The Top 22 Places to Take Photos in Qatar
Where to find the most photogenic locations in the Middle East.
As the ever-evolving explorers we pride ourselves to be, we are continuing to expand our location coverage on the Explorest app and website. We are now live in the nation of Qatar! We're thrilled to debut in the Middle East and provide travel inspiration, education and tips and tricks about all of the best photo locations in this beautiful region.
Feast your eyes on Qatar's stunning desert landscapes, innovative displays of global architecture, sacred mosques, open-air markets adorned with artisanal goods and so much more! The country is rich in history, gifted in design and inviting in hospitality, and we're honored to be able to share this piece of the world with our community.
Below, join us as we travel alongside twelve of our talented Creators to virtually visit 22 of the top places to take photos in Qatar—the journey begins now!
Al Zubarah Fort
Qatar's famous Al Zubarah Fort has lived many lives. First, as a military base and coast guard station built in 1938 by Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, then in later years, as a police station for the town of Al Zubarah. Presently, the well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site serves as an educational museum, welcoming those who are eager to get a glimpse into Qatar's past.
The quintessential Arab fort has neutral coloring and meter-thick walls, which were originally constructed as a form of protection, as well as a natural way to control the temperature in the blistering summer heat. Against the clear dessert sky, the fort's architecture makes for an incredible representation of classic construction in the Middle East. Snap a picture of history and take home a piece of Qatar with a one-of-a-kind photo at the Al Zubarah Fort.
Souq Waqif City View
Capture the city in motion as a motorist whizzes by the famous market, Souq Waqif. From the street view, you'll be able to photograph the varying levels of architecture in part of Doha's skyline, as well as the city's distinct personality as people pass through the market. Can you make out the passerby in the distance? They're small, but nevertheless, they add an interesting contrast next to the towering buildings.
Another reason why this is one of our top 22 photo spots in Qatar is that Doha's famous landmark, Abdullah Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center, is also present in the frame. The spiral tower in the background of the photo makes for an eye-catching focal point that'll grab your attention right away. As you admire the mosque, wait for a motorist to enter the frame and then have your camera ready to see the desert's urban landscape behind your lens.
credit: @monaris_ — discover Souq Waqif view of Abdullah Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center & Motorist on the Explorest app
The West Courtyard is on the grounds of the Museum of Islamic Art, so oftentimes the pictured view can be overlooked by visitors focusing on the museum's interior; however, the outdoor archway of the West Courtyard perfectly frames the West Bay of Doha for a scene that's as beautiful as it is photogenic.
To add some depth to the shot, bring a friend to the West Courtyard and have them stand in the middle of the archway (bonus points if they're wearing a neutral color to complement the gray, silver and blue hues as seen in @yk's photo). For art lovers and photographers alike, this location should be at the top of your bucket list when you're in Qatar.
credit: @yk — discover Museum of Islamic Art West Courtyard view of the West Bay Skyline on the Explorest app
Museum of Islamic Art Courtyard
After checking out the West Courtyard, make sure you head up to the roof of the Museum of Islamic Art. The crystal-clear water on the exterior floor of the art space allows for the perfect opportunity to play around with photographing reflections and experimenting with perception.
The museum's courtyard is also one of our favorite places to take photos in Qatar because when the late afternoon light hits the building, a soft, golden glow warms the outdoor space. The minimal architecture is highlighted as it's drenched in the Qatar sun and incorporating a model on the other side of the water gives the illusion that they're walking on water—a mystifying scene that's hard to take your eyes off of!
Out of all the buildings we've featured on Explorest, this hotel might be the most unique! The Katara Towers were designed as a symbolic representation of Qatar's national seal with an ode to the traditional scimitar swords. The U-shaped skyscraper demands attention and transfixes visitors from across the world.
Across from the hotel, there's a dock where admirers (with or without a camera) can stand in awe of The Katara Towers. Try snapping a picture at the dock first and then walking over to see the hotel up close to experience the full effect of the innovative architecture.
Al Dafna Park
Take a leisurely stroll through Al Dafna Park and witness the magic of the West Bay in jewel-toned colors. As the night begins to darken and the city comes alive with illuminated lights, twinkling from building to building, this park becomes one of the best photo locations in Qatar.
What's even more intriguing is the way the palm trees naturally frame the shot. Their dense branches add texture to the sky and they also enhance the environment of the park. If you want to take full advantage of Al Dafna Park, we suggest arriving in the afternoon and then staying until the sun sets so you're able to capture the park during different times of the day. Regardless of the lighting conditions, you'll be able to take an awesome image.
