Our trip to Greece landed us at Hamad International Airport for our 12 hour transfer before departing for Athens. We knew we would need to keep ourselves occupied before the next flight. Having arrived early evening we set out to explore the airport and have supper. 

Sensory overload! The airport is nothing short of perfect. An architectural masterpiece, mammoth in size, with the capacity to (currently) accommodate 30 million travellers per annum. The latest expansion will see it cater for 50 million. If you had a choice of an airport to be stuck in for 12 hours this is it.

A shopping mecca of note, so be sure to have big money to spend. I found myself intrigued by the collectors whiskey that could set you back over 30 000 US Dollars, but I just wasn’t in a whisky mood so I passed up the opportunity.

The general surroundings of the airport is one of aesthetic beauty. The kids play areas, wait for it, are larger than life art and exhibit pieces, designed to entice the trained art eye and youngsters alike.

With supper done we settled in at the family quiet room. Just a little more of the genius on offer. Here you can find reclined seats to catch up on sleep, just be warned that people can become a bit chatty as not everyone respects the quiet aspect. Nothing my earphones couldn’t fix. If sensitive to light wear a hoodie to pull over your eyes or even better, keep the sleep eye mask from your first flight; also ask to keep your blanket from the flight to use in the airport during your lay over. The efficiency of the airport means they really crank up the air-conditioning, considering that it’s 40 plus degrees outside. Then again, my skinny body gets cold easily. An alternative is simply booking a hotel room or checking into an airport lounge. Some tickets include a hotel room for lay overs longer than 6 hours, so do yourself the favour and check this beforehand.

Once awake we freshened up at the rest rooms, which are well equipped for a change of clothes. This is ideal to feel your best before boarding your next flight.

Sleep out of our eyes, a fresh change of clothes on our backs and we were off to book our Doha City Tour, the fastest growing city in Qatar.This little gem of a tour is also complimentary thanks to Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority, with no visa required either. BONUS! The country has the highest per capita income in the world, so you’re in for a treat exploring.

Depending on the time of your flight, you can attend tours of varying times, so with our flight only later that afternoon we were able to book the 3 hour trip. The landmarks included: The Pearl-Qatar, which included the finest shops and restaurants; Katara Cultural Village, a center dedicated to celebrating arts and heritage; Souq Waqif, for traditional jewellery, spices and handcrafts; and the Museum of Islamic Art, which include the old Barbour and seaside park.

Tour highlights:

Old Harbor showcasing the old fishing boats with the new business park as backdrop. A photographers dream setting.

The architectural beauty of the city and it’s surroundings. One things for sure, they’re very ambitious in their goal to build a world class city.

Katara cultural village. A fusion of tradition, culture, exhibitions, festivals that will linger long after the experience. The village serves to protect the traditions and cultures of Doha.

Doha is on our list of cities to visit in the future, we definitely want to see a lot more of what this culturally rich and modern country has to offer. We can only say good things about Qatar Airways so be sure to give them a go when looking at flights.

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