Bahrain Al Fateh Mosque

Al-Fateh Mosque is the largest in Bahrain and includes the world’s largest fibreglass dome weighing over 60,000 kg

by Sam McCall

Bahrain Kempinski Grand and Ixir

Luxury at Kempinski Grand & Ixir in central Manama

Bahrain may not be the most well-known tourist destination, but those who discover it often find it a fascinating place. An archipelago of 33 islands in the Persian Gulf, it’s the smallest independent Gulf stateand, while officially an Islamic country, has a more Western culture and a more liberal outlook compared to many of its neighbours (alcohol is legal, for example).

Bahrain Island is the largest on the archipelago, and will probably serve as base camp for most visitors to the country, not least because of hotels like the Kempinski Grand & Ixir that embody Bahrain’s reputation for wealth and luxury. Below are just a few of the activities you can experience while on holiday there:

Step into the Past

Bahrain Fort

Bahrain Fort was first constructed around 2800 BC with subsequent fortifications added over the centuries

Bahrain is believed to be where the mysterious Dilmun civilisation, mentioned in several Mesopotamian cultural texts, might have lived. The country certainly bears many markers of ancient settlement: the village of Sar has the remnants of a Dilmun-era town, while the Bahrain National Museum in Manama has many more archaeological finds to discover. Check out the restored Bahrain Fort and the enormous Al-Fateh Mosquefor stunning examples of Arabian architecture.

Bahrain Sur Dilmun Ruins

Bahrain has some superb historic sites such as the Dilmun burial chamber ruins in Sur which date from 3200 BCE

Enjoy the Sea

Despite being an island country, Bahrain doesn’t have much of a beach culture – the best beaches tend to be private and attached to a hotel, although notable exceptions are Jazayir and Al Dar island. However, there’s plenty of scope to indulge in watersports: sailing, diving, jet skiing and deep-sea fishing are all there for the taking via the operators around the coastline. Bulthama is a particularly spectacular reef for diving, although it can be tricky to access.

Eat and Drink

Bahrain, and particularly the capital Manama, has some fantastic restaurants – and, as mentioned, it’s one of the few Arab countries where you can be served alcohol. Hang out at places like Al-Siraj and Al-Abraaj for a taste of Middle Eastern snacks and shawarma, or for something more luxurious try the French fare at Café Lilou’s or enjoy some evening jazz at Upstairs Downstairs. Many popular nightspots are modelled after British pubs due to the large expat population – don’t be surprised to see venues with names like the Queensbury Arms and Sherlock Holmes!

Photo Credits: night mosque, fort, sur

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Welcome to Travel Wonders
My name is Mark and I’m a keen traveller. In fact, over the last 25 years, I’ve travelled to every continent and over 80 countries. This blog is about the most memorable destinations – the places I regard as the travel wonders of the world. I’m also a keen photographer, and have taken nearly all the photos you’ll see. During my travels, I’ve met some incredible people, seen inspiring places, viewed extraordinary wildlife and scenery and had some amazing experiences, and I’m writing these stories not only to entertain but primarily to inspire others to discover their own travel wonders.
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