Qatar Airways offers a free Doha City tour and I was really excited to take advantage of it during my long layover at Doha Hamad International Airport. It gave me the opportunity to check off another country on my list without having to pay for the expensive Qatar Visa. The tour is about 4 hours long and covers the essential parts of Doha. The itinerary includes the Museum of Islamic Art, Katara Cultural Village, the Pearl-Qatar, and finally the Souq Waqif.
Booking the tour
The tour booth is located on the main level of the airport at the beginning of concourse B between the WH Smith and the Mont Blanc shops. The tour is run on a first come first serve basis. The check-in time is 6am for the three morning tours and 4pm for the evening tour. I arrived at 6:05am and there was already a line.
I also wanted to clear up some ambiguity on Qatar’s website regarding the specifics of this program, so I asked the agents running the tour.
- The tour is available to all nationals, regardless of whether you are eligible for visa on arrival.
- You must be flying both the inbound and outbound flights on Qatar Airway, regardless of class of service.
- The tour guide leads you through immigration as though you are an arriving passenger and your passport will be stamped.
- You can bring your luggage with you and store it underneath the tour bus.
- No food is provided, nor is there a stop for food on the tour. Bottled water is provided however.
The tour was very well run by an independent tour operator which is hired by Qatar Airways. We stopped for 5-10 minutes at each place on the itinerary, with the exception of about 30 minutes for shopping at the Souq Waqif. I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t go inside the Museum of Islamic Art since, but merely stopped for 5 minutes to take pictures of the building from the outside. But overall, I can’t really complain about a free tour and a free visa. It covered what there is to see in Doha, which isn’t saying much, and it’s a great way to spend a long layover.