Closed to Westerners for many years, Qatar only started issuing visas to curious travelers in 1989. Even though they are relative newcomers to the tourist market in the Middle East, they have made up for lost time by offering impressive accommodations and fascinating historical sites.
The capital of Qatar, Doha, is the cultural and commercial center of the country. Visitors can learn about the country’s history at the Qatar National Museum, the daily lives of Qatari families at the Ethnographical Museum, or visit the Doha Zoo. There are a number of fortresses and other historical monuments scattered around the country.
The Al-Wajbah Fort is the oldest fort in the country, famous for being the site from which the Qatari people defeated the Ottoman forces.
The Umm Salal Mohammed Fort is located just north of Doha and includes an impressive fa’ade and other interesting architectural features. Not far away, the Barzan Tower stands as a unique example of watchtowers in the Gulf area. In the west, Al-Zubarah is another important archeological site that is also well known for its fortress.
Perhaps the most famous archeological site in Qatar, however, is Al-Jassasiya, which is made up of rocky hills where pre-historic carvings can still be seen.
Flights to Qatar usually land in Qatar’s international airport located in the capital city of Doha. Presently it is possible to find flights arriving from New York, Europe, Asia, and of course, most of the Gulf area. There is not at the moment a bus network or taxi service that connects Qatar to its neighbor, Saudi Arabia. Neither is there a bus network connecting Qatar’s major cities. For those looking to travel around the country, they must rent a taxi or a hired car. It is also possible to rent a car using most foreign driver’s licenses, but the cost will run somewhere around $30 per day.
Qatar offers a number or higher ranged hotels, especially in the capital of Doha, but there are also a couple of resorts available on the coast. The majority of these are international hotels and amenities include western style restaurants and alcohol is usually served on the hotels’ grounds. However, it can be pricey as even mid ranged hotels will be on the expensive side. Budget travelers should consider $30 a day the norm, while a mid ranged budget will be around $75 per day. You can find hotels in Qatar here.