The Great Outdoors

The stifling heat of summer is not quite upon us, so it’s the ideal time to make the most of the balmy weather and one thing Qatar is certainly not short of is fun outdoor activities. From sailing to kite surfing and from rock climbing to water parks there’s something for everyone to enjoy over sea, land and even in the air!


As the old song goes ‘we do like to be beside the seaside’ and, while lounging on the beach is lovely, there’s so much more to experience on and even under the waves.

Bubbles Up

Warm crystal-clear water and calm weather conditions make a perfect scenario for scuba diving in Qatar. Explore a fabulous underwater world of marine animals, shipwrecks, limestone formations and shoals of colourful fish in the tropical waters of the Arabian Gulf. There are plenty of options around such as Discover Qatar’s Discover Scuba Diving sessions for beginners or check out Doha Sub Aqua Club on Facebook, which hosts diving every weekend as well as activities such as barbecues and seabed cleans.
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Enter The Dragon

No, we don’t mean the Bruce Lee film (are we showing our age there?) but rather the popular sport of Dragon Boating. For the uninitiated, you’ve probably seen these on TV in the opening credits of the original Hawaii Five-0 (OK, officially ancient), they look like giant canoes with dragon heads on the bow, crewed by teams of several eager paddlers. Racing is great fun and Qatar has an active scene. Around 11 groups paddle Friday mornings at sunrise from Katara Beach and meet during the week for fitness training. There’s also the Wireless Warriors group, which is a paddle session for breast cancer survivors.
Find out more by visiting Qatar Dragon Boat Alliance on Facebook.

Fly A Kite

Kite surfing has rapidly gained local popularity in recent years with the country even hosting the Qatar Airways GKA Freestyle Kite World Cup earlier this year at Fuwairit Kite Beach. Wearing a special harness, participants take to the water on a board behind a large, specially constructed kite which catches the wind pulling them across the waves and allowing them to ‘fly’ sometimes several metres into the air. It requires significant upper body strength but is great fun once you get the hang of it. Head to Fuwairit Kite Beach, Tapestry Collection by Hilton for the ideal stopping off point before you hit the waves.
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Jet Set

Jet skis or aqua bikes are hugely popular here in Qatar. Head to pretty much any stretch of water and you’ll spot them charging through the waves – it’s probably the closest thing to riding a high-powered motorbike on water and the feeling of the wind in your face is exhilarating and gives an amazing sense of freedom, plus it’s a great way to cool off. There are numerous spots to rent the craft from Katara to Lusail and, for the serious enthusiast, Doha Marine Sports Club, at Katara, recently attracted a host of international entrants to the Qatar Aquabike Championship.
Find out more at Doha Marine Sports Club on Facebook or @dmsc_official

Look Below

Not quite ready for the full under water experience? Fair enough, but anyone and everyone can enjoy snorkelling and all you need is a mask and snorkel, which are not expensive. Head to Al Aaliya Island, an uninhabited spot surrounded by a coral reef that’s home to a variety of marine life. It’s one of the finest destinations for snorkelling, fishing and kitesurfing. Uninhabited, tranquil and scenic, it’s the ideal spot to get back to nature.

Set Sail

At this time of year, particularly with the glorious windy weather we are currently enjoying, there really is no better place to be than on the open water in a sailboat. But, don’t be fooled, despite this sport’s glamorous image – think sleek yachts moored in the harbour at Cannes – if you’re actually doing the sailing, it can be pretty hard work. So, look forward to a workout as well as a great day out. Doha Marine Sports Club offers lessons for both adults and kids as well as race sailing and even traditional dhow sailing, which looks awesome.
Find out more at Doha Marine Sports Club on Facebook or @dmsc_official

Wing It

Yep, it’s a new one on us too. Described a cross between kiteboarding, windsurfing, surfing and paddleboarding, wing surfing is when you stand on a board and hold onto a wing which generates upward force and sideways propulsion. Pretty much flying across the water, this sounds like great fun. It’s only available in Qatar at Blue Pearl Experience, where you can also try kite surfing (they offer lessons), stand-up paddle boarding, regular and kayaking.
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While much outdoor activity takes place in or on the water, there’s still plenty to do if you prefer to keep your feet firmly on solid ground.

Dune Daredevils

Almost a national sport in Qatar, you can’t live here or even visit without giving dune bashing a try. Either take your own (well maintained) four-wheel-drive vehicle out into the desert and let loose or book a tour where you can take part in activities such as dune bashing and sand boarding during a desert safari.
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Hop On A Bus

Yes, even those who were born in Qatar or have lived here for years will find something new to discover in a day’s sightseeing. You could, of course, just take to the streets. After all, from a range of museums to Souq Waqif and lots of parks, you’ll certainly not be short of things to see. But, we like the idea of the hop-on-hop off bus. Multi-language audio guides are available and a 24-hour ticket allows you to take as many rides as you like. Plus, it gets you a free onehour night tour, a relaxing drive around the city.
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Horsing Around

We have to admit we haven’t tried this one but we really want to. If you fancy the chance to meet some stunning equines, Al Shaqab stands as an enduring tribute to the Arabian horse and the tradition of equestrian excellence that has co-evolved with this breed in Qatar. And, even better, its open for visitors. You can arrange a guided tour, where you can watch the animals exercise, swim, train or get groomed.
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On Your Bike

When you live in a place that holds the Guinness World Record for the longest continuous cycle track, at 33km, it almost seems rude not to take to two wheels. The Olympic Cycling Track at Al Khor Coastal Road covers 29 bridges and five underpasses to encourage continuous safe riding away from the road. It also has plenty of cycle parking and links up with various other tracks. For something a bit less taxing, try the track around Lusail International Circuit. It’s 5.3km and they have bikes for hire.
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Pick Up A Padel

We can almost guarantee that you’ve heard of this relatively new sport by now. But, if not, it’s described as a blend of both tennis and squash; the perfect combination of action filled with fun that keeps you fit. Age doesn’t matter padel’s a fantastic activity all. With an easy-tohold stringless racket and a low compression tennis ball, the game is highly addictive and it’s usually played in doubles, so there’s someone to blame if it all goes horribly wrong! Courts have sprung up all over the county and Qatar Padel Open Tournament took place in April.
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Rocking It

To be honest, we’re not really sure that this shouldn’t be in the sky section, but either way, we love the idea of rock climbing. For the adventurous and experienced there are some great rock formations at Zekreet National Park with more than a dozen routes to try. However, if you’re a beginner or don’t want to travel so far, EsQalar has outdoor climbing walls and offers day passes and lessons
Find out more by calling 5553 7177.