This small island nation on the Persian Gulf features relics from an ancient empire alongside glassy financial buildings and a picturesque desert terrain.
The desert island nation of Bahrain is small, but it is growing. With revenues from the nation’s former oil industry and its currently booming banking sector, planners and businessmen have recently expanded the nation into the Persian Gulf via artificial islands. Its capital city of Manama is constantly erecting modern skyscrapers, making Bahrain feel brand new, yet the island has been settled for over 4,000 years. Explore its ancient fortresses and cutting-edge towers.
Begin your tour of historic Bahrain in Manama’s Bahrain National Museum. Here, you will discover the island nation’s history through archaeological artifacts. See sculptures and pottery from the ancient Dilmun civilization. Its extensive burial mounds cover large swaths of Bahrain’s area. See tens of thousands of them at the Dilmun Burial Mounds in A’ali. To view the remains of more Bahraini history, tour the battlements of Bahrain Fort, a sandstone castle built by the Portuguese in the 1500s above a mound of pre-Islamic structures.
Explore Bahrain’s desert landscape on the barren southern half of the island. Trek to the Tree of Life, a landmark four-century-old tree growing alone on the desert plain without an identifiable water source. To see regional animal species, head to the Al Areen Wildlife Sanctuary. Part zoo and part reserve, this 2.7-square-mile (7-square-kilometer) complex features interesting desert creatures like the Arabian leopard, red fox and camel
Enjoy modernized Bahrain, including its island resorts and glossy capital of Manama. Enjoy striking views as you walk around the 50-floor Bahrain World Trade Center. The two sail-like towers of the building support three giant wind turbines. Shop for luxury brands at Moda Mall at the structure’s base.
Fly into the international airport in Manama to begin your visit to Bahrain. Given the island’s small size, you can easily drive around the whole country in a day. Spend extra time and take a boat to reach the surrounding islands.