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“The Pearl of the Gulf” -  Bahrain - was once conquered by the Portuguese and colonised by the British. Rich in history and culture, Bahrain has a reputation for being more cosmopolitan and liberal than other countries in the Middle East, especially after the Formula One Grand Prix began in April 2004. The event draws more than two million visitors a year from all over the world. And when booking a flight to Bahrain bear this in mind as flights do get booked well in advance.

Adding to its mystique is a history that dates back five thousand years to the ancient civilisation of Dilmun, and the landscape is still dominated by settlements, temples and thousands of burial mounds left behind by its inhabitants.

The first stop off your Bahrain flight will undoubtedly be to its capital, Manama. This buzzing financial hub is full of restaurants, shopping malls and high rises dramatically juxtaposed beside the sea. If you want to experience real Arabian culture then visit the souk. There, vendors sell a dizzying array of merchandise from Persian carpets and jewellery to frankincense and tea.

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Bahrain climate

Bahrain gets very hot in the summer, averaging a temperature of 36 degrees. The winter is much more comfortable with a low of 15 degrees with scattered rainstorms.

When to fly to Bahrain

Like most countries in the Arabian Peninsula, Bahrain gets extremely hot and humid in summer and milder in winter.

Peak Season:

April is the busiest time in Bahrain – when the Formula One Grand Prix takes place. Hotels, restaurants and flights are full and traffic can get annoying. December is also high season when schools are out and many visitors come from other Arab countries to visit. In terms of weather, the best time to visit would be from April to early June when the temperature’s around 18 degrees.

Off Season:

It’s best to avoid visiting in summer from late June to late August when temperatures can reach a scorching 45 degrees with 100 per cent humidity. Mid-September to mid-December is off season but hotels are cheaper and the weather is milder with temperatures ranging anywhere from 21 degrees (September to October) to 10 degrees (December).

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Getting around Bahrain

It's easiest to get around Bahrain by car whether rented and driven yourself or by taxi or chauffeured car. Signs are in Arabic and English. If you're planning on renting a car it's not necessary to have an International Driving Permit. 

All taxis in Bahrain are metered and you should make sure that the meter is running when you set off. 

There are public buses that run to many parts of Bahrain and tourist buses too.

Bahrain insider information

  • Bahrain is renowned for its 24-carat gold and its pearls. So make sure you plan a visit to the souk in the heart of Manama where you’ll find a selection of jewellers selling beautiful, intricate designs. But remember to haggle.
  • Drive to the desert and visit the “Tree of Life”, one of the natural wonders of the world. It’s a 400-year-old mesquite tree that stands alone in the middle of the desert; its water source remains a mystery. While in the desert make your way to the Bahrain Formula One Race Track and then on your way back stop by the Riffa Golf Course for a drink at the bar.
  • Start by learning a little about Bahrain’s 7,000 year-old history at the National Museum followed by a tour of the ancient archeological sites on the island: Qal'at Al-Bahrain (Portuguese Fort) which dates back to 2800 BC and is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site, Barbar Temple - a complex of three 2nd and 3rd millennium BC temples and the Royal Tombs. Then head to Beit Al-Qur'an, a cultural institution housing an impressive collection of historic Koranic manuscripts from various parts of the Islamic world, including China and Spain.
  • Spend the day shopping in the Seef Area and visit the two largest malls on the island: Al Aali Mall and Seef Mall. The former has a good selection of exclusive high-end stores in an Arabian setting while the latter has many high street brands, cinemas and a food court.
  • Never been pearl diving before? Bahrain has some of the world’s best pearls hidden under its shores. The PADI centre offers a short pearl diving course that includes a day trip out to sea diving for pearls – which you get to keep of course.

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