Travel, lifestyle, family.

Beaches in Qatar, PART 2. Three great beaches you’ve probably never heard of. And one to avoid!

03 August, 2020
about-page-img

Now that you know what are our family’s beachgoing habits (if you missed my last post, you can read about it HERE), the time has come to reveal our favorite beaches this season! And, as a bonus, to tell you which one is totally NOT worth the trip.

As a quick reminder, our family is always on a lookout for calm spots – the less people the better!

What are our top 3 picks for beach going?

1. Al Mafjar Beach (Old Ruins Beach).

al mafjar beach, old ruins beach

Location

Distance from Doha

110 km, approx. 1h 20min of driving.

Driving conditions

You will be comfortably cruising the North Road for most of the way. However, getting to the beach itself requires some off road driving. There’s a dirt road for approx. 4km and then a bit of a sandy stretch to reach closer to the sea. We did not use the 4-wheel-drive, but getting to some parts of the coast might require it. I wouldn’t risk going with a sedan.

What we loved…

Seclusion! We went over the weekend and there were very little people. Probably the long drive and the off-road part are discouraging most from going there. Also, the coast itself is quite long so people who came were spread over a long distance.

Beach condition. The sand is pretty clean (some dried seaweed, but very little garbage left by people) and soft to walk on. Water is shallow enough for the kids to safely splash inside, but at the same time, you don’t need to walk a mile to reach a spot deep enough to swim. πŸ™‚

What we didn’t love…

The drive back. As it turned out, part of the way got flooded during high tide and we almost drove into a huge lake of salty water while navigating in complete darkness! Luckily there are lots of other small roads to go around, so we made it out without issues. It can be tricky though for those who don’t know the terrain and choose to stay till after the sunset!

Overall experience

On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best possible experience), I would rate it 4, maybe even 4.5 πŸ™‚ So far the best beach that we’ve been to, eager to go back!

al mafjar beach, old ruins beach


2. Umm Bab Coast.

Do not confuse with Umm Bab Beach!

Umm bab coast

Location

Distance from Doha

85 km, approx. 1h of driving.

Driving conditions

This is the opposite side of Qatar, compared to Al Mafjar beach. You could get there by taking either Salwa Road, or Dukhan Highway (depending on your location in Doha). To reach the coast, you will need to leave the main road and enter the small dirt road going through the gate on your right. Then you’ll have to drive off-road a bit, but it’s only a couple hundred meters, depending on where you choose to stop. 4×4 is definitely not necessary as there is no deep sand on the way. I wouldn’t risk it with a sedan, but I saw a couple of adventurous people who actually made it.

What we loved…

The vibe. This beach has a “wild” feel to it, makes you feel like you really went off the beaten track, even though it’s actually pretty close to the main road!

It’s empty. Most people stop at a nearby Umm Bab Beach, which is very easily accessible (it’s also overcrowded, dirty and full of stones – definitely not worth the visit!).

The sunsets! You have to be there and experience it! The sun sets directly over the water and it is BEAUTIFUL.

What we didn’t love…

The sand. It’s quite rough and full of seashells, so kids had to wear shoes while running around.

Occasional rocks in the water. There are places where you have to be careful when you walk to avoid stepping on small rocks. Same like with the sand, getting your kids to wear water shoes will solve the issue.

Overall experience

On a scale of 1 – 5, I would rate it 3.5 stars.

umm bab coast


3. Azerbaijani Beach.

azerbaijani beach

Location

Distance from Doha

90 km, approx. 1h of driving.

Driving conditions

You will take the North Road to get there. Most of the way is on a proper road, a bit of driving on a dirt road, but not very bumpy. There’s a stretch of deep sand between the water and the road, I saw many SUVs getting stuck there, so if you’re planning to drive right next to the beach, 4×4 would be advisable (or at least some knowledge about driving through sand πŸ™‚ ). You can, however, park your car a bit further away and walk around 100m to get to the seashore – many people choose this option.

What we loved…

The sand & water. By far the best out of the 3 beaches described in this post. Sand is super fine and smooth, and water crystal clear without any rocks or other things to step on inside.

Accessibility. This was the easiest beach to access out of the 3. It’s possible to drive there with a sedan (and park around 100m from the shore). Also, driving time is pretty reasonable.

What we didn’t love…

The crowds! Even though Azerbaijani beach is much lesser known than nearby Fuwairit and Maroona beaches, it still tends to get REALLY crowded. We only went there in the morning and it was full of people, I don’t really want to picture how crowded it can get during weekend afternoons!

The garbage. It’s a well-known fact that a lot of people in Qatar somehow fail to understand that they should collect their trash before leaving the beach! I wonder how they would feel if someone dumped all this in front of their houses. We end up cleaning the beach around the area where we want to stop.

Shallow water. This might not be a bad thing, but when the tide is low, you really have to walk A LONG WAY to reach a point where the water would go above your knees. πŸ˜‰ Perfect for the kids to splash around, but not so great for adult who would like to swim.

Overall experience

On a scale of 1 – 5, I would rate it 3 stars.

azerbaijani beach


NOT RECOMMENDED: Al Kharaij Beach.

al kharaij beach

Location

Distance from Doha

100 km, approx. 1h 15min of driving.

Driving conditions

This location is quite close to Umm Bab coast, most of the time you will follow the same road. There’s one big difference though: even though Al Kharaij is a beach with facilities, the only way to get there involves driving over 6km on a dirt road and it does get pretty bumpy at times! A VERY tiring drive.

What we loved

The only good thing about the place was that it was completely deserted. I’m talking not a single car as far as we could see! To a point that it became creepy. πŸ˜€ Also, the landscape on the way was pretty cool. I felt like I’m driving on the moon. That hasn’t got much to do with the beach itself though. πŸ˜‰

What we didn’t love

Everything else. πŸ˜€

First of all, the actual public beach with facilities WAS CLOSED. Like, gates slammed shut with not a soul to ask about if and when it will open. We found it really strange considering that we went there on a Friday and that it was already the phase where all other public beaches were open.

Since it took us a lot of time and effort to get there, we decided to try our luck on the neighboring wild beach, but found it extremely unappealing. The sand was deep and full of dried seaweed, with garbage washed on the shore here and there. The sea was rough and really, dangerously deep. I’m talking: as soon as you walk in, you’re knee-deep in water, and 2m further it reaches till your chest. I would never let my small kids anywhere near that water without me or hubby hovering over them all the time.

Despite all the sunshine, it felt gloomy.

Would I recommend it to anyone? Highly doubtful. Ok, maybe to a group of adults looking for a place to chill out completely undisturbed.

Overall experience

On a scale of 1 – 5, I would rate it 1.5 stars. This is a rating of the wild beach since we didn’t get the chance to try the public one.

al kharaij beach

***

You might also like…

Beaches in Qatar, PART 1. Organizing family beach trips with small kids.

6 ideas to keep your kids busy during self-isolation in Qatar.

Living in the Covid-19 crisis: why I chose Qatar over Poland.

5 4 votes
Article Rating
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x