HalalBooking guide to halal-friendly holidays in Qatar
In recent years, Qatar seems to have become a buzz word amongst both travel and football enthusiasts since the announcement of the host of the World Cup in 2022. However, the cultural and cosmopolitan country of Qatar has always been a unique hotspot for tourists in the Middle East. The vast amount of historical significance seamlessly intertwined with new modern buildings and infrastructure has attracted Muslim tourists seeking a halal holiday experience.
Qatar is always ahead of the game, with cutting-edge fashion, halal food, fast cars, luxury experiences perfectly balanced with exposure to traditional Qatari culture. The ever-evolving country with the rapid rise of cultural villages, skyscrapers, innovative museums, new stadiums, hotels and shopping malls makes us all wonder what lies ahead on a halal break in Qatar.
If you're after some glitz and glamour the yachts and marinas, Qatar doesn’t
fail to impress. What makes Qatar stand out from its neighbouring Middle Eastern countries is that it is one of the safest countries to visit, as well as the hospitality and the appeal of a range of activities for the whole family without feeling overwhelming.
Practical information before visiting Qatar
Hamad International Airport (DOH) is the main airport in Doha and flights are available from major international airports in the UK. The modern airport is perfect for customer comfort and you will be spoilt for choice with the range of shops. From the airport, the centre is only a 20-minute drive, and both taxis and convenient bus transportations are available. There is also the Al-Khor airport - however, it is less frequently used and it would be easier to fly to Doha and get public transport to Al-Khor and other areas.
The weather in Qatar is warm and dry from December through to March. The best time to visit is from October to the end of April when the humidity is low and the temperatures are enjoyable. Be aware, there may be a lot of tourism in November 2022 due to the World Cup and increased prices for hotels and flights.
Qatar for the halal-conscious traveller
Qatar is an Islamic country with a Muslim majority and many may think this is enough to call it a halal-friendly holiday, but there is so much more than this to discover. Just by walking the streets, the presence of Islam can be felt in the capital, Doha, with all the Muslims dressed in Arabic dress and traditional Arabic headgear saying the familiar greeting of "Salam" to those around them. Qatar strives to be an inclusive country where Muslim women can feel at ease wearing both the traditional abayas or the modest Western wear, making it appealing for a halal break.
Islam first came to Qatar in 628AD, after the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) sent an envoy to Mundhir ibn Sawa who was the Sasanid governor of Eastern Arabia. Mundhir accepted the Prophet’s call to Islam and accepted the religion, creating a chain reaction in which most of the inhabitants of Qatar then accepted Islam too.
Around Doha, there are many landmarks of great benefit for Muslims, be it the wedding cake-like building, the Al Fanar Islamic and Cultural Centre which offers courses, activities and tours, or the Museum of Islamic Art - an iconic building in the most beautiful of settings with astonishing Islamic art collected from 3 different continents over the time span of 1400 years. The Qatar State Grand Mosque is definitely worth a visit; Standing on a hill, it looks stunning day and night. Separate men's and women's washrooms and 3 stunning libraries filled with Islamic knowledge make for a spiritual and beneficial visit.
Activities and sites to visit in Qatar
Qatar is a small country with only 9 cities and with Doha being the largest of them and the capital, over 82% of the population lives there. Most of the popular tourist attractions can be found in Doha, but there are a few hidden gems elsewhere.
Al Koot Fort
Also known as the Doha Fort, the historical fortress was built in 1927, originally as a prison and a police station. The building's beautiful white architecture is one of the finest examples of Qatari architecture and one of the best fortifications in the country. The fort was later converted into a museum and visitors can now see the finest in Qatari craftsmanship, including oil paintings and glasswork.
Also known as the Umm Salal Mohammed Fort Towers, the Barzan Towers were created in the year 1910. They were originally built by the then Sheikh as watchtowers to protect the valley from Ottoman soldiers. The estate was considered precious as it was an area that collected rainwater. Behind the towers today stands a beautiful lush oasis full of trees and native animals.
Take a walk along the beautiful artificial Island of Pearl-Qatar. This 4 square kilometre walkway is the living room of Doha locals, where they meet friends for a meal or coffee. There is plenty to eat and even a nice view of the marina.
Museum of Islamic Art
The Museum of Islamic Art on Doha's waterfront houses iconic Islamic art and paintings, pottery, jewellery and other antiquities collected from the 7th to the 19th centuries from three different continents throughout the Muslim world.
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
Opened in 2010, the Mathaf (Museum), is a centre of Arab culture and creativity. It is considered one of the most popular and important tourist attractions in Doha and is an inspiring collection of modern art.
