The independent state of Bahrain has a reputation as a relatively liberal and modern Gulf state, and would be an excellent introduction to the Middle East. Situated in the Arabian Gulf, off the east coast of Saudi Arabia, it is a group of 33 islands, taking its name from the largest. Bahrain is an intoxicating mix of eastern and western cultures, as high rise buildings sit side by side with more traditional dwellings and ancient traditions and historical sites mix with modern developments and cosmopolitan living.
With a myriad of forts, temples and mosques dotted in all directions, Bahrain is an archaeological connoisseur’s dream. Its world-famous prehistoric cemeteries are located on six sites in the northern end of Bahrain Island. Over 150,000 of these burial mounds – commemorating the Dilmun and Tylos civilizations – were constructed over a period of 500 years. No visit to Bahrain would be complete without a trip to the souk, with its profusion of colours, sights and smells. Travel back to a bygone era and perfect your art of bargaining with the merchants selling gold, spices, herbs, colourful cloth, local produce and nuts.