New transit visa allows up to four days in Qatar between flights
Experience the delights of Doha with a holiday within a holiday
Programme is free for Qatar Airways passengers with layovers of five hours or more
Nicosia: As the winter chill sets in across Cyprus, Qatar Airways is ready to bring some extra sunshine to holidaymakers with an exciting new transit visa scheme.
The programme allows transiting passengers with layovers of five hours or more at Qatar Airways’ state-of-the-art home and hub at Hamad International Airport in Doha to request a visa at no additional expense. With applicants permitted to enter the country for up to 96 hours between connecting flights, the wonders of Qatar have never been within easier reach.
To celebrate the new programme, we’ve brought together five of our favourite Qatari stopover experiences:
- Early morning arrival into Doha? Beat the crowds and explore Doha’s world famous Museum of Islamic Art.
Designed by the veteran Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei, this groundbreaking institution is regarded as one of the world’s greatest museums. Honouring a variety of traditional Islamic architectural customs, two large lighting outlets at the top of the building provide light to the building. As visitors walk through the museum, tall windows provide breathtaking views across the bay towards the dazzling Doha skyline. The museum is home to Islamic art from three continents, with some artifacts dating back more than 1,400 years, including collections of metal work, jewellery, wood work, textiles and glass.
HOW: The Museum of Islamic Art is open from Wednesday to Monday from 10.30 to 17.30. www.mia.org.qa/en
- For passengers arriving into Doha mid-morning, the Souq Waqif is Doha’s bustling daily market.
For many locals, the Souq Waqif market is the social heart of Doha; a wonderful place to explore and an undoubted highlight of the city. This very traditional market is the perfect place to hunt for spices, perfumes, oud (an exotic incense made from agarwood) and fine linens. The heart of this bustling destination is the main boulevard which is lined with cafes and restaurants, providing both visitors and locals with authentic Qatari cuisine.
HOW: Souq Waqif’s stalls are open daily from 10.00 to 12:00 and 16.00 to 22.00.
- Qatar Airways’ daily flight departs from Larnaca at 12:25 and arrives into Doha at 16:50 offering the perfect opportunity to have an evening meal at Nobu.
At 26,000 square-feet, Doha’s Nobu restaurant is a three-level architectural masterwork providing visitors with the very best in culinary design. Inspired by Arabic traditions and boasting stunning panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf, the restaurant is full of drama on and off the plate. Chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa’s recipes are inspired by his world-renowned sushi training and combined with his love of travel provide guests with an unforgettable culinary experience. Those who don’t have time to visit the Nobu restaurant can experience Chef Nobu’s exceptional cuisine onboard select Qatar Airways services in Business and First Class.
HOW: Experience the best of Nobu from 450 Qatari Riyal for the Omakase special. www.noburestaurants.com/doha
Passengers arriving into Hamad International Airport in the early evening have the chance to visit the Arabian Gulf and enjoy an atmospheric dhow cruise.
Cruise down the majestic teal waters of the Arabian Gulf on a dhow, the traditional Qatari sailing boat used by local merchants and fishermen for centuries. The vessel offers guests the perfect opportunity to view the Doha skyline and enjoy a fresh breeze to cool down from the desert heat. While enjoying the stunning panoramic view, guests can dine on delicious local food cooked by the onboard chef.
HOW: Prices start from 200 Qatari Riyal per person based on a two-hour cruise. http://discoverqatar.qatarairways.com/
- Travellers flying on one of Qatar Airways’ services from Larnaca arrive into Doha in the early morning, allowing them to experience the Qatari desert on an exhilarating half-day 4×4 adventure.
Get ready for an adrenaline-charged ride in a 4×4 vehicle rolling across the undulating sand dunes on the outskirts of Doha. During the journey, visitors can stop at a camel farm in the middle of the desert and admire the beautiful desert roses. The drive continues to the Inland Sea, which is the natural border to Saudi Arabia giving visitors the opportunity to appreciate the serenity and splendour of the desert.
HOW: Daily trips last four hours, 09.00-13.00 / 14.00-18.00
Even travellers with a shorter period between flights can experience the world-class facilities while transiting at Doha’s Hamad International Airport. Qatar Airways passengers can enjoy more than 70 shops and more than 30 restaurants, a 100-room hotel, a spa including a 25-metre indoor swimming pool, squash courts and gymnasium. The state-of-the-art airport was designed with the passenger experience as a top priority, and has already won several awards in its first two years of operation.
Customers can book exclusive Qatar stopover hotels, tours, airport transfers with an instant confirmation at www.qatarairwaysholidays.com/discoverqatar