If you’re a travel-loving football fan, attending the FIFA World Cup is an incredible way to explore a new destination. For the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Doha is a perfect jumping off point to explore the Middle East and part of Asia. We’re planning to attend the World Cup ourselves and have started planning which destinations we hope to get to in between matches; with the help of our lovely contributors, here’s a roundup of where to travel while attending the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
All of these destinations are reachable within 4 hours of Doha, making them perfect for 2-3 day getaways throughout the tournament. You can find the 2022 FIFA World Cup match schedule here in order to find out which days will be best for travel.
Check out the Sports Travel section of our blog for even more tips – we’ll be updating it as we plan our trip for the 2022 World Cup.
Travel Time: 1 hr
Route: DOH – SHJ (direct)
Sharjah is one of the seven emirates of the UAE. It’s right next to Dubai, which makes DXB also a suitable point of entry. Because it’s not Dubai or Abu Dhabi, it’s less crowded with tourists and more affordable. Here are some fun things to do in Sharjah City:
- Wander around Al Noor island and visit the butterfly garden. If you sit very still, they might land on you
- Walk through the rain without getting wet at the Rain Room art installation
- Experience Sharjah’s history at the Museum of Islamic Civilization or the Al Mahatta airport museum
- Look at traditional Emirati houses in the Heart of Sharjah heritage village. The Al Hisn fort has the same aesthetic and houses a small museum
- Sample some of the juiciest dates at the Souk Al Jubail
Submitted by Iris from Mind of a Hitchhiker.
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Travel Time: 1 hr 5 min
Route: DOH – AHU (direct)
A great city to visit on a short getaway is Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the UAE and known for its culture, luxury and shopping. Flights from Doha are non-stop and just over an hour from DOH to AUH.
Much of the capital city lies on islands just off the mainland and is an interesting mix of beaches, desert and high rises. It’s a fascinating city to explore and notoriously expensive but it definitely has a lot of to offer. Some of the top things to do in Abu Dhabi are:
- The Sheikh Sayed Grand Mosque: One of the largest mosques in the world can be found in Abu Dhabi and has beautiful columns and white marble domes throughout.
- Emirates Palace: This 5-star luxury resort is the epitome of Middle eastern opulence and anyone can visit to walk around and get a glimpse inside.
- The Louvre Abu Dhabi: Head to Saadiyat Island to see the 2nd version of the Louvre Museum that cost the UAE over a billion dollars to create. The stunning architecture is a work of art itself.
Whether you plan to stay for several days or just a quick trip, you’ll find plenty of things to do in this city!
Submitted by Ashley from Jetset Jansen.
Travel Time: 1 hr 15 min
Route: DOH – DXB (direct)
With six non-stop (DOH – DXB) flights a day, Dubai is a short (1hr 15m) flight from Doha. Superlatives such as biggest, tallest, and fanciest readily come to mind when describing things to do in Dubai, and ‘cheapest’ usually isn’t one of them.
However, there are plenty of inexpensive experiences to enjoy.
- In ‘Old Dubai,’ catch a ride across Dubai Creek in a traditional abra, visit the Dubai Museum, and eat at restaurants catering to Dubai’s expansive international workforce.
- Or spend the day at Jumeirah Beach in the shadow of Burj Al Arab, the world’s only ‘7-star’ hotel.
- Getting inside Burj Al Arab isn’t restricted to guests who book a luxurious stay. It’s not cheap, but a high tea reservation will guarantee entry and the ability to wander around public areas after a decadent two-hour encounter with dainty finger sandwiches and fine pastries.
- Besides shopping and dining, Dubai malls offer several entertainment venues. The Mall of the Emirates has its famous ski hill, and the Dubai Mall boasts an aquarium and underwater zoo, ice rink, fountain show, and Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.Admire Burj Khalifa and Dubai’s impressive skyline from the water. An inexpensive ferry service operates from Al Ghubaiba Water Transport Station near the mouth of Dubai Creek to the Dubai Marina.
Travel Time: 1 hr 20 min
Route: DOH – SYZ (direct)
Things to do in Shiraz:
- Shiraz, one of the most beautiful places in Iran, is home to some of the most stunning Islamic architecture in the world. You’ll find breathtaking mosques and shrines there that feature astoundingly intricate patterned tiles.
- Don’t miss the Nasir Ol Molk Mosque (Pink Mosque) and the natural light show that takes place there every morning. Get there early to see the sun reflecting on the stained glass windows, putting on a magical rainbow light show on the carpet.
- Visit the holy Shah Cheragh Shrine to see stunningly intricate mirror work and to enjoy some peace and quiet in a sacred place.
- Stroll through the picturesque Eram Garden and enjoy its many species of roses and fruit trees. This UNESCO Site is the perfect place to relax and people-watch.
