot of comfort for a long stopover in Doha. If you put it into perspective, a meal in the food court ranges from USD 10-30, but if you fall asleep in some random seat, you may wake up with all of your belongings gone. So, in my opinion, USD 55 is fairly reasonable for food, drink and shelter.

All in all, I would say Doha is not ready for tourism yet but with its winning bid to hold the World Cup 2018, the city did get better. The area, in which city does shine, is as a comfortable stopover in Qatar. Hamad Airport with its Airport hotel, lounges and free city tours makes for one of the most accommodating airports in the world – just don’t forget your trunks if you decide to take a dip in the pool!

Tips for a 26-Hour Stopover Doha, Qatar by Calculated Traveller | #Doha #Qatar #travel #layover #airport #tips

What did you do on your 24 hour Qatar airways stopover in Doha, Qatar?

Travelling to the Middle East? Check out these articles:
Sustainable Jordan at the Feynan Ecolodge
Decapolis League – The Roman Ruins of Jerash, Jordan

For more tips and advice when flying, check out:
16 Awesome Airport and Airplane Travel Tips
Top 10 Tips for Flying With a Toddler

Share this article with your friends!

5 comments

The Jetset Boyz June 29, 2017 - 8:23 am

Some good news if you’re flying with Qatar Airways and changing planes in Doha.

You can get the new Transit Visa free of cost when you add a stopover of between five and 96 hours in Doha. Use the multi-city booking option to include the stop in Doha when booking your flight on qatarairways.com or contact your nearest Qatar Airways office. You must apply for your pre-approved transit visa at least seven days (excluding public holidays) prior to your departure. The visa is valid for 30 days from the date of issuance.

Reply
Douglas Deming April 1, 2016 - 5:41 am

Hi Michael, I have yet to go to Doha but it has always been on my list. You helped to move it much closer to the top. I also was unaware I even needed a visa, but good to know it is only $30 and can be acquired at the airport.

Reply
Michael Soncina April 1, 2016 - 9:04 am

Hi Douglas,

Canadians and Americans need the Visa to my knowledge. Enjoy the city, but like I said keep it a short visit or you may be disappointed.

Reply
Cherri Megasko March 24, 2016 - 12:11 pm

Jeepers creepers! What a great post! So many inviting choices, but I have no doubt I would feel compelled to visit the souk and try a few of the local foods.

Reply
Michael Soncina March 24, 2016 - 12:59 pm

Cherri Thanks! The food was good… Actually the most common dishes are Indian like Bryanni and Rotti. Though the fresh hummus was delicious and make sure to try the lemon/ mint drinks. 🙂

Reply

Leave a Comment

* By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More