Famous since Antiquity for the booming pearl industry, Bahrain is one of the smallest countries in the continent of Asia, coming in third after Singapore and the Maldives. The Kingdom of Bahrain is a small archipelago, consisting of 50 natural islands and 33 artificial islands, huddled between Qatar and the north-east coast of Saudi Arabia.
In this article, we will journey through Bahrain. From a history snippet about the kingdom, when to visit, how to get a visa to visit Bahrain, up to the top, fun and nature-loving things to do when you’re planning your next trip to this Middle Eastern country.
A bit of history about Bahrain
Bahrain has been the cradle of the Dilmun civilization, one that goes back to the third millennium BC, all the way back to the Bronze Age. Back then, Bahrain was an important trading link between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Centuries later, it came under the power of the Achaemenid Empire, the Persians and the Greek.
Bahrain was described by historians as an oasis filled with cotton trees, from which both affordable and expensive clothes were made and sold, walking cranes were made and exported, as being part of the custom to walk with one in Babylon. Then known as Tylos, Bahrain was even believed to be the origin of the Phoenicians.
In the following years, Bahrain saw many empires, rulers and occupiers such as the Qarmatians, the Abbasids and the Uyunids. The country was then taken by the Portuguese who ruled for 80 years before getting sacked by the Safavid Iranian dynasty who ruled for two centuries, in the second half of the 18th century.
Al Khalifas, the ruling family line, is a branch of the Utub tribe. The tribe was an emigrating one from Central Arabia to Kuwait, then settled in Qatar before moving and eventually settling in Bahrain.
During much of the 19th century, Bahrain had been under the protection of other nations. First, it was the British, then the Ottomans and back to the British. By the end of the century, Bahrain had fully come under British control. During most of the 20th century, Bahrain stayed under British control. With protests and riots breaking every now and then, later subdued by adopting new reforms.
The most important event in the history of Bahrain under British control is the discovery of oil in 1932. This discovery helped take the Bahraini economy to a whole new level, one that previously depended on pearl fisheries. The first airport was developed and the first Maritime airport was built.
It was only in 1971, when Bahrain finally declared independence, after years of unrest under the rule of Britain. Subsequently, Bahrain became a member of the United Nations and the Arab League and continued the building of its new economy, dependent on oil. In 2002, the adoption of the National Action Charter, saw the change of the country from State of Bahrain to Kingdom of Bahrain.
Over the past years, the tourism sector in Bahrain has been booming, with the country’s continuous work on promoting its history and landmarks. Surprisingly, there are many great things to do in Bahrain, the country combines its ancient history with modernism to offer you unforgettable experiences.
When is the best time to visit Bahrain?
The climate in Bahrain, along with the seasons, is only divided into two stretches of time. The scorching summer season is from April to October, and the mild winter season from November to March. In either season, the islands have some humidity due to the shallowness of the sea level around it.
Hence, it’s most preferable to visit Bahrain during the winter season, as the summer season can be quite unbearable.
How to get a visa to visit Bahrain?
The official website designated by the Bahraini Government is the only way to obtain an electronic visa to visit Bahrain. On the website you can check whether you’re a citizen of a country exempt of visa requirement or not and based on that, apply for acquiring an entry visa.
When applying for an e-visa, you will need to provide scanned copies of several documents including your passport, flight ticket, hotel reservation and bank statements of the past three months with official stamp.
The approval process takes from 3 to five working days and if approved, the e-visa will be valid for 30 days.
Is there anything to do in Bahrain?
Surprisingly enough, Bahrain is a country full of history and landmarks to see. Not just that, the location of the kingdom is perfect for many sea activities.
From old forts, museums, shopping malls, wildlife parks and nature spots, islands and adrenaline-filled activities, here’s a list of the best things to do in Bahrain.
The city of Manama is the largest city in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and is the country’s capital as well. Manama is full of diverse landmarks and destinations that must make it on your list of places to check out.
1. Qal’at Al-Bahrain (Bahrain Fort):
The Dilmun Civilization was an ancient civilization dating back to the 3rd millennium BC and until the discovery of the Bahrain Fort, this civilization was only known from Sumerian evidence. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Qal’at Al-Bahrain was the capital of the Dilmun Civilization. The Epic of Gilgamesh described Dilmun as the “Land of Immortality”, where the gods met and it was home to the ancestors of the Sumerians.
The fort is otherwise known as the Portuguese Fort, since it was once built by the Portuguese Empire during the reign in the area. The rule of this powerful empire over Bahrain lasted for 80 years, until their expulsion from the island by the Safavid Iranian Abbas I in 1602.
Despite the ancient history of the fort, excavations of the site only started in the 1950s. The works resulted in the discovery of a seven-layered fort, seven to be exact, that are estimated to have been built between 2,300 BC and the 18th century. It’s estimated that the first fort was built 3,000 years ago while the current one goes back to the 6th century AD.
