Last updated: 12:00 AM ET, Tue January 01 2013
World Trade Center skyscraper and skyline of Manama City, Kingdom of Bahrain, Middle East (photo via typhoonski / iStock / Getty Images Plus)


Destinations Home | Middle East


sunset from the old riffa fort (photo via azaharphotography / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
sunset from the old riffa fort (photo via azaharphotography / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Bahrain is a fascinating melange of Eastern and Western cultures, where grandiose mosques and minarets share skylines with sleek skyscrapers. You can enjoy modern tourist infrastructure, including roads, an international airport, telecommunications, hotels and the restaurants are top notch.

Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 islands in the Arabian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It’s connected to the Saudi Arabia mainland via the 15 mile long King Fahad Causeway. Manama, the modern capital, has a variety of interesting attractions. Shop at the bustling souk at the city center near the archway of Bab al-Bahrain or explore the National Museum, tracing the country’s archeology.

In the old quarter, archaic houses still retain their 20 foot tall wind towers. The ancient capital of Bilad al-Qadim, dating from 900 AD, is just outside city limits. Manama offers excellent shopping in four malls, a traditional Arabian Night show with belly dancing and live music and restaurants serving Arabic style lamb, salads and dips. Bahrain has one of the world’s largest necropolises.

A’ali Burial Mounds at the center of the island is the largest prehistoric cemetery in the world, with 170,000 graves and burial mounds dating from between 3000 B.C. and 600 AD. Beach goers can head to Al Jazair, where you can take a dhow to the al-Areen Wildlife Sanctuary, home to the rare Arabian onyx. Pearl diving is a huge part of Bahrain’s heritage; travelers can dive down to the island’s thriving oyster beds.