Got a week? I'll show you around
By Kirstin Kabasci » Here's a programme for tourists who would like to see the best of Bahrain. You should ideally have a week to explore the country. If you don't have that much time, just leave out the latter part of this itinerary, or try and pack some of the sightseeing into fewer days.
Distances are not too far, so this would work. If possible, though, reserve a day each for Bahrain's north and south.
To enjoy Hawar, you need at least one day. And don't be too sad if you have to skip day 7 of this plan, it is intended to be a kind of relaxing finish.
Day 1: Manama
Morning: Join a sightseeing tour and visit Bahrain Fort, the King Faisal Corniche, the Marina Corniche, the Al Fatih Mosque, the Khamis Mosque and the Handicraft Centre.
Lunch: How about some Arabic food on your first day?
Afternoon: Stroll through the old city and the suq in Manama. Start at about 4pm (when it's not so hot and the shops have reopened after the lunch break).
Evening: Relax in a traditional caf'by puffing on a hubble-bubble, and close out the day by visiting a pub or nightclub.
Day 2: Muharraq
Morning: Visit the dhow shipyard and the lavishly decorated 19th century homes of former Ruler Shaikh Isa bin Ali and pearl merchant Al Siyadi.
Lunch: Most restaurants in Muharraq are inexpensive and you can have a nice meal here. If you want to go more upscale, head for Adliya where there is a big choice of quality restaurants. Round it up with a caf'visit before heading back to the sightseeing trail.
Afternoon: Visit the Rashid Al Oraifi Museum, the old city and the Muharraq suq.
Evening: Just before sunset drive to Arad Fort to see it in the best light. Then head for an Arabic nightclub for some belly dance and a nice buffet dinner.
Day 3: Manama's Museums
Morning: Visit the Pearl Diving Museum (tel. 17210600) and Beit Al Quran (which means House of the Quran).
Lunch: Take your pick of Manama's restaurants and then head back to your room for a nap.
Afternoon: Explore the huge National Museum, which has some of the most riveting exhibits you will find anywhere in the world.
Evening: Go (window) shopping at Al A'ali Shopping Complex (tel. 17581000) and Seef Mall (tel. 17581111). You can also could have dinner at one of the restaurants in either mall.
Day 4: Bahrain's North
Morning: Visit the Al Jasra Handicraft Centre (tel. 17611999) and take a look at the traditional interior of Beit Al Jasra (tel. 17661454).
Lunch: Head on to the 25km-long King Fahad Causeway, which connects Bahrain with Saudi Arabia. Drive up to the halfway island which has an outlook tower with an excellent view, and enjoy a nice lunch at the Tower Restaurant.
Afternoon: Visit the ruins of Barbar, Diraz and Saar before you go on to A'ali to see the so called Royal Tombs and the pottery workshops.
Evening: Get to the Janabiyah camel farm half an hour before sunset. At around this time, the dozens of camels race back from their grazing to their watering-place. Then drive back to Manama for some dinner and perhaps tropical cocktails.
Day 5: Bahrain's South
Morning: Visit the Riffa Fort and find your way to the Tree of Life (signposted from the Riffa Golf Club). Also check out Bahrain's first oil well and the Oil Museum.
Lunch: Have a meal in the restaurant at the nearby Riffa Golf Club (tel. 17750777).
Afternoon: Explore wildlife in the Al Areen Park.
Evening: Dinner and nightlife of your choice, perhaps Irish folk or solid rock?
Day 6: Hawar Island
Morning: Take a trip to Hawar (tel. 17849111 or 17290377).
Lunch: Have lunch in the Hawar Resort Restaurant.
Afternoon: Some sports, or relax on the beach. Then head back to Manama.
Evening: Enjoy a quiet dinner after your busy day and then go to bed.
Day 7: Manama
Morning: Visit the Currency Museum (call a day in advance, tel. 17529702), the basket weavers in Karbabad and the market in Jidhafs.
Lunch: Have a relaxing lunch in one of the Adliya restaurants, and also spend some time in a cafe there.
Afternoon: Buy your souvenirs.
Evening: Eat some delicious seafood and how about some nightspot action later?