The hill or tel onto which the fort is located had a palace built at the center with several houses of the same height and style were distributed along the roads of the fort. As you walk through the once traders-filled roads of the fort, you will understand why Qal’at Al-Bahrain is a treasure-trove of Bahraini history.
On the other side of the fort there’s the Qal’at Al-Bahrain Site Museum, where the antiquities found during excavations are put on display. Artifacts including copper artifacts, pots, fishing tools, Barbar pottery and ivory artifacts which tell a lot about the Copper and Bronze Ages of the kingdom.
- Cost: Free
- Opening Hours: Every day from 8:00 to 6:00 pm.
- Location: Bahrain Fort, 892 3618, Karbabad, Bahrain.
- Cost: BHD2, BHD1 if you’re a GCC citizen.
- Opening Hours: From 8:00 am to 6:00 pm and closes on Monday.
- Location: Building 3618, Road 3863, Block 438 Bahrain, Bahrain
2. Al-Fateh Grand Mosque:
The largest mosque in Bahrain and one of the largest in the world, Al-Fateh Grand Mosque was built in 1987. Named after Ahmed Al-Fateh, the first ruling monarch or hakim of Bahrain, the building is an exquisite architectural masterpiece. With the biggest fiberglass dome in the world, Italian marble, an Austrian chandelier and doors made of Indian teak wood.
There’s a library by the mosque; Ahmed Al-Fateh Islamic Center Library, and is home to a whopping 7,000 books, some of which are older than a 100 years old. Some of these books include the books of Hadith; books containing the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, Al-Azhar journals, the Global Arabic Encyclopedia and more.
- Cost: Free
- Opening Hours: Every day from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, closes on Fridays.
- Location: Awal Avenue Corner Al Fatih Highway, Bahrain.
3. Khamis Mosque:
This is the oldest mosque in Bahrain, where the foundations were laid as early as the 7th century CE. The actual construction of the mosque, however, is believed to have begun in the 11th century and back then, the mosque had only one minaret. The second minaret was built either during the 14th or the 15th century, during restoration works of the mosque.
Restoration works on the mosque have revealed a mihrab made of limestone, possibly dating back to the 12th century CE. The limestone slab has verses of the Quran inscribed on it.
- Cost: Free
- Opening Hours: Every day from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm and closes on Mondays.
- Location: 6G5X+WC6, Sh Salman Hwy, Tashan, Bahrain.
4. Bahrain National Museum:
The beginning of a museum-like facility dates back to an exhibition in the city of Muharraq in 1957, of the artifacts discovered at the Bahrain Fort. A museum was later opened in 1970, following a signed agreement between the government and UNESCO. Two Danish architects; Krohn and Hartvig Rasmussen, designed the current museum, which opened its doors in 1988.
Over 5,000 years of history of Bahrain are on display in the museum’s halls. In total, there are six halls in the museum, three of which are dedicated to the history and archeology of the Dilmun Civilization, the history and culture of the Bahraini people before the discovery of oil are showcased in two halls. The last hall is dedicated to the Natural History of Bahrain.
In addition to the exhibition halls, there’s a cafeteria, a gift shop, an educational hall, administrative offices, laboratories and warehouses. The building overlooks the skyline of Manama and is a unique setting of taking great photos.
- Cost: BHD1.5.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, closes on Tuesdays.
- Location: Shaikh Hamad Causeway, Manama, Bahrain.
5. Beit Al-Quran (House of Quran):
This entire complex dedicated to Islamic Arts was built back in 1990 and contains, beside a mosque, a library, a museum, an auditorium and a madrassa. The cornerstone of the complex is the Islamic Museum, described as one of the most important Islamic museums in the world.
The beginning of the museum was based on the personal collection of scholar and researcher Abdul-Latif Jassim Kanoo, with the goal of displaying the concept of the Persian Gulf region of collections of the Quran and other rare Islamic documents. With the opening of the museum in 1990, Kanoo translated his sense of responsibility towards his growing collection by donating it to the museum and start a new wave of caring for the Islamic and Quranic heritage.
The museum called Al-Hayat Museum (Museum of Life) is an ideal place to learn about the history of Islam and how it progressed through the years. Some of the rare Quranic manuscripts on display in the museum come from different countries around the world, Saudi Arabia, Damascus, Baghdad. This is in addition to works of Islamic scholars such as Ibn Taymiyyah are on display as well.
- Cost: Free. Donation ticket is optional, by your choice.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Thursdays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.
- Location: Building No.17, Rd No 1901, Manama, Bahrain.
This residential town west of Manama was discovered and excavated during the 1970s. The town is home to the Saar Temple from Bahrain’s Dilmun era, which is believed to have been a part of marking the event of Summer solstice back in time when the temple was still complete.
