Our Qatar Travel Essentials provides you with the essential details you’ll need when planning your trip to Qatar’s vibrant and modern capital city. Even seasoned world travelers need answers to such questions as: When is the best time of year to go? How can I arrange an airport transfer to my hotel? What’s the best way to get around the city? We have all these answers plus some handy info on currency, culture, and a few useful travel tips.

    It’s all compiled in this Qatar Travel Essentials. After reading this quick and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip in Qatar.


    Best time to travel to Qatar (weather-wise)

    Qatar has a subtropical desert climate with extremely hot summers and very little rain throughout the year.

    Average temperatures range from 17°C in January to 36°C in July, with highs of over 40°C not uncommon during the hottest months of May through September.

    Visitors to Qatar can expect to enjoy abundant sunshine most days, with the “rainiest” month of February getting only 2.1 days of rain on average. The best time to visit Doha is during the cool season from November through March, when temperatures range from lows of 14°C to highs of 30°C.


    Qatar basics

    • Primary languages: Arabic (official language), English widely spoken
    • Plug type: G (same as the UK)
    • Electricity: 240 V
    • Currency: Riyal (QR or QAR)
    • International dialing code: +974
    • Emergency telephone number: 999

    Qatar laws and customs – things to know

    Qatar is a friendly and hospitable place, though visitors should be aware of the local religious beliefs and customs to insure they don’t cause offence or run afoul of the law.

    Religion and laws

    Qatar is an Islamic country with local laws and traditions that reflect this. Importing drugs, e-cigarettes, alcohol, pornography and pork is illegal, and it is an offence to be drunk or drink alcohol in public. Alcoholic drinks are available only at licensed hotel restaurants and bars for non-Muslim visitors. Don’t drink or eat in public during Ramadan.

    Culture and etiquette

    Both women and men are expected to dress modestly and keep their shoulders and knees covered. Women are also advised not to wear leggings or tight clothing in public. Bathing suits and bikinis should only be worn at the hotel pool. Homosexual behavior and public displays of intimacy between men and women like holding hands and kissing are not allowed in Qatar.


    Getting into the city

    Hamad International Airport

    Hamad International Airport (DOH) is located about 15 km southeast of downtown Doha. Open since 2014, this modern airport is a busy transit hub linking Europe and Asia, handling some 35 million passengers annually and serving more than 50 airlines. There are a number of transfer options to reach Doha city:

    • A taxi to the city center takes around 30 minutes. Airport taxis are operated by the state-owned Mowasalat company under the brand name Karwa. To rental an airport taxi, follow the signs to the Taxi Pavilion found to the left of the arrivals hall. The cost is QAR 25 for the taxi tariff plus a metred rate of QAR 1.20 per kilometer from 5am to 9pm or QAR 1.80 per km from 9pm to 5am.
    • There are 3 bus routes serving the airport in Doha. Ticket prices range from QAR 2.50 to QAR 7. Bus trips must be paid by Karwa smart card, which are available at ticket vending machines at the Bus Pavilion on the ground floor area of the arrivals hall.
    • Car rentals is available from several local and international rental agencies. More than 20 agencies have counters on the ground floor of the airport arrivals area.
    • Doha Metro has a station at the airport with links to the city center.

    photo by Arne Müseler (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Getting around Doha

    Travel tips

    Doha is not a sprawling city, so it’s easy to visit all the sights with short taxi rides. The desert heat makes walking or cycling long distances a real chore, though the 7-km Corniche promenade is a popular place for a stroll or bike ride. The bus service is not as developed as some cities but it's modern and reasonably priced, while Doha's new metro system started operating in May 2019 and is set to expand in the coming years.



    • The state-run Mowasalat, under the Karwa brand, has the largest choice of taxis and is the only service to operate from the airport.
    • To book a taxi, ask your hotel to call one or look for one of the taxi ranks located around the city.
    • Taxis can also be booked by calling +974 4458 8888 (for an extra charge of QAR 4).
    • Fares are set at a minimum tariff of QAR 10 with metred rates from QAR 1.60 for daytime hours to QAR 1.90 for trips at night time or outside the city.
    • Payment is only by cash and only in riyals.
    • App-based taxi services by Uber and Careem are also available in Doha.

    photo by errorval01 (CC BY 2.0) modified



    • Doha Metro service launched a limited service in May 2019. Its trains are among the fastest driverless trains in the world, able to reach speeds of 100 km/h.
    • Metro ticket prices start at QAR 2 for a single standard-class journey.
    • Before your arrival, check the news and relevant websites for updates on Doha's metro service, which is set to expand in phases in the years leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosted by Qatar.

    Car and limousine rental

    • Self-drive car rentals is available from several operators, both local and international brands.
    • For car rental, you’ll need to pay by credit card and show your passport and a valid driving license.
    • Chauffeured limousine service is available and a popular choice for business travelers. A range of car and driver options are offered from standard limousines to VIP luxury services, and bookings can be made by the hour or by the day.
    • Limousine service may be booked through Mowasalat or with private operators. Call to book directly or ask for assistance at your hotel.

    photo by UNCTAD (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified



    • Mowasalat public bus service operates several routes around and beyond the city.
    • Bus fares are QAR 3 to QAR 4 (within Doha) and QAR 4 to QAR 9 (outside Doha).
    • Passengers must pay with a Karwa smart card, which is available at vending machines at the airport, Doha Bus Station, Qatar Mall, the Pearl Qatar and at various merchant outlets.
    • There are 3 types of smart cards available: a rechargeable Classic Card (QAR 30), a Limited Card for up to 2 journeys within 24 hours of purchase (QAR 10), and an Unlimited Card for unlimited journeys within 24 hours of purchase (QAR 20).
    • For anyone who’s been forgetful and boarded the bus without buying the smart card in advance, a “no card” fee of QAR 10 is charged.

    Insider tip: While there's no specific rule about this, the front seats of the buses are generally reserved for women and children.


    Annual events in Qatar to look out for

    Aspire International Kite Festival

    • What: A colorful whirl of kite-flying, food, art and cultural activities.
    • When: Early March
    • Where: Aspire Park

    Qatar International Art Festival

    • What: Art exhibitions and live painting symposium bringing together artists, art fans, collectors and investors.
    • When: Late October/early November
    • Where: Katara Cultural Village

    Al-Shahaniya Camel Race

    • What: Fiercely competitive series of camel races with remote-controlled jockeys vying to win the sword of HH the Emir in the final event.
    • When: Every Friday from November through April
    • Where: Al-Shahaniya racing track, about an hour from downtown Doha

    Start planning your trip

    COVID-19 Travel Alert

    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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