FROM free-falling in the world’s tallest wind tunnel to world-class seaside hotel resorts, there's something for everyone on the island of Bahrain.
Designer Elton Lam balances adrenaline rushes with the ultimate relaxation on a luxury break in the Persian Gulf.
Have a grand day out
Whether you’re a hardcore Formula 1 fanatic or have never understood what the fuss is about, the Bahrain Grand Prix is a spectacular event. The atmospheric race celebrated its 15th birthday this year and saw celeb spectators including David Beckham.
Tickets to the 2020 race will set you back around £125, but trust us, it’s worth every penny (Bahraingp.com). Feeling jealous of the F1 drivers?
Get your own speed fix at the nearby Bahrain International Karting Circuit. After slipping on a race suit, helmet and gloves, you’re let loose on a twisty, challenging circuit in control of 13-brake horsepower wheels, so you can channel your inner Lewis Hamilton (or Mario Kart).
A 15-minute track session costs £33 (Bahraingp.com/experiences).
For another adrenalin hit, head to Gravity Village where you can experience the rush of free-falling minus the scary jumping-out-of-a-plane bit.
Helpful instructors coach you through the whole process, and before you know it you’ll be soaring 12m up in the world’s tallest wind tunnel.
Sessions cost from £40 (Gravitybah.com).
Sleep by the beach
Bahrain boasts world-class seaside hotel resorts, and The Ritz-Carlton is number one when it comes to relaxation, thanks to its private white-sand beach stretching to a secluded lagoon.
With 11 restaurants to pick from, there’s no way you’ll get bored, but don’t miss the Mexican food at Cantina Kahlo – try the beef tostada, £11.50.
Rooms cost from £240 per night including breakfast (Ritzcarlton.com/bahrain). Nearby, the new Jumeirah Royal Saray is enclosed by the Arabian Sea, with a huge outdoor pool and vast rooms that ooze luxury, from £250 a night (Jumeirah.com).
If you want to be close to the city, stay at fancy Swiss-Belhotel Seef Bahrain in the commercial district for chic decor and stunning sea views at a good price. Rooms cost from £110 per night (Swiss-belhotel.com/seef).
Dive into pearls
In Muharraq, the former capital of the island, you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage Pearling Trail.
Stroll along its narrow lanes to discover the restored traditional Bahraini pearl merchants’ houses.
Visit the Sheikh Ebrahim Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center For Culture And Research to get a fascinating insight into Bahrain’s heritage – entry is free.
The Bin Matar House explores the island’s history and the House of Sheikh Isa Bin Ali Khalifa is another highlight, showcasing how 19th-century royals lived. Entry to each costs £2 (Shaikhebrahimcenter.org).
Dine al fresco
In the heart of northern Bahrain’s Manama district, Block 338 is a super-cool pedestrian zone packed with great restaurants, art galleries and small boutiques.
One of the best stops is Attic, a retro-style Greek kitchen with a gorgeous outdoor terrace and dishes designed for sharing. Try kadaifi prawns, £14, chicken souvlaki skewer, £20, and lamb kleftiko, £32 (Atticbahrain.com).
Close by, The Merchant House in the vibrant Bab al-Bahrain Souq area is a new boutique hotel that dishes up fabulous food against a backdrop of contemporary art.
Grab a table on the rooftop garden terrace and tuck into the portobello mushroom burger, £14.40, or the delicious grilled salmon pesto, £22 (Campbellgrayhotels.com/merchant-house-bahrain).
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