Al Shamal Municipality Guide: what to see, do and eat

The Al Shamal Municipality is located in the north of Qatar towards the tip of the country. Madinat ash Shamal is the main city of this northernmost municipality in Qatar. The area was established in the 1970s and is near Abu Dhalouf and Al Ruwais - two of Qatar's port towns. It's population is 8,794 as of 2015 and is the least populated municipality in Qatar. 

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Al Shamal translates as 'north' in the Arabic language. It's bordered by Al Khor to the south while its northern coast is surrounded by the Arabian Gulf.

Abandoned villages, archaeological sites and protected areas are scattered throughout the municipality. Citizens and residents often visit the municipality for its many beaches that include Fuwairit, Al Maroona, Al Gharya, Al Jasasiya Beach and Aba Zaluf West Beach.

There’s lots to do in Al Shamal and some of the country’s most fascinating landmarks reside in this area. So, if you’re wondering what to do over the weekend, why not take a trip to Al Shamal to explore the area. Let's go!

Distance from Doha

Al Shamal is approximately 97 kilometres away from Doha. The approximate drive time is one and a half hours by car, and though many of its areas are accessible via sedans, the beach areas are best visited in a 4x4.

Places to visit in Al Shamal Municipality

Al Shamal is mostly desert area, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have its fair share of green areas. There are beautiful lush green parks and many gorgeous beaches with golden sand. It's definitely a great place to visit for a day!

Arsan Cafe

Did you know that Arsan Cafe is the northernmost cafe in Qatar? It used to be the Al Ruwais Old Police Station and was built in 1955, but was recently converted into a cafe and heritage area. This cafe is definitely a must-visit place if you're in Al Shamal. You can sit outdoors and enjoy the view of the Arabian Gulf as you sip on Arsan Cafe's speciality coffees and beverages, and enjoy one of their delicious snacks.

Location: Arsan Cafe (it can be easily reached by a sedan)

Abu Dhalouf Park

This beautiful lush green and colourful park in the Al Shamal Municipality is a treat for everyone-adults and kids alike. Not only can you enjoy a lovely picnic and well-deserved break at the park, it leads to the Shamal beach so you can kick up your fun a notch. Definitely one of Qatar's most loved parks!

Location: Abu Dhalouf Park (it can be easily reached by a sedan)

Al Shamal Sports Club Stadium

The Al Shamal Sports Club Stadium is another landmark in Madinat ash Shamal. It was opened in 2011 and is home to the local Al Shamal team. It can seat 5,000 people and its unique feature is that it has been designed to look like the Al Zubarah Fort.

Location: Al Shamal Sports Club Stadium (it can be easily reached by a sedan)

Fuwairit Beach

This is another popular destination in the north of Qatar with golden sand and clear blue water. It’s a great place to hang out with friends and family, but you’ll have to bring your own food. There aren’t any eating places nearby. It's a great place to watch the sunrise or sunset, or BBQ some goodies on the grill. Please make sure you throw away all your trash in bins before you leave.

Fuwairit Beach is also home to the Hawksbill sea turtle hatching site, and when it’s hatching season (April - July) a section of the beach is closed off to visitors.

Location: Fuwairit Beach (it's better to use an SUV to get here)

Maroona Beach

To the south of Fuwairit Beach is the Maroona Beach, and people love visiting it because of its soft sand and clear waters. Did you know Maroona Beach is also known as the French Beach, though we haven't quite figured out why?

The Maroona Beach is a cosy place where you can get together with friends and family, but you’ll have to bring your own food as there aren’t any eating places nearby. There are no shaded places at the beach, so it's a good idea to bring umbrellas, parasols or tents. And, if you fancy, you could set up camp and spend the night under the stars. Please make sure you throw away all your trash in bins before you leave.

Location: Maroona Beach (it's better to use an SUV to get here)

Azerbaijani Beach

The Azerbaijani is another mesmerising beach in the Al Shamal municipality. It's clear waters, soft golden sand and general vibe makes it a popular destination for family and friends. You do have to take your own food though or you could do a BBQ by the beach. Please make sure you throw away all your trash in bins before you leave.

Location: Azerbaijani Beach (it's better to use an SUV to get here)

Al Gharya Beach

In the northeast of Qatar (further north of Fuwairit) is another popular beach destination called Al Gharya Beach. Bring your own food and drinks, because there are no eating places nearby. Please make sure you throw away all your trash in bins before you leave.

