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Qatar Weather, climate and geography

Weather and climate

Best time to visit

Occupying a small land on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, the sovereign state of Qatar has a dry, subtropical desert climate with low annual rainfall and intensely hot and humid summers.

The weather in Qatar can be broadly grouped into two seasons: hot (May to October) and cool (December to February). March, April and November are transitional months, meaning the weather is hot but tolerable.

The best time to visit Qatar is from November to March, the cool period when temperatures are warm and the evenings can be pleasantly cool. January is the coolest month with temperatures ranging from 14°C (57°F) to 22°F (72°F). Temperatures start to climb after January and by March, the average high is back to 24°C (75°F).

Although the cool period (November to March) is the best time to visit Qatar, bear in mind that rainfall, however scarce, occurs during this period too, and the rains come mostly in heavy cloudbursts and thunderstorms.

The hot period (May to October) is oven-temperature hot and best avoided. July is often considered the hottest month with temperatures ranging from 32°C (90°F) to 43°C (109°F) – although it's not unusual for the mercury to reach an eye-watering high of 50°C (122°F) in July and sometimes August. If you're visiting during the hot period, you may find yourself seeking refuge in one of the many air-conditioned malls. After October, things start to cool down and by November, you can expect an average high of 24°C (75°F).

Because Qatar is a small and flat country, there is little regional variation in the weather, although coastal areas may be slightly cooler than inland. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is highly urbanised which can make the weather in Doha feel slightly hotter than it is. See our guide on weather in Doha and the best time to visit.

Required clothing

Lightweight cotton and linen are recommended during summer months but avoid wearing pure silk, which sticks to the skin with the humidity (although silk blends are great). A cardigan is useful for the over-cooled malls in the summer and a jacket is a must for cooler evenings during the winter. If you intend to take a camping trip from January to March, you'll be glad to have packed an extra layer of clothing at night.

Geography

Qatar is an oil-rich peninsula jutting out into the Gulf between Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, with just one border, at the south of the country, with Saudi Arabia. The peninsula is just 160km (100 miles) north-south, and apart from the capital, Doha, most of the towns are oil-company compounds. The coastline stretches for 563km (350 miles), with a scattering of sandy beaches – the best of which are in the north and west.

Much of the country consists of sand dunes and salt flats across a low, barren plain, although towards the north of the peninsula there is scattered vegetation.  There is also a small range of hills in the north-west, the highest of which is Qurayn Abu al Bawl, which reaches just over 100m (328ft) and is part of the Jebel Dukhan range. The country's most distinctive geographical feature is in the south of the country close to the border with Saudi Arabia; a wide area of rippling dunes surrounding an inlet of water from the Persian Gulf. Known as Khor al-Adaid, it is a favourite spot for jeep safaris and day trips from Doha.

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