Doha's urban sprawl can be difficult for newcomers to navigate, with gleaming skyscrapers around every corner and numerous walled compounds. That's where guided tours can step in to save you – let the experts guide you effortlessly from museums to major outdoor attractions, stopping every so often for delicious local snacks.
Organized tours can be the ideal way to make sure your introduction to a new city runs smoothly – and in a place as multicultural as Doha, where you're every bit as likely to hear Filipino, Malay, Hindi or English as you are Arabic, it never hurts to have a multilingual guide at your side. Take a look at these two top tours of the city and surrounding areas:
This worldwide tour company has a huge selection of different Doha tours, so you're certain to find one that ticks off everything on your must-see list. If you're most excited about the legendary Qatari malls, there's a designated shopping tour that starts out at The Pearl-Qatar, an artificial island shaped like a conch that boasts brands like Roberto Cavalli, Balenciaga and Hermes. The next stop on your tour is the expansive Mall Villaggio, which has its own Venetian canal with a gondola ride that glides past the high-end boutiques and jewelry stores. There's also an indoor theme park, so if you're traveling with children, prepare to spend several hours watching them zoom down the water coaster, violently crash bumper cars and bounce around on trampolines.
If you'd prefer to investigate Doha's past, you can't do better than a day trip fishing tour. Sailing out of Doha port in a traditional Qatari dhow, you can sunbathe, swim and snorkel in between competing to see who can land the biggest catch. The tour's cost includes a professional chef to prepare and barbecue your fish, ending the day with a simple, delicious meal that's (almost) all the result of your own hard work.
This four-hour tour takes in all the city's best-known highlights, from the Corniche to the Museum of Islamic Art. You can choose to head off in either the morning or the afternoon, leaving the rest of the day free to explore the malls, head down to the beach, or return to any of the sights you wish you'd had more time at. The Museum is certainly worth several repeat visits – with items in its collection that date back 1,400 years and have been collected from across the Islamic world, it's almost impossible to see everything in one trip. If you need a break in between exhibits, breathe in some fresh sea air with a wander around the Museum Park, which leads directly down to the water's edge where paddleboats are available for hire.
Other tour highlights include the Racing and Equestrian Club, which hosts races every Thursday between October and May, and Souq Waqif, a market packed with stalls, shisha cafés and restaurants. The Souq remains one of the best windows into Doha's mercantile past, and is located just a 20-minute walk away from our Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha. Here, you can pick up every iconic souvenir in the book, from richly patterned carpets to heavy perfumes and ornate jewelry, along with modern clothes and accessories.