Location: Ghariya Beach (it's better to use an SUV to get here)

Al Areesh

Al Areesh is a fishing village located in the northwest of Qatar. It is one of the largest fishermen settlements in Qatar, with about 40 houses, which are now in ruins. These were inhabited even during the 1970s before they were completely abandoned once the oil boom in Qatar began.

Today, this village tells a tale of Qatar’s past and gives us a peek into how life was during the time.

Note: Please don't vandalise historic sites in Qatar. Please be responsible.

Location: Al Areesh (it's better to use an SUV to get here)

Al Jumail Fishing Village

Al Jumail which is derived from the Arabic word 'jameel' meaning beautiful is the name of this once prospering pearl diving and fishing village in the desert of Qatar and actually refers to the towering trees you find in and around the area. The now-abandoned Al Jumail Fishing Village is very close to the Al Zubarah Fort. Many people call it a ghost town, and that is what it's become. Once upon a time though, around the 19th century, this village was inhabited by pearl divers and fishermen who took advantage of the nearby sea to earn a living.

Though most of the village is in ruins now, the mosque with its minaret still stands tall and proud and the ground around the buildings are scattered with bits of pottery, beads and other remnants from times of old.

Note: Please don't vandalise historic sites in Qatar. Please be responsible.

Location: Jumail Fishing Village (it can be easily reached by a sedan)

Al Zubarah Fort

Al Zubarah Fort, nestled in the north-western area of Qatar, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the Arab region’s most well-preserved examples of an old settlement in Qatar. It was built in 1938 by Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani and one of the country's most visited archaeological sites.

It's also one of Qatar’s biggest historical sites, serves as a museum, visitor centre and heritage attraction, and showcases information about the earlier town of Al Zubarah and the surrounding environment. Unusually, the structure consists of three circular towers and a rectangular tower. It also has many rooms made up of cement or compressed mud. These rooms showcase beautiful artwork and valuable archaeological findings that will transport you to a time that's long gone by, but not forgotten.

Note: Please don't vandalise historic sites in Qatar. Please be responsible.

Location: Al Zubarah Fort (it can be easily reached by a sedan)

Where to eat in Al Shamal

Istanbul Garden Restaurant

Cuisine: Turkish

Recommended dishes/beverages: Shawarma; Mix Grill; Grilled Chicken With Rice; Hot Special Mutton Masala; Beef Green Pepper Chilly

Timing: Seven days a week: 7 am - 12 am (midnight)

Location: Al Shamal Industrial Area Road, Al Ruwais, Al Shamal - Qatar

Tel: +974 4473 0630

Sea Shell Restaurant

Cuisine: Indian; Chinese

Recommended dishes/beverages: Fish Fry; Fresh Beef Masala; Chicken Chukka; Club Sandwiches; Rob Ruman; Galaxy

Timing: Seven days a week: 4 am - 12 am (midnight)

Location: Near Al Shamal Stop 2, Al Ruwais, Al Shamal - Qatar

Mob: +974 3134 3625

Al Kayi Burger

Cuisine: Burgers

Recommended dishes/beverages: Cheetos Mozarella; Crispy Calamari; Chef Burger; Mushroom Burger

Timing: Seven days a week: 12 pm - 2 am

Location: Al Ruwais, Main Road, Madinat Ash Shamal, Al Shamal - Qatar

Tel: +974 4488 8209

Mob: +974 5088 8209

Rukun Shai

Cuisine: Cafeteria

Recommended dishes/beverages: Sandwiches; Parathas; Karak; Mocktails

Timing: Seven days a week: 7 am - 12 am (midnight)

Location: Al Ruwais, Al Shamal - Qatar

Tel: +974 7473 1246

Al Shamal Irani Restaurant

Cuisine: Iranian; Persian

Recommended dishes/beverages: Lamb Chops; Chicken Lari Kebab; Mix Grill; Pawn Curry; Aash

Timing: Seven days a week: 9 am - 5 pm

Location: Abi Dhalouf, Al Shamal - Qatar

Mob: +974 3399 1154

Leewan Al Shamal Restaurant

Cuisine: Indian

Recommended dishes/beverages: Dosa; Biryani; Thali; Curd Rice; Shery Masala

Timing: Seven days a week: 6 am - 1 am

Location: Al Ruwais, Al Shamal - Qatar

Tel: +974 4473 1419

Nokhetha Al Shamal Restaurant

Cuisine: Arabic; Khaleeji

Recommended dishes/beverages: Lamb Mandi; Chicken Machboos

Timing: Seven days a week: 8 am - 10 pm

Location: Madinat Ash Shamal, Al Shamal - Qatar

Mob: +974 3322 6330

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