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The prettiest free photo spots in Doha, Qatar

January 20, 2021 4 Comments

Doha is a gorgeous city. While it may not have the charm of  Buenos Aires’s eclectic streets or the history of Ireland’s castles, as far as modern cities go, it manages to be modern and beautiful without losing its soul. It is perched along the Arabian gulf and the city is framed by towering palm trees & clear azure waters offering many free photo spots in Doha.

I primarily compiled this guide of free photo spots in Doha because I feel that many people have been sleeping on Doha in favour of neighbouring cities (which I won’t name but also begin with a D) but I hope these photos can inspire you to put it on your list. Sadly, if you’re outside of Qatar, I  feel that you just don’t have access to much information about Qatar so I am hoping to change that. 

Doha is also a transit hub for many travelers passing through as they have layovers with Qatar Airways so if you want to leave the airport to see some pretty free sites, this can be a great guide for you to use without having to spend much money. However, you may not be able to do/see all on this list if you use the metro/tram/bus in one day. 

Qatar is EXPENSIVE (I don’t see a need to sugarcoat the truth) so saving your coins might be a priority especially if you’re en-route elsewhere. The Doha metro is your cheapest way of getting around and many of these can be easily accessed from metro stations. The metro has a direct link to Doha International Airport. But, renting a car or taking an uber would be much faster if you can afford it and will save lots of time. 

If you’re less of a reader and more of a watcher, here is the video about free photo spots in Doha:

This is the first post in a series of posts I will do about Qatar. In this post, I will provide a Google  Maps link to each location as well as the closest metro station.

Katara Cultural Village

It will take approximately 50 minutes to reach Katara by metro from Hamad International Airport so sit back and enjoy the ride. Katara Cultural Village is a unique space filled with dozens of galleries and event spaces, restaurants, theaters, and even a film center. It’s a really unique spot to wander around and explore the space.

Its adjacent to a public beach (although there is an entry fee to go on the beach) and enveloped by Katara Park which has lush greenery and stunning views. You could easily spend hours traversing the cultural village, admiring the mosque, murals, outdoor theatre and other interesting features. Bonus: sample a karak shake from Chapati & Karak to give you a much needed boost of energy. 

Google Maps Link:

Katara plaza

Connected to Katara Cultural Village is Al Hazm Mall. Touted as bringing “European style to the heart of Qatar”, this is one of those malls for the uber rich. Other than B list Bollywood celebrities, I don’t know of anyone who actually shops here but why it made this list is because of the architecture. It’s designed as a neoclassical baroque monument and makes a pretty backdrop for photos coupled with the colourful ‘glass trees’ outside. 

GOOGLE MAPS LINK:

Qanat Quartier 

When people say The Pearl is the prettiest place in Doha, I learnt the hard way what they actually mean is Qanat Quartier. The Pearl is the suburb but the colourful buildings can be found in a specific part of the suburb. A mostly quiet suburb (many apartments & shops in this suburb seem perpetually empty), you can have fun snapping away in front of the emerald green canal and the pastel colored buildings.  Be sure to check out these musical stairs!

You can take the metro to Legtaifiya station and catch the M110 bus (for free) which drops you off at Qanat Quartier. If you’re taking an Uber, use “Volume Cafe’ as your destination.

GOOGLE MAPS LINK:

Orry the Oryx

The Arabian Oryx, a species of antelope also happens to be Qatar’s National animal. Orry (while impressive and cute) isn’t the main attraction here though. The vicinity where Orry stands is the ideal viewpoint for a gorgeous skyline view of Doha’s unique skyscrapers framed by the shimmering water. 

There’s parking at Al Mourjan restaurant (but it’s limited) which is also the restaurant you can use as your uber destination. If you’d like to take the metro, disembark at Corniche station and cross the road at the intersection. Google maps doesn’t show you these walking directions (it takes you on an hour long unnecessary walk) but I’ve done this before so I know it’s possible. 