National Museum of Qatar
The National Museum of Qatar is well known for its futuristic exterior, especially for those coming to the Middle East to see contemporary architecture. The front of the museum resembles a larger-than-life space shuttle, with angular designs that result in a timeless, yet modern look. Each element has a purpose and the shapes the thoughtful design creates makes this an art piece all its own.
In this photo, photographer @rkrkrk's model was dressed in a bold color, which completely transformed this coveted photo spot in Qatar. Keep in mind the modest Qatar wardrobe, but have fun with a vibrant color and see how you can personalize the space with your own outfitted model.
National Museum of Qatar Flag
As mentioned above, the National Museum of Qatar is a sought-after place to take memorable photos while in the nation's capital. The country's flag stands proudly outside of the museum as it showcases the pride and heritage of Qatar's culture.
As it waves against the desert sky, it stands powerfully, even with the contemporary architecture in the background. Take a page out of @nolis' book and wait until there isn't anyone walking through your shot. This will help to keep the focus on the flag and avoid any distractions that could take away from the significance of the photo.
credit: @nolis — discover National Museum of Qatar & National Flag on the Explorest app
Hilton Salwa Lighthouse
Grab your camera (or even your iPhone!) and soak up the last few moments of precious daylight at Hilton Salwa Lighthouse. This picturesque vista is the ideal backdrop for capturing an expansive sunset on the still waters of this luxury resort.
After spending the entire afternoon on a peaceful beach, you can take a leisurely stroll toward the lighthouse as you watch the sun dip below the horizon, creating an explosion of pink, orange and yellow colors in the sky. Only hotel guests can access this spot, so if you're looking to stay overnight and witness this awe-inspiring lighthouse, we couldn't recommend the Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas enough.
credit: @vincelimphoto — discover Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas view of Lighthouse on the Explorest app
Souq Waqif Alley
The large, mostly open-air market of Souq Waqif is one of Qatar's biggest attractions. It calls on visitors from across the globe to come browse the local vendors and immerse themselves in the heritage of Doha. It's a particularly special place in the Middle East and at night, it takes on a different form.
Meander down the endless alleys and admire how the lights softly illuminate the pathways once the sun has set, like in @vincelimphoto's image. Additionally, the blue lights from the market stores produce a complementary hue that is inviting to those who pass through the corridors.
Abdullah Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center
We've already mentioned the Abdullah Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center from @monaris_'s image above, but since it's such a vital piece of the city's character, we wanted to include an alternate perspective, too.
What makes this view from Souq Waqif even more impactful is the silhouette of a bird soaring through the late afternoon sky. The bird evokes a sense of calmness, while also portraying a bold focal point next to the mosque. Souq Waqif should provide you with ample amounts of opportunities to photograph a bird mid-flight—just have patience and one will eventually fly right through your frame.
credit: @joethommas — discover Souq Waqif view of Spiral Tower of Abdullah Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center on the Explorest app
Contrary to the desert topography that comes to mind when one thinks of the Middle East, this massive park in Doha is a lush indulgence of greenery. Aspire Park serves as an oasis in the city and it's a fantastic place to visit when the temperatures start to rise. You can spend an entire afternoon here, reading under a shaded tree or eating a light fare of delicious picnic food. The park also includes exercise areas, a lake and fountains. Aspire has got it all!
You can see in @ledoigtdansloeilfr's photo that the rolling green hills and piercing sun make this a top contender for the best places to take photos in Qatar.
Al-Attia Sand Dune
Like the aforementioned photo of the model appearing to "walk" on water at the Museum of Islamic Art, this stunning image (shot by @parisverra) is a bit of an illusion. The model's head seems to be emerging from the dunes, when in reality, she was standing close to the camera and wearing a flowy sand-colored dress. The final outcome of the photo makes it seem as though there's another dune in front of the model, but it's really just her clothing.
Pretty cool, right? Thanks, Paris, for inspiring us to get creative and turn the Al-Attia Sand Dune into one of Qatar's most photo-worthy locations!
credit: @parisverra — discover Al-Attia Sand Dune on the Explorest app
Katara Amphitheatre combines design elements of classical Greek theater and traditional Islamic features. The outdoor arena is located in the heart of Katara, standing regally under the Qatar sky and overlooking the clear blue seas. The 3,275 sqm landmark also hosts memorable world-class events throughout the year and can even seat up to 5,000 people.
