The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 islands (natural and man-made) located between the coast of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. Bahrain, which means ‘two seas’, has a growing tourist audience. Best visited during the cooler months, this nation will spoil you for choice with its endless list of indoor and outdoor activities.
Bahrain has a highly tolerant culture that offers residents and tourists complete freedom. Moreover, what sets it apart from most Persian Gulf countries is that it strikes the perfect balance between modern and traditional living.
You can check out all the tourist spots and malls in four days (but this doesn’t detract from the rich history and culture of the country).
If you’re fascinated by the Middle East, then the Kingdom of Bahrain should be your next stop.
1- Island Hopping
Bahrain consists of 33 natural islands and several man-made ones located on the Persian Gulf. With its beautiful turquoise waters, Bahrain is a paradise for anyone that loves water activities.
- Reef Island – Reef Island is ideally situated in the heart of Manama, the capital of Bahrain. It offers all the convenience of easy access to a bustling cosmopolitan city complimented with the tranquility of a tropical island getaway.
- Al Dar Island – Located about 20 minutes off the shore of Sitra, it is easy to reach by boat. Visit the Islands for a day to swim in their lagoon or snorkel at the artificial reef.
- Jarada Island – The “disappearing” island of Jarada has golden sands and blue water, very clean sand, and the best place to swim, the island appears in the ebb and disappears in the tide.
2- Dreamy Beaches
Bahrain is often maligned as an island with no beaches. But there are several beautiful beaches in Bahrain if you know where to look. Below are the best public and private beaches you can find in Bahrain:
- Al Jazayer beach – The biggest public beach in Bahrain, Located near the Bahrain International Circuit and the Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve has shallow clear waters. Al Jazayer attracts a lot of residents on weekends who are usually barbecuing.
- Coral Bay – Is a private beach, famed for its parties, with different DJs from across the globe playing every weekend. Here you’ll get access to the private beach, a lagoon pool, and a swim-up bar. You can also try jet skiing, kayaking, and wakeboarding.
- Marassi Al Bahrain – Is another private beach, very popular because of its low entry prices. Visitors can do various activities like parasailing, wakeboarding, or jet boards. If still need more reasons, kayaking, have a go on a doughnut boat, bungee trampolines and, and playing volleyball are some other fun things to do in Marassi Al Bahrain as well.
3- Formula One in Bahrain
The Bahrain International Circuit – open all year round for families to take to the world-famous track – is home to twelve of the Bahrain Grand Prix. If you are a motor racing fanatic, visit Bahrain in April for a chance to be a spectator at their own Formula One.
The Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir features five FIA certified track layouts, more than anywhere else in the world. This allows it to host a range of motor racing events, including the Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Bahrain, races in the GP2 Series, and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
4- Fabulous Hotels for all Budgets
Bahrain is home to countless amazing hotels. This country is home to some amazing beach resorts in Manama and other parts of the kingdom, the Four Seasons Hotel being one of the best hotels in Bahrain that is quite an experience for luxury holidaymakers or business travelers.
However, if you don’t want to spend a fortune on your accommodation in Bahrain, there are some acceptable valuable hotels like Ramee Suites that are still quite nice for all the needs a traveler might have.
5- Bahrain’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Although Bahrain is a small nation, it has a rich history and a fascinating culture to discover. Currently, Bahrain has three cultural sires listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list:
Dilmun Burial Mounds
Heard of The Epic of Gilgamesh? One of the very first poems
Well, there have been speculations that Bahrain (then Dilmun) is thought to be the place where Gilgamesh traveled to seek immortality.
Bahrain is home to one of the Middle East’s oldest civilizations, the Dilmun civilization. Going back to 6000-year ago, it is also speculated to be the place where Gilgamesh is thought to have traveled to seek mortality (the Epic of Gilgamesh is a Mesopotamian poem and said to be one of the earliest known works of literature).
Pearling, Testimony of an Island Economy
Bahrain is known for its variety of pearls. The nation’s economy thrived on its pearling industry until the 1930s (when Japanese cultured pearls entered the market). Though few divers remain today, the Bahrain Pearling Trail, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, protects this local legacy. The site consists of seventeen buildings in Muharraq City, three offshore oyster beds, part of the seashore, and the Qal’at Bu Mahir fortress on the southern tip of Muharraq Island, from where boats used to set off for the oyster beds.
Also known as the Bahrain Fort or Portuguese Fort, it is an archaeological site located in Bahrain. Archaeological excavations carried out since 1954 have unearthed antiquities from an artificial mound of 12 m (39 ft) height containing seven stratified layers, created by various occupants from 2300 BC up to the 18th century.
The primitive human occupation of its site dates back to an artificial elevation (a “tel”) started around 2,300 BC and successively occupied until the 16th century when it was used by the Portuguese for a fortification that currently gives it its name: ” Qal ‘ a “, which means” strong “. Among other functions, throughout its history, it served as the capital of the Dilmun – one of the most important civilizations in the region.