A residential settlement known as Saar settlement, also dating back to the Dilmun civilization was found on the outskirts of the town. Many artifacts from this ancient civilization were found inside homes of the settlement, such as Bahraini-made copper fishhooks and around 100 seals used for packages and jars.
- Cost: Free
- Opening Hours: Daylight.
- Location: Around 15 Kilometers west of Manama, Road 79.
7. Tree of Life:
A mysterious 400-year-old tree lives on a hill in the Arabian Dessert. The Prosopis cineraria tree is continuously covered with green leaves despite the harsh weather conditions it lives in. This made the tree a popular tourist attraction, among locals and foreigners alike.
The mystery behind the evergreen tree is yet unsolved; there is no source of water nearby and Bahrain doesn’t get enough rain every year to allow the tree to survive. Theories have ranged from suggesting that the tree’s 50-meters-long roots can reach underground water, the tree’s roots learned how to extract moisture from sand grains and some even suggested the tree is standing where the Garden of Eden once existed, hence the mysterious survival.
The tree is a source of many beneficial raw materials for the locals, where its yellow resin is made into candles, gum and aromatics, while the tree’s beans are processed to make meal, wine and jam. It’s worth noting that soil analysis back in the 1990s revealed that the Tree of Life was an Acacia and it was planted in 1852.
- Cost: Free.
- Opening Hours: Preferably during daylight.
- Location: 2 Kilometers from Jebel Dukhan.
Shopping in Manama
1. Bahrain City Centre:
The largest shopping mall in Bahrain, it was opened in 2008 and has over 340 retail shops and 60 dining places. Although the mall was initially built to welcome visitors from neighboring Saudi Arabia during the weekends, the shopping centre became a popular tourist attraction.
There are many entertaining facilities in the mall that are perfect for kids and family time, such as the Wahoo! Indoor and outdoor waterpark and the Magic Planet entertainment centre. The mall has been called by several TripAdvisor reviewers as the best mall in Bahrain.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 12:00 am.
- Location: Building 2758, Road 4650, Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Hwy, Jidhafs, Bahrain.
2. Dana Mall:
This mall is considered one of the first in Bahrain as it was established in 2002. With domes and stained glass ceilings and an exterior made of Jordanian stone, the mall is visually unique. It is home to the first Lulu hypermarket in Bahrain and is also home to the best cinema in the country; Dana Cinema.
The mall is great for shopping as most stores have reasonable prices. Historic significance of Dana Mall made it the site of several events and ceremonies, such as celebration of World Sight Day, a Brave Combat Federation event of mixed martial arts.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 8:00 am to 12:00 am, Fridays from 8:00 to 1:00 am.
- Location: Dana Mall, Sanabis, Bahrain.
3. The Avenues:
Seen as a miniature of The Avenues mall in Kuwait, one of the best shopping malls in the world, this one-storey-mall is located alongside the Bahrain Bay. Construction works began in 2014 and the mall opened to the public late 2017 with funding from the Kuwait Finance House. The sole storey was decided upon so the mall would fit in the scenery with the historic buildings close to it.
Seeing as it is a waterfront mall, a favorable activity there is the featured water taxi, which transports visitors from jetties situated in different places in Bahrain to and from the mall. Not only does the mall have a variety of shops, restaurants and enjoyable activities, but also offers amazing views of the sunset over the Bahrain Bay.
- Opening Hours: From Sunday to Wednesday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, from Thursday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:00 am.
- Location: Manama, Bahrain.
4. Manama Souq:
If you’re more of the authentic experience kind-of-person, Manama’s old bazar is the place for you. The souq is perfectly situated between the old parts of Manama and the Central Business District. Modernization efforts of the souq created a new souq that is fit for pedestrians only, unlike the old one which accommodates both vehicles and visitors.
Entrance to the souq is through the historic Bab Al-Bahrain, a building that once stood on the coastline and now is deeper inland. The building was refurbished to decorate using Islamic architectural elements, and now a tourist information office, cafés, shops, as well as the first ice cream shop in the country; Naseef Café.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, closes on Fridays.
- Location: Al Mutanabi Ave, Manama, Bahrain.
5. Seef Mall:
The oldest shopping mall in Bahrain was opened in 1997, Seef Mall is located at the heart of the See District. Beside retail shops, restaurants and cafés, the mall is home to the largest indoor amusement park in the Middle East; Magic Island. The Mall also has a branch of the world renowned Fraser Suites.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, Thursday and Friday from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm.
- Location: Seef District, Manama, Bahrain.
1. Bahrain International Circuit:
An adrenaline-filled time is waiting for you at this motorsport racing venue in the Southern Governorate in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Built over two years, the circuit opened in 2004 and was host to the first Grand Prix in the Middle East in 2004. Since then, it has been home to two main motorsport events; Formula One’s Bahrain Grand Prix and Sakhir Grand Prix.
