Travel Basics – 2024 Qatar Grand Prix

Start planning your trip to Qatar for the Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix 2024 at Lusail Circuit. Advice about visas, weather, staying safe and money.

  • The 2024 Qatar Grand Prix is scheduled for November 29-December 1
  • Tickets for the 2024 Qatar Grand Prix are now on sale. We also recommend F1 Experiences Packages
  • Join our Facebook group for the Qatar GP to connect with fellow fans, share tips & get advice
  • The Editor attended the Qatar Grand Prix in 2021 and 2023.
  • This post contains affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links

After a one-year absence in 2022, the Qatar Grand Prix returned to the Formula 1 calendar in 2023 at Lusail Circuit. The track is located around 30km north of Qatar’s capital city Doha and around 40 km north of Hamad International Airport, the main gateway into the country.

Qatar is situated on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East. Its only land border is shared with Saudi Arabia, which coincidentally also hosted its first Grand Prix in 2021. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – which host the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the Bahrain Grand Prix – are also nearby.

Qatar ranks among the world’s richest countries, thanks to its wealth of oil and gas reserves. The country has a population of close to 3 million, with around a third of its inhabitants living in Doha. Qatari nationals account for only 10% of the country’s population. The majority of the population is made up of migrants, most of whom have moved to Qatar for work. 

In 2022, Qatar hosted the FIFA World Cup, which took the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix’s title as the biggest sporting event that the country had ever hosted. Lusail Stadium, which hosted the World Cup final, is just 10km south of Lusail Circuit. MotoGP also makes an annual trip to Qatar, with the Qatar Grand Prix having been held annually at the circuit since 2004. 

Do I Need a Visa to Enter Qatar?

Qatar is one of the easiest countries to visit in the Middle East, with visitors from more than 95 countries not requiring a travel visa to visit the country. The amount of time you can stay in Qatar varies by country – some will be able to stay for 90 days without a visa, while others can spend only 30 days. You can check visa requirements for your country on the Visit Qatar website.

If your country is not included on the list, you can apply for an online visa to visit Qatar. The fee is around 100 Qatari Riyal (QAR), the equivalent of just under $30 USD.

Qatar Travel: Need to Know

  • Qatar operates on Arabia Standard Time (AST), which is 3 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
  • Sunset on race weekend at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix is at approx. 17:15. The race begins on Sunday night at 20:00.
  • Type G plug sockets are used in Qatar. Travelers from the United Kingdom will not need a plug adapter but those visiting from other territories will. The standard voltage in Qatar is 240 V.
  • Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road in Qatar.
  • Dial 999 for emergencies (Police, Fire, Ambulance).
  • Tap water is safe to drink in Qatar, but using bottled water is recommended.
  • Learn More: Visit Qatar Official Tourism Website

Weather in Qatar

The 2023 Qatar Grand Prix took place in early October, when temperatures were still uncomfortably high, averaging 35-40°C (95-104°F) during the day. Whilst temperatures dropped at night, high humidity meant it was still extremely hot trackside, especially for the drivers but also for fans. Thankfully, the race moves to early December in 2024, when temperatures will be much more comfortable and humidity is lower.

Personal Safety in Qatar

Qatar usually tops the list of safest countries in the Middle East and North African region. Crime levels are low in Qatar and you are unlikely to be a victim of crime during your visit to the Qatar Grand Prix.

You should remain vigilant, however. Only use licensed taxis and avoid unfamiliar areas – especially at night. Pickpocketing and similar petty crimes are rare but be sure to keep an eye on your belongings, particularly at tourist hotspots or other crowded places.

Driving standards are not particularly high in Qatar and roads can be chaotic, especially in busier areas such as Doha. Take extra caution when crossing roads. Try to use public transport instead of using a hire car – road accidents are common.

Qatari Money

Thanks to its substantial oil and gas reserves, Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world. The currency used in Qatar is the Qatari Riyal (QAR). The conversion rate between the Qatari Riyal and the US dollar has remained relatively consistent in recent decades. 1 QAR is the equivalent of around $0.27 USD. To check exchange rates, visit ATMs can be found in shopping malls, hotels and on streets. Click here to calculate how much you’re likely to pay for eating, drinking and getting around in Doha

Language in Qatar

Arabic is the official language of Qatar but English is widely spoken and you’re unlikely to encounter language issues when visiting Doha. Most signage is bilingual, with words appearing in both Arabic and English.

Staying Healthy in Qatar

Emergency treatment is of a good standard but can be expensive in Qatar, so make sure you have the necessary insurance in place before your visit. A list of English-speaking medical facilities in Qatar can be found here.

Be aware that some prescribed and over the counter medicines are controlled substances in Qatar. If you need to bring medication, you should check before your visit and ensure that you bring your official doctor’s prescription.

Laws & Customs in Qatar

Qatar’s human rights record is poor, especially in relation to laws on women’s rights and those of LGBTQ+ communities, which came under media scrutiny ahead of the FIFA World Cup in 2022. While the governments’ laws are strict, those who live in Qatar are generally welcoming and tolerant.

You should respect local customs and dress modestly in public. Women should cover their shoulders and avoid wearing short skirts, while men should not wear shorts or sleeveless tops. You can be jailed or deported for using offensive language or making rude gestures. Be aware of cultural sensitivities when taking photos in Qatar, especially if you are at a religious building.

Drinking Alcohol in Qatar

There are strict rules on the consumption of alcohol in Qatar. You are able to drink alcohol, but only in licensed locations. At the Qatar Grand Prix, alcohol is only available in hospitality venues; it is not served in the Fanzone. The legal age for alcohol consumption in Qatar is 21. Drinking in public can result in a prison sentence of up to 6 months.

Have you visited Qatar? Leave a comment below with your travel tips.

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