Three Hours in Doha

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Nadine Rupp / Getty Images

The Souq Waqif is among the Qatari capital's biggest tourist attractions

FIFA controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. But the tiny Gulf state's bid was just another step in its ambitious push to become a global hub. In the capital Doha with only a morning to spare? Here are the essentials.

ONE HOUR Hail a taxi and head toward Doha's seafront centerpiece: the Museum of Islamic Art, tel: (974) 4422 4444. This I.M. Pei — designed cluster of cubes houses a collection spanning more than a thousand years. Admission is free.

TWO HOURS Head northwest to Suq Waqif and amble through its incense, antique and spice shops. The suq offers a global array of dining options, but go Persian. Isfahan Gardens, tel: (974) 5528 7521, has a comically flashy chandelier and the most delicious sesame-topped flatbread.

THREE HOURS If it's more art you're after, go to Katara, a new "cultural village" on Doha's periphery that houses several galleries. For shopping, journey further north to the Pearl. This self-styled "Riviera Arabia" boasts all manner of luxury boutiques. It's Doha in all its glossy glory — so don't forget your credit card.