We highlight 20 alternative holidays, all within seven-and-a-half hours from Bahrain
Benita Adesuyan and Katy Gillett
History and sightseeing Addis Ababa, Ethiopia The capital of Ethiopia is steeped in culture. It’s one of the oldest civilisations on the planet, so travellers who love history will have plenty to discover. Addis, as it’s commonly known, is Africa’s fourth largest city and home to a plethora of museums, including one of the finest on the continent – the Ethnological Museum located within the former emperor Haile Selassie’s palace.
Its collection tells the story of Ethiopia and its people. The city is vibrant and it’s safe for visitors to meander around its many markets or head out to the surrounding hills and countryside.
Flight time from Bahrain? Three hours and forty minutes Who flies there? Gulf Air Starting price for flights? BD221 www.tourismethiopia.org
Cairo, Egypt Take your family to the capital of Egypt. Cairo, the bustling and beautiful city on the River Nile, is great for culture vultures. Discover the history of the Pharaohs and see the Great Pyramid on a day trip to Giza or sail down the Nile in a wooden boat known as a Felucca, as you take in the sights and sounds of this ancient, yet modern, city.
Flight time from Bahrain? Three hours Who flies there? Emirates, EgyptAir Starting price for flights? BD168 en.egypt.travel
Petra, Jordan Located in southern Jordan, the historical city of Petra is a true wonder of the world. It was once the capital city of the ancient Nabataean Arabs and it is one of the most famous archaeological sites on the planet. Make the three-hour journey to the area by bus or taxi from Amman and stand among ancient monasteries dating back to the 1st century BC, including The Treasury, which was famously depicted in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Flight time from Bahrain? Two hours, thirty minutes Who flies there? Gulf Air, Royal Jordanian Starting price for flights? BD196 www.visitjordan.com
Athens, Greece Steeped in ancient history, rich in culture and full of mythology and legend, a trip to Athens will allow you to explore a plethora of monuments and the majestic Acropolis during the day, and experience Greek nightlife when the sun goes down. Stay near Syntagma Square, Athens’ central square, and you’ll be in walking distance of some of the city’s top venues and be able to enjoy floodlit views of the Acropolis.
Flight time from Bahrain? Four hours, forty minutes Who flies there? Gulf Air Starting price for flights? From BD219 www.visitgreece.gr
Family escapes London, England For a cosmopolitan dose of culture, class and cuisine, London is a great choice for families. A ride in a open-top double decker tour bus takes you around all the city’s most exciting spots from the London Eye to the London Dungeons. Also make sure you hit the Natural History Museum, the West End to catch a show or to see the guards at Buckingham Palace – to name a few. Flight time from Bahrain? Seven hours, five minutes Who flies there? Gulf Air, British Airways Starting price for flights? BD248 www.visitlondon.com
Male, Maldives The islands that make up the Maldives are not just for romantic honeymooners. Families can check their brood into a resort on one of the 26 atolls and young kids will be kept entertained with watersports and kids’ clubs as well as activities you can do together, such as snorkelling, diving and fishing. Flight time from Bahrain? Six hours, 40 minutes via Doha Who flies there? Qatar Airways Starting price for flights? BD410 www.visitmaldives.com
Romance Paphos, Cyprus The city in the southwest of Cyprus is the birthplace of Aphrodite, who in Greek Mythology represents love, beauty and pleasure. Couples visiting the city can enjoy its lively atmosphere and explore the rugged coastline including Aphrodite’s Rock.
Flight time from Bahrain? Three hours, 30 minutes to Larnaca Who flies there? Gulf Air, Starting price for flights? BD172 www.visitpafos.org.cy
Tbilisi, Georgia For a romantic weekend that offers culture and history as well as breathtaking views, the Georgian capital is a good choice. Book a natural sulphur bath in the Abanotubani district, rummage around the Dry Bridge Flea Market for vintage books and antiques, dine in cafés along the upmarket Rustavelli Avenue and then take a gentle stroll through the vast Botanical Gardens with 4,500 species of plants and flowers. Flight time from Bahrain? Seven hours with stopover Who flies there? Flydubai via Dubai Starting price for flights? BD153 www.tourism-association.ge
City breaks Doha, Qatar In under one hour you can be in the Qatari capital, Doha. In this slower paced city than Dubai or Abu Dhabi, visitors can enjoy the relaxing Doha Corniche promenade and the 880,000-square metre Aspire Park. Doha isn’t short of culture, either.
The Museum of Islamic Art is a must-see, and the park surrounding it is a lush green haven away from the city, where you can also enjoy a spot of pedal boating or stop off for a gourmet bite and cup of karak at the MIA Cafe.
Visitors who are on a whistle-stop trip can get the Doha Bus, a sightseeing bus from which they’ll get an audio guided tour of the city’s highlights.
Flight time from Bahrain? Forty-five minutes Who flies there? Qatar Airways, Gulf Air Starting price for flights? BD48 www.qatartourism.gov.qa
Moscow, Russia If you only have a few days to spare, Moscow can easily fill your itinerary.The Kremlin and Red Square, with their bulbous multicoloured swirling rooftops and stunning architecture will fascinate any visitor. Stay in five-star hotels in the city centre and relax in luxurious spas, or foodie travellers can devour a hearty local menu of dishes such as caviar beef stroganoff and chicken Kiev in the city’s 24-hour restaurants and cafés. Flight time from Bahrain? Four hours Who flies there? Gulf Air, Qatar Airways, Emirates Starting price for flights? BD210 www.russiatourism.ru/en
Frankfurt, Germany The fifth largest city in Germany offers much in the way of culture, nightlife and cuisine. With an interesting architectural landscape, where cutting edge skyscrapers sit next to historical buildings of significance, Frankfurt is a charming city where fascinating museums, quirky cafes and restaurants, and entertaining nightlife spots abound. In the heart of the city, enjoy a leisurely walk along the beautiful River Main where nearby restaurants and cafes provide a lovely respite in the summer warmth. A visit to the botanical gardens (Palmengarten) is a must, as is a trip to the Staedel-Museum where 700 years of art is displayed and they currently have an exciting Monet exhibition.
