Around Bahrain Island
Although it's dominated by its capital city, there’s more to Bahrain Island than Manama, as those coming for the Grand Prix are sure to discover. The island is particularly rich in archaeological sites. Bahrain is small, so the main sights make easily accessible day trips from the capital by car. It’s hard to get lost, because all road signs point to Saudi!
Just over the causeways from Bahrain Island, Muharraq Island could in many respects belong to a different country. With some beautiful old houses, a fort and a shore full of moored dhows and lobster pots, there’s enough to keep visitors occupied in the atmospheric backstreets for at least half a day.
Al Areen was once little more than empty desert with a few forlorn native species roaming inside some random enclosures. Over the past few years, however, the escarpment has been transformed into a major tourist attraction with the arrival of the wildlife reserve, a resort and spa, and a water park.
Just off the coast south of Sitra, Dar Island offers a great retreat from the city. The main attraction is the sandy beach, but watersports are also available, and there is a restaurant and bar. Check out www.aldarislands.com for more information. Possible activities include fishing, dolphin-watching and dugong-watching.
The 16 virtually uninhabited islands known collectively as the Hawar Islands are very close to Qatar. The islands are home to a large number of flamingos and cormorants, about 2000 Bahraini troops and the attractive Tulip Inn Hawar Beach. Closed at the time of writing, the resort normally offers a range of wildlife tours and water activities.