The Kingdom of Bahrain consists of an archipelago of 33 islands in the Persian Gulf, just off the eastern shore of Saudi Arabia and southeast of the Qatar peninsula. Despite being an ancient Middle East Muslim kingdom adjacent to ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, Bahrain has a progressive society and is an urban shopping paradise. The overall population stands at around 1.25 million. Summers are incredibly hot and dry, while the winter brings low temperatures and sometimes even hail. But the heat outside hardly matters since everything from your hotel to the malls and shops will be centrally air-conditioned. Book an air conditioned car for hire in Bahrain and you are all set to visit the capital city of Manama and other destinations such as Muharraq and Riffa.
The capital city accounts for about 155,000 people, which is a quarter of the country's permanent population. Get a car for rent in Bahrain as the first thing you do, because you simply cannot walk around as a tourist when it is over 120 degrees outside (50 °C). You can be a traditional tourist and visit the Al-Fateh Mosque, Bahrain Fort, Bahrain National Museum, and the Corniche al-Fateh. But what many people come here for is shopping. The Manama Souq is a must-visit traditional market. There are a dozen massive malls and shopping centers such as the Bahrain City Center, Bahrain Mall, Moda Mall, and Seef Mall. If you are done with all this, there are some unique attractions near the city. Visit the Barbar Temple ruins dating back to 3000 BC and the 400-yr old "Tree of Life" 18 miles south of the city. The tree has miraculously survived in the arid desert despite a complete lack of water.
Riffa, in the central region, is the second largest city in Bahrain. The city is divided into East and West Riffa. The west is more residential and includes the residences and palaces of the ruling dynasty and the prime minister. East Riffa is more traditional, with historic attractions such as Riffa Fort and the Souk Ar Rifa marketplace. East Riffa also has the Bahrain National Stadium.
The city of Muharraq, on Muharraq Island, is the closest thing you will get in terms of a beach resort in Bahrain. Actually, they cooked up the whole thing, because the beaches and hotels are on the man-made Amwaj Islands adjacent to Muharraq. Bahrain's only international airport is also located on Muharraq.
Bahrain has 33 islands, and many of them such as Sitra and Muharraq are connected by road to the main island. You could also take a short drive past Riffa and Hamad Town to Malkiya Beach on the coast facing Saudi Arabia. A coastal drive from here will take you past Safriya Palace, the University of Bahrain and the F1 Motor Sport Complex to the Al Areen Wildlife Sanctuary and Jazaer Beach. But the real fun would be for you to book your car rental in Bahrain right now and plan for a six hour road trip to Doha in Qatar. You will have to take the King Fahd Causeway across the island of Umm an-Nasan to enter Saudi Arabia by road and then follow Route 615 along the Persian Gulf coast to enter the Qatar Peninsula.
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