The top things to eat, see and do when attending the Bahrain Grand Prix
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Welcome back Formula 1 fans, let’s get ready to kick off the 2024 Season with the Bahrain Grand Prix. If you are headed to the Grand Prix, here are our top suggestions on where to eat, explore and relax when visiting the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Did you know?
The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago located in the Persian Gulf neighboring Saudi Arabia and Qatar
Bahrain is famously known for its pearling history, dating back to 2,000 BCE
Manama is the capital of Bahrain and is located a little over a 40 minute drive from the Bahrain International Circuit
Where to Eat
When visiting Bahrain there is no shortage of amazing places to eat and dishes to try. Given the Kingdom’s strategic position on the Gulf, Bahrain cuisine is a unique fusion of flavors influenced by its many trading partners. This fusion has resulted in these favorite national dishes such as Machboos (fragrant rice dish with protein), Qoozi (stuffed lamb), Balaleet (sweetened vermicelli served with egg) and Qahwah (Arabic Coffee)
Ranging from traditional hole-in-the wall cafes to white tablecloth restaurants offering inventive international cuisine, you are sure to find something delicious at every price point. Here are a few of our favorite restaurants and cafes to try when you are visiting Bahrain.
Located within the souk in Manama, Haji Gahwa has been serving traditional Bahrain breakfast since 1950. This all-day cafe offers efficient and friendly service but we suggest stopping here early in the morning to fill up on hearty fare such as balaleet. Sip on traditional teas and saffron-infused drinks while taking in the sights and sounds of the souk from their iconic blue painted furniture. No reservations required, do not be discouraged if there is a queue it will be worth your time.
Elevated Pick: Fusions by Tala at The Gulf Hotel Bahrain
The namesake restaurant by critically acclaimed chef Tala Bashmi, Fusions by Tala offers contemporary reinventions of Bahraini classics. Chef Bashmi, a native Bahraini, sources ingredients locally which she prepares using techniques she honed in European kitchens. Consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in the region, we recommended securing a reservation in advance and opting in for the full tasting menu experience.
Located within the Bahrain National Museum, this cafe is the perfect pitstop after spending the morning learning about Bahrain’s history. Their extensive menu offers brunch classics, salads inspired by local seasonal produce and plenty of vegetarian options. The light and airy cafe offers a variety of seating options and features views of the nearby National Theatre of Bahrain. Make sure to include this cafe in your cultural itinerary.
Where to Explore
There is so much history to explore when visiting Bahrain. Luckily, as this is the smallest state in the Gulf, many of the top attractions are easily accessible within a short distance. We recommend learning about the rich history of Bahrain at the National Museum to provide context before you explore other local heritage sites and attractions. Bahrain has no shortage of modern malls featuring high-end contemporary brands, however you would be amiss to skip out on a trip to the traditional souk. Here are our must-see museums, heritage sites and cultural attractions you need to add to your Bahrain Grand Prix itinerary:
A must-stop for any first-time visitor to Bahrain, the Bahrain National Museum houses over 6,000 years of history. The architecturally striking building features a mix of both permanent and temporary exhibitions which chronicle the traditions and customs of the region. Historical documents and handicrafts are often juxtaposed with exhibitions featuring contemporary artworks from local emerging artists. The museum is open daily from 9am - 8pm, with the exception of Tuesdays when the museum is closed.
No trip to Bahrain is complete without a visit to the souk. Enter the souk through the Bab el-Bahrain or ‘Gateway of Bahrain’ and take your time to explore the numerous shops offering textiles, spices, kaftans and other handicrafts. Snake through the narrow streets and navigate your way to the Gold Souk where you can find special treasures and Bahraini pearls to bring home. Do not forget to bring cash and negotiate with the vendors, it is all a part of the adventure!
Located onMuharraq island, a short drive from the Manama city center, you will find the Pearling Path, a UNESCO Heritage site that relates to the history of Bahrain’s pearling era. Begin your visit at the newly renovated visitors center, where you can learn about the history of pearling in Bahrain before embarking on a 3.5 km path that leads you past the vast oyster beds, historical building and architecturally significant structures. The visitors center is open daily from 10am - 6pm, with the exception of Sunday when it is closed.
Where to Relax
In the lead up to or following a busy race weekend it is always important to make time for self care. Luckily, as Bahrain offers many luxury amenities you do not need to look far to find an experience that best suits your needs. From 5 Star luxury resorts to world class spas and unforgettable beaches, there are so many different ways to enhance your race weekend in Bahrain. These are our favorite ways to relax when traveling to Bahrain for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
As Bahrain is an archipelago, there are miles of seashore to explore featuring gold sand beaches and crystal blue waters. Bahrain features a mix of both public and private beaches which offer amenities such as sun loungers, equipment rentals, cafes, lifeguards and restrooms. We recommended seaking out Al Jazayer Beach, Bahrain’s largest public beach. located in close proximity to the Bahrain International Circuit or venture further to the Hawar Islands located off the southern tip of Bahrain accessible by boat. Alternatively book a day pass at one of the many luxury resorts that allow non-guests to enjoy their facilities.
Unwind at the Spa
Bahrain is known for its luxurious lifestyle and hospitality and that commitment extends to its spa and wellness offerings. Steps away from the Bahrain International Circuit you will find theSofitel resort which offers thalassotherapy treatments, the first of its kind in the Gulf. Or if you have time, we suggest the spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain which offers treatments that seamlessly blend traditional Middle Eastern rituals with contemporary wellness practices. Regardless of where you book, you will leave the spa feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
Where to Experience Nightlife
Excitement during your race weekend in Bahrain does not end at the circuit - Bahrain is home to an abundant nightlife scene filled with world-class bars, clubs, and live music venues. Most of the restaurants and nightlife are located in Block 338, a pedestrian district that is ideal for a night on the town. Unlike most of its neighbors, alcohol is legal in Bahrain and can easily be found in most bars and restaurants - that being said there are strict laws around drunken behavior in public so be mindful of your consumption.
Here are some of our favorite places in Block 338 to unwind during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend:
A transplant from Brooklyn, Calexico transforms from restaurant to club for their weekly event nights. Calexico invites local and international DJs to spin an eclectic mix of house and techno music. Begin your night with some of their famous tacos and margaritas before dancing under the glow of their signature disco balls. Tickets and schedules can be found on their dedicated event page.
Just opened earlier last year, Botanica is a tropical-themed cocktail bar offering inventive libations and Mediterranean-inspired bites. Try one of their signature cocktails or opt for bottle service and dance the night away as the DJ turns up the tunes. Their DJ lineup is updated regularly via their instagram.
Also located in the Block 338 district, Halo is another relative newcomer to Bahrain’s nightlife scene. Enjoy international cuisine and craft cocktails in an open air atmosphere as a rotation of DJs set the vibe. Advance reservations are recommended and can be made via whatsapp.
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