Since the circuit has several layouts, it is the perfect setting for 24-hour endurance races. More events are set to take place in the circuit such as FIA Formula 2 Championship, FIA Formula 3 Championship and Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East.
As a visitor, even if there isn’t a racing event taking place, you can still enjoy the circuit by enjoy a ride in a Hummer as a passenger, on the Extreme 4×4 course. And you can participate in a karting race with your friends at the karting track.
- Cost: BHD6.5 to enter the circuit, tickets for the events can be bought online through their website.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, except for the duration of an event if you’re attending. Tours take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
- Location: Gate 255, Gulf of Bahrain Avenue Umm Jidar, Sakhir, 1062, Bahrain.
2. Al-Areen Wildlife Park:
This wildlife park opened its doors in 1976 with the purpose of protecting the Bahraini biodiversity several endangered species found in the country. There are four other protected areas in Bahrain, but Al-Areen is the only one located on land. The park is close to the Bahrain International Circuit and can only be accessed through tour buses at the park entrance.
Home to over 45 species of animals from Africa and South Asia, 82 species of birds and 25 of flora, the park is also home to 100,000 planted trees. The nearly-extinct in the wild Arabian oryx is one of the animals housed in the park. In addition to beautiful flamingos, South African cheetah, Honey badger and dama gazelle.
- Cost: BHD1, children less than two years enter free of charge.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 8:00 am to 4:00pm, Fridays from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
- Location: Bahrain Bay Road, Zallaq, Bahrain.
The town of Arad is located on the Muharraq Island and its most famous landmark is the Arad Fort. Built in the 15th century to fend off the Portuguese attempting to capture Bahrain, the fort is an example of Islamic fort style with a square shape and a cylinder tower on each corner.
Protection measures back in the day were the existence of a trench around the fort, filled with water from wells which the locals dug solely for this purpose. There was also a channel the locals controlled using a chain to prevent any ships from getting in close proximity to the fort.
Recently, restoration works were carried on the fort using only originals materials from which it was originally built. The materials were procured after extensive analysis of the structure of the fort which resulted in sea stones, sand, lime and palm trunks. The fort transforms into a captivating scene when it is lit at night.
- Cost: BHD1.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm, closes on Fridays.
- Location: Rd No 4233, Arad, Bahrain.
The village of Barbar in the Northern Governorate of Bahrain has an important archeological site representative of the Dilmun civilization; the Barbar Temple. The temple consists of three temples on top of each other, with the oldest of them from 3,000 BC. The second temple was built almost 500 years after the first one and the third is believed to have been built between 2,100 BC and 2,000 BC.
The reason behind the construction of the temples was the worship of the Mesopotamian god wisdom and freshwater; Enki and his wife Nankhur Sak. Excavations works revealed many artifacts, possibly used during the worship ceremonies, such as pottery and small pieces of gold and are now on display in the Bahrain National Museum.
- Cost: Free.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- Location: 6FGM+FJQ, Barbar, Bahrain.
Located in close proximity of the King Fahd Causeway, the coastal village of Jasra is in the Northern Governorate of the Kingdom. The village has a long history of handcrafts like most of the villages in Bahrain and is famous for having two significant attractions:
1. Al-Jasra Handicrafts Centre:
People of Jasra were very skilled in handcrafts such as woodworks, sadow making, pottery, basket, cloth and textile weaving. Some families were so good, their own souqs were established where they can sell their works. This centre opened in 1990 and focuses on these fundamental elements of Bahraini life, present since old civilizations and showcases many examples of such handcraftsmanship.
Inside the centre, different rooms are allocated for different crafts and you get to see the locals do their magic. The purpose of the centre’s establishment isn’t only to preserve these handicrafts as a national heritage, but to also teach the younger generations these handy life skills and crafts.
- Cost: Free.
- Opening Hours: The Centre is open every day from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Centre’s gift shop is open every day from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Both the centre and the gift shop close on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Location: 1003 Rd No 315, Al Jasra, Bahrain.
2. Bait Al-Jasra (Al-Jasra House):
This traditional Bahraini house was built in 1907 by Shaikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa and later on, it became the summer home for Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa. Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, the first Emir of Bahrain from 1961 to 1999, was born in this house in 1931.
The house is built in a traditional style and displays many aspects of the life of its occupants back in time. It was razed down and rebuilt in 1986 using the same original materials of coral stones and the trunks of palm trees.
- Cost: Free.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, closes on Fridays.
- Location: 5F62+3QH, Al Jasra, Bahrain.
Islands to visit in Bahrain
1. Hawar Islands:
These islands in the Gulf of Bahrain constitute an archipelago, once the home to a branch of the Dawasir tribe in the 19th century. The discovery of the islands only happened in 1820 where two villages were spotted and back then, the islands were called the Warden’s Islands.
