Do you have the option to stopover in Qatar? Here is a guide of things to do, whether it be a whirlwind 5-hour stop or a jam-packed 12-hour Qatar itinerary! You will also find essential tips for travelling on a long layover in Qatar, along with the new and updated entrance fees to the museums.
Table of Contents
- 1 The basics of a long layover in Qatar
- 2 Leaving the airport
- 3 Places to see in Doha on a layover (6 – 8 hours)
- 4 Things to add on an 8 to 12-hour long layover in Doha
- 5 Travelling in Qatar during Ramadan
- 6 Hotel recommendations for a long layover in Qatar
- 7 Essential resources for a stopover in Qatar
The basics of a long layover in Qatar
Passing through immigration
When you arrive for your layover in Doha City, you will need to make your way out of the airport. Before you decide on a layover, make sure to check your government’s advice if you need a transit visa. Citizens of over 95 countries are eligible for visa-free entry by using the Qatar ETA. The UK is one of them.
After you pass through immigration, you will see an information desk. Here you can grab a map and ask any questions regarding events, transport, food, customs, and traditions.
There are a few ATMs and a currency exchange desk in the airport near where you collect your luggage. However, if you’re travelling on a direct ticket, there is no need to collect your luggage to lug it around the streets of Qatar with you.
We withdrew money from the HSBC bank just before going through the nothing to declare area. The exchange rate was reasonable and in line with the XE converter. As a couple, we withdrew 150 Qatari Rial ($41.20), which was enough for a day pass each on the 777 bus, food and drink in the evening, ice cream, a fridge magnet, and a short taxi ride.
Dress code for Qatar
As always, when going to a new country, it’s important to be aware of the local culture and dress code. As we were preparing to leave our home in Vietnam, and as we had never been to the Middle East before, we were left wondering if Katie would need to cover her hair, or if Jake would need to wear long trousers. Turns out neither are necessary! For women, we recommend wearing tops that cover your shoulders and chest (nothing too revealing), and a skirt or 3/4 pants that cover your knees. For men, anything will do. But make sure to wear a top!
Leaving the airport
By taxi or bus
To get away from Hamad International Airport, you have the option of a taxi or bus. Taxis run to the centre of Doha in around 20 minutes and prices start from 25 Qatari Rial ($6.87). As taxies can be quite costly, we opted for the bus. At just 20 Qatari Rial ($5.49) for an all-day bus pass, you can’t go wrong. The bus was super easy to use and ran every 20 minutes. Note: The last bus back to the airport is at 11 pm.
To catch the bus, after you have left immigration, turn right and follow the signs for buses. You can buy your bus ticket at the vending machine, which you will need the exact change for. Alternatively, you can purchase your ticket directly from the bus driver on the bus.
Individual bus tickets cost between 2.50-7 Qatari Rial ($0.69-1.92), depending on your drop off point.
Bus number 777 will take you almost everywhere you need to go on this itinerary!
Via pre-organised tour with Qatar Airways
Until recently, customers flying with Qatar Airways with a layover of 4+ hours were offered a complimentary tour of Doha. Now, who doesn’t like free stuff!? We were quite bummed out to find out that Qatar Airways have now stopped this service and instead charge 75 Qatari Rial ($20.60) per person for the same tour.
If you still want to pay, you can go to the Qatar Airways desk after you exit the plane to book your place, on the Doha City tour. We recommend this tour for anyone who is on a tight time frame. If you only have 4 to 5 hours to explore Doha, this is the quickest and risk-free way of getting around, and back to the airport in time for your connecting flight.
Places to see in Doha on a layover (6 – 8 hours)
Be mind-boggled at the Museum of Islamic Art
The first stop you will arrive at on the 777 bus, is the Museum of Islamic Art on your right-hand side. The structure of the museum is a work of art in itself. Unfortunately, we didn’t go inside as our layover was during Ramadan and the museum was closed during the day, and we didn’t have much time left when it re-opened at 8 pm. Unfortunately, since 28th March 2019, the museum stopped allowing free entry to foreign visitors. The entrance cost is now 50 Qatari Rial ($13.73) for adults or 100 Qatari Rial ($27.47) for a museum pass that will allow you entrance for 3 consecutive days to all museums in Qatar.
Stroll along the Corniche
After wandering around with your mind boggled at fascinating structures in the art museum, it is time to step outside and clear your mind with a relaxing stroll along the Corniche. The Corniche is a 7 km stretch of road that hugs the bay, where old wooden boat dock and the memorizing skyline pops up. If you’re not down for a long walk, the best spot for photos is by the Pearl Monument.
