Bahrain isn’t just about Formula 1. Yes, the annual Grand Prix is a huge draw for racing fans, but there’s so much more to this archipelago of 33 islands. Take flight to the Island of Golden Smiles and discover a cosmopolitan country that’s as much a paradise for shoppers, partygoers and culture vultures as it is for racing fans.

Something for everyone
Although it is a small country, there is still a fair amount of heritage with enough forts, museums, archaeological sites, pre-medieval shrines and mosques to charm and intrigue. As well as enjoying the high speed thrills at the Formula 1 race track, in the centre of Bahrain, you can be pampered at desert spas, lose yourself in spice-scented souks, splurge at chic shopping malls, or sip cocktails and dance the night away.

Bahrain may be the smallest of the Gulf states (being roughly the same size as Singapore), but it’s nevertheless an increasingly appealing holiday spot. The country is far more liberal than neighbouring Saudi Arabia, less developed than the UAE as a tourist destination, and its manageable size makes it easy to navigate and explore in just a long weekend. Much of the action in Bahrain is concentrated in the capital Manama – a busy, cosmopolitan city with a traditional souk area, high-rise buildings, modern shopping malls and an almost unlimited choice of international cuisine.

Time stands still at the tiny villages and towns dotted across the flat country; even in increasingly modern Manama, you are never far away from reminders of the cultural past, whether you’re admiring the traditional-style architecture or hearing the call to prayer from a centuries-old mosque.

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