There is unspeakable pleasure in experiencing the rich past complimenting the flamboyant present and this makes Bahrain the top-rated holiday destination in the Middle East. With a glorious past of over 5,000 years, Bahrain homes some marvellous old forts and heritage buildings along with a vibrant skyline reaching out to its prosperous present.
Initially, a fishing village, Bahrain’s transformation into a tourism paradise did not happen over midnight but was the outcome of a well-planned strategy carved out by the country’s rulers. A small country next to Saudi Arabia and an archipelago of 33 islands, you’re never far away from the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf while in Bahrain. From the Arab architecture to water sports, desert safari to shopping and dining, Bahrain has everything in the store that a tourist desires for.
We have rounded up 10 best tourist attractions in Bahrain that you should visit to make your holiday a memorable one. Before moving ahead, remember that the country is hot and dry in summer with low-level winds from the Zagros Mountains in the Persian Gulf and the best time to visit Bahrain is between November and February, the cooler months.
1. Bahrain World Trade Center, Manama
Rising 787 ft. into the city’s skyline, Bahrain World Trade Center is the most inspiring and dynamic building in the country that highlights the boom in economy and trade. The 50-floor twin towers linked with three sky bridges is the first skyscraper in the world to integrate wind turbines to its design, supplying power to more than 300 houses. A winner of two prestigious awards for its striking architectural design, the Bahrain WTC was featured in 2009 television sci-fi movie ‘Annihilation Earth’.
How to reach: The transit lines that have routes that pass near the Bahrain World Trade Center are Bus – 12, Bus – 41, Bus – 43, Bus – 46 and Bus – A2.
2. Bab Al Bahrain, Manama
Situated in Manama, Bab-Al-Bahrain is one of the most magnificent markets in Bahrain that sells fruits, vegetables, handicrafts and clothes. It is also one of the best spots to buy authentic gold and pearls. The arched entrance with a beautiful fountain right at the front gate welcomes you to the market. Come evening, and you can also witness the musical fountain in all its splendour. Moreover, the entire vicinity exudes true Islamic beauty through hotels, political buildings and famous structures.
How to reach: The closest stations to Bab Al Bahrain are Bab Al Bahrain, which is 45 meters away with 1 min walk and Bab Al Bahrain Station, which is 448 meters away and 7 min walk.
3. Al Khamis Mosque, Tashan
Founded in the 7th century and extending 115 metres, the Al Khamis Mosque is one of the most majestic historical mosques in Bahrain. Believed to be the first mosque built in Bahrain during the era of the Umayyad caliph Umar II, its foundation is believed to have been laid as early as 692 AD. Located in the lively market areas of Khamis, it is a lovely structure with two strong minarets at the edge. Both are made out of limestone with pieces of wood and stone embedded marvellously. The prayer room is built flawlessly with a flat rooftop supported by wooden columns.
How to reach: The closest station to Khamis Mosque is Sh Salman Highway-3/Khamis, which is 209 meters away. After you get down, it’s just a 3-minute walk.
4. Qal’at Al-Bahrain, Al Qala
Right on the Arabian Peninsula of Dilmun, 3 miles away from Manama City, the archaeological fort of Qal’at Al-Bahrain rises 40ft., drawing numerous visitors from across the globe. Also known as Bahrain Fort or Portuguese Fort, it is one of the best places to witness plenty of antique treasures and historical remnants. The fort has seven massive sections, which is spread more than 10,000 sq ft. The sturdy wall itself is roughly 12-m high that brings back the past historical era. Once a capital of Dilmun civilization, Qal’at Al-Bahrain was inscribed as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bahrain in 2005. There are tiny settlements around the fort – a small market and houses that give a pleasing look to this entire region, making it one of the top places to visit in Bahrain.
How to reach: The closest stations to Qal’At Al-Bahrain Fort are:
Qalat Al Bahrain-4/Karbabad, which is 536 meters away with a 7-min walk to the fort and Qalat Al Bahrain-3/Karbabad, which is 587 meters away with an 8-min walk to the fort
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5. Tree of Life, Bahrainian Desert
Known as Bahrain’s loneliest tree, the Tree of Life is as interesting as the name itself. Located a mile away from the famous Jebel al Deckhand, it is a 700-year-old free-standing beauty surviving on a 25-foot high desert hill without any visible water source. No wonder it’s a legend in itself, the seventh wonder of nature surrounded with mystery. Its thick branches penetrate right under the earth’s surface. Due to its popularity and unknown factors, the tree is visited every year by more than 50,000 tourists, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bahrain.