Because the amphitheater is so neutral, we recommend taking a page out of @monaris_'s book and featuring a model in dark clothing so they create a dynamic contrast against the performance space.
Visit the Katara Mosque and bask in the artistic masterpiece of the tiles! The variety of purple and turquoise mosaic tiles adds a splash of color in an unexpected place and it's unlike most of the other mosques in Qatar.
Have fun with different lighting compositions, poses with your model and camera angles to make the most of this gem. And, before you head to this spot, might we mention that having your model dress in modest clothing in the same hues as the tiles make your image pop even more.
Souq Waqif Market Stall
As this market stall is our second photo location suggestion in Souq Waqif, we highly encourage anyone visiting Qatar to go to this historic vendor center. This glimpse into one of the market stalls is an exemplary model of what most storefronts look like within the open-air shopping destination.
Whether you're looking to purchase delicious spice blends, handmade bags, charming trinkets or garments, Souq Waqif can fulfill all of your needs! Walking through each different vendor, you'll feel like you've been transported back into time at a traditional market where locals did their daily shopping. Next stop, Souq Waqif!
Due to a blend of Venetian and Arabian influences, the quaint community of Qanat Quartier has become one of the most photographed areas in Qatar. The Pearl, which is where the Qanat Quartier is situated is even known as Qatar’s very own Venice. The area visually transports visitors from the Middle East right to Europe!
Enjoy the pastel-colored buildings, intricate canals and pedestrian-friendly piazzas as you take in the sights around you. With every new corner you turn, you'll find a photogenic spot waiting for you in the Qanat Quartier!
The saying goes that the "third time's the charm" and for this image that rings true! It's now been three times that we've featured the Abdullah Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center, but for this specific shot, the Old Well is the real star (even if the famous mosque is still visible in the background!).
The amber glow that emanates from the waterhole suits the sky during blue hour, and with the birds flying around to drink from the well, you have a high chance of catching some wildlife in your photo.
credit: @yk — discover Old Well & Abdullah Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center on the Explorest app
Persian Gulf Harbor
One of the best ways to snap a picture of Doha's impressive cityscape is by boat. Start off by navigating through the busy harbor of the Persian Gulf and set sail for a waterfront trip of a lifetime!
Throughout the boat ride, you'll be surrounded by hotels, residential towers and unique architecture, giving you plenty of chances to take photos of the city from all angles. Time your boat ride so that you're out to sea as the sun begins to set and you'll be met with a sparkling skyline that's aligned perfectly with a model.
Hilton Salwa Private Villa
Access to this location is a splurge, but staying at the private villas of the Hilton Salwa is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Pops of color and palatial architecture come together to create a fantastic display of Arabian-style design at the secluded residences of the hotel
The interior courtyard, with its calming blue and white hues, is accented with a pool and al fresco floor plan. The grounds of the villa have everything you need for a luxurious, relaxing beachside vacation that feels like a home away from home. @nolis captured the essence of the hotel in the best way, eliciting a compelling image of the villas and virtually transporting people to a place of tranquility.
credit: @nolis — discover Private Villa Courtyard of Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas on the Explorest app
Qatar National Library
Calling all book lovers! This location is for you.
The Explorest app features multiple photo locations within the Qatar National Library and this shot of the staircase is one of our favorites! Taken by @asenseofhuber, you can see the rows and rows of books that fill up the space.
Unwind with a new book or sip a cup of coffee at the cafe and feel the comforting energy of the quiet building. You'll be surrounded by all walks of life—from children picking out storybooks to college students studying for their exams. Make your way to this spot and then get your camera ready to capture the sleek architecture of this literary landmark.
Marina Twin Towers
As if a video game has come to life, these two Tetris-style towers have a stacked build that's perplexing to the eye. Each layer is staggered on top of the other, creating an imbalance that's aesthetically pleasing, yet equally as baffling. Inside the colorful buildings, you'll find 33 floors of luxury office space that hold working Qatar citizens.
Since their completion in 2016, the Marina Twin Towers have solidified their reputation as two of the most photogenic pieces of architecture in the country. Make sure to bring along a telephoto lens when shooting this masterpiece so you can focus on the intricate design—it's all in the details at this photo spot!
credit: @harimaolee — discover Marina Twin Towers on the Explorest app
If you're looking to discover new photo spots, download the Explorest app today. We provide insider recommendations to help you capture your travels, near and far.