Allegedly the origin of the Biblical Garden of Eden, the lush, verdant island of Bahrain evokes a sense of both myth and history.
As the centre of the ancient Dilmun civilisation, Bahrain offered a safe haven to maritime travellers thanks to its many springs of fresh water, and it remains an oasis for modern day visitors who find a little paradise here filled with beautiful beaches, luxurious hotels, good food and fascinating history.
Located on Bahrain Island, by far the largest of this small archipelago, the capital Manama is a modern, fast moving city with high-rise buildings and wealthy citizens. Wander between the skyscrapers though and you’ll find yourself in the true Arabian world of the souk, where market vendors ply their trade among towers of multi-coloured spices and exotic fruits, glittering jewels and luxurious silks. This irresistible scene is also home to numerous coffee shops where old men pass the day sipping tiny cups of the pungent local brew.
Throughout the country, you’ll find remains of the country’s long, illustrious history in the form of royal tombs and ancient forts and temples, some of them dating back to the third millennium BC. Equally fascinating to anyone with even a passing interest in architecture are the beautiful 19th-century traditional houses of former wealthy royals and business people that are now open to the public, or the National Museum in Manama with its wealth of Bahraini treasures.
Many visitors to Bahrain come predominantly to make the most of the country’s sunny climate and there are certainly plenty of opportunities to do this. The islands are endowed with some spectacular beaches and the clear blue waters are ideal for diving, snorkelling or just cooling off from an arduous session of sunbathing.
Bahrain is an intriguing mix of old and new - excavated tombs from four thousand years ago lie a few short miles from modern skyscrapers in capital Manama.
This small archipelago’s strategic position in the Gulf of Arabia has made it a centre of commerce for millennia. Its vibrant souks invite visitors to a trip around the world while its archaeological sites propel you on a rapid dash through history.
The majority of attractions are on the main island of Bahrain, most of them in or within easy reach of Manama.