Why you should book a Holiday in Bahrain
Why you should book a Holiday in Bahrain
From beautiful beaches to pearl diving, desert safaris to the Grand Prix, the Gulf Kingdom has plenty to offer
Before the retreat of the tides and before the sun dips below the horizon, Bahrain lends itself to adventure. You can seek it out on open ocean, in the desert, in ruined forts and rambling souqs, or in the company of locals eager to share the secrets of their country. The Kingdom is where the first oil in the Arabian Gulf was discovered in 1932, not that you'd know it: the archipelago is home to five protected nature areas, four of them at sea, and the land is a refuge for gazelles, desert rabbits and reptiles, as well as scores of rare butterfly and bird species. Small wonder certain scholars consider it the original Garden of Eden.
Take a speedboat trip

Start at pace with an early morning speedboat trip to the pristine Hawar Islands, the kingdom’s most spectacular nature reserve. Here, you'll be in company with the world's largest population of Socotra cormorants, as well as dugongs and herds of Arabian oryx. Before it gets too hot, island-hop or don a snorkel and fins for a pearl-diving masterclass then moor off a windswept sandbar to claim your own private beach for an hour or two.

Back at harbour, take the road less-travelled back in time to see Bahrain's three stand-out cultural hits. Your first stop should be Arad Fort an Islamic bastion with ice-cream cone turrets. The moat has dried up, but the fortress still offers plenty of spectacle; look for the slits in the watchtowers, from where the coast was controlled in the 15th century.
Archaeological treasures

Once the capital of the Dilmun civilisation, the Qal'at al-Bahrain fort is another archaeological treasure while a visit to Al-Qaisariya Souq in nearby Muharraq is a must. A riddle of honeyed lanes and meandering alleyways. It’s where shopkeepers haggle with locals in scenes not much changed in centuries. Then it’s Bahraini cuisine for lunch: a biryani or just-landed hammour grill from one of the neighbourhood's standout restaurants. Saffron and Haji Gahwa are perennial favourites.

Across the Shaikh Hamad Causeway the road leads to the dazzling National Theatre of Bahrain in Manama. Designed to mirror a mother-of-pearl jewellery box (a subtle nod to the kingdom’s seafaring heritage), the showpiece arts venue is a puzzle of arabesque lattices and Escher staircases, with a 1,001-seater auditorium. Scheherazade, the storyteller at the heart of Arabia's most beloved collection of folk tales (One Thousand and One Nights, if you haven't already guessed) would appreciate the homage.
At sunset there are few better diversions than buckling up for a white-knuckle jeep safari into the golden dunes of the interior. Squeezed between the city and sea, the ridges rise and fall as if the bellows of an accordion, the 4x4s caught in swirls of billowing sand. If that inspires you come when the land cools to see Bahrain shift up a gear for the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix in spring. It’s the country’s banner event, and the first night race of the season.

Sun, sea, scuba, songs and full-throttle speed: what’s not to like?

For a fun, culture-filled holiday, discover the warmth of Bahrain. Find out what else it has to offer at btea.bh
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