In celebration of the Bahrain Grand Prix we hit the road and covered the country to find the best road trips in Bahrain
Time Out Bahrain staff
Bahrain Fort – Durrat Al Bahrain Distance: 57km Time: 120 minutes Sights: • Bahrain Fort – Bahrain’s only UNESCO World Heritage Sight • Riffa Fort – One of Bahrain’s more opulent historic royal palaces • First Oil Well – Where it all started, the first nodding donkey in the Gulf • Jebel al Dukhan – Bahrain’s highest peak • Tree of Life – An Bahrain national icon • Durrat Al Bahrain – Bahrain most recent and spectacular reclamation project
Directions: Start at Bahrain Fort, join Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway, at the third interchange take the exit to Riffa, on the Wali Al-Hamad Highway. Pass the clock roundabout, at the traffic lights take a right turn to Riffa Fort. From Riffa Fort, head to towards Riffa Mall and then join Sheikh Salman Highway and turn left on the Palace Roundabout all the way down to Awali roundabout and turn right and then turn left at the next roundabout and follow the signs to the First Oil Well in the Middle East. From the First Oil Well, follow the signs that lead you through the desert past Jebel al Dukhan to the Tree of Life. Follow the main road away from the tree of Life which joins King Hamad Highway. Turn right on the highway and follow it all the way down to Durrat Al Bahrain.
Pearl Roundabout – Al A’ali Pottery Distance: 40km Time: 90 minutes Sights: • Pearl Roundabout – A momument to Bahrain’s pearling heritage • Barbar Temple – One of Bahrain’s ancient historical places of worship • Duraz Temple – The remains of a Dilmun-era temple • Camel Farm – Pet the camels, and then eat them • Al Jasra Handicraft Centre – One of the best places to see the ancient handicrafts being made and sold • Souq Waqif – One of the best markets in the country, and the place to come if you want a canary (though we think keeping birds in cages is horribly cruel) • A’Ali Pottery – The ancient pottery kilns still producing some of Bahrain’s
Directions: Start at the iconic Pearl Roundabout, and take the exit on Suwafiyah Avenue. At the second set of traffic lights, turn right onto Budaiya Highway. Follow the highway past the Barbar Temple, Duraz Temple and carry on until you reach a Junaibiyah Roundabout at the end of the highway, and turn left onto Junaibiyah. On your right you will pass the camel farm. Immediately after passing the Saudi Arabia Causeway, turn right towards Jasra and follow the signs for Al Jasra Handicraft Centre. Leaving the centre, you will join Mazaara Highway. Pass Hamla and journey until Souq Waqif Roundabout. Take the second exit towards Al A’ali. Follow the road for several kilometres and follow the signs to Al A’ali Pottery.
Manama to Muharraq
Bab Al Bahrain – Amwaj Islands Distance: 28km Time: 60 minutes Sights: • Bab Al Bahrain – Built in the British era, the gateway to the Manama Souq is now picture perfect Arabia • Manama Souq – The largest souq in the country, here you can find anything from spices to shisha. For an in-depth look at the best of the souq, turn to page 36 • Bin Matar House – One of Bahrain’s best art galleries, home to a permanent exhibition on the history of pearling in the country • Muharraq Heritage Zone – Newly tarted up and ripe for tourism, the Muharraq Heritage Zone is one of Bahrain’s rare beauty spots • Muharraq Souq – Smaller than Manama Souq and a little on the grotty side, the thing to buy here is traditional sweets. • Arad Fort – Omani fort on the picturesque Muharraq waterfront • Amwaj Islands – One of Bahrain’s latest reclaimation projects, there are several nice bars here, along with the Amwaj Marina. One of the few places in Bahrain that you can get near the water
Directions: Start at the Bab Al Bahrain at the heart of the Manama Souq. Join the King Faisal Highway and take a right after the turning to the Diplomatic Area towards Manama South. Turn left at the first signal onto Sheikh Hamad Causeway and cross the bride to Muharraq. Follow the road and as you enter urban Muharraq, find Bin Matar House at the right side of the first roundabout. Take a right onto Sheikh Abdullah Avenue and follow the signs to Muharraq Heritage Zone on your left. From the heritage zone, follow the signs to Muharraq Souq. Retrace your steps back towards Manama. Before you reach the bridge to Bahrain Island, take a left onto Khalifa Al Khabeer Highway and follow the signs to Arad Fort. After Arad Fort, continue on Khalifa Al Khabeer Highway and follow the signs at the T junction to Amwaj Islands.
The road to the beach
Al Khamis Mosque – Al Jasseyah Beach Distance: 42km Time: 60 minutes Sights: • Al Khamis Mosque – One of the world’s oldest mosques, one of Bahrain’s treasures • Isa Town – A prime example of modern Bahraini town planning • Bahrain International Circuit – The centre of Grand Prix action • Al Areen National Park – Bahrain’s only land national park, though a little thin on wildlife and vegetation • Jasseyah Beach – More Soviet Russia than golden sand Gulf, and not a great place to swim, but this is one of Bahrain’s only beaches and is therefore treasured.
Directions: When you exit Al Khamis Mosque, take a right on Sheikh Salman Highway, and follow the road through Isa Town. Pass through, and drive for several kilometres until you come to Awali Roundabout. Turn right onto Zallaq Highway and pass Bahrain University on the left. Follow the signs towards the Bahrain International Circuit, taking you right onto the Gulf of Bahrain Avenue. Pass the BIC and Al Areen National Park on your left and follow the road down to Jasseyah Beach.
Coast to coast
Al Fateh Mosque – Saudi Causeway Distance: 35km Time: 45 minutes Sights: • Al Fateh Mosuq – Bahrain’s biggest mosque and a national landmark • Saudi Arabia – Although you need a passport and visa to get into the Kingdom, you can head right up to the border gate and climb the view tower to take in the immense feat of engineering that is the Saudi-Bahrain Causeway Directions: Start at the enormous Al Fateh Mosque and exit left onto Al Fateh Highway. At the second set of traffic lights, turn right onto Isa bin Salman Highway. Follow the signs to Saudi Arabia all the way until you come to the border over the bridge.