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Things to see and do in Bahrain

Tourist offices

Bahrain Tourism Company

Address: PO Box 5831, Manama,
Telephone: (17) 530 530 or 531 122
Website: http://www.alseyaha.com

Attractions in Bahrain

Cruise out to the Hawar Islands

Take a 40-minute boat ride to the Hawar Islands, an archipelago of desert islands, and look out for the dolphins that play in the calm Gulf seas. It's not all about these playful mammals, though: flamboyant flamingos also stalk the shallow waters. They're much easier to spot.

Dine at the Causeway Restaurant

Order an egg rollup and coffee at the Causeway Restaurant, which offers stunning views of one of the most impressive engineering feats in Arabia: the King Fahd Causeway; a 25km (16 mile), four-lane bridge that links Bahrain with Saudi Arabia.

Dive into Bahrain’s history

Visitors can learn about Bahrain's once-thriving pearl industry at the Bahrain National Museum, which charts the history of this tiny nation. The museum is located between Manama and the city of Murharraq, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was built on the pearl industry: listed buildings include the residences of wealthy merchants, shops, storehouses and a mosque. For a more immersive experience you can dive for pearls yourself at Dar Island Resort.

Explore the house of Bait Al Jasra

Located in the rustic village of Al Jasra, this house is the birthplace of the late Emir of Bahrain, Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, and is an exquisite example of traditional Bahraini architecture. The village itself is also worthy of a wander, with its souks, craft centre and sea views.

Get lost in Bab Al Bahrain souk

One of Manama's oldest buildings, Bab Al Bahrain is a local landmark. As well as traditional Arabian architecture and lavish water features, it offers visitors the chance to get lost in its souks. Enjoy the nosegays of cardamom, coffee, apricot, sheesha, kebabs and heady incense-laced perfumes as you barter with the local hawkers.

Hang out in hip Adliya

The bohemian neighbourhood of Adliya is the place to be seen in Manama. Buzzing with lively bars and restaurants, it is vaunted as one of the best places for a night out in Bahrain. As well as chic eateries, cocktail bars and nightclubs, Adliya is home to a collection of art galleries and cafés, where locals and tourists go to socialise.

Hole up in Bahrain Fort

Take a Portuguese-eyed view of the sea from the strategic Bahrain Fort, which was built in the 16th-century and recently restored to its former no-nonsense grandeur. It gained UNESCO status in 2005 and is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions.

Pretend to be a racing driver

One of the latest additions to the F1 calendar, the Bahrain Grand Prix burns rubber once a year at the Bahrain International Circuit. But when the professionals aren't battling it out on the bitumen, amateur petrol heads are: the track is available (at a fee) for anyone who wants to play racing driver. Tours of the circuit are available, which include a lap of the track.

See a performance at the National Theatre

Opened in 2012, the Bahrain National Theatre hosts performances from leading lights in the world of classical music, opera and ballet. Overlooking the sea, near the Bahrain National Museum, the building is beautiful inside and out. As well as an opera theatre, it houses a café, which is a fine place to watch the world go by.

Sit beneath the Tree of Life

Standing alone in the desert, the Tree of Life has become something of a tourist attraction in Bahrain – by virtue of its loneliness. Thought to be around 400 years old, incredibly the Tree of Life attracts some 50,000 pilgrims annually and is said to be a site for sects practising ancient rites.

Slip inside the Oil Museum

It might destroy the environment and be the catalyst for wars, but the Bahrain economy was built on black gold and the stuff is jovially celebrated at the Oil Museum near Manama. Telling the story of oil from its beginnings to present day, its grand white building is quaintly at odds with the nodding donkeys and sprawling pipelines of the neighbouring vicinity.

Stock up on bling at Gold City

Barter for bangles in Bahrain's glittering Gold City; a bling-tastic collection of jewellery shops that will bedazzle even the most jaded of shoppers. Located in central Manama, Gold City is a place where many a credit card is melted – you've been warned.

Visit the Dilmun Burial Mounds

Incredibly, roughly 5% of Bahrain's limited landmass is taken up by ancient burial mounds, which dominate the landscape near the town of A'Ali. Thought to be one of the largest cemeteries in the ancient world, there are around 170,000 people buried here.