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Bahrain Travel Guide: Essential Tips for a Memorable Experience

Bahrain, an archipelago kingdom in the Arabian Gulf, serves as a fascinating travel destination blending modernity and rich cultural heritage. As you explore this Middle Eastern gem, you’ll find a diverse population welcoming you to their country, where Arabic and English are widely spoken. The capital, Manama, boasts an impressive skyline that gently merges with the country’s ancient sites and picturesque landscapes.

Before setting off on your Bahrain adventure, it’s crucial to plan and prepare to ensure a smooth journey. This includes checking visa requirements, packing appropriately for the weather, and familiarizing yourself with the local customs. As you venture through Bahrain, transportation options such as taxis, buses, and car rentals are readily available, allowing you to experience the country’s numerous attractions and destinations at your own pace.

Food and beverage is an integral part of Bahraini culture, offering you a chance to indulge your taste buds in both local and international cuisines. Whether you prefer fine dining or street fare, Bahrain’s culinary scene is sure to delight. And, with accommodation options ranging from luxury hotels to budget-friendly lodgings, you’ll be able to enjoy a comfortable stay tailored to your preferences.

Key Takeaways

  • Bahrain offers a unique blend of modern and ancient attractions.
  • Proper planning and preparations enhance your travel experience.
  • A diverse range of food, accommodation, and transport options cater to all preferences.

Travel Preparations

Visa Process

Before planning your trip to Bahrain, make sure to check the visa requirements for your nationality. Citizens from eligible countries can obtain an eVisa, which is a quick and easy process. Simply visit the official Bahrain eVisa website, fill out the application form, and pay the fees online. Your eVisa will be sent via email within a few days. In case your nationality is not eligible for an eVisa, contact your nearest Bahraini embassy or consulate to apply for a visa.

Passport Requirements

It is essential to ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in Bahrain. In addition, keep digital and physical copies of your passport, visa, and other essential documents in case of loss or theft while traveling.

Crime and Safety

Bahrain is generally a safe destination with relatively low levels of crime. However, it is advisable to exercise caution and remain aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded or touristy areas. Follow these safety tips for a smooth journey:

  • Be cautious with belongings and valuables, such as passports, money, and electronic devices.
  • Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, as they may turn violent or lead to arrests. Stay informed about local news to stay aware of any potential risks.
  • Respect local customs and dress modestly to avoid unwanted attention.

By following these guidelines and staying vigilant, you can have a comfortable and safe experience during your travels in Bahrain.

Transportation Methods

Public Transportation

In Bahrain, public transportation mainly consists of buses. The bus system, operated by Bahrain Public Transport Company, offers several routes that cover most parts of the island, making it an affordable and convenient way to travel. The buses are air-conditioned and run from early morning till late at night. You can check the routes and timings on their website or app. Consider purchasing a GO Card, a rechargeable smart card, to make your bus rides even smoother.

Car Rentals

Renting a car in Bahrain is another option to explore the country at your own pace. Numerous car rental agencies, including international brands, are available at the airport and around the island. Be sure to carry your valid driver’s license and credit card. It’s important to note that driving in Bahrain is on the right side of the road, and the speed limits and road signs are in kilometers per hour. Remember to always follow local traffic rules and regulations.

Uber Services

Uber is also available in Bahrain, providing a reliable and easy-to-use transportation option. You can book a ride using the Uber app on your smartphone and track your driver’s progress to your location. The fare is automatically charged to your linked credit card, so there’s no need for cash. Keep in mind that pricing can vary depending on factors such as traffic and surge pricing. However, it’s still a convenient alternative to traditional taxis.

Attractions and Destinations

Historic Sites

Visiting Bahrain Fort, also known as Qal’at al-Bahrain, is a must for history enthusiasts. This UNESCO World Heritage Site showcases the rich past of the region, dating back to the Dilmun civilization. Wander through the ruins and marvel at the historic architecture. After visiting the fort, explore the vibrant city of Muharraq. Home to traditional houses and historic architecture, this city offers a unique cultural experience.

Cultural Spots

Immerse yourself in the country’s fascinating culture with a visit to the Bahrain National Museum. The museum exhibits a wide range of relics, including traditional handicrafts, art, and documents, which provide a deeper understanding of the country’s history. Discover more about the thriving art scene in Bahrain at various galleries and art centers showcasing contemporary works by local and international artists.

