Top 10 Things Qatar Is Famous For - Updated 2024

| 6 min read

While one may draw upon Qatar incorrectly as all sand and dust, this peninsular Arab country is just the opposite. It extends into the mid-section of the Persian Gulf, which gives it a contrasting water-fronted coastline, while miles of arid desert covers the majority of the country’s landscape. Aside from this, Qatar’s quintessential Middle Eastern vibe, brilliant architecture, culture-steeped history, and a smashing food scene are a few other draws that attract tourists’ attention and make it an amazing destination. Not to mention the amazing villa rentals and hotels in Doha that provide great stays. Have a look at this list of the top things Qatar is famous for and you’ll know why it’s a major global destination.

1. History

National Museum, Doha, Qatar
Source: Photo by Flickr user Robert Wilson used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Formal historical accounts of Qatar date back to the 18th century, when the region was largely inhabited by Bedouin nomads, following which the country found popularity as a pearl-diving and trade centre. The country was ruled by a number of foreign governments and dynasties until it was proclaimed an independent state in 1971. Despite rising out of strife, Qatar has seen a massive rise in its economic success as well as an increase in living standards. The capital city, Doha, is the perfect example of premodern architecture blended with modern, cutting edge buildings and complexes. Qatar is, today, home to a large concentration of Muslims, Christians, and Hindus among others, and extends probably one of the most socio-politically liberal and advanced civil liberties to its citizens than any other country in the Arabian peninsula.

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2. High-income economy

Source: Pixabay

Qatar may possibly be the least inhabited country in the Middle East, but don’t be fooled by its humble size and population. That has not stopped the nation from building a booming economy, which owes much of its success to the rich deposits of oil and gas, accounting for about 55% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Qatar is, interestingly, the world’s third-largest natural gas reserve and the second-largest exporter of natural gas, pinning it as a major player in the world market. It would be hard to believe that this rising metre of success only began for Qatar from 1939 onwards, when oil and gas fields began being exploited commercially. Both found their optimal lucrativeness in the early 1970s when oil production and revenues shot up leaps and bounds, placing Qatar as one of the richest economies in the world.

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3. No taxes

WISE 2010, Doha, Qatar
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jay Cross used under CC BY 2.0

Another highlight of Qatar’s excellent civil and economic systems is that it is one of the few tax-free nations in the world, which means Qatari citizens take home their entire salary or wage, without having to contribute from their share into state welfare. However, this only holds true for personal income, those into commercial activities have to pay taxes. That said, Qatar is well on its way to developing financial systems at par with countries internationally, and so it has begun setting up financial policies to that effect.

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4. Souq Waqif (from USD 96.0)

There’s no way Doha’s main marketplace, Souq Waqif, wouldn’t have found a spot in this list. A typically Middle Eastern aroma of Shisha – a traditional Arabic water-pipe – smoke, grilled kebabs, local spices, and freshly brewed cardamon tea pervades the bustling atmosphere of this market, while enthusiastic shopkeepers tend to camera-toting tourists. It is truly one of the best places to visit. While you can definitely nose-dive into getting a taste of the Arabian hospitality, don’t forget to shell out a few pennies to pick up some of the most amazing stuff you’ll find here. A range of local perfumes, spices, handcrafted jewellery, fabrics, and Qatari handicrafts are some of the top things worth picking up. You can either head there unassisted or even hitch a guided walking tour.

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Private Souk Waqif with Lunch or Dinner Tour

Duration: 4 hours

6 reviews

5. Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera English Newsroom
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Wittylama used under CC BY-SA 3.0

News broadcaster Al Jazeera’s channels reach homes of people globally, but did you know that it is a Qatari state-owned media network conglomerate, headquartered in Doha? The network was founded by Emir Sheikh Ḥamad ibn Khalīfah Āl Thānī in 1996, and its channels have since held a high reputation for their reportage of world news. In fact, it is famed for being the only news channel to report the outbreak of the Afghanistan War live in 2001, and it is known for its significant and widespread coverage of the events in the Arabian subcontinent.

