The kid brother to Middle Eastern megalopolises Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Doha is rapidly catching up. It’s getting its own share of starchitect attractions, such the cucumber-shaped Burj Doha by Jean Nouvel. At an outpost of New York’s beloved Jazz at Lincoln Center, artistic director Wynton Marsalis brings in top talent from all over the world. The port is about a 15-minute drive from the city center, and a spiffy new cruise terminal is in the works.
What We Love
Al Zubarah Fort: Even as the new skyscrapers gleam, pieces of Qatari history remain intact. Built as a coast guard station in 1938, the fort is now a museum for traditional handicrafts such as Bedouin Al Sadu weaving, fishing boats, and gypsum and wooden ornaments.
Dune Bashing: If nothing else, this is a way to see the spectacular emptiness of the desert and get a glimpse of Bedouin life. But buckle up: Local drivers speedily maneuver 4x4s up, down, and around sand dunes, which can get the adrenaline pumping.
Best Known For
The Corniche: The city’s spiritual center is the promenade that curves along the Persian Gulf. Join the locals out strolling for the evening or hop on a dhow cruise to take in the city’s modern skyline.
The Museum of Islamic Art: Designed by I.M. Pei, the architecture is impressive, but so is the extensive collection that it houses, which spans three continents and 1,400 years of history.
Shop for Cruises
Who It's Best For
Arts Lovers: Along with the museums and the jazz, there’s also an edition of the Tribeca Film Festival here.
Shopaholics: There’s everything from the traditional gold souk and Souk Waqif, with its spices and textiles, to the luxury boutiques of City Center Mall and the Italianate Villagio Mall.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Summers Are Seriously Hot: There’s a reason the residents hardly go outside before dark. Two words: the heat.
It Can Be Hard to Find a Beer: In deference to Islamic beliefs, most restaurants don’t serve alcohol. Look for a drink in a hotel, or do as the locals do and socialize over “shisha” (a hookah pipe).
Ann Abel is a Brooklyn-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Departures.