Take a historical journey on a dhow boat
Hop on a dhow boat to embark on a historical journey along Qatar’s waters. The dhow boats are traditional vessels that were used for everyday life before Qatar discovered the country was rich in oil. A ride on a dhow boat will cost between 30-40 Qatari Rial ($8.24-10.99) per person.
Feel luxurious along the Pearl Boulevard
Next, hop back onto the 777 bus down to Pearl Boulevard (the last stop). The Pearl is the iconic area that has an unusual shape that sticks out to visitors when flying over the gulf. Along this strip are tons of eateries and places to replenish with tasty juice. As you stroll along the boulevard, get a glimpse of the glamorous lifestyle whilst admiring the marina full of extravagant yachts.
Step back in time at Souq Waqif old town
After a replenishing time at the Pearl, jump back onto the 777 bus where you got off, and head down to Souq Waqif. Sadiq Waqif is the oldest part of town. With its stone cream washed walls, tiny alleyways, and stalls selling Aladdin carpets, you will feel like you have stepped back in time. Along this road, you will find plentiful opportunities to pick up souvenirs and plentiful places to wrap your taste buds around middle-eastern cuisine.
Delve into Qatar’s history at the National Museum
Absorb the history of Qatar from its earliest days to the present day. Stroll around the exhibitions and buck up on your knowledge of this tiny, but rich, country. As with the Museum of Islamic Art, the National Museum is no longer free. It will cost you 50 Qatari Rial ($13.73) to enter, or 100 Qatari Rial ($27.47) for a museum pass.
Head back to the airport for your flight
It’s time to wave bye-bye to Qatar! Take the 777 bus directly back to the airport. The bus will drop you off at the same place you got on. You can enter the airport terminal directly from the drop off point.
Things to add on an 8 to 12-hour long layover in Doha
If you have a couple of hours extra to stopover in Doha, or have a car to whizz you around, consider adding these stops to your itinerary!
2022 World cup football stadium
Qatar is the first Arab state due to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022! If time permits, then don’t miss out on the chance to stop by at one of the planned venues for the world-famous football tournament. Each stadium, with an expected capacity of over 40,000, and impressive designs, will not fail to amaze the football frenzies out there.
Take a dunes tour
Head 40 km south of Doha to the Singing Dunes. Organise a professional driver to help you discover the famous desert area that is popular for activities such as dune-bashing and buggy riding. You have the choice of full-day tours and half-day tours.
Travelling in Qatar during Ramadan
Will you be on your long layover in Qatar during Ramadan? When we organised our 13-hour layover, it had completely slipped our minds that it would be Ramadan at that time. Once we realised, we were left with quite a few concerns and questions. Would we be able to drink water? Will shops and museums be open? Will public transport still be running?
Eat and Drink – During Ramadan, it’s illegal to eat or drink in public areas, even for foreign visitors! The only exception is pregnant women and children. So, if you do have a long layover in Qatar during Ramadan, you will need to be prepared to go without food and water for a few hours or to fork out for an expensive meal behind closed doors at one of the hotels.
Shops and museums – As for shops and museums, pretty much everything is closed during the afternoon. On our visit, the museums opened in the morning, closed at 2 pm, and re-opened at 8 pm. However, opening and closing times may vary slightly each year according to the times of sunrise and sunset.
Public transport – Public transport seemed to be running as normal. The buses ran regularly and on time. The roads seemed clear and there was not too much traffic on the roads, even as the time of Iftar (evening meal) approached.
Hotel recommendations for a long layover in Qatar
Budget rooms: Green Garden Hotel – As far as prices go in Qatar, this hotel is one of the cheapest places that is a high rating. The hotel offers comfy double beds and large rooms.
Feeling luxurious: The Torch Doha – Offers stylish rooms and a large swimming pool to cool down from the mid-day heat. The hotel gets its name as it’s shaped like a torch; another unique building among many in Doha.
We hope this post has helped you plan your long layover in Qatar. If you’re heading for Southeast Asia, check out our backpacking Thailand guide to help you get started with your trip.
Essential resources for a stopover in Qatar
Travel Insurance – No matter where you’re travelling to, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re covered for any accidents or losses. We spent days and weeks searching for insurance, but most insurers would not allow us to take out a policy as we were already abroad. Our personal choice is Safteywing. You can opt for automatic monthly payments, just like a subscription. More importantly, it is available in 180 countries and can be purchased whilst already travelling. There is no cap on the duration of travel.
Visa – Before you travel to any country, make sure to check if you need a visa. iVisa is a fantastic website that is super easy and quick to use. Just type in where you are from. and where you are going. to check if you need a visa. If you do, you can quickly make an application online.
