It’s easy to think the Gulf nations are always hot. But Qatar’s scorching summers are bookended by surprisingly pleasant weather for exploring this corner of the Arabian Peninsula, with rainy days a rare event at any time of the year.
Still something of an emerging travel destination, Qatar rarely feels crowded, allowing for a refreshing degree of spontaneity, with last-minute hotel and restaurant bookings often possible around the calendar – for now, at least.
Here’s a season-by-season, month-by-month to planning your trip to Qatar.
High season (November to March) is the best time to experience local culture
Qatar cools way down in November, making sightseeing eminently more comfortable. The winter season is the busiest time of year to visit, with cooler temperatures and cultural events drawing visitors from around the Gulf, but you’ll generally still find plenty of accommodation options. Aim for November or March if you’re planning to spend some time poolside as it’s usually too cold for a dip from December to February.
Keep in mind that traditional Qatar becomes something of a ghost town in the daytime during Ramadan, which begins in March until the start date shifts to February in 2026.
Look forward to alfresco fun in shoulder season (April, May, September and October)
Not too hot to be outside during the day yet still warm enough to enjoy a drink at a rooftop bar in the evening without needing a sweater, the buffer months between Qatar’s cool winters and super-hot summers are arguably the best times of the year to plan a trip. Winter events including camel racing wrap up in April, and you have until late May or early June to catch a live music night at alfresco Doha venue the Backyard.
Enjoy the great indoors during low season (June to August)
With daytime temperatures typically climbing above 40°C (100°F) during Qatar’s summer months, spending time outdoors can quickly become unbearable, particularly in July and August when the winds ease, the humidity climbs and the ocean feels like bathwater. But it’s not a total dealbreaker because the country has plenty of air-conditioned attractions and restaurants. With fewer tourists around, it’s also a good time of the year to look for hotel deals.
Get a taste of falconry in January
January in Qatar is the coldest month of the year, but it’s still quite comfortable by most travelers’ standards, with daytime temperatures averaging around 20°C (70°F). With the entire month devoted to the Qatar International Falcons and Hunting Festival, popularly known as Marmi, it’s a good opportunity to get a taste of this revered Qatari tradition as falcon enthusiasts from around the region descend upon Qatar to show off their birds of prey. January also spells the beginning of kitesurfing season, which runs until June.
Key event: Qatar International Falcons and Hunting Festival
Sign up for a desert adventure in February
Embrace the opportunity to head out into the desert while the weather is cool. Sign up for an off-road tour to Qatar’s mesmerizing “inland sea,” Khor Al Adaid, with the likes of Qatar International Tours, or rent a car to explore remote desert attractions including Unesco-listed Al Zubarah Fort and the Al Jassasiya Rock Carvings at your own pace.
Experience a Ramadan feast in March
March is a lovely time to be in Qatar as the days warm up, but in the coming years March coincides with the holy month of Ramadan, which requires some forward planning. Bars shut down during Ramadan, and it’s forbidden to eat or drink in public during daylight hours. Most restaurants outside hotels don’t open until sunset, and cultural institutions have reduced operating hours. After sundown, however, Qatar comes alive as locals hit the town to indulge in elaborate iftar (fast-breaking evening meal) feasts offered by dozens of Doha restaurants.
Key event: Marchitecture
Chill out at Qatar’s pools and beaches in April
April weather is ideal for lazing on the beach or by the pool with a cocktail in hand when bars reopen following Ramadan. The end of the holy month is typically celebrated with several evenings of festivities held on Doha’s Corniche.
Key event: Eid Al Fitr
May is ideal for alfresco drinking and dining
When Ramadan ends and daytime temperatures are particularly pleasant, it’s the perfect time to enjoy Doha’s alfresco cafes and bars, or perhaps try your hand at kitesurfing at Fuwairit Beach, northwest of Doha. While dust storms can occur at any time of the year in Qatar, recent years have seen several dust storms occur in May. Keep an eye on the weather forecast.
Key event: Emir GCC Camels Race Final
Get ready for the heat in June
The streets of Doha empty out during the day as temperatures creep above 40°C (100°F). While it’s still warm outside at night, it’s a fun time to explore Souq Waqif after sundown, when Doha’s main market fills with locals.
Hawksbill turtles hatch on Fuwairit Beach in June. The main hatching area is typically closed off to protect the nests, but Qatar Museums typically runs family-friendly hatching encounters each season.
July is the time to seek out indoor fun
Discover a whole new version of hot as daytime temperatures in Qatar tip 50°C (120°F) – or stay in the air conditioning on a visit dedicated to touring Doha’s excellent museums. While tourists are few in Qatar in July, regional flight prices can be a little higher as residents of the Gulf nations seize the opportunity to take vacation during the week-long Eid Al Adha holiday.
Key event: Eid Al Adha (Festival of Sacrifice)
Go mall-hopping in August
Still too hot to enjoy the beach or dine outdoors during the day (for more than a few minutes, at least), August is a good time to explore Qatar’s sprawling malls such as Place Vendôme Qatar in Lusail, a Parisian-inspired luxury fashion mall connected to Doha by metro, which showcases a who’s-who of designer labels. Or you can plan a romantic getaway to wellness resort Zulal on Qatar’s remote north coast to indulge in some Arabian-inspired healing.
See the streets come back to life in September
As the summer heat wanes, Doha’s terrace restaurants and bars begin to fill up again during the day, giving the city a fresh energy. While the days are still quite warm with temperatures averaging 30ºC (90ºF), it’s a nice time to visit Qatar while it’s buzzy but not particularly busy.
October is the beginning of festival season
Doha’s cultural season kicks off with the Ajyal Film Festival, celebrating movies from Qatar and beyond, and the Qatar International Art Festival, a week-long event with exhibitions, art classes, fashion shows, cultural tours and more. October also tends to be the clearest month of the year in perennially dusty Qatar, making it an ideal time for outdoor photography.
Key events: Ajyal Film Festival, Qatar International Art Festival
Come for more culture in November
Qatar’s multicultural population (fewer than 12% of residents are ethnic Qatari) fuels a diverse dining scene. Typically beginning in November, the Qatar International Food Festival offers the ultimate feast, with three weeks of food stalls and culinary events galore. November also sees the Katara cultural precinct showcase Qatar’s seafaring traditions, with dhow-sailing demonstrations and more.
Key events: Qatar International Food Festival, Katara Traditional Dhow Festival
Get festive in December
Qatar might not officially celebrate Christmas, but Doha’s international hotels get behind the festive season in a big way with a bulging roster of themed dining events, including turkey roasts, festive brunches and afternoon teas. You’ll never see snow outdoors here, but you can pretend at Doha Winter Wonderland, a sprawling theme park at the new Al Maha Island lifestyle precinct in Lusail. Open from November to March, it features 50 amusement rides including a roller coaster, giant Ferris wheel and children’s rides.
Confusingly held in December, Qatar’s Spring Festival is marked by two weeks of events centered at Doha’s Souq Waqif.
Key events: Qatar National Day, Spring Festival