What is Bahrain Like For A Holiday? Our First-Hand Experience

It’s a destination shrouded in mystery, with soaring skyscrapers and intimidating desert landscapes. But what is Bahrain like for a holiday? Should you experience it for yourself? We sent our travel expert, India, to find out and report back. 

Have you ever wondered “What is Bahrain like for a holiday?” We definitely have.

From a gorgeous city centre and glitzy Formula One track to miles of gorgeous golden sand beaches. There’s so much to discover in this intriguing country. All you need to do is touch down and go exploring. 

This awesome island sounds so good that we sent one of our intrepid travel experts, India, to discover the magical spot where the shining city meets the sand. So, here’s what you can expect from a holiday in Bahrain

View of the Manama skyline in Bahrain
Let’s uncover what Bahrain is like for a holiday with India our travel expert

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A Little Bit About Bahrain

Located between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Bahrain is another Middle Eastern superpower sitting majestically in the Arabian Gulf. Packed with history and charm, its streets are buzzing with life around traditional souks and majestic mosques. Juxtaposed beautifully against the antiquated sites are dazzling high-rises glinting in the daily sunshine. 

For centuries this hidden gem was a key trading post for spices, clothing, cloth and pearls. Fast forward to today, and it’s a cool mix of old and new. Wander through ancient forts or hit up trendy shops and restaurants in the capital, Manama.

In the old capital of Muharraq you find the Amwaj Islands, these manmade isles feature luxurious all-inclusive resorts, as well as a clutch of shops, vibrant nightlife and chic restaurants. Plus, out on the Amwaj Islands, you find another resort centre, Diyyar Al Muharraq. Another bustling area full to the brim with adventures and fun things to do. 

As it continues to grow, Bahrain is becoming even more of a hotspot for holidaymakers. Our travel expert, India, discovered the destination for herself and here’s why she thinks you’ll love it for your next escape. 

View from a rooftop pool in Bahrain
The views from the resort pools in Bahrain are pretty special

What is Bahrain like for a holiday? 

As one of the 10 richest countries in Asia, you might be thinking that a holiday in Bahrain looks similar to escapes in another country occupying a spot on that list – the United Arab Emirates – and in many ways you’d be right. 

However, where the is its commitment to retaining traditional sights like the souks and mosques. The country is absolutely beautiful, so clean and spacious, and the potential is unbelievable. Not to mention the perpetual sunshine and holidays in Manama are more cost effective when compared to Dubai.

As we mentioned, the weather in Bahrain is perpetually incredible, the locals are super friendly and the cuisine is mouthwatering. I recommend taking the chance to try some Bahrain dishes during your escape. If you don’t get the chance to do this in the city then most all-inclusive hotels in Bahrain feature a buffet restaurant with themed evenings when local fare sit highly on the menu. 

Moreover, if it’s great cuisine you value most on holiday, then getting out into Manama is a great option. The streets here are teeming with incredible restaurants from traditional cafes to high-end restaurants showcasing gastronomic delights from around the world. 

View from the window of a high rise building in Manama, Bahrain
Everywhere you look the city puts on a show for you

When is the Best time to Visit Bahrain?

As with most escapes, you need to ensure that you time your holiday to Bahrain right. The best time to travel to Bahrain is from October – March. The temperature slowly starts to rise from January to March ranging between 20-25°C. But, as we move into spring, it tends to jump into the early 30s. 

Because much of the island is covered by the Sakhir Desert, in the summer months (June, July and August) temperatures can hit anywhere up to 45 degrees. The resort pools might offer a nice cooling oasis.

So, now you know why and when to go to Bahrain. How about we tell you more about how to get there!

Travelling to Bahrain With Gulf Air

I flew to Bahrain with Gulf Air. Gulf Air is one of the smaller airlines but, crucially, they offer a direct service from the UK to Bahrain.

Most airlines flying into Manama operate with a break in the schedule. So flying with Gulf Air means you have the opportunity to cut down your travel time by around 3 hours. 

Gulf Air flights offer economy, extra legroom and business class seating and every seat comes with luxurious touches like a TV, reclinable chair and food & drink served on board. I travelled in business class for my experience and couldn’t fault the service. I’d recommend upgrading to business class as you get lots of extra space, a fully flat bed and a gourmet menu. 