Accommodation – Booking.com is our go-to when looking to pre-book accommodation online. Booking.com tend to almost always have the best rates and have a FREE cancellation policy for most properties.
Tours & activities – If you want to book tours and activities online, make sure to check out Get Your Guide. Get Your Guide takes the stress out of booking activities abroad. You will also find a range of benefits, such as skip the line passes, lunch included in your tours, and so much more.
Travel tips ebook -Before you head off on your adventure, make sure to download our free ebook. It has a whopping 109 budget travel tips to help you make your hard-earned cash go further. Click here to download your FREE ebook.
Make cash on the road – If you’re on a long trip, you may want to start earning whilst on the road. One way to do this is to teach English online. One of our favourite companies for this is Palfish, as the schedule is super flexible. You can open and close slots, as and when you choose, meaning you don’t have to commit to the same days and hours each week. Just make sure you are TEFL certified to apply!
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Can you leave Doha Airport during a layover? Yes, you can.How do I spend a layover in Doha? ›
- Visit the Pearl—Qatar. ...
- Explore the Katara Cultural Village. ...
- Find thrills with a desert safari. ...
- Shop at Souq Waqif. ...
- Stroll along the Corniche. ...
- Spend some time in the museums. ...
- Find unique gifts at City Center Doha or Villaggio Mall. ...
- Plan your excursion with Expedia.
Yes, they do - sleep 'n fly are the main provider of sleeping pods at Doha International Airport. Their sleep pods and cabins provide accommodation for up to 50 adult guests and four children up to the age of seven.Are there free showers at Doha Airport? ›
Take a shower
If you don't have access to a lounge with free showers, you can pay to use the Doha Airport shower facilities at the Vitality Wellbeing & Fitness Centre or the Be Relax Spa. Use of the shower room at the Vitality Wellbeing & Fitness Centre costs 90 QAR (approx.
If you're transferring between domestic flights or between international and domestic flights, in most cases you'll need to collect your baggage, check in again and transfer your bags. Our check-in staff will let you know if your baggage will be transferred.Can you pay to enter Qatar Lounge? ›
You're set. Flying Qatar Airways economy but want to get into the lounge? You may be in luck … but you'll have to pay up. Even with an economy ticket, you can often purchase access to the Al Mourjan lounge.Do I need a visa if I have a layover in Doha? ›
Visa is not required if you're staying at the airport during your transit time in Doha.How do I get free lounge at Doha Airport? ›
LoungeKey. With your AL RIYADA VISA Infinite Credit Card, you have complimentary access to premium lounges and restaurants at airports worldwide, no matter what airline or travel class you have booked.Does WhatsApp work in Doha Airport? ›
Yes. Using Skype, FaceTime, or WhatsApp in Qatar is legal. However, even though the government has never recognized the ban, you can't use VoIP apps in Qatar. The country's 2 biggest internet service providers block users who try to access Skype, WhatsApp, or FaceTime.How do I get free WiFi at Doha Airport? ›
Enjoy complimentary wireless internet access throughout our passenger terminal. Just search for “HIAQatar Complimentary WiFi” on your smartphone, tablet or laptop computer and sign in.
Yes, you can leave the airport during domestic layovers. For instance, if you're a US citizen and have a layover within the country, it is legal and safe to leave the airport. Be aware that you'll probably be getting two boarding passes if the domestic layover is more than an hour.Can you wear leggings in Doha? ›
Shorts, Leggings, and Skirts are Acceptable
Women can wear skirts, leggings, and shorts in the country but avoid skimpy clothes. Furthermore, do not wear shorts or skirts too high in public places. If you feel your wears are too short, consider wearing leggings underneath to stay within the confines of the law.
Cover their shoulders and knees as a basic rule of thumb. Skirts and shorts are acceptable, but avoid anything too high or skimpy. Leggings can be worn underneath anything you feel might be too short.Are quiet room free in Doha Airport? ›
3) The quite rooms are free. Lounges - Al Maha, Oryx, Gold and Silver. Economy passengers can use the Oryx lounge for a fee of QAR 200 (USD 55). 4) If you want to go out of the airport, you will need a visa.Is Gold cheap in Qatar airport? ›
Is gold cheap in Qatar? Yes, gold is available at comparatively cheaper rates in Qatar as it is tax-free and the quality and originality is also better and pure.Which lounge is better at Doha airport? ›
Qatar Airways Al Safwa and Al Mourjan Lounges at Hamad International Airport are certified as a 5-Star Airline Lounges for the excellent product and service standards. “The Al Safwa First-Class lounge is simply superb and deserving of its title as the World's Best First Class Lounge.How much does Doha lounge cost? ›
The Qatar Airways Lounge in Doha is priced from $60 per person. The basic lounge features all-day dining, a buffet, Complimentary Wi-Fi, more than 20 beverages including premium Champagne and spirits, a children's play area, meeting rooms, and showers.Does Qatar require PCR test for transit? ›
Transit through Doha
Passengers who are transiting through Doha, and not leaving the airport, are not required to present any test results or certifications above the requirements of their departure or destination country.