Access is restricted to the islands except for the main Hawar Island, where there’s a police point and a hotel. Recreational and water activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling are allowed around the islands. The area is rich in flora and fauna and migrating birds such as the Socotra Cormorant, groups of Arabian oryx and sand gazelle roam the island as well.
The Hawar Beach Resort is the only hotel/resort on the island where you can stay for some nights, enjoy the beautiful atmosphere and the beauties of the islands. However, mid 2021, the owner company announced the closing of the hotel for development, as part of developing several areas of the island as a tourist destination.
Currently, you can visit Hawar Islands by booking a tour with a tourist agency as a day-trip from Manama. Several websites such as TripAdvisor and Trip.com allow you to book the trip as you’re organizing your itinerary.
- Opening Hours: Trip Duration.
- Location: Leave from Al-Dur Jetty, off the Al-Fateh Highway.
2. Al-Dar Island:
Only 12 Kilometers to the southeast of Manama, in the Southern Governorate, Al-Dar Island is the closest island to the capital. The island offers many sea activities such as pearl diving, coral diving, colorful fish and playful dolphins. You can rent a hut at the island to enjoy the weather and your time there, some huts have BBQ stations at your disposal.
Bandar Al-Dar is the port of the fishermen of Sitra, where you can take a boat ride, for ten minutes to reach Al-Dar Island Resort. The boats leave every 15 to 30 minutes from the port to the island. The island offers you the cleanest of land and sea in all of Bahrain. A true nature experience in the huts and chalets, they are all carpeted, fully equipped and even have air conditioning.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, closes on Mondays.
- Location: Leaving from Sitra fishermen’s port every 15 to 30 minutes.
3. Bahrain Bay:
This is the commercial, residential and touristic district on the Bahrain main island. Construction of the bay finished in 2012 and it connects to the city through the North Manama Causeway. The Bay is home to office buildings, corporations, hotels and residential areas, and even water taxis are favorable way to travel to and from the Bay for many.
Due to its captivating location, the promenade of the Bay served as the venue for many festivals and events, such as the second edition of the Bahrain Food Festival and the yearly Bahrain Spring of Culture Festival. The promenade has become popular among locals and tourists alike to have a great time, without any crowdedness.
Parks, Fun and Games in Bahrain
1. Adhari Park:
This park was developed around the freshwater well called Ain Adhari in 2003, where the area was transformed into an amusement park and became a great tourist attraction. Another development took place in 2006 and since then more tourists have been visiting the place. Great indoor and outdoor activities are available at the park for both adults and children to enjoy.
- Cost: Free.
- Opening Hours: From 4:00 pm to 12:00 am.
- Location: Building 111, Manama, Bahrain.
2. The Lagoon Park:
This park takes inspiration from other world renowned parks such as the Covent Garden in London and Cockle Wharf of Sydney. The park in Amwaj Islands occupies the space of one Kilometer and offers a great variety of activities, places to meet and socialize, shopping and relaxation. The Lagoon Park is also a popular venue for several cultural and artistic events.
- Cost: Free.
- Opening Hours: Different facilities at the park have different opening times.
- Location: Rd No 5717, Amwaj, Bahrain.
3. Escape Code:
If you like puzzles, games and challenges and are up for an adventure, this place is perfect for you. There are escape rooms with different themes in the place, you can choose whichever one you like. Many visitors said they liked choosing the Scary and SAW themed rooms! Regardless, this is a great way to play games, make memories and have loads of fun.
- Cost: Between BHD12 and BHD16.
- Opening Hours: Nakheel Centre Branch and City Centre Branch, Sunday to Wednesday from 10:00 am to 12:00 am, Thursday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 1:00 am.
Nakheel Centre: Shop 122 (Level 1) opposite to St.Christopher school in Saar.
City Centre: Shop 2100 (Level 2- Near Food Court) in Manama.
This indoor flying centre is perfect for trying out sky diving, in a safe and secure environment. It’s also a great way to scratch one point off your bucket list. Professionals will talk with you and explain with example what sky diving is and how your experience will look like. Are you up for a fly?
- Cost: Starting from BHD19.5.
- Opening Hours: Tuesday to Thursday from 12:00 pm to 9:00 am, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
- Location: Building 234, Avenue 62, Zallaq 1058 Bahrain, Zallaq 973, Bahrain.
Get your hands and your kids’ at rock climbing, the Crag offers you rock walls that are great for adults and safe and suitable for kids. This is the best place to practice such a hobby or even take up a new one. Every now and then they hold a climbing tournament for all ages, if you fancy testing your skills.
- Cost: Kids BHD4, Adults BHD6. Ten-days pass is BHD49, twenty-days pass BHD89.
