November 10, 2020

Winter in Qatar

After the long, hot Summer in Qatar, the arrival of Winter is quite literally a breath of fresh air. The temperature and humidity drop, the weather is cool and refreshing. At this time of year, air-conditioning units are switched off in homes across the country, and people start to head outside.

Heading Outdoors

If you like the outdoors, this is the perfect time of year to get out and explore Qatar’s many outdoor activities as average temperatures hover around a balmy 24˚C (75˚F). 

Doha city has a surprising number of manicured parks to enjoy, as well as beaches within the city limits. In fact, all along Qatar’s 560km of coastline there are beaches and islands to explore, forts to conquer and art installations in the middle of the desert to discover. Camel racing season also gets underway at this time of year and is an outlandishly fun activity to watch. Or perhaps watch falcons fly and hunt at the Marmi International Falconry and Hunting Festival, one of the largest in the region. Indeed, festivals and events pop up on a regular basis during the Winter months, so there is always something to see and do. Some favourites include the Cultural Festival, the International Food Festival, the Kite Festival, the Open Tennis Tournament and the MotoGP races. Winter is also a perfect time of year to try a spot of camping in the desert – either in your own tent or at one of several established Bedouin style campsites. And, if you’re happy to head out of the city, then this season is great for exploring Qatar’s less well-known natural environment, and its heritage and archaeological sites.

Watching and playing team sports is also an extremely popular pastime in Qatar, almost as popular to Qataris as falcon hunting. Though, just like falcon hunting, the best time of year for outdoor sports is during the Winter months, when the extreme temperatures of Summer have passed. Even the World Cup 2022, traditionally played in June and July, has had to adapt to the extreme weather conditions in Qatar. Now to be hosted in the months of November and December, players and spectators can expect to watch the highly anticipated games in a much safer and more pleasant climate. Traditional sporting events in cricket, tennis and football always kick off at this time of year. But, if you fancy something different, it is also the perfect season to get out and try more unusual sports, such as dune bashing, sandboarding and skydiving; as well as a myriad of water sports like kayaking, scuba diving and sailing.
For more information on getting out and exploring Qatar, check out the
Explore Qatar section of this website.

Image: Sven Hansche/

Cooler, Wetter Climes

The months of November to March encompass Winter and early Spring in Qatar. Temperatures begin to decrease to more pleasant climes from November through to February, though the rainy season also kicks in bringing wind, rain and the occasional storm. By March and April, temperatures begin to increase again as Spring makes an appearance. Stronger winds carry the Spring season in, but on the plus side, it helps to keep humidity levels relatively low as temperatures start to creep up again.
Generally, during the Winter months, rainfall increases but is infrequent - though the occasional heavy storm can occur. The deluge of water from a heavy storm can leave roads inundated with water, which could have an impact on your travel plans in the short term. However, as infrastructure improves in Doha and throughout Qatar, roads are becoming better equipped to deal with these sudden downpours. The windy Spring season also brings with it some harsh sandstorms. When these occur, it is better to abandon outdoor plans and stay safe indoors. Despite some unsettled weather over the Winter and Spring months, the climate is decidedly pleasant, and it remains the perfect time of year to get outdoors or to visit.
Some visitors may notice that the temperatures in Qatar, during the Winter, feel somewhat cooler than similar temperatures found elsewhere in the world. Many newly arrived expats or visitors expect to be in t-shirts and flip flops when the mercury tops 25˚C. Nonetheless, in Qatar, you may still find yourself wearing a light jumper or cardigan even when the temperatures are in the twenties. Rest assured the temperatures are exactly the same at 25˚C wherever you are in the world. However, Qatar’s geographical positioning and its landscape, surrounded by sea on three sides and relatively flat across the entire country, means that wind can blow unimpeded. The unimpeded wind lowers temperatures as it goes. Low humidity levels during the Winter months also contribute to the climate feeling cooler. During the colder season, the air’s ability to hold water decreases creating dry, less humid air. Dry air will steal moisture from wherever it can find it, including your body. So, as moisture evaporates off of your skin, you feel cooler. Plus, the built environment in Qatar is structured and designed to keep buildings cool during the excessive heat of Summer. So, during the cooler months, buildings struggle to retain heat. Overall, this means that temperatures can feel a few degrees less than the actual temperature readings. Which of course leaves us wondering ‘what to wear’?

Image: Copyright Living 2022

What to Wear?

To be prepared for Winter and early Spring, it's wise to bring or to keep a stash of clothes and accessories to suit various weather conditions. Light clothes are perfect for most days. Nevertheless, heavier trousers and a light jumper or jacket wouldn’t go amiss during the early morning or on the coolest of days. Taking a cardigan or a light jacket with you for any time spent in air-conditioned malls is also a good idea. Jumpers, hoodies and jackets are advisable for the evenings when the temperatures drop significantly from the heat of the day. As far as footwear goes, flip flops and sandals are the most popular choice for the vast majority of people in Qatar. However, it is worth having a pair of shoes or trainers that you can wear if the weather turns nasty. During the rain, dust and sand mix together to form a muddy concoction; not great for feet in sandals. And finally, keeping a light waterproof jacket handy, or even an umbrella in the Winter months is an eminently sensible idea.

Best to Avoid

One thing to avoid during the Winter months is the flu virus. No one wants to be ill just as the cooler Winter weather makes an appearance and Qatar becomes a hotspot for outdoor activities and events.
Flu in Qatar, as in all countries, is prevalent in the Winter months. It is advisable to have the flu vaccination at the beginning of the winter in Qatar or prior to travel, if you are able. The flu vaccine triggers antibodies to develop in the body, usually within two weeks of having a shot. Antibodies provide protection against the strains of the flu contained in the vaccine. The vaccine is usually made up of three or four flu viruses, which are believed to be the most common during that specific flu season.
If you are unable to have a flu vaccine, then take the relevant precautions to avoid the spread of germs - wash hands regularly, avoid other people’s, and cover your own, sneezes or coughs, and wipe down communal surfaces with antibacterial-wipes before use.
Flu vaccinations are recommended for most people, especially the very young, the very old or those with specific health issues. Your Doctor will be able to advise you on your suitability for the flu vaccine.

Winter Sun

Winter is the coldest time in Qatar, but despite that, if you are looking for some Winter sun, Qatar is a fantastic country to consider. Comfortable temperatures, relatively little rainfall and plenty of sunshine and beaches make Qatar perfect for sun-seekers. Plus, a myriad of outdoor sports and entertainment activities, world-class shopping malls and museums, and a host of stunning architecture, make Qatar an ideal destination for anyone looking for a Winter break with more than a beach to keep them entertained.
Located in the Middle East, Qatar is a fairly easy destination to get to. Qatar Airways offers flights to and from over 160 destinations worldwide, and many of those flights are direct. Entry into the country has also become much easier in recent years with more countries eligible for visa waivers, tourist visas and transit visas than ever before.
For flight times, costs and destinations served by Qatar’s largest airline, check out the
Qatar Airways website.
For further information on the types of Visa available for entry into Qatar and how to acquire Visas, read this
Visas article.

For the daily weather forecast, monthly outlooks, weather warnings and more, in Doha and across Qatar, check out the following websites:

Main image: Ahmed_Abdel_Hamid/

Published: January 08, 2020
Last updated: November 10, 2020
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