An Arabic monarchy in the Persian Gulf and the third smallest nation in Asia, Bahrain is an intoxicating fusion of ancient archaeological sites and a modern, vibrant Arab culture. From the 3rd Century B.C., the country was ruled by the Achaemenian dynasty and formed part of the Persian Empire. From 250 B.C. the area was controlled by Parthia, a historical region situated in the north of Iran. By the 7th Century and during the Classical era, the country was the centre of pearl trading and cotton trees grew in abundance. Subsequently, the area was of great interest to Alexander the Great, who eventually settled Greek colonists there.
Today, this stunning region is a favourite holiday destination with neighbouring countries and is increasingly becoming more and more popular with visitors from the west. The region enjoys year-round sunshine with temperatures climbing to more than 50 degrees during part of the summer. The region is also popular with wildlife enthusiasts as Bahrain is home to more than 300 species of birds and flora. Unsurprisingly, the destination's popularity bears testament to its array of attractions such as wildlife parks, pristine beaches, fabulous restaurants and a plethora of historical and cultural sites of great significance.
Things to Do
Bahrain boasts an impressive list of attractions for visitors of all interests. Whether you're interested in the region's wildlife, flora and fauna or prefer to spend lazy days at the beach followed by a tour of one of the many historical sites, Bahrain has something for everyone.
For the wildlife enthusiasts
Head to the Royal Camel Farm and marvel at the country's 'ship of the desert'. The farm is home to more than 600 camels and entry is free of charge. Many of these wonderful animals are in retirement, particularly the wounded or injured ones. It is possible to ride the able-bodied camels, however, for a small tip.
For the beach lovers
There is a particular dress code for both men and women when attending beaches in Bahrain. Women are required to cover their shoulders and knees, while men would be expected to wear long shorts, not speedos. Jahzair beach, a public sandy beach situated on the Gulf of Bahrain Avenue, stretches for more than a kilometre and is a family-friendly beach.
For the foodies
Masso is situated inside the lavish, Palace Boutique Hotel and is spread across two floors. The impressive menu offers a selection of European dishes and the chef's signature dish of Angus beef rib-eye steak is hailed as the best steak in the region.
Calendar of Events
Bahrain hosts a range of festivals and events throughout the year. Many of the events are of a religious nature however there is also a number of cultural and historical events too.
Independence Day. The 27th June marks the celebration of the country's independence from Britain in 1971. Festival-goers are treated to live music performances, dance, competitions and a spectacular fireworks display.
Milad al-Nabi. The first of December marks Milad al-Nabi, the birthday of Muhammad. Both Sunni and Shia Muslims celebrate the event although the festivals are held on different days. The holiday is marked with processions, storytelling, public feasts and brightly coloured decorations.
Annual Heritage Festival. With events throughout the summer, the Heritage Festival is a celebration of the country's craftsmen, artists, basket weavers and jewellery makers who promote their work to the public and offer a series of workshops and lectures.