The Best Time to Visit Doha

Doha modern city skyline in the background with grass and palm trees in the foreground at daytime

Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

The best time to visit Doha is between October and the end of April, when temperatures are at their most comfortable, the humidity is down and the sun is enjoyable. Doha is never swamped with tourists, but if you are looking for the time when there's the most space by the pool, and you can withstand temperatures of 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46.1 degrees Celsius) in the shade, then opt for July and August, when most locals and expatriate workers tend to leave for cooler climes, leaving the hotels and pools empty.

Hotels rates do not vary that much, but are slightly cheaper during the hot summer months.

Weather

Doha’s dry, subtropical desert climate can be a challenge between May and end of September, with scorching temperatures and a humidity level that leaves you feeling as if you have been slapped with a hot, wet towel as soon as you set foot outside, and if you wear glasses, leave you sightless for some time, while trying to get rid of the condensation on the lenses.

Even in the cooler winter months, the temperature rarely goes below 57 degrees Fahrenheit (13.8 degrees Celsius), and while the handful of rainy days fall mostly in those months, the maximum rainfall is 4 inches per year. That said, those 4 inches sometimes fall in one big downpour and can leave the city unnavigable for a day or two.

Between October and end of April though, the weather is perfect. Sunshine every day, low humidity and temperatures a still warm 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5-21 degrees Celsius), with some highs in the 90s Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius).

Ramadan

When traveling to a Muslim country, you must be aware of the Holy Month of Ramadan, as the experience of the country will change dramatically during that month. The timings of Ramadan are calculated by the lunar calendar and the sighting of the moon, and the dates change by around 11 days every year. For example, in 2019 Ramadan was between May 5th and June 4th, and in 2018, it was observed between May 16th and June 14th. 

During the month of Ramadan, no eating and drinking is allowed between sunrise and sunset, meaning that even for non-Muslim visitors, chances to eat and drink are dramatically reduced, as most restaurants and cafes are closed during the day. Most hotels have a secluded area where guests can eat, but having a snack and a cocktail by the pool would not be happening.

But, Ramadan is also a time of joy and celebrations. Every evening, at sunset, families gather holding a date and cup of water to break their fast with the firing of the Ramadan cannon. Then there is Iftar, the breaking-the-fast meal, where families and friends gather, celebrate and enjoy their meal. Every hotel puts on special Iftar meals, often in elaborate tents in the gardens.

During Ramadan the daily routines change, with, for example, shopping malls opening after Iftar at night, and staying open until 2 or 3 a.m. You’ll find tennis lessons occurring in the middle of the night, and people milling around and walking the Corniche throughout the night.

So, if you are interested in experiencing this very important month in every Muslim’s life, then maybe time your visit to slightly overlap, so you can observe the occasion in part.

Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha

The other two important dates on the Muslim calendar are the two Eids — Eid meaning feast or festival. Eid al-Fitr, the Festival of Breaking the Fast, is celebrated straight after Ramadan and lasts around three days. People sacrifice an animal, usually a sheep or goat, and you will see many people driving around with a goat in the back of the car. Families cook like crazy for friends and family, and it is a huge celebration with all the favorite foods, presents for the children and joyous get-togethers.

 

Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, takes place around two months after Eid- al-Fitr and is the time when most Muslims, those that are able to or have not been before, go for the Haj Pilgrimage to Mecca. During both Eids, shops are often closed and that can cause some disappointment if you are not aware.

Weekends

Weekends in Doha are Friday and Saturday, Sunday is the beginning of the week, with everybody returning to work. During the weekend, you’ll find that the hotel pools are overrun with locals and resident expatriate families, as most hotels double as a Leisure Club, meaning people buy memberships to use the pools, beaches and fitness areas with their families, and tend to spend all weekend by the water with their kids. So, if you want peace and quiet by the pool, maybe leave it until mid-week, if it is not school holidays, and explore the country on the weekend.

Events

Doha holds many sporting events, and it is quite safe to assume that these will take place between October and April to catch the milder temperatures. Do check the local listings for events before you book, as many world class athletes flock to Qatar to play in off-season events.

The FIFA World Cup will be taking place in Doha in 2022, and held in air-conditioned stadiums around the city. Instead of in the summer months through, this championship is for once going to be shifted to the cooler month, again to make it easier on the players and all the visitors.

It is very rare in Qatar to get much advance warning on events, and since the country’s regular festivals are celebrated according to the lunar calendar the dates change every year, but here is a rough overview of what to expect. For confirmation though, it is better to check closer to the time.

January

The highest average temperature is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius ) with around a max of 0.5 inches of rain. While people tend to enjoy the cooler temperatures, beaches and pools are deserted.

January also usually sees the Shopping Festival throughout the malls, with big discounts being offered, events for kids held in the malls, and raffles taking place.

February

It is still, relatively cool, and people tend to flock to sports events such as Golf championships and the Qatar Tennis Open.

March

Temperatures are perfect for all things outdoors, even the pools are beginning to looks good again. Sporting events usually taking place in March include the Qatar Masters (Golf), MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar, tennis matches and gymnastics meets.

April

It is getting warmer and the pools and beaches are definitely calling. In 2020, Ramadan is likely to start in mid-to late April.

May

It’s starting to get warm, with temperatures reaching the 80s Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius). In 2020, Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr are likely to take place in May.

June

The temperatures are in the 100s, reaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius ). Sporting events have pretty much ceased and schools are breaking up for the summer, so for a while, before everybody leaves, the hotel pools are going to be busy.

July

It’s hot and humid, and the is city deserted. Temperatures are up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius), humidity reaches 90 percent and higher. Eid al-Adha is likely to take place during July in 2020.

August

It’s even hotter than July, stay indoors in the air-conditioning.

September

It's still hot, but humidity is lowering a little. Families return to the city and schools are open again.

October

The weather is lovely. Sporting events are starting up again.

November

Perfect weather to sit outside in the sun. Plenty of exhibitions and sporting events to enjoy.

December

Locals think it’s freezing, anybody else thinks it’s nice walking around with maybe a thin jacket. Plenty of events are happening this month, and, despite it being a Muslim country, Christmas decorations are going up everywhere.

Was this page helpful?