Though the city of Al Rayyan has transformed into one of Qatar’s most thriving metropolitan areas, the city just west of Doha still clings to its historical charm. Explore its vibrant streets and you’ll find many world-class facilities, towering skyscrapers and Arab culture. Just around the corner, there are fortresses, museums and historical landmarks that define its fascinating story.

    For a Qatari adventure filled with natural wonders, head out of the city’s borders to the namesake municipality’s desert plains and exotic beaches. This list of cool things to do in Al Rayyan has been selected from all over this expansive municipality – some places will require a bit of a drive, but it's worth it if you want to enjoy all the best things to do here.

    What are the best things to do in Al Rayyan?

    1

    Barzan Towers

    Admire the 19th-century watchtower surrounded by greenery

    The impressive Barzan Towers were built in the late 19th century to protect Doha's water sources. Connected to other important components of the city’s protection, the towers face towards the sea to scan for oncoming ships. The 16-meter-high structures are in the Umm Salal Mohammed village, about a 25-minute drive from the coast.

    This formidable fortress is a marvelous example of Qatari architecture, with its layered roof made of wooden poles, bamboo and mangrove branches. Spot wooden marazims (gutters), which protect the roof from excess rainwater. The unobstructed view of the water from above helped to survey those collecting pearls. In 2003, the towers were restored to their original glory with modern amenities placed inside.

    Location: Umm Salal Mohammed, Qatar

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    2

    Mystery Village

    Wander through an isolated village in the desert

    Mystery Village offers a bewildering adventure for thrillseekers and nature enthusiasts in Qatar. Nestled in the middle of a barren desert, it takes nearly a 90-minute drive from Al Rayyan to reach this abandoned settlement, but the journey is half the fun. You’ll travel across rugged terrain and wide-open desert through the Zekreet peninsula. A 4x4 vehicle is recommended for the journey.

    The picturesque village was built for an Arabic TV series and has never been inhabited since then. Mystery Village and the nearby Film City give you a glimpse of what traditional villages in Qatar possibly resembled long ago.

    Location: Borooq, Qatar

    Phone: +974 5043 4210

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    3

    Musfur Sinkhole

    Explore one of Qatar’s deepest caves

    The Musfur Sinkhole, about a 45-minute drive from Doha, is an enchanting natural wonder that provides shelter from the sweltering heat. There are many accessible caves throughout Qatar but Musfur claims the title as the deepest. The exact depth is a mystery, but it's believed to possibly eclipse 100 meters.

    Birds and small animals retreat into the darkness to build nests and writings can be spotted along the rocks. Climbing boulders inside the Musfur Sinkhole makes for an enjoyable exercise, while those seeking peace can find an isolated space for meditation.

    Location: Salwa Road, Al Rayyan, Qatar

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    4

    Dukhan Public Beach

    Enjoy views of the Arabian Gulf

    Dukhan Public Beach is a gorgeous coastline located around 75 km west of Al Rayyan. With golden sands and sunsets highlighting the shores, it makes for a relaxing beach day in Qatar. Take a dip in the refreshing Gulf waters and enjoy the family-friendly seaside atmosphere.

    Dukhan Public Beach provides lots of areas if you want to enjoy a barbecue or overnight camping on the sand. Youngsters can have a swell time in the shallow water. Snorkelers can explore the rocky reefs further offshore – wear beach shoes to protect yourself against jagged rocks at the bottom.

    Location: Dukhan, Qatar

    Open: 24/7 (Fridays from 6.30 am to midnight)

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    photo by Mohamod Fasil (CC BY 2.0) modified

    5

    Al Wajbah Fort

    Visit one of the most historic forts in Qatar

    Al Wajbah Fort was the setting for a battle in 1893, which saw Qatari forces defeating the Ottoman Turks. Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohammed Al Thani led Qatar to victory, and this historic event is widely celebrated in Qatari culture. The history of Al Wajbah Fort spans back to the 18th century, making it one of the oldest forts in Qatar.

    Getting to Al Wajbah Fort is an easy 10-minute drive from the center of Al Rayyan. Its remarkable watchtowers are the first things you'll see once you arrive at the site. Admire the stunning view of the surrounding landscapes from inside its massive walls and marvel at the display of weapons used during the battle.

    Location: Al Rayyan, Qatar

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm (closed Fridays–Sundays)

    Phone: +974 4406 9921

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    Daniel Grenier | Contributing Writer

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