With so many amazing things to do, incredible restaurants and bars to try, and historic attractions to see, we can understand why you'd be tempted to just stick to Bahrain on any visit to the Kingdom.
But if you do, you'll be missing out on some of the best family days out possible.
Read on for our guide to three of the best.
Al Dar Islands
One of the top activities on any Bahrain visit is taking a trip to Al Dar Islands. The resort is just eight minutes from Sitra by boat, but it feels like it’s world’s away from fast-paced city life. You’ll find a mix of locals and tourists strewn across the beach enjoying BBQs on the sand or swimming in the beautiful clear waters. Travel to the island is BHD8 for adults on weekends and public holidays, and BHD4 for children between six and 15. Weekday trips cost BHD5 for adults and BHD2 for children. You’ll need your passport, driving licence or CPR for the boat trip.
Once you’re on the island, there are plenty of activities for you to choose from. On the north of the island there are basketball and volleyball courts, while at the south end there’s a fenced-off kids’ zone with a large shaded paddling pool, swings and a climbing frame. If you just want to lie on the sand but need a spot of shade, you can also rent out a beach hut for the day for BHD15 on weekends or BHD10 during the week.
Should the journey over to the island have inspired you, you can also head out on a boat trip for a few hours. If you want to see dolphins in their natural habitat, a local guide will take you out on the open seas for three hours to find them. The trip costs BHD33, and can accommodate six people. Or, if you’re a budding fisherman, you can also have a go at catching some local fish. A three-hour trip costs BHD110 and can accommodate six.
Unsurprisingly for a tiny island, there’s only one restaurant, Jack and Joe’s, and one snack shop – so you’ll want to bring your own supplies in a cool box to keep the day as cheap as possible. If you fancy staying overnight, you can rent one of the private chalets at the north end of the island. A one-bedroom chalet, which can house up to four people (at a push), will set you back BHD60 during the week or BHD85 on Thursdays and Fridays. For that price, you’ll have access to a small kitchen and your own barbecue.
BHD5 (adults, weekdays), BHD8 (adults, weekends), BHD2 (children, weekdays), BHD4 (children, weekends) for the boat journey to the island. Sets off from Sitra Fisherman Port (1770 4600).
This is an archipelago made up of 16 islands around 20 km south of Bahrain, and it takes just 45 to 60 minutes to reach by boat from Durrat Marina. The islands are home to an amazing array of wildlife, including the endangered green turtle and dugong, as well as lots of seabirds. There’s one hotel on the island – Hawar Beach – and it offers lots of activities for you to enjoy during your stay, and a great place to rest your head after a day’s seafaring.
If you just fancy a relaxing excursion while staying in the Kingdom, the hotel offers day trips for BHD20. For that price you’ll get boat transport from Durrat Marina (leaving Bahrain at 8am and returning at 4pm), lunch, and free bike and kayak rental, as well as pool access.
BHD20. Daily 8am-4pm. Durrat Marina (1764 1666).
This destination is home to one of the best beaches in Bahrain, there’s just one problem: it disappears and reappears with the tide, so you’ll need to time your trip properly and book in advance. The Ritz-Carlton offers excursions to the island on the resort’s Pearl 1 boat. A three-hour trip will set you back BHD150 for six people, or BHD300 for a six-hour trip. Both come with a picnic lunch and soft drinks.
Conveniently, you can also combine your day out to Al Dar Islands with a visit to Jarada. A three-hour trip for six people costs BHD110.
BHD150 (six people, three hours), BHD300 (six people, six hours). Daily, hours vary. Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, Seef (1758 6612). BHD110 (six people, three hours). Daily, hours vary. Al Dar Islands (1770 4600).