- Opening Hours: Monday to Wednesday from 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Thursday to Saturday from 3:00 pm to 12:00 am. Closes on Sundays.
- Location: Gravity Village, Zallaq, Bahrain.
Have a quiet time while playing a fun and entertaining game with friends or family, Howayte offers you all the board games you can think of, with regular new additions. Be it the classic Chess game, Scrabble or Yugioh and Dungeons and Dragons, Howayte has it! The place is also a great way to sign off the internet and have a great time.
- Cost: Starting at BHD0.200.
- Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm, closes on Sundays.
- Location: Shop 299, Avenue 13, Tubli, Bahrain.
Mosaic is another form of art that you can find infused in many places and buildings in Bahrain. At Mosaic House Bahrain, you can create your own mosaic masterpiece, using templates and instructions provided at the house. You can even order designs and pieces from their website to enjoy this beautiful form of art at the comfort of your home.
- Cost: Starting at BHD22.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- Location: 6GC7+629, Al Maqsha, Bahrain.
Waterparks and Water Sports in Bahrain
1. The Lost Paradise of Dilmun Waterpark:
As the name suggests, this waterpark combines elements of the Dilmun civilization with everyone’s favorite pastime activities. The park is divided into several parts and each part tells a story related to the old civilization. The waterpark has the shape of a desert oasis with over 18 slides blended into the theme of the park.
- Cost: One-day pass is BHD 10. Free entry for children under 5.
- Opening Hours: From 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
- Location: Building 1663, Road 6227, Block 1062 Hawrat Ingah, Southern Governorate, Bahrain.
Located in the Lagoon Park in Amwaj Islands, this waterpark is a great way to unwind from the everyday busy life. The park is full of fun water activities that are enjoyable by families and children.
- Cost: For children BHD7. Adults BHD2.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, closes on Sundays.
- Location: Lagoon park, Amwaj Islands, Bahrain.
All you can think about when it comes to water activities. From scuba diving, snorkeling, Jetski, Parasailing, Dolphin tours and pearl diving, Extreme Sports Middle East will arrange it for you. They are also the only certified Hydrosport and Flyboard centre in Bahrain. The choices are endless.
- Cost: Varies depending on activity.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
- Location: Jumeirah saray, Manama, Bahrain.
Relax in Bahrain
1. Al-Areen Spa:
With a design inspired by Arabian Palaces and situated away from the bustling city of Manama, Al-Areen Spa is the largest in the Middle East and is the first worldwide when it comes to treatments, size and unique design. You can enjoy your time in any of the 16 pavilions at the spa, with shower beds, bathtubs and a private garden.
You can book a room at the Al-Areen Palace to fully enjoy the experience of the hotel and have time to try different features of the spa. The Spa is highly rated by many visitors and some even call it the best they’ve been to in their life.
- Cost: Starting from BHD36.18.
- Opening Hours: The one-day room are available from 11:00 am to 19:00 pm.
- Location: Building 2046 road 6232 block 1062, 199 Manama, Bahrain.
2. Elements Pool and Lounge InterContinental Regency Bahrain:
A day by the pool away from the hustle and bustle of city life in Manama. Here you can enjoy an assortment of sandwiches, drinks and lose yourself with the music in the background. An oasis in the middle of the desert, if you may say.
- Opening Hours: Sunday to Wednesday from 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm, Thursday to Saturday from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am.
- Location: Intercontinental Regency Bahrain, Manama, Bahrain.
3. Heavenly Spa Bahrain by Westin:
Escape to an oasis in the middle of the city life, located in the Westin City Centre Bahrain, on the 3rd floor. They offer a variety of treatments and therapeutic massages to help you relax and unwind. Through their website, you can check all their services and even book yourself a session to look forward to during your visit.
- Cost: Between BHD35 and BHD70.
- Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm.
- Location: The Westin City Centre, Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway, Al-Seef District, Manama, 55222.
Where to stay in Bahrain
1. Elite Crystal Hotel (BLDG 1373, Road 2423, Block 324, Juffair, Al Juffair, 199 Manama, Bahrain):
Close to the Bahrain National Museum, Juffair Mall and Al-Fateh Mosque, this hotel offers you modernly furnished comfortable rooms. The hotel has several services and facilities that you can enjoy, such as the live entertainment shows, the Waikiki Kitchen and the Arabian Kitchen Awtar.
A One-Bedroom Suite with a single bed, for two passengers, including taxes and charges, with free cancelation, will be €80 (BHD33.22) a-night. The One-Bedroom Executive Suite with an extra-large double bed, also for two passengers, will be the same price; €80 (BHD33.22) a-night. In both cases, an additional €12 (BHD4.98) can be added to enjoy their breakfast buffet.