One final bonus to the Bahrain journey is the minimal transfer time. Because all flights into the country touchdown in Muharraq, the journey from the airport to the north side (where most of the all-inclusive resorts are) only takes around 10-15 minutes. The south of the island does also offer some all-inclusive resorts, but you should expect longer transfer times of around 20-25 minutes. 

A Gulf Air flight takes to the skies
Gulf Air offer the only direct service to Bahrain.

Visit the Top Attractions in Bahrain Our Itinerary Suggestions

One of the common misconceptions when visiting this part of the world is that there will be limited things to do in Bahrain.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Because Bahrain is an island, the stunning cities and beautiful beaches converge to create a multitude of opportunities to fill up your itinerary. Let’s take a look at our top recommendations for attractions in Bahrain now. 

  • Formula 1 track 
  • Bahrain fort
  • Jarada Island
  • Shopping
  • Mosques 
  • Pearling trail
  • Awesome beaches

Formula 1 Track

One of the main tourist attractions in Bahrain is the Formula One Track and the Bahraini government recently signed the longest F1 extension contract in history – keeping an F1 race in the country every year until 2036. Plenty of time to get your trip booked then!

Of course, the Grand Prix is a huge pull for sports fans across the world, attracting around as many as 100,000 race fans to the Middle East every year. But, you don’t have to touchdown at race time to experience the magic of the track. Outside of race weekend, the circuit is open for VIP tours.

We went on such a tour and had an incredible time! We looked around the VIP tower where the royal family stays when they visit for the F1. We also had a tour around the media centre and the drivers area. Next door to the F1 circuit is a training track where you can book go-karting. This is reasonably priced and a great exhilarating activity.

Jarada Island

Jarada Island was a hidden gem. If you’re a beach lover, this is definitely the Bahrain tour for you. Jarada is an island between Bahrain and Qatar about a 40-minute boat trip from Muharraq. Mysteriously, Jarada submerges under the Arabian Gulf and reappears at low tide, which is why it’s super important to book your trip in advance. Excursions here will be subject to good weather and tide conditions.

More of a sandbank than a bonafide island. You can walk the length of it in five minutes or choose to go around because the water is super shallow and clear. We recommend you book the Jarada Island excursion as this comes with a private BBQ cooked in front of you there on the sand – and it’s extra delicious!

Bahrain Fort

A great fact about Bahrain that most people don’t know is that it has three UNESCO-recognised heritage sites. While most people see either the desert of the shimmering high-rises, it’s nice to be reminded that there is a genuine undertone of rich culture here. 

One way to get a condensed experience of that deep culture is to check out Bahrain Fort or Qal’at Al Bahrain, as it’s also known. Archaeologists have been uncovering more areas of this rugged fortification since 1954. The artifacts pulled from the site date back as far as 2300 BC

Shopping Malls

The shopping district in Bahrain is amazing! There are plenty of designer outlets and centres in Manama but, if you’re searching for the newest and biggest mall on the island, then you want Galleria Mall in Diyyar Al Muharraq.

In true Bahraini style, these magnificent boutiques and high-end stores rub shoulders with rows and rows of craft stalls, markets and mouthwatering food stands. This proximity between the old and new is one of the best things about Bahrain.


The Al Fateh Grand Mosque tour in Bahrain is free to do and was a great eye-opener. It’s incredibly interesting to learn more about the culture of the country, of course, this is a Muslim country so mosques are a huge part of everyday life here. 

I recommend this awesome mosque tour, as there’s something for everyone to enjoy. History buffs will love discovering more about the last 100 years of Bahraini history, while architectural aficionados can marvel at the stunning design features – including the largest fiberglass dome in the world. 

Pearling Trail

The Bahrain Pearling Trail is a 3.5 km trail on Muharraq Island and another of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. Pearl diving and exporting was one of Bahrain’s biggest industries before the discovery of oil in the region. On this magnificent trail, you can get closer to this location’s unique past and learn even more about life in the Middle East before the discovery of oil

On a Bahrain Pearling Trail tour, your guide takes you into a traditional pearl diver’s house. Plus, over the four-hour experience, you also visit a dhow boat construction yard and even get the chance to buy some precious stones from a local souk. 

