15 top things to do in Bahrain in 2024

Are you wondering what the best things to do in Bahrain are? 

I recently returned from a trip to Bahrain where I ticked off many of the top attractions in this small Arabian country. 

While it’s tiny – a fifth of the size of Qatar, which is hardly a large country in its own right – there are actually a fair amount of attractions and activities in Bahrain. 

Here are all the attractions I had on my list! 

Top things to do in Bahrain 

From museums to beaches to food, here is what you should add to your Bahrain itinerary!

Visit the Bahrain National Museum

The Bahrain National Museum is an excellent first stop to learn about the island – in fact, it was here that we headed to as soon as we arrived in the country. 

With artefacts from the ancient Dilmun civilisation to modern art, the exhibits cover thousands of years. 

There’s also an art gallery boasting the best of Bahraini art. 

The Bahrain National Museum is located right along the waterfront and it’s home to Darseen Cafe. This is probably the best museum cafe I’ve ever been to – get the falafel wrap, it’s incredible! 

Discover the Bahrain Fort (Qal’at al-Bahrain)

Sunset at the recontructed Bahrain Fort near Manama at Seef, Bahrain

Bahrain Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site and glimpse into the nation’s ancient civilisations. 

The first fort was built around 3,000 years ago (although it’s thought that the area’s been populated for 5,000 years) and the fort we see today dates back to around the 6th century. 

The on-site museum showcases the fort’s history and significance to Bahrain and the wider Middle East. 

Like the Bahrain National Museum, there’s an excellent cafe here. I had a delicious tofu bowl – but be warned of the water, we accidentally spent a whopping £10 on a bottle!

Explore Manama Souq

A street view of jewelry stores, including "Mashalla Jewellery" and "Dar Al Tawheed Jewellery Co W.L.L," with people walking by

Manama Souq is located in the heart of Bahrain’s capital – it’s a vibrant marketplace brimming with life. 

Navigate through narrow alleys filled with an array of goods – spices, perfumes, jewellery, and textiles. 

We thought it felt a lot more authentic than other souqs in the Middle East, so even if you don’t want to make a purchase, it’s worth a stroll around! 

This Discover Manama tour includes stops at the souq and other spots around the city.

Relax at Al Dar Islands

Just a short boat ride from Sitra, Al Dar Islands are a perfect retreat for beach lovers. 

Swim, snorkel, kayak or simply relax on the sandy shores. The islands boast facilities like beach huts, restaurants, and equipment rentals for various water sports. 

Find more information about ticketing and how to get to the islands here. 

Visit the Royal Camel Farm

The Royal Camel Farm is a unique attraction in Bahrain – as the name suggests, it’s home to hundreds of camels!

Sitting on the outskirts of Manana, it was established by the late Sheikh Mohammed Bin Salman Al Khalifa, uncle of Bahrain’s current ruler.

The camels aren’t used for racing or meat; it’s a hobby farm and offers a chance to see these fascinating animals up close. 

Wander among the camels, learning about their care and breeding.

Though not heavily promoted as a tourist destination, the Royal Camel Farm welcomes visitors daily until sunset. 

Entry is free!

Discover Al Fateh Grand Mosque

A woman standing in front of a large mosque with intricate architecture and multiple arches, under a cloudy sky.

Al Fateh Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world, with a capacity of up to 7,000 people. 

Open to non-Muslims outside of prayer time, visitors can learn about Islamic architecture and culture. 

The mosque boasts marble floors, grand chandeliers and intricate woodwork. 

Guided tours are available and offer insights into the mosque’s history and religious significance.

You’ll need to cover up to enter the mosque, but appropriate clothing is available on the door. 

Enjoy the Bahrain International Circuit

The Bahrain International Circuit is a haven for motorsport fans! 

Home to the annual Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix, it also offers go-karting, circuit tours and other driving experiences. 

Feel the adrenaline rush as you speed around the track or take a guided tour to learn about the circuit’s history and operations. 

The facilities are top-notch and cater to both professional drivers and enthusiasts. 

Walk through Bab Al Bahrain

Bab Al Bahrain is the iconic gateway to Manama Souq and dates back to 1945. 

The area around it has been revitalised into a cultural hub with shops, cafes, and public spaces. It’s a great starting point for exploring the souq and nearby attractions!

Take the pearling path in Muharraq

Muharraq Island, the former capital of Bahrain, is connected to Bahrain mainland by three bridges (the airport is actually on Muharraq)

Visit traditional houses like the Sheikh Isa Bin Ali House and learn about the island’s pearling heritage. 