2. Diva Hotel (Al Fateh, Juffair, Al Juffair, 1234 Manama, Bahrain):
With breathtaking views over the Arabian Sea, Diva Hotel in Juffair offers both, landmark view room and city view rooms. The hotel has great facilities such as a rooftop swimming pool, a gym, a spa and various restaurants to choose from. Rooms are spacious with floor-to-ceiling windows, perfect for soaking in the atmosphere.
A Superior Room, with one double bed, plus taxes and charges, will be €35 (14.54) a-night, with an additional €12 (BHD4.98) for breakfast. The Superior Twin Room with two single beds, is also €35 (BHD14.54) a-night plus taxes and charges and an additional €12 (BHD4.98) for breakfast. In both cases, cancelation is free and payment is in advance.
3. Park Regis Lotus Hotel (Juffair Avenue Building 147, Avenue 22, Block 324, Al Juffair, 412 Manama, Bahrain):
A couple of minutes away from the beach, Park Regis is also close to Bahrain National Museum and Bahrain City Centre Mall. The elegant rooms of the hotel have the convenient option of blackout curtains. There are three restaurants in the hotel, a fitness centre with a gym and pool and the staff can arrange for you a Thai or Ayurveda relaxation session.
A Deluxe King or Twin Room Sea View room, with your choice of either one large double bed or two single beds, with taxes and charges and breakfast, will be €84 (BHD34.88) a-night. A Deluxe King Room or Twin City View, with your choice of either two single beds or one large double bed, with breakfast, free cancelation and payment at the property, is €122 (BHD50.67) a-night.
4. Ramada by Wyndham Manama City Centre (3236, Road 4654, block 346, 1010 Manama, Bahrain):
A hotel close to almost all malls in the Seef district, Ramada by Wyndham is close to City Centre Mall Bahrain, Dana Mall and Seef Mall. The hotel offers an on-site restaurant, a rooftop pool, fitness centre, a sauna, a spa and an outdoor swimming pool.
A Superior King Room – Non Smoking, with one extra-large double bed, with a city view, free cancelation, plus taxes and charges, is €71 (BHD29.49) a-night. A Superior King Room – Smoking, with one extra-large double bed, free cancelation and taxes and charges is a total of €71 (BHD29.49) a-night. In both cases, an extra €12 (BHD4.98) can be added to enjoy breakfast at the property.
5. Asdal Gulf Inn Boutique Hotel- SEEF (Building 2326, Road 2830, Block 428 Al Seef, Al Seef, 428 Manama, Bahrain):
With two restaurants; the Gallery which offers international cuisine and Seoul-Tokyo offering spectacular Asian dishes, Asdal is a great hotel in the Seef district. The rooms are elegant and styled in a modern way and some rooms have access to the rooftop pool.
A Standard Room with a view, one extra-large double bed, with free cancelation, payment at the property, with the inclusion of breakfast, is a total of €98 (BHD40.70) a-night. A Deluxe Room, with a view, your choice of either one extra-large double bed or two single beds, free cancelation, payment at the property and breakfast, is a total of €122 (BHD50.67) a-night.
6. Bahrain Beach Resort (Building 1011, Road 6121, Al Jazaer Beach, Zellaq, 1061 Az Zallāq, Bahrain):
Zellaq is in the Southern Governorate in Bahrain, the Bahrain Beach Resort is only a one-minute-walk from the beach. Some of the best services and facilities at this property is their private beach and water sports available. Bahrain International Circuit, Al-Areen Wildlife Park, Gravity Sky Diving and the Lost Paradise Water Theme Park are all close-by.
A Deluxe Double Room with a view, with one large double bed, taxes and charges and free cancelation, is €114 (BHD47.34) a-night. A Deluxe Double Room with sea view, one large double bed, free cancelation and taxes and charges, will be €128 (BHD53.16) a-night. An additional €7 (BHD2.91) can be added for breakfast.
7. Bahrain Airport Hotel Airside Hotel for Transiting and Departing Passengers only (Bahrain International Airport Khalifa Al Khabeer Highway, 580 Muharraq, Bahrain):
This hotel is a transit hotel and is located in the vicinity of the airport. The rooms are comfortable with modern style furniture and useful facilities such as air-conditioning, fitness centre, free Wifi and currency exchange. It’s worth noting that reservations at this hotel are non-refundable and you pay in advance.
A Standard Double Room with a view, with either two single beds or one extra-large double bed is a total of €115 (BHD47.76) a-night, with taxes and charges. A Family Room with a view, with two large double beds, is €128 (BHD53.16) a-night. A Single Room with a single bed is €103 (BHD42.77) a-night.
Where to eat in Bahrain
1. Monsoon (Adliyah, Manama, Bahrain):
A taste of wondrous Asian food, with Sushi, Asian and Thai cuisines served at Monsoon. With their dishes ranging between €23 (BHD9.55) and €91 (BHD37.79), they offer vegetarian friendly, vegan, gluten-free and halal options as well. The place is not only loved for the great food, but for the service, atmosphere and kid-friendly environment. No wonder Monsoon was chosen as TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice in 2021.
