Last Updated on January 19, 2023

In November 2022, Qatar has become the controversial host of the FIFA World Cup, attracting soccer fans from all over the world, while trying to establish itself as a tourist-friendly travel destinations for everyone.

While football itself is not something you should be looking to practice under the Arabian heat, there are many desert sports and activities that this country is especially suited for.

In a series of short promotional ads made for the World Cup, Italian football star Andrea Pirlo recites the slogan “No Football. No Worries.” while shown practicing a number of fun recreational activities in Qatar, such as sandboarding, dune bashing, going to the beach, visiting a local market and playing traditional Qatari board game Dama in a cafe.

No Football. No Worries – Feel More Excitement in Qatar

Italian football legend Andrea Pirlo sandboarding in Qatar.

The campaign aims at showing what Qatar has to offer in terms of both adrenaline and family-friendly activities, in the hope to attract tourists to the country even after the end of the World Cup.

Below, a list of desert activities and fun things to do in Qatar.

Desert and Sea in Doha, Qatar
Stunning view of the sea in Doha, Qatar.

Qatar Desert Activities

1. Sandboarding

The most iconic thing to do if you are into adventure sports in Qatar is definitely sandboarding (also known as sand surfing). It is exactly as the name suggests: “snowboarding”, but on sand dunes.

And while this sport can be practiced all over the globe, the Arabian desert has some of the steepest, most beatiful dunes which offer the best rides and thrillest thrills.

All you need to go sandboarding in Qatar is a sandboard and some wax, and you are good to go. There are a few spots in Qatar which are popular with sandboarding, and tourist operators often organize tours that include all the equipment plus transportation from Doha.

2. Desert Safari with Dune Bashing

A desert safari is not what it sounds like: there are no (or very few) animals to watch, but you will have a fun time nonetheless.

Dune bashing is a high-adrenaline activity that involves riding up and down sand dunes on a off-road vehicle, and the ride is going to be bumpy!

This may not sound like it, but it’s one of the most exciting things you can do in Qatar, and it’s not for the feint of heart.

3. Camel Riding & Camel Racing

The camel is the horse of the desert, and no trip to Qatar would be complete without a traditional camel ride.

Into animal races? Believe it or not, camel racing is a thing in Qatar. If you want to experience a more alternative pasttime head to the Al-Shahaniya camel racing track just outside of Doha.

Even if you are not there at the time of a tournment, you can visit Al-Shahaniya and witness how camels are trained between races.

4. Kitesurfing

Kitesurfing may not sound like a “desert” thing to do, but this activity can be practiced in Qatar’s “Inland Sea”, where the sea meets the desert, which is also a UNESCO recognized site.

5. Paragliding

Paragliding in the desert can be a lot of fun, thanks to the strong desert winds and presence of soft sand dunes, the Qatari desert is actually one of the best places to try this sport whether you are a beginner or experienced thrill-seeker.

6. Hot Air Ballon Rides

There is no better way to enjoy the incredible landscape of Qatar, where the desert and the sea meet, as when you are up in the air floating on a hot air balloon.

For an unforgettable dreamlike experience, you can book a ride from Doha and enjoy the stunning views and sunset over the dunes.

7. Desert Glamping

Camping in the desert does not have to be an austere experience in Qatar: discover glamping (from the words “glamour” + “camping”), a modern way to enjoy a night in the desert without giving up luxury.

Glamping is the quintessential way to experience the Arabian desert, where the lack of light pollution makes for incredible views of the starry sky at night, and it can be combined with traditional tea ceremonies and belly dancing. An experience not to miss when you are in Qatar.

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