Transferring to your connecting flight is easy and simple at Hamad International Airport. Upon exiting your aircraft please go directly to our Transfer halls located at concourses A, B, C and D. Hamad International Airport (HIA) is an Integrated facility.What's the difference between a layover and a connecting flight? ›
What is the difference between a layover and connecting flight? While these terms are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. A layover is the time you spend at the airport between two flights. A connecting flight is the next flight in your itinerary that you're waiting at the airport to take.
Qatar Airways First Class and Business Class (Elite, Comfort & Classic) and oneworld First Class and Business Class passengers can access this lounge at no additional cost, while Business Class (Lite) and Economy Class passengers throughout the network can purchase lounge access online, at the check-in counters, ...Can Economy Class use the lounge? ›
Airport lounges are no longer just for first and business class travellers. That's right, nowadays even if you are flying economy and have absolutely no airline loyalty, you can pay to enter a new style of pay-per-use lounges.How much is the pay in Qatar lounge? ›
Purchase Qatar Airways lounge access
In Doha, access to Qatar's Al Mourjan business class lounge – the same lounge that's complimentary when booking those other business class tickets – costs 450 QAR, or around A$170. Qatar's Al Mourjan lounge for eligible business class guests also offers paid entry.
Qatar Airways Missed Flight Policy
This means that you can not avail of the refund amount or ask to get assigned to a new flight. If a passenger missed the connecting flight because of the airline, the airline is responsible for upgrading you to a new flight without charging you any fee or penalty.
How much does Qatar Tourist Visa cost? Qatar Tourist Visa costs QAR 100 (USD 27) for the main applicant and QAR 50 (USD 13.50) for each accompanying person (if any).Do I need exit permit to leave Qatar? ›
The official rules are pretty clear-cut. You're supposed to provide two months notice and clear up any outstanding debts before you're allowed to leave the country. If you do all that you're issued with an exit permit and (usually) a ticket home by your sponsor / employer.How long can I stay in Qatar lounge? ›
If you are an economy class traveller at Doha Airport (DOH), you can access the following airport lounges as long as you are willing to purchase a day pass, annual membership or pay at the door.Is food free in airport lounges? ›
What do lounges offer? Lounges are often filled with complimentary amenities such as premium food and snacks, fully stocked bars, modern shower facilities, fast WiFi, plentiful power outlets and secure business centers.Why WhatsApp call banned in Qatar? ›
There are no laws or rules that prohibit the use of such technology within the State of Qatar. “The Telecommunications Law 34 of 2006 does, however, makes it illegal for any person to provide telecommunications services to the public for a direct or indirect fee without a licence issued by ictQATAR for that purpose.”
Qatar Blocks VOIP Apps
In countries like UAE, FaceTime is banned altogether and the iPhones sold there simply do not have the app.
Those with Android phones and Windows laptops will now be able to join FaceTime calls thanks to Apple's newest software update. As a part of Apple's newest update to its operating system, iOS 15, Android phone owners and Windows laptop users will now be able to hop onto FaceTime calls without needing an iPhone.What calling apps work in Qatar? ›
|App App Name||Publisher Publisher|
|1||WhatsApp Business||WhatsApp LLC|
|2||imo HD - Video Calls and Chats||imo.im|
|3||WhatsApp Messenger||WhatsApp LLC|
|4||imo-International Calls & Chat||imo.im|
For us, without a doubt! The Oryx lounge Doha price price is $55 for adults and $28 for children between 2 and 12.Can you smoke in Doha airport? ›
To maintain a smoke-free environment for our passengers and staff, Hamad International Airport is strictly a non-smoking facility. The smoking of e-cigarettes are also not permitted within the terminal.What happens if you get off at your layover? ›
You can get off at the layover stop, but checked luggage will keep on flying to the final destination. Maybe that's not a problem if you're in sync with CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg who always ships his luggage ahead for the simple pleasure of avoiding baggage claim and lost luggage.What is the longest layover allowed? ›
A layover is a broad term that means any connection between flights. This could include a stop as short as 30 minutes (depending upon the airport) or as long as four hours (or up to 23 hours and 59 minutes on international flights).Do airlines provide hotel for layover? ›
Most airlines only provide free hotel accommodations for passengers that have a layover between 8-12 hours or overnight. However, each airline is different, so be sure to check your carrier's website.