Open from 12:00 pm to 11:30 pm.
2. [email protected] (Building 65, Road 4003, Block 340, Juffair, Manama, Bahrain):
Great rustic vibes radiate from another Traveler’s Choice 2021 on TripAdvisor restaurant. The restaurant serves international dishes from different places, Barbeque, vegan and healthy options, as well as its on-site bar. The price range is even better, ranging from €5 (BHD2.08) to €17 (BHD7.06).
Open from 5:00 pm to 2:00 am.
3. Buffalo Wings&Rings (Building 119L, Road 3803, Block 338, Manama, Bahrain):
This American style restaurant offers American, Irish, British cuisines, in addition to being a Steakhouse, Barbeque and a wine bar. The place has been praised for the vibes, hospitality of its staff and a great place to hang out with family and friends. With a menu price range of €5 (BHD2.08) to €14 (BHD5.81), Buffalo Wings&Rings is another 2021 Traveler’s Choice on TripAdvisor.
Open from 11:00 am to 2:00 am.
4. Via Brasil (Building 65, Road 4003, Block 340, Juffair, Manama, Bahrain):
Exquisite taste of Brazilian and Latin food awaits you Via Brasil. The restaurant is highly praised by visitors for the variety of meat served, the perfect cooking and great service. This 2021 TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice has a price range between €17 (BHD7.06) and €51 (BHD21.18).
Open from 6:30 pm to 11:30 pm.
5. Jashan (Building 65, Road 4003, Block 340, Juffair Wyndham Garden Manama, Manama Bahrain):
The eastern interior of Jashan takes you all the way to India, as the restaurant serves Indian and Asian cuisines with vegetarian-friendly options. With a great price range of €2 (BHD0.83) to €9 (BHD3.74), your experience here will be most unforgettable. Visitors didn’t only love the great service and hospitality, but also loved how there was a lot of variety in the menu and how the food was cooked to perfection. No wonder Jashan is a 2021 Traveler’s Choice on TripAdvisor.
Open from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and from 7:00 pm to 11:45 pm.
6. Fatto (Road 2827 Al Seef, Manama 999 Bahrain):
If you’re in for some authentic Italian food, you’ve come to the right place. With a focus on Tuscan, Sicilian, Central Italian and Southern Italian cuisine, Fatto also offers vegetarian-friendly, vegan and gluten-free options. With prices between €24 (BHD9.97) and €48 (BHD19.93), visitors have called Fatto one of the best restaurants in Bahrain and absolutely loved everything about it.
Open from 8:00 am to 12:00 am.
7. Furn Bistro&Bakery (The Westin City Centre Bahrain, Seef District, Manama, Bahrain):
This is a more of a fusion between a café and a bakery, where you can find healthy, Middle Eastern and Arabic cuisines. They offer vegetarian-friendly, vegan, gluten-free and halal options. Visitors loved the great service and hospitality and all for a great price range between €5 (BHD2.08) and €17 (BHD7.06). All great factors earning Furn a 2021 Traveler’s Choice badge on TripAdvisor.
Open from 6:30 am to 12:00 am.
8. Typhoon Bar (Gulf Hotel, Manama 302 Bahrain):
Dubbed by several visitors as their favorite bar in Bahrain, Typhoon also offers some vegetarian friendly options. Another 2021 Traveler’s Choice on TripAdvisor, the great ambiance and lightness of the place can be enjoyed with a price range of €9 (BHD3.74) to €14 (BHD5.81).
Open from 3:00 pm to 1:00 am.
9. Takht Jamsheed (At Gulf Hotel, Manama Al Fateh Avenue, Manama, Bahrain):
Warm atmosphere, perfectly cooked Middle Eastern and Persian food and great service await you at Takht Jamsheed. The restaurant has a price range from €36 (BHD14.95) and €64 (BHD26.58) and offers vegetarian friendly, vegan, gluten free and halal options. Takht Jamsheed is another owner of a 2021 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice badge.
Open from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
10. Sato (Adliya Gulf Hotel, Manama, Bahrain):
If you’re up for tasting a variety of Japanese food, as well as great sushi, Sato is the place to hit up. An owner of a 2021 Traveler’s Choice on TripAdvisor badge, the restaurant offers great vegetarian-friendly, vegan, halal and gluten-free options. One TripAdvisor reviewer said Sato has been their favorite place to eat for 20 years! This great place has a price range between €36 (BHD14.95) and €64 (BHD26.58).
Open from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm and from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
Hopefully through this guide, we were able to help you plan your next trip, with Bahrain as your destination. If you’ve visited this wondrous country before, share your experience with us in the comments below!