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What’s New in Qatar?
State-of-the-art new developments ahead of the FIFA World Cup at the Lusail Stadium are increasing this Arabian Gulf peninsula’s rapid evolution into a major tourist destination. They join a rich array of iconic museums, superb restaurants, thrilling desert adventures and world-famous events.
We’ve looked at what’s in store for those visiting Qatar in early 2023, once all the furore of the World Cup has calmed down and you’re left to enjoy the beaches, water sports and theme parks as you like.
New Developments in Qatar
The purpose-built new Fuwairit Kite Beach (FKB) an hour north of Doha has excellent kitesurfing conditions from its powder-soft sands thanks to consistent winds. A yoga studio, gym, pool and restaurants add to the mix. Meanwhile, the Outpost Al Barari is a unique resort of tented villas, close-to-nature experiences (including stargazing, hot-air ballooning and immersive desert walks) and sustainability within the Inland Sea nature reserve.
Elsewhere, Qetaifan Island North is Qatar’s first ‘entertainment island’, with floating hotels, beach clubs and a water park embracing The Icon Tower, an 85m slide that will be the highest of its kind in the world. And in Doha, the West Bay North Beach Project includes public and private beach areas and an array of drinking and dining.
In early 2022, other additions to the scene were the immersive 3-2-1Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum and Quest Doha theme park with the world's tallest indoor rollercoaster. while the previous year saw the opening of the extensive Desert Falls Water & Adventure Park.
This crescent-shaped little island in the Persian Gulf off Doha offers a whole different side of Qatar that people often don’t think about. Covering 13 hectares and boasting its own marina and reefs, it’s now home to the Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara, with Maldivian-style overwater villas and golden sands.
Visitors not booked into the resort can go there for a day-trip; there are catamaran ferries from Dhow Harbour near the Museum of Islamic Arts or private yacht transfers. Day passes include lunch, beach towels and an activity.
What Else to do in Qatar
Explore Doha. The 8km curving Corniche is a great way to get your bearings, and you can also set sail on the Gulf in a traditional dhow, once used for pearl fishing, dive to shipwrecks from Downtown Doha itself, paddleboard, sail and kayak – tours by the latter can take you to hidden sandbanks and beaches.
Doha’s landmark buildings include the Msheireb quarter, Education City and the Museum of Islamic Art on its artificial island, with the world’s largest collection of Muslim art. Another must-see is the Jean Nouvel designed National Museum of Qatar, inspired by a ‘desert rose’ (multilayered crystals that form in salty sand), showcasing the history of Qatar from prehistoric times.
Beyond Doha, the desert beckons with activities including dune bashing in SUVs and camel rides; half-day tours encompass both. Also exhilarating is a SUP paddleboard trip through the mangroves of the Al Thakira natural reserve north of Doha with its herons, purple crabs and seasonal flamingo population.
You can also take an organised day tour to Khor Al-Adaid, the Inland Sea, in southeast Qatar. This tidal river forms a unique lagoon system protected by UNESCO for its terns, ospreys and oryx. Lastly, the otherworldly Brouq Nature Reserve on the far west of the peninsula has mushroom-like limestone outcroppings, gazelles and ostriches, plus the East-West/West-East art installation by Richard Serra.
To book your trip to Qatar for the new year, get in touch today. You’ll benefit from full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your trip.
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