- Take a day trip to the nearby Maharloo Lake, a fascinating pink lake. It is especially pink between July and September and makes for spectacular photo ops.
Submitted by Jiayi from The Diary of a Nomad.
Flight time: 1 hr 35 min
Route: DOH – MCT (direct)
- Muttrah Souq and Cornich: Muscat’s lively covered bazaar, the Muttrah Souq, is a must-visit, not only for souvenir shopping but for feeling the vibe of the city. The market and surrounding seaside cornich comes to life after dark, so it’s best to visit around sunset. Inside the market you’ll find traditional Omani souvenirs such as embroidered Kuma hats, frankincense pearls, and antique Khanjar daggers.
- Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque: This stunning mosque – the largest in Oman – features shimmering courtyards, one of the world’s largest woven carpets, and five minarets. Visitors are welcome to attend outside of prayer times.
- Snorkeling in the Ad Dimaniyat Islands: One of the most beautiful places to visit in Oman, this protected archipelago off the coast of Muscat can be reached by boat in under an hour, making it an ideal day trip destination. Spot dolphins, go snorkeling, and lounge on pristine beaches.
- The National Museum of Oman: Immerse yourself in Oman’s seafaring history and learn about Bedouin culture and the mud villages in Oman’s mountainous interior. The highlight of this museum is the exhibition on traditional wooden dhow boats, which are made by talented Omani craftsmen without nails or glue.
Submitted by Emily from Wander-Lush.
Travel Time: 1 hr 45 min
Route: DOH – IFN (direct)
Isfahan is probably the most beautiful city in Iran and one of the most amazing cities in the world. To describe its beauty the locals call it “Isfahan Nesf-e Jahan” which in English means “Isfahan is half the world”. The city is located in Central Iran and is famous for its Persian architecture. It offers numerous stunning attractions and is easily accessible from Doha, Qatar on a direct flight.
Things to Do in Isfahan:
- The Naqsh-e Jahan Square is the second-largest square in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. The Sheikh Lotfollāh Mosque, the Shah Mosque, the Ali Qapu Palace, and the Imperial Bazaar are located at this square and are some of the most important sights of Isfahan that you must visit when you are there.
- The Jameh Mosque or Friday Mosque of Isfahan is connected to Naqsh-e Jahan Square by the Imperial Bazaar. With an area of two hectares, it is the largest mosque in Iran and stands out for its Four Iwan courtyard structure and the beautiful stucco work.
- The Si-o-Se Pol Bridge is a two-story brick bridge and consists of 33 arches, hence the Iranian name Si-o-Se Pol which means 33-arch bridge. It is 290.4 meters long and 13.5 meters wide and is the most famous of the eleven bridges in Isfahan that cross the Zayandeh Rud River.
- The Vank Cathedral is one of the 25 Armenian Christian churches in the Armenian Quarter of Isfahan and is probably the main attraction of this district. It is famous for its stunning tile and fresco decoration in its interior and impresses with the fusion of the Islamic and Christian architecture of the building.
- The Chehel Sotun Palace has a huge garden and a spacious water basin. The porch roof is decorated with colorful wooden mosaics and is supported by 20 pillars. Inside, numerous mirror mosaics and six impressive murals await you, which will make your visit an unforgettable experience.
Submitted by Vanessa from The Travelling Colognian.
Al Ain, UAE
Travel Time: 2 hr 45 min
Route: DOH – AHU (direct) + 1 hr 40 min drive
Whoever said history doesn’t run deep in the UAE clearly has not taken the time to visit Al Ain.
Home to the country’s only UNESCO Site and steep in its Bedouin past, it’s here you’ll find some of the UAE’s greatest cultural assets and a deeper meaning of early life in the Middle East, before the discovery of oil.
The top sites you shouldn’t miss in Al Ain, also known as the Oasis City, in the United Arab Emirates include:
- The Cultural Sites of Al Ain – UNESCO Listed, these are spread over several locations including the Jebel Hafeet Beehive Tombs (now safely protected in the Jebel Hafit Desert Park), the Hili Archaeological Park, and the Oases of Al Ain, a serious of seven oases spread across the city, unique for their falaj irrigation systems. The largest is found in the centre of Al Ain, with over 1200 acres and 147,000 palm trees, you’ll be amazed at the cooler climate here compared to the coast.
- Al Ain Palace Museum is the humble home of the country’s founding father the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan al Nayhan. His residence until he moved to Abu Dhabi and before the United Arab Emirates was formed, it’s a wonderful journey through time and the country’s tribal Bedouin roots. A small but fascinating stop in Al Ain, a must alongside Al Jahili Fort for understanding life before oil and survival in the harsh desert climate.
