Doha Weather

37°C

Local time Doha

Currency

QR

Travel to Doha

Flying to Doha

Qatar Airways operates direct flights from the UK to Doha. Indirect options include flights with Pegasus Airlines or Turkish Airlines via Istanbul or flights via Frankfurt with Lufthansa. It is hard to find cheap flights to Doha, so booking well in advance is recommended. Qatar Airways also runs direct flights from the USA.

Flight times

From London - 6 hours 50 minutes; New York - 12 hours 35 minutes; Los Angeles - 18 hours (including stopover); Toronto - 14 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Sydney - 17 hours (including stopover).

Travel by road

Driving in Doha is not for the faint-hearted. Qatar has a high rate of traffic accident fatalities relative to its population. There are many reasons for this: constantly-changing road layouts, widespread mobile phone use, a lackadaisical attitude to seatbelts and the fact that many Qataris are so wealthy that if they total their 4x4 one day, they buy a new one the next.

The Qatari government is trying to crack down on dangerous driving and there are numerous (steep) fines for speeding, undertaking, jumping red lights and using your phone while driving.

Driving is on the right and the minimum driving age is 18, although you usually need to be at least 21 to rent a car. Depending where you come from, you may be able to drive using your national driving licence for up to seven days; check with the Traffic Department at Madinat Khalifa on arrival. Otherwise, you can apply for a temporary three-month licence when you arrive and extend this when it expires. International Driving Permits are valid for six months in Qatar.

The Arabian Automobile Association (tel: 4481 0500; www.aaaqatar.com) is Qatar's main motoring organisation and can provide more information on driving in Qatar.

Emergency breakdown services

Arabian Automobile Association (tel: 4481 0500, in Qatar only).

Routes

Routes 5 and 59 link Doha with Saudi Arabia to the South; Route 59 then joins up with Route 95 into the UAE. However, getting across the border can be difficult for foreign nationals, and impossible for women travellers, as women drivers are not allowed in Saudi Arabia. The difficulty of crossing the borders mean car hire companies will rarely allow drivers to leave Qatar.

Qatar itself is very easy to explore by car as it’s a tiny country; the drive from the Saudi border in the south to Madinat ash Shamal in the very north of the country is only 160km (99 miles), taking around 2 to 2.5 hours.

For several years there has been talk of a planned 40km (24-mile) causeway linking Qatar and Bahrain. Originally scheduled to open in 2014 or 2015, the project is now stalled, and the bridge is not expected to be completed until just before Qatar hosts the World Cup in 2022. 

Coaches

There are land border crossing points from both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but no cross border buses from either country.

Time to city

From Saudi border - 1 hour 30 minutes; Riyadh - 5 hours; Abu Dhabi - 6 hours.

Travel by Rail

Services

There are currently no rail services to and from Doha, but plans are afoot to construct a railway network connecting Doha with other cities in Qatar as well as to neighbouring countries. See Qatar Rail (www.qr.com.qa) for more details.

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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Featured Hotels

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Marsa Malaz Kempinski

A blend of Arabic and European architecture makes for an inviting stay at this chic hotel on The Pearl. It's so vast, guests could spend their whole holiday navigating its numerous restaurants and bars, luxury Clarins spa and beach. Guests will find all the frills in the way of butler and limousine services, if that's what they're looking for. It's also home to some eye-wateringly expensive suites.

W Doha

Those who are familiar with the W brand will know what to expect here – a little bit of Manhattan in the heart of the Middle East. It's well located and could just as feasibly be used by business travellers as well as trend-conscious urban socialites. The décor is sleek and modern and there are some quality dining and nightlife options.

Four Seasons Hotel Doha

The Four Seasons is a solid choice for a fly-and-flop few days, with a gently curving private beach and one of the best spas in Doha – across three storeys, no less. The pool areas are beautifully landscaped and there's a choice of seven restaurants and lounges. It's an upscale hotel with high-class service, opulent marble interiors and a surprisingly relaxed feel. Those with children are well catered for with a kids' club and family activities.

Meliã

Those who want to be in the mix will be more than happy with this Spanish-owned hotel. Guest rooms are contemporary and spacious, and the third-floor swimming pool offers a stylish spot to cool off and relax. The award-winning Signature restaurant by Sanjeev Kapoor is its best highlight. You can also try Aceite for cheery service and sangria on tap. This hotel offers guests special entrance fees for Katara Beach and Banana Island.

Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels

This collection of nine buildings places you in the heart of Souq Waqif, offering a real taste of the Doha's historic side. The hotel has an alluring Arabesque style and boutique vibe and offers access to a range of facilities, including a luxury spa offering Arabic treatments (including a traditional hammam), eight restaurants and a rooftop pool. Other highlights include 11 room categories, valet parking and warm Qatari hospitality.

The Torch Doha

Part of the city's high-tech Aspire Zone, this 300m-high (984ft) tower designed to resemble a vast torch is the currently the tallest hotel in Qatar. Not originally built as a hotel, it offers excellent levels of in-room comfort and some genuinely impressive facilities nonetheless. Expect to rub shoulder with the likes of footballers on warm-weather trips and the Venice-themed Villaggio Mall is close by.