If you like to visit most of the amazing cultural sites in Bahrain, book a Full-Day Bahrain Guided Tour with Visit Bahrain which combines the Desert Oasis experience with the City Sightseeing tour to let you experience the quintessential Bahraini feel.
6- Bahraini People and Expats
Bahrainis are some of the most down to earth, helpful and social people you’ll ever meet. Hospitality is deeply ingrained in their culture. Bahrain is home to reportedly over 50% of expatriates from all over the world. Much like Dubai, this makes Bahrain a realm of multiculturalism.
Don’t be surprised if you’re in a lift or restaurant and a local walks in and greets you with a ‘Salaam’ (more formally ‘As-Salaam-Alaikum’).
Bahrain is less than 30 minutes away from Saudi Arabia, a country where alcohol is forbidden as well as movie theaters while there’s no ban on alcoholic drinks or movie theaters in open-minded Bahrain. As soon as the weekend begins, the Saudi-Bahrain border is packed with Saudis making their way to Bahrain. What is often a 30-40 minute drive turns into a 3-4 hour drive.
From Formula 1 after-parties with big names such as Pitbull, or a simple gathering by the beach, there is always something to do on this small amazing island! But keep in mind that even though there are bars, clubs, and lounges all over Bahrain, the kingdom of Bahrain is still an Islamic country. So, be respectful and act accordingly.
8- Budget-Friendly Destination
Even though the Bahraini Dinar is a very powerful currency against USD or EUR, (the second-highest in the world after Kuwaiti Dinar), you can still have a budget-trip. All the tourist attractions are free of cost except for the Bahrain National Museum and the Al Dar Islands which cost 1 BHD and 3 – 8 BHD respectively. If you don’t eat in fancy restaurants or shop for expensive things at Bahrain’s sough, you can save a lot of money since you will be mostly spending for your stay and commute.
9- Foodies’ Haven
Bahrain has many great restaurants offering something for every taste bud. Whether you’re craving authentic Bahraini machboos, or prefer their famous burger chain Jasmis, this Island may be small, but the possibilities for your cravings are endless.
How about a breakfast consisting of Khubz (an oven-baked flatbread), Falafel (deep-fried chickpea patties), Balaleet (sweet vermicelli and eggs), and Keema (minced meat)?
- Bahrain’s most popular street food, shawarma is a value-for-money delicious meat sandwich. A few of the small sandwich shops even serve camel burgers (which is very tasty).
- The ‘American Alley’ in Juffair is renowned for its selection of restaurants ranging from Chinese, Japanese, local to Italian and Indian cuisine. There’s also plenty of lounges, bars, and cafes in the area.
- Mohd Noor Bokhari is also one of the places everyone in Bahrain would love to goes to for lunch. This restaurant offers acceptable portions of amazing Arabic dishes for a reasonable price.
- Malghoom – is a truly Bahraini experience, you actually can’t get it anywhere else in the world! To the locals, it’s the greatest and most boastful feeling in the world to have the guys over at Zahlawiya or Haifa (the most famous Malghoom places in Bahrain).
10- Extremely Safe
Bahrain is arguably one of the safest countries in the world for solo travel. It should have a spot on the list of the best countries for solo female travelers in the world.
It’s not uncommon to find yourself alone in most of the tourist places but you would never feel unsafe. The locals are friendly, the taxi drivers are helpful, and the general vibe of the country is positive.
If you’re not convinced to travel to Bahrain for tourism yet, here are three more top things to do in Bahrain and the reasons to visit Bahrain:
The Tree of Life
The Tree Of Life is approximately 400+ years old and stands 10 m (32 ft) high. The reason the tree sparks an aura of mystery is that no one is certain how it survives in the desert surrounded by miles and miles of sand.
With Bahrain’s weather usually 40° C (105° F) and going higher, with frequent sandstorms, people have the following theories about the survival secret of the Tree of Life:
- Its roots are 50 meters deep, which may be enough to reach the water.
- The tree has learned to extract moisture from grains of sand.
- The tree is standing in what was once the Garden of Eden, and so has a more mystical source of water.
The largest Spa in the Middle East
Having more than 10,000 square-meters, Al Areen Spa is the largest spa in the Middle East, designed with inspiration from the gardens of the Royal Arabian palaces. Al Areen includes twelve spa pavilions, each one with twin rain mist shower beds, infinity bathtubs, and a private garden.
Less Touristy compared to the Emirates
With tourists often swarming all the popular destinations in the world, it is often hard to find privacy when you travel. While everyone is visiting Dubai, how many people actually take a trip to Bahrain? you can have the island to yourself, unlike the usually tourist-flooded Dubai. Bahrain has more of a local touch to it and it just feels a bit warmer.
If you’re someone who wants to avoid all the hustle-bustle of these touristy places and simply enjoy some quiet time as you explore a country, Bahrain is the place to go.