Qatar is host to a range of international sporting events over the coming years. Perhaps most notable is the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar is also bidding to host the summer Olympics (although the 2020 bid was unsuccessful, Qatar are planning to bid for 2024).
In early 2015, Qatar will host the 24th Men's Handball World Championships from the 15th January until the 1st February. Held in three venues around the city, including one purpose-built handball stadium, the championship promises to show that Qatar can deliver.
Tickets are not yet on sale, but if you are a handball fan or already visiting Doha during January, why not plan to fit a little sporting action into your schedule.
Qatar National Day, celebrated each 18th December, was established in 2007 as a day to commemorate Qatar's independence and unification. The main events take place on the 18th, including a morning parade featuring the armed forces, Emiri guards, cars, music and bands. In the evening, a spectacular fireworks display can be enjoyed from around 10 pm on Doha's Corniche. The Katara Heritage Village in Doha provides a variety of entertainments, based on Qatari heritage. A variety of sideline events are also on offer in the run-up to National Day, such as a classic car show, traditional boat show, traditional games, light and water projections and horse racing. In addition, a tented village is set up, showcasing desert life, traditional handicrafts, cultural activities and a souk. Naturally, all sorts of delicious food is also on offer - something for everyone.
March (or possibly June)
Doha cultural festival takes place each year in March (although we have found unofficial information online saying it is scheduled to take place in 2015 from 5th - 15th June).
The annual event showcases heritage and cultural aspects of Qatar, including music, dance, theatre, photography and fashion. Popular with locals and tourists alike, the event is the largest of its kind and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
To get a taste of Qatari culture without straying too far outside your comfort zone, we would recommend staying at the Grand Hyatt Doha, which offers international hotel standards within an Arabian-styled building. The club lounge here is pretty good too.