Bahrain is a cosmopolitan island kingdom that marries alluring Arabian heritage with stylish modern living, not to mention a gorgeous coastline. If you’re visiting the captivating Gulf destination, even if only for a short trip, be sure to take a tour of its highlights. Here we explore in and around its capital, Manama, to reveal the best ways to spend 24 hours in Bahrain.
Begin your day with an authentically Bahraini breakfast of shakshouka – poached eggs with tomatoes and spices – and spend a relaxing couple of hours on Jumeirah Royal Saray’s private beach. Laze under the shade of a palm tree and take a dip in the cerulean Persian Gulf before the sun hits its peak.
After soaking up the sunshine, soak up some style over at Moda Mall.Bahrain has many malls at which you can get your fashion fix but Moda boasts the biggest collection of luxury brands in the kingdom. Pick out dreamy fine jewellery at De Beers and on-trend looks from Kenzo and Versace. If you’ve got time before lunch, spend and hour or so meandering around the lanes of Manama Souq. This ancient bazaar is an Aladdin’s cave of spices, fragrances, trinkets and textiles.
Bahrain is blessed with a progressive culinary scene underpinned by an international flavours. As such, you can dine on all manner of cuisines from sushi to curry and American diner-style burgers. For lunch, locals love the rustic charm of Café La Ventana along with 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.
No 24-hour 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 AD, built and rebuilt over the centuries. With two towering minarets and Arabesque arches, the well-preserved edifice demands exploration.
Being an island, one of the best ways to see Bahrain is from the water. Wrap up your afternoon on a boat excursion, zipping around the Gulf and Bahrain’s neighbouring islands. Keep an eye open for dolphins while you’re out at sea.
One of the island kingdom’s best sundowner spots is Bahrain Fort. Standing guard overlooking the coast, the 16th-century stronghold is one of Bahrain’s signature historic icons. At sunset, the honeyed stone glows with a warm, pink hue while the sun dips beyond the horizon.
Round off your 24 hours in Bahrain with an indulgent banquet of traditional Middle Eastern mezze at The Palm Lounge at Jumeirah Royal Saray. The glamorous, 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 assorted Lebanese cheeses. Should you wish to continue your after-dark explorations, Bahrain has a vibrant nightlife. After dinner, take a moonlit stroll along Manama’s seafront and call in at late-night shisha cafés and stylish bars.
Explore the luxurious Jumeirah Royal Saray in Bahrain.