Middle East Destinations | Bahrain

Key Points for Planners

  • Extensive hotel offerings with exemplary facilities for large-scale MICE events
  • The Bahrain International Circuit is a mecca for motorsport enthusiasts


The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 small islands situated between the Gulf of Bahrain and the Persian Gulf. For centuries, the islands traded in pearls, an industry first mentioned in Assyrian texts dating to 2000 BC and one that continued until Japan began its mass production of cultured pearls in 1932. Fortunately for Bahrain, shortly after the cultured pearl trade was eclipsed as their sole economic driver, the tiny archipelago struck oil and a new boom was born.

Key Locations

  • Bahrain International Circuit
  • Bahrain National Museum
  • Bahrain Pearling Trail
  • Block 338, a fine-dining mecca in the heart of Adliya
  • Muharraq Old Town and Souq
  • The Tree of Life
One look at the kingdom today and the evidence of oil money is obvious—glorious architecture, luxury hotels, a palpable sense of financial success. There are still traces of the old Bahrain, however, where you can see the island’s ancient and working class roots. Together, these two realities meld to create a destination with an extraordinary history and an exciting contemporary culture.
Bahrain is the site of the ancient Dilmun Civilization, an important trade center in the Bronze Age that connected Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. It is also thought, by some historical scholars, to be the site of the Garden of Eden. Bahrain’s Pearling Trail, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, chronicles the history of its first economic boom. Visitors can discover the area’s heritage, learn about how oysters make pearls, and even take a dive trip to one of Bahrain’s abandoned pearl beds.
Oysters don’t feature as strongly in traditional Bahraini cuisine as one might think, but that’s likely because oysters were traditionally discarded after the pearl was harvested. Instead, the island’s traditional cuisine is a mix of flavorful rice dishes with amazing names like Khabeesa, Maglooba, and Zalabia. Of course, all manner of cuisines are available to travelers, so you will find something to suit every taste.

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