A string of pearls
Beach culture in Bahrain isn’t top of the agenda for locals, but there’s no shortage of beautiful coastline. The kingdom is famous for its pearls, making it a global hub for pearl divers. With recent efforts to share this cultural heritage outside of the Middle East, you can now experience the thrill of pearl diving for yourself. Take a dive tour off the coasts of the island and you may catch glimpses of turtles and manatee-like dugongs as you look for pearl oysters.
For a drier wildlife encounter, head to Al Areen Wildlife Park where cheetah, zebra and honey badgers all roam the reserve. It’s worth noting that the park is split into two zones: the publicly accessible zoo, and the restricted reserve (open only to wildlife specialists).
Home to the iconic International Circuit, Bahrain knows how to do fast and furious. Book race tickets or get a piece of the action yourself on the karting tracks. With activities for the whole family including workshops, ziplines and VIP tours there’s no shortage of high-octane fun for thrill seekers.
For a different kind of horse power, the nearby Sakhir Racecourse holds races every Friday during the November to May season. Watch beautiful Arabian Thoroughbreds compete and see for yourself why the sport is so prominent in Bahraini culture.
Bahrain isn’t all fast cars and fashion. For an introduction to the country’s more domestic past, head to Bait Khalaf in central Manama. Here you can see restored examples of homes from past generations, including a pearl merchant’s house showcasing the rich history of pearl trading in Manama. East of Manama – past the impressive National Museum – is Arad Fort. This 15th-century fortress carries strategic historical importance – and is especially dramatic at sunset.