Wanderlust 24 hours in Bahrain

Food, boat tours, shopping and heritage. A day and night in Bahrain

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Bahrain is a cosmopolitan island kingdom that marries Arabian heritage with stylish modern living, not to mention a striking coastline. If you’re visiting this captivating Gulf state, even if only for a short trip, be sure to take a tour of its highlights. Here is the best way to spend 24 hours in Bahrain.

 

Morning

Begin your day with a traditional Bahraini breakfast of shakshouka — eggs poached in a spiced tomato and green pepper stew — and spend a relaxing couple of hours on Jumeirah Royal Saray’s private breach. Laze under the shade of a palm tree and take a dip in the azure Arabian Gulf before the sun hits its peak.

After soaking up the sunshine, search out some style at Moda Mall. Bahrain has many malls where you can get your fashion fix but Moda boasts the biggest collection of luxury brands in the kingdom. Pick out fine jewellery at De Beers and high fashion from Kenzo and Versace. If you’ve got time, spend an hour meandering through the lanes of Manama Souq. This ancient bazaar is an Aladdin’s cave of spices, fragrances, trinkets and textiles.

 

Lunchtime

Bahrain is blessed with a progressive culinary scene meaning you can dine on anything from sushi to curry, to burgers. For lunch, locals love the rustic charm of Café La Ventana thanks to its extensive menu of colourful, pomegranate-jeweled salads and healthy grilled vegetables and meats. For an upscale Italian affair, Baci Ristorante in the Bahrain World Trade Center has an excellent set menu. 

 

Afternoon

No whistle-stop tour of Bahrain would be complete without taking in its captivating heritage. Just outside Manama, Khamis Mosque is an atmospheric location dating to 692 A.D. that has been built and rebuilt over the centuries. With two towering minarets and Arabesque arches, this well-preserved edifice demands exploration.

One of the best ways to see this island state is from the water. Wrap up your afternoon on a boat excursion, zipping around the Gulf and the various islands of Bahrain. Keep an eye out for dolphins, whales, porpoises and dugongs, all native to the Arabian Gulf. 

 

Evening

One of the island kingdom’s best sunset spots is Bahrain Fort. Standing like a sentinel over the island’s coastline, the 6th-century stronghold is Bahrain’s most important historical site, having been first occupied 5,000 years ago. After exploring the fortifications, find yourself a vantage point to watch the sun dip beyond the horizon. 

 

Night

Round off your 24 hours in Bahrain with an indulgent meal of traditional Middle Eastern mezze at The Palm Lounge at Jumeirah Royal Saray. The refined, marble-walled restaurant serves exceptional local dishes like kibbeh made with minced lamb, bulgur wheat, pine nuts and Arabic spices, and sambousek — small pastries stuffed with Lebanese cheese. After dark take a moonlit stroll along Manama’s seafront and call in at the late-night cafés and stylish bars.