Football, fanzones and fire-breathing spiders...there's something for everyone at the Qatar World Cup.
As of November 20th, Qatar will become the latest host of the 2022 World Cup. 64 games will take place in just 29 days. Doha, the capital city, will become a hub for millions of fans, many of whom will visit the region for the first time.
But what exactly can this army of football lovers expect when they arrive for one of the biggest events in sports in just a few weeks? From fan festivals to fire-breathing spiders… there's something for everyone.
"Fans can expect a huge spectacle when coming over here to Qatar. If you have tickets, that's great, but even if you don't, there are so many things happening over here. You have the FIFA Fan Festival. DJs are coming. You have carnivals and food outlets. It's going to be spectacular out here." revealed Aaron Fernanez, Qatar's fan leader for the Road to 2022 campaign.
Al Bidda Park is home to the primary fan festival, where supporters can congregate, conveniently located near the Corniche and Doha city centre. It's approximately 500,000 square metres in size and ready to host up to 40,000 fans a day. All games will be shown on a big screen here, so if you still need to get a ticket for some matches, you'll find this is the next best thing.
The newly built Lusail Boulevard is a stone's throw away from Lusail Stadium and will also be a popular meeting point for fans. The street has been decorated with huge flags of the competing nations and will be a hot spot for live music, food vendors and mixing with fans of all countries.
If you're itching for more fun after the day's final game, pick up a ticket for the Arcadia Spectacular festival that runs every night from November 19th to December 18th. The popular show involves dancing the night away to house/dance music, but the uniqueness of this event is the 50-tonne, fire-breathing spider featured at Glastonbury 2022. It really has to be seen to be believed!
In addition to the fan zones and the eight state-of-the-art stadiums that will host matches, Qatar offers a wealth of cultural and historical landmarks. On days when fans find themselves without a ticket for games, there are plenty of things to see and do to make that trip to the Middle East as jam-packed as possible. Here are some of the hot spots fans can visit during their trip.
Katara Cultural Village
Katara cultural village is a must-see for all fans. The lush gardens alone span 32,700 square metres and are perfect for those days when a relaxing afternoon is needed to escape from the busyness of the tournament. The opera house and amphitheatre host regular artistic performances.
Additionally, it has multiple authentic cafes and restaurants for evening meals, as well as a beach where families can enjoy the pleasant winter temperatures of the gulf.
Museums and malls
Qatar is home to many fantastic museums and art spaces. The National Museum of Qatar goes into great detail about the host country's history and its evolution over the last decades. Nearby, there is the museum of Islamic Arts, which showcases beautiful art pieces from all around the Middle-East region. And finally, for those who can't get enough of the sport, the 3-2-1 museum attached to Khalifa International Stadium is perfect for a visit to learn about some of the greatest figures in sporting history.
If shopping 'till you drop is more to your taste, there are plenty of things to do and see in the 14 shopping malls dotted around the country. A visit to the newly built Place Vendome Plaza Mall in Lusail is a must. The Parisian-inspired development houses 580 mid-range to high-end stores inside a 1.1million square metre area. Visit the courtyard at the right time, and you may even catch a performance by the dancing fountains.
Qatar is also home to countless restaurants, which means you won't be short of being able to find a great meal when you need to recharge. Many of the hotels in West Bay's city centre over a wide variety of international cuisines. However, you can also find more local options in areas like Souq Waqif, which is more in line with Qatar's traditional roots.
For fans coming to Qatar for this World Cup, a country of culture and entertainment awaits them.