GOOGLE MAPS LINK:

Umbrella Park

An unassuming hidden gem of a place when you enter/exit Corniche metro station is this lovely tunnel filled with colorful flowers. It gives you those ‘Miracle Garden’ vibes (if you know, you know) without the entry ticket price!

The easiest way to visit this place is by using the metro and exiting at Corniche metro station. However it is possible to put in “Umbrella Park” and park somewhere nearby/ be dropped off. 

GOOGLE MAPS LINK:

Aspire Park

When you visit Aspire Park, you might actually think you’ve left Qatar. Its lush, verdant and peaceful.

You could also walk towards the Graffiti Wall by Aspire to see some murals and if you need a mall or restaurant, there’s plenty of options nearby.

You can access Aspire Park by riding the metro to the end of the Gold line (Al Aziziyah Station) or alternatively, there are numerous places to park your vehicle. 

GOOGLE MAPS LINK:

National Museum of Qatar

Although it costs 50QAR to access the inside of the National Museum of Qatar but the outside is gloriously free and accessible! The design is something spectacular- it consists of 539 conical discs to act as ‘petals’ of Qatar’s desert rose in glass fibre-reinforced concrete. It really is a unique and stunning spot to visit!

The only time you need a ticket is to enter the museum’s interior to see the exhibits. You can wander around the exterior inducing the restored palace for FREE. All these photos were taken with no entry ticket having to be presented.

The National Museum of Qatar has its own stop on the metro (gold line), as well as a large parking lot.

GOOGLE MAPS LINK:

Doha Skyline Viewpoint

I stumbled across this by accident- I was out for a walk and I saw a group of people walking in the direction of this so I followed them. This is THE spot on a Thursday/Friday evening where people unwind with the city skyline in front of them as they enjoy snacks from their vehicles. It sounds weird but what’s key here is that there’s the opportunity to see a gorgeous view of Doha’s skyline especially at night.

You can easily combine this with a visit to the Museum of Islamic Art & its adjoining park (Park entry is free, museum entry is 50QAR). 

Note: The view is slightly different to the view at Orry the Oryx but very similar to the view at Museum of Islamic Art Park.

GOOGLE MAPS LINK:

Souq Waqif

I’ve done the cliche and left the best for last as there’s an abundance of beauty at the souk, from the narrow alleyways filled with buckets of fragrant spices to the impressively decorated mosaics, doors, handicrafts and restaurants. The souq does only come alive in the afternoon/ evening (after 4pm) which makes for the perfect dinner destination. 

If you’re ending your layover at the souq (which is a good option) you will need to factor that by metro, the airport is around 30 minutes away and by car, the airport is 20 minutes away. Take note that while the Souq does have underground parking, its much better to take the metro in order to avoid traffic, craziness & congestion.

GOOGLE MAPS LINK:

Many people ask me if I miss the glitz & glam of Dubai and truthfully I don’t. I much prefer the quiet, unassuming nature of Doha. There’s glitter if you know where to look for it but there’s also an emphasis on culture, authenticity and art. Hope this guide of free photo spots in Doha inspires you to visit!

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to pin it using the pin below!

If you’re particularly interested in street art & murals, you may be interested in my Instagram guide to outdoor murals in Doha

Have you ever visited Doha, Qatar? Or is it on your list of places to visit? Let me know in the comments below!

expatpanda

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4 Comments

  • higgledypiggledymom January 25, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    I loved all of your clear clean (where is everyone?) photographs but my favorite was towards the end-a colorful market place had me saying WOW. Stay well!

    • expatpanda January 27, 2021 at 7:48 am

      I try not to photograph others because I don’t have their consent. And nothing is sacred on the internet of course! How you are well too, do take care!

  • b. makdous September 21, 2021 at 12:22 am

    you forgot to mention that if you’re photographing in most of the places you’ve mentioned in your article with anything more than a mobile phone (im talking photographing walls not people! ), youd have security running after you trying to take your camera as happened to me in qanat quartier, and Katara.
    Truth yeah!?

    • expatpanda September 21, 2021 at 3:24 pm

      I used my phone so can’t comment on what I didn’t experience.

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