Top Beaches in Bahrain

It’s a fact about Bahrain that, because it’s an island, the destination offers a multitude of incredible beached to recline on. I’d recommend beach lovers spread your towels on these immaculate stretches of public sand:

  1. Solymar Beach
  2. Marassi Al Bahrain 
  3. Reef Club House 
  4. Al Dar Island
  5. Bilaj Al Jazayer

Accommodation Options in Bahrain: From Budget to Luxury

So, now we know more about what Bahrain is like for a holiday, as well as some of the best ways to fill your itinerary when you’re there, I should probably give you some hotel recommendations, right? 

Because there are so many options in terms of top resorts in Bahrain, let’s break it down into three options: 

  • Beach resort 
  • City stay 
  • Luxurious location

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Beach style hotel

 If you’re searching for a super chill beachfront hotel then the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa resort is perfect. Located around 20 miles south of Manama, the resort features a private beach. There are many accommodation categories here, but we stayed in a Deluxe Room and it was incredible!! But, if you fancy going a bit more boujee, you can upgrade to a private pool room or a villa.

The food is brilliant, there’s a great range from the choice of three restaurants. Plus, the Sofitel does serve alcohol and it has a private bar hidden within the hotel that is open until late. Everything about this hotel was brilliant, it’s super clean, peaceful, and private. Perfect for a more relaxing break away out of the centre of Bahrain. 

City style hotel

However, if you want to embrace city life, you should think about booking Wyndham Grand Hotel Manama. Due to its central positioning, Wyndham hosts plenty of corporate events – similar to any city centre venue. But it also attracts its fair share of fun-loving tourists.

To go along with that awesome locale, the hotel is reasonably priced and has all the facilities you could want. Private swimming pools, spas, gyms and, again, a great choice of restaurants. They cater to everyone here, every cuisine, every style of food, you can find them all here. Staying at the Wyndham Grand Hotel Manama ensures you’re in the perfect position for some cityscape exploration. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something more cost-effective, close to the centre of Manama then The Seven Hotel is perfect. If affordability is at the top of your agenda, then think about going bed & breakfast and really immersing yourself in the culture. 

More Luxury style hotel

The Ritz Carlton Bahrain is a mix of everything. Offering that city stay vibe, the hotel also boasts a private beach along with five restaurants. Upgrade to a club room for added amenities or elevate your stay again in a private villa located on a separate part of the resort, known as The Ritz Carlton Island. As you can imagine, the Ritz is a little more expensive than the other luxury resorts. But, WOW! I have never seen anything like it.

Alternatively, The Art Hotel offers a five-star space right on the beachfront of the Amwaj Islands. Located around 30 minutes from Manama, the resort boasts a world of choice including five restaurants, three pools, a couple of bars and a luxurious all-service spa. 

Experiencing Bahraini Cuisine: A Culinary Journey

We all know that the best way to truly experience a new destination is through its menus – and Bahrain is no different. Luckily, from those gorgeous digs in Manama and the Amwaj Islands, you’re well-placed to experience the best of Bahraini cuisine. But what is Bahraini cuisine and what should you expect to be tasting?

Trying new cuisines is an unforgettable adventure, but it can also be reasonably intimidating. How do you know you’ll like it? 

Well, flavour isn’t a problem for Bahraini cuisine. Dishes up and down the land consist of core ingredients like meat and rice with plenty of traditional spices. Plus, slow-cooked lamb, roasted nuts and raisins are super popular choices too. Plus, because Bahrain is actually an archipelago, you can also expect healthy doses of sumptuous seafood. 

Bahraini cuisine laid on a table in colour crockery and people drinking tea
Try some delicious Bahraini cuisine during your adventure

Why Bahrain Should Be Your Next Holiday Destination

It’s probably fair to say that “What is Bahrain like for a holiday?” is a more modern line of questioning. But, with the influx of towering new resorts and high-end brands entering the space, there can be no doubt that it is fast becoming the go-to place for elevated year-round sunny escapes. 

Thanks to India’s experiences, you now have more information on why you should book your Bahrain holiday and what your break in the Middle Eastern escape could look like. 

Click the button below now to find out more about our complete range of Bahrain resorts

Click here to view our range of Bahrain hotels

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