Museum/Gallery Highlights
Bahrain National Museum Artifacts, history, and local culture
Al Riwaq Art Space Contemporary art exhibitions

Natural Beauty

Bahrain is home to a variety of natural attractions, offering breathtaking landscapes and unique experiences. The Hawar Islands are a prime example of the country’s natural beauty. These remote islands provide a haven for diverse wildlife, including migratory birds and dolphins. Enjoy birdwatching, beachcombing, and simply taking in the untouched beauty of this peaceful location. Besides the islands, you can explore the country’s winding coastline and lush parks to fully appreciate Bahrain’s natural offerings.

  • Hawar Islands: Wildlife, beaches, and tranquility
  • Al Areen Wildlife Reserve: Flora, fauna, and desert landscapes

Food and Beverage

Cuisine Overview

In Bahrain, you’ll find a rich culinary scene that is mainly influenced by Arabic flavors. Traditional Bahraini food often includes rice, meat, and fresh vegetables, cooked with aromatic spices. You’ll also discover a variety of seafood dishes due to its coastal location. Some of the popular local dishes you should try are Machboos, Muhammar, and Shawarmas.

Where to Dine

You can enjoy Bahraini cuisine in various venues, be it high-end restaurants or local street food spots. For a more luxurious experience, head to restaurants like Saffron, Bushido, and Lanterns. These restaurants offer a wide range of cuisines, including Arabic, in a fine-dining atmosphere. To sample authentic street food, explore the Manama Souq, where you can savor Shawarmas, grilled seafood, and other Bahraini delights. Make sure to bring your Bahraini Dinars, as most places accept only cash.

Drinking Culture

Though Bahrain is a Muslim-majority country, alcohol is permitted for non-Muslim residents and tourists. However, it can be expensive, as it’s subject to high taxes. To enjoy a drink, you can visit licensed bars and hotels that serve alcohol. Be aware of the cultural sensitivities when consuming alcohol in public: drink responsibly and avoid excessive displays of intoxication. Drinking water, non-alcoholic beverages, and Arabic coffee are other popular options available throughout the country.

Accommodation Options

When traveling to Bahrain, you have a variety of accommodation options to suit your preferences and budget. This guide covers hotels and budget stays located in popular areas like Juffair and Amwaj Islands.


Bahrain offers a range of luxurious hotels for a comfortable stay. In Juffair, you can find upscale establishments such as:

  • The Ritz-Carlton
  • The Gulf Hotel Bahrain
  • InterContinental Regency Bahrain

If you prefer staying in Amwaj Islands, consider these options:

  • ART Rotana
  • The Grove Hotel & Conference Centre
  • Ramada Hotel & Suites Amwaj Islands

Budget Stays

For those looking for more budget-friendly accommodation options, there are numerous affordable hotels and guesthouses in Juffair and Amwaj Islands. Some popular choices include:

  • Premier Inn Bahrain
  • Ramee California Hotel
  • Al Manzil Suites

To help you make a decision, here is a table comparing average nightly rates for these budget stay options:

Hotel Juffair Amwaj Islands
Premier Inn Bahrain $50 – $80 N/A
Ramee California Hotel $45 – $60 N/A
Al Manzil Suites $60 – $90 N/A

Keep in mind that prices may vary depending on the season and availability. Always check online booking websites for up-to-date rates and special promotions.

When planning your trip to Bahrain, ensure you select the most suitable accommodation option for your needs. By choosing the right location and type of stay, you can ensure a pleasant and memorable visit to the beautiful island country.


Retail Hubs

When you visit Bahrain, you’ll find shopping experiences both modern and traditional. You can explore large malls like City Centre Bahrain, Seef Mall, and The Avenues – all offering you a wide selection of local and international brands. For a more authentic and charming shopping experience, walk around the Manama Souq, located in the heart of the city. It provides a unique blend of old and new in one place.

While shopping in Bahrain, you should look for discounts and seasonal sales, as they can offer excellent deals on your favorite items. If you need more assistance, most malls and shopping centers have information desks to help you navigate your shopping adventure.

