General information


  • National Profile: The State of Qatar, an independent sovereign country since 1971, is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The population stands at 2.69 million and the capital city is Doha.
  • Climate: Qatar has a desert climate with year-round sunshine, hot summers and mild winters. Mean temperatures range from 17 C in January to 40 C+ during the summer. Rain is infrequent, falling in brief showers mainly in winter.
  • Geography: Qatar is an 11,500 square kilometre peninsula extending northwards into the Arabian Gulf. It has 563 km of uninterrupted coastline.
  • Religion: Islam is the official religion. Followers of other religions enjoy freedom of worship.
  • Language: Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken.
  • Time: Local time is GMT/UTC +3 hours. There are no daylight savings adjustments. 
  • Currency: The official currency is the Qatari Riyal (QAR). The exchange rate is fixed at US $1 = QAR 3.64.
  • Business hours: The working week is from Sunday to Thursday, with most offices closed on Friday and Saturday. Government working hours are from 7am to 2pm.
  • Public holidays
    • National Sports Day (Second Tuesday in February)
    • Eid Al Fitr (Starts at the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan)
    • Eid Al Adha (Starts at some nine and a half weeks after Eid Al Fitr.
    • Qatar National Day (December 18)
  • Air Travel: Hamad International Airport, opened in 2014, is the home of Qatar Airways, one of the world's fastest growing airlines with direct flights to over 150 destinations. Some 50 other international airlines fly into Qatar. 
  • Public transport: Metered taxis and buses are easily accessible. Book a taxi or find a bus route by calling +974 4458 8888.
  • Telecommunications: The country code for Qatar is +974. Telecom providers Ooredoo and Vodafone offer prepaid and postpaid mobile services. Wi-fi broadband is easily accessible in hotels and at many other public places and is often complimentary.
  • Electricity: 220/240 volts AC 50Hz. Socket type is square three-pin 13 amp (as used in the UK).
  • Important numbers
    • Emergency: 999
    • Directory assistance: 180
    • Hamad International Airport: +974 4010 6666
    • Qatar Tourism Call Centre: +974 4406 9921; website: www.visitqatar.qa


Culture and Heritage

  • Museum and Galleries: Museum of Islamic Art, Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani Museum, Katara's art galleries, theatres and performance venues.
  • History and Heritage: Al Zubarah, forts and towers, ancient rock carvings and settlements.
  • Living Culture: The traditional Qatari market of Souq Waqif, camel racing at Al Shahaniya, falconry, handicrafts, henna, traditional music and dance.
  • Public Art and Architecture: Works by prominent regional and international artists and architects, including IM Pei, Jean Nouvel, Richard Serra, Damien Hirst, Louise Bourgeois and many other world famous names.


Sightseeing Highlights

  • Doha Corniche: Experience this green oasis with spectacular city views in the heart of the capital
  • Souq Waqif: Soak up the atmosphere and lively street life of this authentic traditional market
  • Museum of Islamic Art: Marvel at the fabulous collections of this cultural treasure house.
  • Katara Cultural Village: Enjoy both culture and recreation at this popular leisure spot.
  • The Pearl-Qatar: Experience the Mediterranean lifestyle at this stylish new island development.
  • Al Zubarah Archaeological Site & Fort: Explore Qatar's past at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Khor Al Adaid (Inland Sea): Take a desert safari to Qatar's dramatic 'inland sea' where the water and desert meet.