The Souq Waqif is a traditional and authentic marketplace of Doha, bustling with stalls selling traditional garments and souvenirs. Not only is it bustling with life with the markets, there are also restaurants and shisha lounges to enjoy. In addition, the traditional Qatari architecture still exists from the 20th century.
Al Khor, meaning ‘Creek’ in English, is a coastal city in the Northern area of Qatar. It has historically been ruled by Bedouin families whose history dates back to the 18th century. Today, Al Khor is home to many tourist attractions which you can enjoy on your halal holiday in Qatar.
Ain Hleetan Well
The Ain Hleetan Well, a historical landmark in Al Khor, was originally built to meet the water needs of the Al Khor population. Locals even believed that the well had healing properties.
Al Thakira Nature Reserve
For a fun family day out, visit the Al Thakira Nature Reserve which is full of fascinating wildlife and greenery. Home to one of the largest mangrove reserves in Qatar, the reserve brings you close to nature and offers you exciting activities including kayaking and snorkelling. The Al Thakira Beach is one of the most tranquil and picturesque places in Al Khor and there is even a separate area for kids.
Explore the natural and tranquil surroundings of Purple Island with a range of peaceful views, striking birds and wildlife, mangrove forests and greenery. To get to the island, tourists need to walk through the water and soft sands - however the trek is worth it. As one of the most mesmerising places in the Middle East, the Purple Island is a real life fairytale. Walk across the wooden bridge which brings its own rustic charisma to the island.
Al Khor Corniche
The Al Khor Corniche is the living room of the locals - families, friends, and groups meet up to take a peaceful stroll around with loved ones. Ideal for a morning jog and to watch the sunrise above the sea and explore the range of restaurants available in this peaceful and green area.
Al Wakrah, the bustling fishing village just a short hop from Doha, is one of Qatar's larger cities. The name of the once small village comes from the Arabic word ‘Wakar’, which translates to ‘Bird’s Nest’. Fast-growing in the 21st century, the city offers a fantastic shopping experience, soft sandy beaches and beautiful parks.
Al Wakrah Souq
The main marketplace of Al Wakrah is along the promenade, where you can explore and appreciate the traditional architecture of the souq. Pick up home-made souvenirs that will always remind you of the authentic Qatari setting, and savour the variety of delicious cuisines.
Al Wakrah Municipality Family Beach
Al Wakrah beach offers a calm and tranquil place to relax and unwind with the family. The soft, golden sandy beach is the ideal place for a family barbecue or picnic, enjoying the sunset and admiring the view, and participating in group sports on the volleyball and soccer fields.
Al Wakrah Public Garden
Explore over 70 different species of plants in Al Wakrah including olive trees, the Arab’s pride.
Halal food and restaurants in Qatar
Food throughout Qatar is Halal certified, which means one thing only: indulge in authentic Qatari cuisine. Choose from a plethora of Kashmiri, Indian and Western food, among others. Heavily influenced by the eclectic mix of residents who call it home, the country is known for its fine and exciting range of cuisines, some of the finest in the Middle East. Simply put - delicious and tempting food is available everywhere - be it in supermarkets, malls, street vendors, restaurants, cafes, Michelin starred restaurants or in the souks.
We highly recommend trying the traditional Qatari Kabsa (also called Machboos), a deliciously seasoned rice dish that can be cooked with various meats or fish like chicken, lamb, goat, beef, camel, shrimp and fish, and Mahalabiya, a type of custard/custard dessert dish made from ground rice milk.
Another recommendation is to have breakfast and a coffee break in the cozy and quaint independent cafes that you see lining the streets. A cup of coffee with a Qatari breakfast on a balcony is enough to get a fantastic start to the morning. Also try the fresh juices and desserts in the marketplaces!
Halal-friendly properties in Qatar
Perfect your halal holiday in Qatar HalalBooking offers an amazing range of over 100 halal-friendly properties. You can refine your search by using our halal filters available on our website. Whilst dinner outside of the hotel awaits you, you can enjoy your lunch or begin your day properly in the comfort of your own hotel with properties offering halal food. Many Muslim travellers choose alcohol-free hotels, which are plentiful on HalalBooking! The concept that 'halal' and 'luxury' don't mix is a thing of the past in Qatar, with properties offering private or women-only pools in the most lavish settings. Enjoy the splendour of large hotels and estates with mixed pools and beaches, and even those with spa and wellness centres - what better way to get you in the holiday spirit than halal-friendly amenities? Booking with HalalBooking means you can ensure your Halal holiday has all the flexible options you need - explore the options available at some properties such as 'free cancellation' and 'book now, pay later'.