The highly anticipated Football World Cup will return in 2022 and this year, the host country for the games is Qatar, an Arab country boasting bountiful beaches, dry deserts and ultramodern skyscrapers. Qatar is the smallest country yet to host the World Cup and if you’re planning to travel down to the Middle East for the football, make some time to discover what the glamorous Arabian country has to offer. We’ve created the ultimate guide for footie fans who will be travelling from all over the world to support their country in the 2022 Football World Cup during November - December 2022.
From the best things to do in Qatar, what to expect when you arrive and how to conform to the local culture, laws and the country’s conservative outlook, read our top tips and advice that we recommend to all footie fans.
Things to know before you travel:
If you’re obsessed with both travelling and football, then booking your flights out to Qatar for the World Cup is a no brainer. You’re guaranteed to have a blast (and hopefully experience a win for your national team too). However there are definitely things to know before you go. Being an Arab country, there are some laws and rules that you will need to familiarise yourself with before 2022.
Qatar has a whole different set of laws to abide by.
Respect the dress code
To westerners the dress code in Qatar may seem strict but it’s important to respect the local culture and traditions. Women travelling to the country for the World Cup should dress modestly in public. Remember to cover your shoulders and avoid wearing short skirts and low cut tops. Make long skirts, maxi dresses and linen shirts your go-to wardrobe pieces! Get yourself a couple of pashminas too so you can cover your shoulders when wearing any strappy tops.
As for the male dress code, it’s respectful to wear shorts that come just below the knee or some lightweight trousers so you don’t get too hot.
You cannot drink alcohol or get drunk in public
It is against the law to drink alcohol or carry alcohol in public. Alcohol is available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars so you can have a drink (or few) to celebrate your team’s win there. Local restaurants and bars may or may not serve alcohol to be sure to check before you book a table.
Avoid offending the locals
Be careful when you’re out in public with your partner in Qatar. Showing intimacy in public is an offence and can lead to arrest. Public displays of affection that you should avoid includes kissing, cuddling and even holding hands in some places. If you break these rules it’s not uncommon for a bystanding local to report you to the police. It’s best to be safe than sorry.
For more information on local laws and customs in Qatar, check out this page .
The weather in Qatar for the Football World Cup will be nice and warm. You’re in the desert after all. In November the country experiences an average temperature of 24-25°C but you may see highs of 29°C. In December it gets a little more mild with temperatures between 19°C to 24°C which is still pretty warm compared to Europe. This is why the Middle East is such a great place to escape to for some winter sun. Keep an eye out on this page for any updates, just in case the World Cup dates change.
Qatari riyals (QR) is the local currency for the State of Qatar. Make sure you exchange money before you arrive as carrying cash around in Qatar is important if you want to get anywhere. You’ll be able to use your card in most modern places, but for taxis, local transport and more traditional areas it’s best to have a little cash on you.
Visas and getting there
Of all the Middle Eastern countries, Qatar is the most open. Nationals from over 80 countries can benefit from visa-free entry into Qatar depending on their length of stay and reason for travel. Unless you’re staying for more than 30 days or you’re heading there for a reason other than tourism, this is likely for you. Head to the Visit Qatar website to check you’re eligible for visa-free entry.
Hamad International Airport is located just south of Doha and is likely to be your port of entry into Qatar. In 2019, HIA was ranked the 4th best airport in the world! To get into the city centre of Doha by taxi it’ll take just half an hour, just make sure you have enough Qatari Riyals with you as they only accept cash.
Who can I fly with?
Many airlines fly to and from Qatar including British Airways, Qatar Airways, Iberia, Sri Lankan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Japan Airlines, Air India, Jet Airways and many more. Wherever you’re travelling from in the world, you’ll have no trouble getting to Qatar for the Football World Cup. Qatar Airways has a direct flight that goes straight from the UK to Qatar.
Check Skyscanner for more information on airlines travelling to Qatar
Things to do in Qatar’s host cities:
Ahead of the World Cup, Qatar will build 9 new stadiums and renovate 3, with the 12 venues divided among 7 host cities throughout the country. The 7 host cities are Al-Daayen, Al-Khor, Al-Rayyan, Al-Shamal, Al-Wakrah, Doha and Umm Slal. We will take you through the best things to do in each host city so you can squeeze some awesome sights and attractions in during your football-packed trip.
Doha is the capital city of Qatar, and being home to three of the incredible impressive stadiums set to be built in time for 2022, many of you will find yourselves in the city at some point during the World Cup. Aside from watching some of the biggest games of the year (in stadiums that will make your jaw drop), Doha is full of things to do and unforgettable experiences. The city is a multicultural melting-pot with so much to offer. Mixing old-school, traditional Doha with new, modern skyscrapers, here are a few of the best things to do in Qatar’s capital.
Make the most of having a once-in-a-lifetime experience on your doorstep and book onto a sand dunes tour from Doha. Drive up and down the dunes in kitted-out 4 by 4s, try sandboarding and watch one of the most spectacular sunsets in the world.
