The tiny nation on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula has used its vast wealth to create an impressive array of cultural attractions, from five-star restaurants and hotels to world-class museums. Qatar is all set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup; work is already being done to expand the infrastructure to handle the influx of visitors.
A trip to Qatar usually starts and ends in Doha, the easily accessible capital city. Some of Qatar's best hotels are in the West Bay area, which is near the beaches. Most major brands, from Sheraton and the Ritz Carlton to the Four Seasons and the InterContinental, have a presence in Doha.
Head to the corniche, the seafront along man-made Doha Bay, for spectacular views and excellent eating. Boat and fishing trips leave from here as well, in case you want to test your sea legs. For shopping, hit The Mall (the first mall in Qatar, opened back in 1998); the City Centre, Doha; Landmark Mall; or Royal Plaza, or try your luck bargaining at Souq Waqif, Souq Al Dira, Omani Souq, or one of the other markets.
The Museum of Islamic Art is one of the most impressive museums in all of the Middle East, a tour de force designed by I. M. Pei that houses 200 years of Islamic history. Katara Cultural Village and Fort Zubarah are popular tourist attractions, as well; the former is a center for arts and culture and the latter is an 18th-century fort located a couple hours' drive from Doha. Excellent restaurants dot the city and the countryside, and you can dig into everything from simple lamb and camel from Bedouin flocks to high-class cuisine at Al Bandar Souq Waqif and Bentley’s Grill Ramada Plaza.