Local Souvenirs

When it comes to souvenirs, Bahrain offers a variety of exquisite items that showcase the country’s rich culture and heritage. Some excellent options to consider are:

  • Pottery: Traditional Bahraini pottery is both beautiful and functional. It comes in various shapes and colors, making it a unique and memorable gift.
  • Pearls: Bahrain is well-known for its pearl industry, dating back centuries. You can find genuine, high-quality pearls in different colors and shapes at leading jewelry stores.
  • Textiles: Traditional Bahraini textiles such as “sadu” (woven fabrics) and “bisht” (traditional Arabian cloak) are perfect souvenirs that represent the local culture. They come in various patterns and colors, crafted by local artisans.
  • Spices and sweets: Middle Eastern spices and traditional Bahraini sweets such as “halwa” are also great souvenirs to take back home. You can purchase them from local markets and shops.

Don’t hesitate to explore various shopping districts and markets to discover charming souvenirs that will remind you of your unforgettable trip to Bahrain.


International Events

Bahrain hosts a variety of international events throughout the year that attract visitors from all over the world. As a global events destination, you will find many exciting options to attend during your stay. Some notable events include:

  • Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix: This prestigious motorsport race is held annually at the Bahrain International Circuit. Visitors can enjoy the thrilling race, concerts, and festivities that take place during the event.
  • Bahrain International Airshow: This spectacular aerial exhibition features military and commercial aircraft from around the globe. Held biennially, the airshow provides an opportunity to see impressive aerial displays and connect with industry professionals.

Cultural Festivals

Bahrain is rich in culture, and the nation takes pride in showcasing its heritage through various festivals. Exploring these cultural events can provide an authentic insight into Bahraini traditions and way of life. Some popular festivals include:

  • Bahraini Spring of Culture: Held in the early months of the year, this festival features a line-up of art exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical performances that showcase Bahraini and international talents. It provides an opportunity to experience various forms of art and culture in one place.
  • Bahrain Food Festival: This annual event is a paradise for food lovers, featuring local and international cuisine, live cooking demonstrations, and gastronomic experiences. With over 100 different food vendors, the Bahrain Food Festival offers a taste of the nation’s delectable flavors and culinary diversity.

Make sure to plan your visit around these events and immerse yourself in the rich culture and vibrant atmosphere Bahrain has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is special in Bahrain?

Bahrain is a unique destination in the Arabian Gulf, offering a blend of rich history, diverse culture, and modern attractions. The Kingdom is home to UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the Qal’at al-Bahrain (Bahrain Fort) and Dilmun Burial Mounds. You can also enjoy authentic Arabian cuisine, explore traditional markets (souqs), and visit the Bahrain International Circuit for thrilling motor racing events.

Is Bahrain safe for tourists?

Bahrain is generally considered a safe destination for tourists. The crime rate is low, and the locals are friendly and welcoming. However, it’s important to exercise common sense and take necessary precautions. Keep your valuables secure, be aware of your surroundings, and avoid demonstrations or large gatherings that may occur from time to time.

What are the travel requirements for Bahrain?

Travel requirements for Bahrain vary depending on your nationality. Most visitors will need a valid passport with at least six months remaining validity and a visa. Many nationalities can obtain a visa upon arrival or an eVisa before traveling. It’s essential to check the visa requirements for your specific country before planning your trip.

What are Bahrain’s COVID-19 entry requirements?

COVID-19 entry requirements for Bahrain may change frequently due to the ongoing global situation. It’s crucial to refer to the official Bahrain government website or your embassy for the latest information. Generally, you may be required to present a negative PCR test result and follow any quarantine or testing protocols upon arrival.

How long should a visit to Bahrain last?

The ideal duration for a visit to Bahrain depends on your interests and travel goals. If you’re planning to experience the main attractions, a 3-4 day trip should suffice. However, if you want to explore the Kingdom in greater depth, a week or more is recommended. This will allow you to discover lesser-known sights, participate in various activities, and immerse yourself in Bahraini culture.

Do US citizens need a visa for Bahrain?

Yes, US citizens require a visa to visit Bahrain. They can obtain an eVisa before departure by applying online or get a visa upon arrival at the Bahrain International Airport. It is advisable to confirm the visa requirements before traveling and have the necessary documentation ready to ensure a smooth entry process.