Al Jazeera

Address: Al Jazeera English, PO Box 23127, Doha - Qatar

Website: Al Jazeera

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6. Qatar Airways

A7-ALG Qatar Airways Airbus A350-941 lining up on Rwy 18 for departure to Dohar (DOH - OTHH) @ Frankfurt - Rhein-Main International (FRA - EDDF) - 13.05.2017 (34264843520)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Oliver Holzbauer used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Qatar Airways is headquartered in Doha and operates across more than 150 destinations worldwide. The carrier has bagged the number one title on different platforms several times, and it offers a wholly luxurious, five-star flying experience to its passengers. It is a pioneering airline in many ways – Qatar Airways has been the first airline to operate various new-generation aircraft, including the A380, A350, and the Dreamliner. Qatar Airways’ sought after Al Maha Services is another great draw, which offers a personalized service to help travellers with airport formalities and offers convenient facilities to all those enrolled in the program.

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7. Museum of Islamic Art (from USD 240.0)

A brainchild of famed American architect IM Pei, Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is as much a visual delight as the content held within the building. It stands along one end of the seven-kilometre (four-mile) long stretch of the Doha Corniche and holds Islamic art that dates back to the 7th to 19th centuries, including jewellery pieces, ceramics, paintings, metal and glass artefacts, textiles as well as manuscripts. Just as enthralling as these items, is the building’s exterior. It exhibits a fabulous blend of Islamic architecture with modern, geometric designs, set against a stunning backdrop of the Doha Bay. While entry into the museum itself is timed, MIA Park is open 24 hours. A visit to this place makes a refreshing break from the usual theme parks or other attractions. Guests are allowed to make independent tours of the museum, but you can also hitch guided ones offered by third-party travel websites too.

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Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar

Duration: 2 hours

13 reviews

8. Pearl-Qatar

Pearl-Qatar Doha Qatar 11Nov2017 SkySat
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Planet Labs, Inc used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Drawing its inspiration from Qatari economy’s mainstay before oil and gas entered the scene, Pearl-Qatar is one of the country’s most prestigious real estate developments. It is built on an artificial island in Doha’s West Bay Lagoon area, which was once a thriving pearl-diving spot in the country. Today, Pearl-Qatar is possibly one of the most glamorous projects, divided into 12 sections that include residential areas as well as entertainment centres. Qanat Quartier builds upon a Venetian appeal, with canals, colourful buildings, and quaint cafes lining the streets, while Medina Centrale makes for a perfect spot to take a stroll. Porto Arabia is another very famous shopping centre that is frequented by travellers as well as locals.

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9. Oud

Bukhoor 2
Source: Photo by Flickr user Mishma Abraham used under CC BY 2.0

Qatar has tons to offer in the way of souvenirs and keepsakes that offer an authentic reproduction of the Arab culture. Of these, Oud is probably among the most famous. You may have heard of high-end luxury retail brands selling perfumes by this name, but do you know that it is a quintessentially Qatari fragrance? Oud (aloeswood) is sold in glass vials that are available in stores across the country. One little dab of this perfumed liquid and you’re good to go for the rest of the day. Apart from body perfume, Oud is also sold as wood and oil, both of which are also easily available to buy. Pick up some Oud for yourself and let this heady fragrance of the Arabian Gulf engulf your senses.

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10. Textiles

Pashmina Colours in Bur Dubai
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Clémence Jacqueri used under CC BY-SA 4.0

While in Qatar, you’ll find a brilliant range of woollen textiles, most popularly pashmina shawls. They are intricately woven, beautiful, handy, and every bit practical along with being super expensive too. However, that’s not the case in Qatar. Here, you’ll find them for prices as low as 5 USD! They make for brilliant souvenirs and are considered almost an investment by many, so consider buying a piece or two. If you’re looking for some fun things to do, go shopping in the markets and you’ll easily find several stores in Qatar selling these.

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The magical Arabian experience

While Qatar’s largely hot and humid climate might put off travellers, the gorgeous tan you’ll get here will surely be one to vie for! Add to that an array of exciting attractions for everyone – family vacationers, solo travellers, friend groups, and business professionals. There are simply so many shopping malls to explore and traditional foods to try. Get to your planning straight right away, the Arabian sands await!

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Priyanjali, a writer and traveler, identifies as a self-proclaimed aesthete dedicated to achieving fulfillment in her personal and professional life. Her skill lies in transforming intangible...Read more

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