Spices, traditional clothing, handicrafts, souvenirs… Weave through the narrow alleys of Souq Waqif and experience one of the most famous marketplaces in Qatar.
Built on a former pearl diving site, architects and design-lovers will be in heaven. The huge, man made island is a must-see in Doha.
Skydive over the spectacular desert and skyline views of Doha with Skydive Qatar .
The 7km promenade stretches along the blue water of the Persian Gulf and is packed with modern bars and restaurants as well as incredible views of the Doha skyline.
If you’ve managed to bag tickets for a game at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, you’re in for a treat. The giant 40,000 capacity stadium looks like something from the future. Just a 25 minute drive or half an hour bus, Al Wakrah isn’t far from Doha. You could easily stay in the capital and make your way down to the stadium on the day of the game, or stay in Al Wakrah and head into the capital on day trips. There are plenty of amazing restaurants in Al Wakrah as well as a stunning harbour (Dhow Harbour) which is constantly buzzing with local fishermen.
The Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor will be one of Qatar’s new additions for the 2022 World Cup. It’s not yet complete, but it’s set to be able to seat a massive 60,000 people. Al Khor is a couple of hours north of Doha, so it’s definitely worth checking out accommodation local to the stadium if you’ve got tickets for a game going on here. On the days you’re not going mad for your team at Al Bayt, here’s what you should be doing in Al Khor:
Al Khor Beach
Don’t expect to be sinking your toes into endless soft sand, but with sea views on one side and stunning architecture on the other, Al Khor Beach is a beautiful place for a morning stroll.
Al Khor Island
Often known as Purple Island, this patch of land is a great option on a free day. Explore salt water creeks, little beaches and historic areas and find flamingos, crabs, fireflies, fossils and loads more.
Join a kayak tour of the Mangroves Forest just north of Al Khor near Al Thakira. The area is home to a huge variety of vegetation, birds (flamingos, herons and more), and mangroves.
North of Doha, Al-Daayen is a large part of the east coast of Qatar where you’ll find the Lusail Iconic Stadium. It’s not yet finished, but it’ll be done in time for the opening match on Monday 21st November. From Al-Daayen you can reach both Doha and Al Khor easily where you’ll be spoilt for choice with the amount of things to do and see. If you're staying in Al-Daayen, check out the sunset over the marina at night.
This is the second most populous city in Qatar and will be home to a newly built Al Rayyan stadium - which will be able to seat 40,000 people once completed. The innovative design and structure of the stadium will be inspired by the desert, since Al-Rayyan is known for being the ‘Gateway to the desert’. Pretty cool. Just west of Doha, Al-Rayyan is known for housing the Arab Museum of Modern Art, a unique attraction that focuses on Arab artists. Other than that and the Aspire water park, there isn’t a crazy amount of things to do but Al-Rayyan’s close proximity to Doha means you can get to all the action in 25 minutes by cab.
A proposed stadium for the World Cup is set to be built in Al-Shamal, a small pocket in the north of Qatar. With a capacity of 45,120, the impressive stadium is set to be opened in the summer of 2020. With a small population of just 5000, A-Shamal is most famous for having Qatar’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage site. The historic Al Zubarah fort lies in the middle of the desert, a great excursion if you want to learn about Qatar history. Al-Shamal also boasts some peaceful coastline.
Head inland to Umm Slal where you’ll find the proposed Umm Slal Stadium for the World Cup 2022. The design of this one represents the Arabian forts, and it’s set to look seriously cool. Use your spare days to explore the culture and history of Umm Slal which translates to ‘mother of rocks’ in English due to the number of rock formations around the area. Explore the regions parks and the 19th century Barzan Towers to learn about how their uses have changed throughout the years.
Food to try
One of our favourite things about Qatar is the delicious food. Qatari cuisine is made up of traditional Middle-eastern flavours. Saffron, cardamom, turmeric, cumin, ginger and black pepper are some of the exotic spices used in most Arabic food and desserts.
The staple dish that you have to try is Machboos, a Qatari dish that consists of meat, rice, onions and vegetables mixed with delicious spices. Pop into a local restaurant to indulge in this speciality and get a true taste of the Middle East.
You also have to try some dates (or buy some to take back home with you). Dates are a national speciality in Qatar. Arabic coffee is aromatic and unique so when you need a caffeine fix in Qatar, make sure to try some. Arabic coffee is brewed with dark coffee beans, spiced with cardamom and served with dates!
People from Qatar do not eat pork so it’s difficult to find pork meat throughout the country. Bringing in pork to Qatar from other countries is strictly prohibited.
Travelling to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup is a bucket list experience. For recommendations on the best budget hotels in the country, visit Booking.com.
Not going to be in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup but still want an incredible atmosphere when watching the games? Belushi’s Bars across Europe will be screening live coverage of all the games on HD TVs with commentary and epic drink deals. They’re the Home of International Sport for a reason.
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