Parks, malls, beaches and side streets to stride this month
Time Out Bahrain staff
Al Hunainiya Public Park and Spring development The 1km-long walkway was the first part of this development to open back in February 2010. Since then additional works have been planned to include motorcycling and horseriding areas as well as increasing the walkway to 3km.
There was some controversy last year when further development, to complete the three-phase construction work, was halted as local residents wanted the park enclosed to improve security so it’s not clear when it will be finished with the longer-length walking course.
The park’s next to Riffa Fort so, if you decide to visit, you’re guaranteed some history.
Arad Bay Protected Area & Park Otherwise known as Mövenpick Bay, because it’s in front of the hotel, this 3km-long circular walkway rings the bay in Bahrain’s only marine ecosystem conservation area recreation park. As well as being really popular with walkers, it also attracts cyclists and skaters all taking advantage of the plentiful parking, fishing area, water fountains, kids’ play area and shaded benches.
Arad Bay was declared a natural reserve by Sheikh Abdulla in 2003. It’s a safe haven for migrant birds, shrimps and rare marine life and if you head there over the next few months you might well be lucky enough to see the flocks of flamigos which make the island their winter home.
Arad Fort Walkway This is a short circular walkway, not quite a full kilometre but, like so many others, it’s close to the sea and you can keep going off the official path if the fancy takes you.
This is definitely one for either sunset or, for the real early birds, sunrise as the fort is stunning in that half light.
The walkway, which winds in front of Arad Fort, has recreation areas, parking, a kids’ play area and toilets and a second phase is planned which it’s hoped will include a public beach too.
Bahrain City Centre A mall might not be the first place you think of when planning a walk but why not window shop while you get your fitness fix with Bahrain City Centre’s City Walkers programme. The walkers meet three times a week on Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday from 9-10am for an indoor, air-conditioned trek supervised by a certified personal trainer.
There’s no charge, no age restrictions and no sign-up requirements, simply show up at the customer service desk on the ground floor ready to have fun and get your blood pumping.
Walkers also perform a series of aerobic exercises and a bit of running too and, in total, the walk is 3km, though they don’t do a full walk every day.
And after three sessions, you’ll even get your own free ‘City Walkers’ T-shirt.
Budaiya Walkway & Park A long time in the planning the park, at the very end of the Budaiya Highway, has been a hit with both locals and expats alike since it opened late last year.
The actual official walkway is only 600m but the 37,000-sq-m development takes in a public beach so, if you really want to stretch your legs, you can just keep going.
The seaside park features lawns, paved walkways, benches, a playground and fountains.
Close by you’ll also see the pretty blue-domed mosque and, no your eyes are not playing tricks on you, there really is an over-the-top, pink, Disney-style castle!
Budaiya Botanical Park While you’re in the area it would be a shame to miss the Budaiya Botanical Park next to the Ministry of Agriculture building. What began as an experimental farm in the 1940s importing seeds, vegetables, fruits and other plants from areas with similar climates, it is now split into four areas dedicated to palm trees, aromatic plants, wild plants and flowers.
There are more than 1.5km of walkways where visitors can enjoy the unaccustomed greenery and the sounds of nature with birds chirping in the trees.
There are also greenhouses to explore and you might even take home a plant or two with expert instructions on how to care for it.
Open daily 7am-7pm, entry 300fils.
Khalifa Grand Park Riffa Opened in July, what’s described as a ‘state-of-the-art’ park, whatever that is, covers 78,000 sq m and has been designed to cater to the needs of children, youngsters, families and the elderly in East Riffa.
There’s a 1km walkway, bicycle track, skateboarding zone, football, volleyball and tennis areas and an open-air food court in case you fancy a small snack while getting fit… but seriously though, it’s a real family place and will be full to the brim as the weather cools.
Muharraq Corniche Officially named Al Ghous Corniche, this walk, adjacent to the King Hamad Causeway Bridge, is a much better option than the main Al Fateh Corniche where constant building works and the seafront entertainments get in the way.
Here you’ll get a brilliant view of Manama’s ever-changing skyline while enjoying a stretch of unbroken seafront with not an amusement centre in sight.
It’s a relaxing walk and a great place to watch the sun go down over the water and, if you want to explore further, keep heading north and you’ll discover rutted shoreside paths where you’ll get a taste of Bahrain’s traditional fishing industry.
Pearling Trail, Muharraq Featured in last month’s Time Out Bahrain the Pearling Trail recently gained Unesco World Heritage Site status and it’s THE place to get a taste of Bahrain in days gone by. There are loads of restored buildings but, for the walker, it’s the opportunity to get lost down winding, labyrinthine alleyways that’s the attraction.
Start at the car park for Al Saidi House (take a right at Bin Matar House), enter the trail through the wooden door in the car park wall and enjoy.
Prince Khalifa bin Salman Park Opened earlier this year, the whole park, which sits at the side of the Hidd Bridge, is fully lit up in the evenings and though the walkway inside is only around 300m, there’s a long stretch leading up to the park along the side of the bridge where you can give your legs a good ol’ stretch.
This is a great place if you’re taking the kids with a play area with rubberized safety flooring, a cycle track, food kiosks and a small paddle boating lake and the observation tower offers a panoramic view of the sea on one side and the surrounding neighbourhoods on the other.