Flight time from Bahrain? Six hours, 20 minutes Who flies there? Gulf Air Starting price for flights? BD197 www.frankfurt.de
Weekend with the boys Beirut, Lebanon Everybody knows Beirut is notable for its bustling nightlife scene, beautiful beaches and scenery, as well as its fantastic culinary offerings.
Plus it’s only a little over three hours away from Bahrain, making it perfect for a lad’s weekend break.
Enjoy grape in the Bekaa Valley and explore historic mosques, palaces and souqs around the city. Head to Saifi Village for a spot of creativity and then go downtown for a night out. Whatever you fancy doing, Beirut has it all.
Fight time from Bahrain? Three hours, 20 minutes Who flies there? Gulf Air Starting prices for flights? BD143 www.beirut.com
Bangkok, Thailand A little over seven hours from Bahrain, Bangkok, and indeed Thailand in general, is the ideal location for the guys on a getaway.
Thailand is well known for its warm approach to tourists and Bangkok is an assault on the senses.
Groups of guys can take part in sports such as Muay Thai or motorcross, go jungle trekking, then head out to party on the famous Sukhumvit Road.
If you’re looking to relax after all that chaos, then you could travel out to some of the stunning nearby beaches, go island hopping or book yourselves in for a Thai back massage.
Flight time from Bahrain? Seven hours, ten minutes Who flies there? Gulf Air Starting price for flights? BD173 www.tourismthailand.org
Chennai, India India is a popular choice for tourists, with people from the region heading to Goa, Mumbai or Kerala regularly. But the hot new destination is Chennai. It provides a mixture of cosmopolitan modernity, colonial architecture, colourful temples and cool beaches, making it an exciting place to discover. Hang out at Marina Beach in the early morning for a game of cricket with the locals and enjoy tasty South Indian thali meals in the evening.
Fight time from Bahrain? Four hours, 50 minutes Who flies there? Gulf Air Starting prices for flights? BD191 www.tamilnadutourism.org
Weekend with the gilrs Budapest, Hungary Considered the Paris of Central Europe, Budapest, like the French city, is elegant, stylish, offers plenty of great food and shopping and trendy bars. Ideal for getting the girls together for a weekend break, Budapest is also a spa town and you can’t leave without taking in the healing waters. Stay at the Corinthia Hotel for a luxurious and central base and book in for a treatment at its Royal Spa.
Flight time from Bahrain? Seven hours and 30 minutes Who flies there? Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Turkish Airlines, Pegasus, Emirates Starting price for flights? BD207 www.en.budapestinfo.hu
Istanbul, Turkey This is a heady city where East meets West in a flurry of spices, minarets and museums.
The city is alive with culture. Strategically straddling Europe and Asia, aspects of both converge in Istanbul. Visit the Topkapi Palace – home to generations of sultans and their wives – The Blue Mosque, and enjoy a deep scrub in the Ottoman bathhouses. Then take a ferry across the Bosphorus and explore Üsküdar on the Asian side of the city.
Flight time from Bahrain? Four hours, ten minutes Who flies there? Gulf Air, Pegasus Airlines, Turkish Airlines Starting price for flights? BD161 www.goturkey.com
Kerala, India Forming part of India’s spice coast, colourful Kerala has a long history of trade and has been enormously influenced by visiting merchants over the years, from its architecture to its cuisine.
Home to beautiful beaches and networked by a staggering 44 rivers, the tropical state is a peaceful and popular location for ayurvedic health retreats, while its large number of Hindu temples and festivals make it an exciting destination for cultural trips too. Flight time from Bahrain? Four hours, 35 minutes Who flies there? Gulf Air, Air India, Jet Airways, SriLankan Airlines Starting price for flights? BD136 www.keralatourism.org
Adrenaline-junkie adventure Dubai, UAE The UAE might not be your first idea for an adrenaline-fuelled holiday but it should be when we’re so close. From indoor skydiving to sand boarding in the desert, checking out the Autodrome track or scuba diving in stunning spots, any trip to Dubai can be exciting. Especially when combined with other heart-pumping UAE activities like hitting the rollercoasters at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, going hiking in the Hajar Mountains in Fujairah, or white water rafting at Wadi Adventure in Al Ain.
Flight time from Bahrain? One hour Who flies there? Gulf Air, Emirates, Flydubai, Etihad Airways Starting price for flights? BD54 www.uaetourism.ae
Larnaca, Cyprus Cyclists should head to Larnaca for a biking tour. The Cypriot town has become a top destination for mountain bikers and it provides plenty of challenging and rugged terrain that bikers can get stuck into.
Cycle tour providers will get you set up with a rental bike, so you can explore the hills of Larnaca in organised groups. Flight time from Bahrain? Three hours, 30 minutes Who flies there? Gulf Air, Emirates Starting price for flights? From BD172 www.visitcyprus.com
Port Sudan, Sudan Diving in Port Sudan is unrivalled for beauty and danger. Port Sudan was formerly one of busiest ports in the world, so there’s plenty of ageing wrecks including that of The Umbria, a Second World War cargo ship. Divers can follow in the footsteps of Jacques Cousteau and scuba dive in the shark-infested waters of Sha’ab Rumi. Flight time from Bahrain? Five hours, 45 minutes via Dubai Who flies there? Flydubai Starting price for flights? BD103 www.sudan.net