- Jebel Hafeet is a sight to behold for the uninitiated – a giant limestone mountain jutting from the desert will afford visitors who make the 30-minute winding drive to the peak with incredible views across the UAE desert and over to Oman, as far as the eye can see. A stop on your return down the mountain at Green Mubazzarah is an absolute must, dip your feet in the supposedly healing waters of the natural springs.
Submitted by Keri from Family Travel Middle East.
Travel Time: 3 hrs
Travel Route: DOH – AMM (direct)
The city has a history going back thousands of years with architectural remains from the Roman empire and even earlier. There is a lot to do and see in the city. Visitors to the city are first greeted by the Citadel that has been perched on a hill for over 3000 years. Other amazing sites to visit include the Roman Theater, National Museum, Darat Al-Funun, and Nymphaeum.
The Levant area of Arabia is worth a trip to see other parts of the Arab world as it differs greatly from the Gulf region. The food, lifestyle, culture, and atmosphere of the place will feel a world away from Qatar. Be sure to try local foods in the area such as amazing falafel, hummus, mansaf, fatteh and Kanafeh.
Incredible Experiences to try while in town. If you’ve spent time in the Middle East, not everything that is supposed to run does run. But when you can, there are stories to be had:
- Explore the Roman Theater in downtown Amman. Check to see if any concerts are performing as they do on occasion host them in the intimate Odeon Theater.
- Check out the interesting Amman Hijaz Railway Station which used to run from Istanbul to Mecca. They still occasionally run tourist trips to Madaba from here.
- Line up downtown among the pastry shops when the Kanafeh; a Palestinian dessert; is fresh. You’ll see lines of folks often queuing up down the street.
There are regular flights to Amman from Doha and Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian both offer direct flights (DOH – AMM) that will get you there in about 3 hours.
Submitted by Anwar from Beyond My Door.
Travel Time: 3 hr 10 min
Route: DOH – CAI (direct)
Things to do in Cairo:
- Visit the Pyramids: Located in Giza, the Pyramids are the most famous landmark in Cairo. They are thousands of years old and take between 2-3 hours to see, with a guide.
- Visit the Egyptian Museum: The Egyptian Museum is a must-visit on any Cairo itinerary. It hosts the largest collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts, including the gold items found inside the tomb of King Tutankhamun
- Visit the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization: Since last year, the mummies collection was moved here from the Egyptian Museum. The Mummies Hall has the remains of 20 important Kings and Queens of Ancient Egypt.
- Shop in the Souk: the souk in Cairo is a great place to learn about the local life, taste traditional food and shop for souvenirs.
- Visit the Citadel: The Citadel of Saladin was built in the 12th century to defend Cairo, and it is home to the most beautiful mosque in the city, the Mosque of Muhammad Ali.
Submitted by Joanna from The World in my Pocket.
Travel Time: 3 hr 30 min (including layover)
Route: DOH – AHU – BAH
One of the best places to visit while attending Qatar 2022 is Bahrain.
The travel time from Doha, Qatar to Manama, Bahrain is three and a half hours, including a layover in Abu Dhabi. The travel route is DOH – AUH – BAH.
Bahrain is an archipelago located in the Persian Gulf that’s comprised of one large island and around thirty-five smaller islands. The capital of Bahrain is Manama which is located on Bahrain Island.
Manama, Bahrain is a great place to visit for several reasons, including:
- First, the city is home to a rich culture and history, with plenty of opportunities for visitors to learn about the local way of life. Some great places to visit are the Bahrain National Museum, the Bahrain Fort, and Al Khamis Mosque.
- Second, Manama is home to some of the best beaches in the region, providing visitors with the perfect opportunity to relax and soak up the sun. A few must-see beaches in Manama are Bahrain Bay Beach, Juffair Beach, and Marina Beach Garden Park.
- Also, Manama is an incredibly welcoming and hospitable city, with locals that are always keen to share their culture with visitors.
- In addition, Manama is a shopper’s paradise, with plenty of opportunities to find unique souvenirs and gifts. The city is home to several malls and markets, including City Centre Bahrain and The Avenue.
- Last but not least, Manama is relatively small and easy to get around, making it an excellent option for those looking to avoid the crowds of larger cities.
Overall, Bahrain is an excellent destination for anyone visiting Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. With so much to see and do, it’s the perfect place to learn about Arabic culture and enjoy some fun in the sun.
Submitted by Disha from Disha Discovers.
We’re so excited to explore the Middle East this November and hope to make it to at least a few of the above destinations. Other potential destinations on our list include Mumbai and Djibouti. If there’s a must visit destination that we missed, let us know!
If you’re attending the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, make sure to check back here for more travel plans and destination guides. Follow us on Instagram to come along with us!
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