Bahrain Travel Guides
Manama, Bahrain’s capital, is the country’s number one tourist hotspot, with its large shopping malls, thriving nightlife, museums and bustling souks offering plenty of sightseeing options. Farther a field, visitors can tour the island and its archaeological sites, stopping off at Barbar, Qal'at Al-Bahrain, A’ali, Bani Jamrah and Muharraq Island along the way.
The village of A’ali attracts visitors with its Royal Tombs and pottery, which are equally impressive. Bahrain has more than 85,000 burial mounds in total, but the Royal Tombs are the most impressive. It is suspected that the tombs are the burial grounds of previous kings due to their size, but this is as yet unconfirmed. These mounds are situated in the heart of the village of A’ali and are up to 15 metres (50 feet) high and 45 metres (150 feet) wide. Don’t miss out on the pottery shops here, as the village is home to one of Bahrain’s most famous pottery workshops.
This tiny village is home to villagers weaving traditional baskets, which are available to buy along with some beautiful handicrafts. Situated about six miles west of Manama, this village will give you an insight into Bahrain’s traditions and heritage.
This small village is the site of a fascinating archaeological discovery which encompasses a complex of temples dating from the 2nd and 3rd century BC. The excavations can be viewed from raised walkways and are thought to have been dedicated to Enki, the God of Wisdom, and the Sweet Waters under the Earth.
Being an island, you are never far from the beach in Bahrain. Generally, the beaches are clean and the waters are safe to swim in, but it is always advisable to check with the locals or your hotel first and visit a resort beach if possible. The long stretches of sandy beaches provide the perfect ground for sunbathing and relaxing and are also a base for snorkelling and scuba diving trips.
No trip to the Middle East is complete without a trip to a Manama, the arrival city of all passengers travelling to Bahrain by air. The highlight of the city is the marketplace, Manama Souk, which is full of Arabian delights, selling everything from carpets and rugs to Arabian perfumes and oils. Jewellery, including gold and pearls, and clothing are also for sale. While there are souks in every major town in Bahrain, the Manama Souk is extensive and surprisingly modern. An excellent souvenir hunting ground, shoppers should be prepared to bargain for goods. Another attraction in the city includes the National Museum, which will teach you about Bahrain’s fascinating history. This modern facility displays its exhibits in both Arabic and English and covers over 7,000 years of history. Of special interest are the museum’s features on Bahrain’s burial mounds and temples as well as its displays on Arabic writing and calligraphy.
A trip to Muharraq is not complete without visiting its souk and well-preserved 19th century houses. The houses can still be found complete with their traditional features, which include ornate plaster work and intricately carved doors. Bait Shaikh Isa Bin and the Bait Seyadi are the best examples. Bait Shaikh Isa Bin features the original wind tower which was uniquely designed to direct winds into the interior of the house. Many people find Muharraq a pleasant alternative to Manama as it is devoid of the capital’s commercialism.
This is the country’s primary archaeological site. It was excavated in the 1950s and revealed evidence of settlements dating back to 2300 BC. While only 25 per cent of the site is excavated, archaeologists have identified the site as Dilmun, which was once one of the most important centres in the region in ancient times. The site is also known as the Portuguese Fort and has the status of being a UNESCO World Heritage site. It can be found in the northern region of Bahrain.Visit this website for photographs and further information about Bahrain Fort (Qal'at al Bahrain)
Top Things to Do
Cross One of the World’s Most Expensive Bridges
The 15-mile causeway, King Fahd, is known as one of the most expensive bridges in the world and is one of the major tourist attractions in Bahrain. It was first opened 20 years ago and links Bahrain with Saudi Arabia. There is a rest point half way where visitors can stop to dine.
Dance the Night Away
As Bahrain is not bursting with cultural activities, many visitors to the islands choose to spend their time partying and shopping rather than sightseeing, which is an equally good way to get to know the country. Manama has an excellent night scene, with dozens of popular clubs. Single women should be prepared to experience an overwhelming amount of interest if they are tempted to visit these clubs alone. While most clubs don’t have a strict dress code, it is always advisable to check before you leave your hotel. The clubs attract plenty of foreigners as well as many groups of Saudis on weekends.
Familiarise Yourself with the Qur'an
Purpose-built to house a valuable collection of the Holy Qur'an and other Islamic manuscripts, the House of the Qur'an, or Beit Al Qur’an, is open to all visitors. Many of the safely kept religious scriptures are beautifully illustrated, making a visit quite interesting. Within the complex you will find a mosque, library, auditorium, school and a museum. The museum is of particular interest and consists of five exhibition halls.
Unravel the Mystery of the Tree of Life
Something of a mystery, this enormous tree stands in the middle of the desert about 1.2 miles (two kilometres) from the Jebel Dukhan. It has become quite an attraction due to its mysterious water source and its stunning appearance in contrast to the desert so you will more than likely find other tourists along the route to the tree. Camel herdsmen and their flocks also frequent the area should you fancy a picture with one of their beasts.
Visit Arad Fort
Within close proximity of the airport, Arad Fort is one of Bahrain’s most prominent historical landmarks. Dating back to the 16th century, the fortification has been heavily restored and is now open for exploration by visitors who can climb up its ramparts in order to gain some lovely vistas. Don’t miss the fort when it is illuminated at night as it has a magical Arabian appearance.
Visit Bahrain’s Most Important Mosque
Also known as the Grand Masjid, the Grand Mosque is enormous and is the biggest in Bahrain. Unlike many traditional mosques, this one has a fibreglass dome to keep the summer heat to a minimum. Located on the Al Fateh Highway, it is worth viewing by day, while at night it is floodlit, meaning you will have to visit twice if you want to fully appreciate its beauty. Up to 7,000 worshippers flock here five times a day, with the call to prayer, resounding from the minarets, signalling prayer time.