The Pearling Path, a UNESCO World Heritage site, journeys through Bahrain’s pearl trade history. 

Stroll through the narrow streets, absorbing the charm of this historic area. 

When you’ve finished exploring Muhrarraq, I highly recommend the restaurant Palestine Nights, which is just at the south of the island.

An assortment of Middle Eastern appetizers served in clay dishes on a woven table. The spread includes stuffed grape leaves, baba ghanoush, hummus, a rich tomato-based dip, tabbouleh salad, and crispy pita bread pieces. A plate with a fork and spoon is set to the side.

Bahrain food tour

Don’t go hungry in Bahrain with this food tour

Experience the deep-rooted traditions of Arabian cuisine combined with the vibrant flavors of the Gulf. 

You’ll sample everything from saffron and cardamom-infused rice dishes to grilled meats seasoned with Baharat spices. 

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The tour includes over 10 different dishes from Manama Souq, so definitely come with an appetite!

Take a look at the tour.

See the Tree of Life

The natural landmark of Bahrain - the 400-year-old Tree of Life. Kingdom of Bahrain, Middle East

The Tree of Life stands completely alone in the desert and has survived in harsh conditions with no visible water source!

This 400-year-old mesquite tree’s resilience has sparked many legends and stories – although nobody’s really sure quite how it’s thrived there for so long!  

It’s right in the heart of the desert, so it’s a must-visit stop on any desert tour.

If you’re not a confident driver, I’d recommend taking a tour to see the Tree of Life (and other desert attractions) than driving yourself. Bahrain is one of the safest countries I’ve ever been to, but there is certainly a little aggressive driving!

Take a look at a guided tour of Bahrain’s desert by clicking here. 

Relax by the pool

A woman smiling at the camera while taking a selfie at an outdoor swimming pool, with palm trees and a person swimming in the background.

Many of Bahrain’s luxury hotels and resorts encompass stunning pool facilities, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring – and ideal in the hot arid climate!

Whether you choose the infinity pool at the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay or the beachside pools at the Ritz-Carlton, you can enjoy exceptional service and beautiful surroundings here. 

 These pools are equipped with lounge areas, bars, and dining options. 

If you’re not staying at a hotel with a pool, you can purchase a day pass to make use of the facilities without staying over. 

Or, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, we stayed at Elite Resort and Spa and loved the pool area. 

Day trip to Saudi Arabia

A common small mosque with palm tree in the Dammam Corniche coastal park in Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Bahrain is just over a causeway from Saudi Arabia and the city of Dammam, so it’s ideal for a day trip – if you have a visa! 

With this tour, you’ll start with a drive through the iconic King Fahad Causeway, the tour then leads to Khobar city and its scenic Corniche. 

The journey continues to the Dammam Corniche and a visit to Al-Hob Souk or another shopping mall in Dammam. 

This tour features a stop at the Heritage Village in Dammam City (entrance fees not included), a drive through Murjan Island and an optional lunch in Dammam. 

Remember to check visa requirements for Saudi Arabia before planning your trip.

Take a look at the tour here!

Browse the City Centre Bahrain Mall 

City Centre Bahrain is one of the country’s best malls. Yes, I know, malls aren’t usually the top choice when it comes to attractions, but in the Middle East, malls are an important part of their culture.

City Centre Bahrain Mall is located in the heart of Manama and features international brands, local boutiques and a wide selection of restaurants and cafes.

If anything, it’s worth popping in for a cheap dinner in the food court (Bahrain is pretty expensive!).

Take a dhow boat ride

Experience Bahrain from the water by taking a traditional dhow boat ride. 

These historic wooden sailing vessels showcase a unique perspective of the island. 

We were strongly advised to take a dhow boat ride by friends who’d previously lived in Bahrain, but we couldn’t for the life of us work out how to book onto them. So, I can’t give you any first-person tips, but if you’re interested it might be worth speaking to your hotel receptionist to see if they can help!

Explore the Al-Khamis Mosque

A quick, free stop on your tour of Bahrain is the Al-Khamis Mosque.

This is believed to be the first mosque in Bahrain, potentially dating back as far as 692 CE – although it has been rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries.

The mosque was named after the Thursday market (Al-Khamis means “Thursday” in Arabic). It’s no longer a working mosque, but you can visit the ruins. Unfortunatley, when we were there there was renovations work being done to it so we weren’t able to get too close.

There’s an on-site visitor’s centre which explains a little about the mosque’s history.

Are you ready to stay in Bahrain?

While Bahrain isn’t quite as glitzy and glam as Dubai, it’s still worth visiting for a few different reasons.

These Bahrain attractions are just a few of them!