Creating Memories in Qatar - A Guide to Recreation in Qatar

Qatar may be a small peninsula, but there is much to do and see. From its capital at Doha, to its barren northwestern shores, Qatar offers many recreational opportunities to those wishing to relax and to those wishing to be active. This guide highlights, in brief, some of the activities you don't want to miss while living in or visiting Qatar.

Music and Theatre:

With daytime temperatures in Qatar reaching even above 42C (108F), most activities in Doha are enjoyed after sunset. For theatre connoisseurs, there is ample opportunity to become involved. Residents of Qatar can catch performances by visiting foreign theatrical troupes at the newly-built, 500-seat Qatar National Theatre in Doha, or participate in the production of amateur plays through community-run Doha Players theatre company.

Music is also an important part of Doha's nightlife. The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra offers professional sound for those longing for European Classical flavour. Visitors to Doha may also participate in the Doha Community Orchestra, which is composed of musicians from all around the world who are aged eight to 60 years old. There are also many opportunities to hear local and international pop music at Doha's many hotel lounges and bars.

And don't forget the annual Doha Tribeca Film Festival!

Museums:

Qatar's most famous museum is the Doha Museum of Islamic Art. Designed by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei, the Doha Museum of Islamic Art is home to a large collection of ancient artifacts pertaining to Islamic culture from the Fertile Crescent to the ancient Biblical lands. No visit to Doha is complete without visiting this historical harbor of treasures. See the video from our visit in late 2011.

A few hours outside Doha, one finds the Al Zubarah Fortification. Built in 1938, the fort symbolizes a time when Qatar was not as strong as it is today. The fort stands as a testament to Qatar's beginnings as a nation.

Athletics:

Perhaps the most popular pastime in Doha is strolling along the Corniche, which is about 4.5 km (seven miles) long. The best way to explore this seaside strip is by bicycle. Qatar has recently begun a bicycle-sharing program, named Q-Bike, which makes bicycles easily available to anyone wanting to see the Corniche and burn calories at the same time.

With tennis and squash courts, swimming pools, and elite sports center, recreation clubs in Doha offer a rich variety of recreational activities. [Doha Golf Club[(http://www.hziegler.com/locations/middle-east/qatar/articles/video-doha-golf-club.html) is a sight to behold, boasting an internationally recognized 18-hole course, which hosts the annual Qatar Masters tournament. Qatar hosts many annual sporting events such as tennis, golf, and automobile racing and it will be the first Middle Eastern country to host the World Cup football competition in 2022.

The Qatar West Coast Hash Harriers are the group to contact for those who love running or hiking, and who will be staying in Qatar for an extended period of time. The group, which is composed entirely of expatriates living in Qatar, organizes social and exciting desert-running events. Essentially, this group is for those who wish to make friends and see Doha's vast singing dunes at the same time.

And for a good workout for the heart and lungs — while sitting down – consider going dune-bashing.

Traditional Activities:

Traditional Arabic activities include horse racing, camel racing, and falconry. To immerse yourself in the magic of the Middle East, visit Qatar's Racing and Equestrian Club in Doha, which features camel and horse championships. The club also provides opportunities to ride. Qatar offers a variety of cultural adventures and team building activities for groups, such as dining in the desert, dhow cruises (traditional sailing vessels), and theme events on private beaches.

Shopping:

Since Qatar is now the richest country on the planet, one expects the shopping to be luxurious and expensive. Although this is the case at Doha's many malls, such as the largest, the Villagio the best place to discover Doha's shopping culture is through the Souqs, particularly Doha's famous Souq Waqif. The souqs are traditional Arab markets where one can find anything from spices to elaborate gold masterpieces to falcons!

Qatar truly offers the best of both worlds and welcomes visitors to explore the luxury of the Middle East.

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