A small peninsular Arab country, Qatar borders Saudi Arabia to the south. Much of its terrain consists of arid desert, but along the Gulf shoreline are some beautiful, white beaches.
As elsewhere in the Middle East, Qatar blends a rich Arabian heritage with modern commercialism. The capital is Doha, a city whose skyline is peppered with superbly ultramodern architecture inspired by Islam.
There is plenty to choose from in the way of luxury hotels. The Ritz-Carlton boasts the largest chandelier in the world, decorated with 2300 crystals. The Four Seasons Hotel contains the world’s largest Nobu restaurant, offering high-end Japanese cuisine.
Visit Aspire Park and relax in its lush green picnic areas. This is the perfect place to walk or go jogging by the lake. Marvel at the Aspire Tower (The Torch Doha), a breath-taking luxury skyscraper hotel, 300 meters high. At night it is lit up with beautiful mauves, green, and yellows.
Nearby is the Villagio Mall, a great place to shop for all the top luxury brands. You will find everything from modern electronics to designer labels and expensive jewellery.
If you prefer shopping for more traditional Arabian goods, head over to the West Bay. Here you can haggle for embroidered rugs, brass vessels, and traditional garments at the Souq Waqif. Don’t miss the falconry quarter. Watch the traditional dhows as they plow their way across the bay. The Museum of Islamic Art is located here too, with a large collection of historical artifacts telling the story of Islam.
Thirty-five miles north of Doha is the Al Khor sea resort, a dhow and fishing harbour, offering paragliding, water skiing and jet skiing.
In South Qatar is the Inland Sea – Khor Al-Udaid – a popular nature reserve. Here, the sea is surrounded by the desert. Look out for sea turtles, cormorants, and flamingos.