How to reach: The Tree of Life is located 2km away from Jebel Dukhan, in the middle of the Bahrainian desert.
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6. Al Areen Wildlife Park, Sakhir
Soak up the peaceful environment and enjoy the lush outdoors at Al Areen Wildlife Park. A situated 40-minute drive away from Manama Center, this is a natural reserve and a zoo with a huge concentration of flora and fauna in Bahrain. One of the five protected areas in the country and spread over 7 km sq., the wildlife park in Sakhir has more than 500 species of animals and 10,000 species of plants. The park is divided into two sections, one which is open for the visitors and the other, that is a restricted reserve area.
How to reach: A 40-minute drive away from Manama, Al Areen Wildlife Park is connected by a highway and is located adjacent to Bahrain International Circuit.
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7. Jebel Al Dukhan, Southern Governorate of Bahrain
Nicknamed as the Mountain of Smoke, Jebel Al Dukhan is the most noteworthy elevated hill in Bahrain with a height of 150m. From the top, the highest point in the country, you can see the desert land as far as your eyes can go. No wonder, the wilderness might remind you of the movie – The Lawrence of Arabia that was filmed in the scorching climate in Arabia. But the heat here might not be severe. The northern part of the hill houses many caves that can be explored with the help of a guide and the southern part offers trekking and camping options that are worthwhile.
How to reach: If you’re in Manama, continue out 21 miles from Al Juffair, Manama and you’ll see the mountains at the distance.
8. Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir
The Bahrain global circuit was opened on 17th March 2004 and this place is really for those who have dreamt and played Need For Speed. Since its inception, many sporting events were held in the circuit. Some of them include racing, Grand Prix, V8 supercars competition and the desert 400. The entire circuit is divided into a Prix track, inner narrow track, broad outer track, paddock circuit, the drag strip and the oval track and can hold 70,000 spectators.
How to reach: From Manama, it’s a straight forward ride by car, taxi, bus or shuttle bus to the circuit in Sakhir, about 19 miles to the south of the city.
9. Bahrain National Museum, Manama
Situated in Manama, Bahrain National Museum is the largest and oldest public museum in Bahrain. Opened in 1988 with a beautiful front overlooking the ocean, this museum complex covering 27,800 sq meters homes cultural artefacts of more than 5,000 years of history. Undoubtedly, with a grand collection of archaeological wonders, it is one of the most important spots to visit in Bahrain. You can also explore its enchanting corridors, halls, shops and a cafeteria with authentic Bahrainian coffee and snacks. The museum is open from 10 am to 6 pm and is closed on Tuesdays.
How to reach: There are 2 ways to get from Bahrain to Bahrain National Museum by bus, taxi or town car:
- Take the line 1 bus from Al Muharraq to Manama 1
- Take the line 1 bus from Manama to Al Muharraq 1
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10. Al Fateh Grand Mosque, Manama
Built-in 1988, Al Fateh Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world and can accommodate more than 7,000 worshippers at one time. Named after Ahmed Al Fateh, the first monarch of Bahrain, the mosque is made of Italian marble, glass and Indian teak wood and has a dome made of fibreglass, which gives a unique shine at night. The walls of the mosque are elaborately festooned with Kufic calligraphy carved by local Bahraini experts. The mosque is open for visitors daily from 9 am to 4 pm (except Fridays). It is one of the few mosques in the area that encourages non-Muslims to visit.
How to reach: The closest stations to Al Fateh Grand Mosque are:
- Alfateh Grand Mosque-2, which is 447 meters away with a 6-minute walk
- Alfatih Highway-2/Gulf Hotel, which is 912 meters away with a 12-minute walk
- Alfatih Grand Mosque-1, which is 1023 meters away with a 14-minute walk
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Well, with so much to offer, Bahrain promises to mix the old and the new and present a city that will surely make to the top of your travel list. A rich cultural past compliments the vibrant present and offers a bright future. A unique country, Bahrain is worth a visit and you need to add this country in your list of destinations for 2020.