- Grab a bite to eat. The airport doesn't have an overwhelming amount of food choices, but what's there are eateries featuring Middle Eastern, international, and Western cuisine. ...
- Lounge. ...
- Tour Doha – for free! ...
- Visit the desert. ...
- Shop. ...
- Shower. ...
- Take in the art. ...
- Hit the gym or spa.
Can you leave the airport during transit in Doha? Yes, in most cases, it is possible to leave the airport. In order to leave the airport and enter Doha you will need to acquire a transit visa. This is free and will be available to any traveler that's stopping in Doha for up to 96 hours.
- Souq Waqif.
- Shisha Terrace at Four Seasons Hotel Doha.
- Sunset dinner cruise.
- Drink cocktails on a rooftop terrace.
- Catch up on the day's sports at a sports bar.
- Night desert safari.
- The Pearl Qatar.
- Marvel at the Doha skyline.
Normally, when layover flights are booked with the same airline, your baggage will be automatically transferred through to your final destination. However, if the two flights are with different airlines, you may have to claim and re-check your baggage during your layover.What happens to your luggage when you have an overnight layover? ›
Luggage and Layovers
If you have an overnight layover, you can request to retrieve your luggage at baggage claim so that you have all of your items with you. However, you'll need to recheck your luggage in the morning, so plan additional time for going through security again.
During your layover, you will, at some point, have to go through airport security. Even if you don't need to go through immigration, you will most likely have to go through security before you board your next flight.How do I get from Doha airport to the city? ›
The cheapest way to reach Doha from Hamad International Airport is by bus. Mowasalat operates several bus lines from the airport – to reach Doha, you can take the Route 747 bus from the airport. Depending on your destination, the Route 777 bus or the Route 109 bus may also be good options.What is there to do in Doha airport for 3 hours? ›
With 3 hours layover, the only thing you can do is explore the airport. There is a food court with cafes and restaurants serving different cuisines. If that doesn't interest you, you can relax and unwind in the Quiet Rooms.What currency can you use in Doha airport? ›
Currency – Qatari riyal or foreign currencies.How long does it take to get out of Doha airport? ›
The drive into the city center takes 15-25 minutes. Uber is available from Hamad International Airport. Trips to the city center cost between $7-9 and take 15-25 minutes. The metro is one of the easiest ways to reach cultural attractions.Is Uber allowed in Qatar? ›
Complete your plans today by reserving a ride with Uber in Doha. Request a ride up to 30 days in advance, at any time and on any day of the year.Can you pay to enter Qatar Lounge? ›
You're set. Flying Qatar Airways economy but want to get into the lounge? You may be in luck … but you'll have to pay up. Even with an economy ticket, you can often purchase access to the Al Mourjan lounge.
Uber Comfort, a new ride option is now available in Qatar. With the minimum fare starting at QAR 11.2, riders will be matched with more experienced, top-rated driver-partners who have newer, mid-sized cars. To make the trip even more pleasant, riders can also choose their ride preferences.Do I need to collect my luggage on a connecting flight Qatar? ›
If you're transferring between domestic flights or between international and domestic flights, in most cases you'll need to collect your baggage, check in again and transfer your bags. Our check-in staff will let you know if your baggage will be transferred.How do I get free WiFi at Doha airport? ›
Enjoy complimentary wireless internet access throughout our passenger terminal. Just search for “HIAQatar Complimentary WiFi” on your smartphone, tablet or laptop computer and sign in.What can you not bring into Qatar? ›
Weapons, firearms and ammunition. Alcoholic beverages. Pork products. Narcotic drugs.How much cash can you bring into Qatar? ›
Travellers arriving in Qatar or departing will have to declare if they are carrying cash, jewellery or any financial instruments worth QR50,000 or more, it has been announced.Should I take cash to Qatar? ›
In Qatar's larger cities, ATMs are everywhere, especially in malls and shopping centres, although in the country's markets, smaller shops and boutiques, it's best to carry some cash.Do I have to go through immigration for a connecting flight in Qatar? ›
You will need to hold immigration approval to land at the final city in your itinerary that is operated by Qatar Airways, even if you are taking a connecting flight afterwards. As we continue in our commitment to getting you where you need to be safely, we thank you for your trust.Does Qatar require PCR test for transit? ›
Transit through Doha
Passengers who are transiting through Doha, and not leaving the airport, are not required to present any test results or certifications above the requirements of their departure or destination country.
Visa is not required if you're staying at the airport during your transit time in Doha.