Jutting into the Persian Gulf like an upturned thumb, Qatar is a beguiling blend of ultra-modern and old-world ways. Its capital Doha thrusts at the sky with the glass and steel of a 21st century megalopolis, but it retains much of its traditional feel, with wooden dhows and venerable markets such as Souq Waqif — now a popular weekend hangout for locals and tourists. For culture fans there’s the stunning and expansive Museum of Islamic Art. Outside the city lies the desert where nights under the stars and dune adventures await. Camel racing, beaches, falconry and Al Zubarah Fort are other highlights of the host of soccer’s 2022 World Cup.

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