Off-Track Activities – Bahrain Grand Prix

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Your guide to off-track activities at the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix. The next race is on March 19-22, 2020.

Statement from Bahrain International Circuit about the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix: In consultation with our international partners and the Kingdom’s national health Taskforce, Bahrain has made the decision to hold this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix as a participants-only event. As an F1 host nation, balancing the welfare of supporters and race goers is a tremendous responsibility. Given the continued spread of Covid-19 globally, convening a major sporting event, which is open to the public and allows thousands of international travellers and local fans to interact in close proximity would not be the right thing to do at the present time. But to ensure that neither the sport, nor its global supporter base, is unduly impacted, the race weekend itself will still go ahead as a televised event. Bahrain’s own early actions to prevent, identify and isolate cases of individuals with Covid-19 has been extremely successful to date. The approach has involved rapid, proactive measures, identifying those affected by the virus, of which the overwhelming majority of cases relate to those travelling into the country by air. Aggressive social distancing measures have further increased the effectiveness of preventing the virus’ spread, something that would clearly be near impossible to maintain were the race to have proceeded as originally planned. We know how disappointed many will be by this news, especially for those planning to travel to the event, which has become a cornerstone event of the international F1 calendar, but safety has to remain our utmost priority.

If you’ve got a day or two spare either side of the F1 weekend, there’s plenty to do in Bahrain. The beauty of this tiny country (which is similar in size to diminutive Singapore) is that you can cover a lot of it in a short space of time; organizing a car and driver is both cheap and easy through your hotel if you want to do some sightseeing. Bahrain is also a lot more liberal and cosmopolitan than most of its neighbors, whilst retaining an authentic Arabian culture. Here are some of our top attractions in Bahrain.

Saudi Causeway Restaurant Tower

A series of bridges separate Bahrain from Saudi Arabia, and you can stop for a cup of tea or a meal at the halfway point across the King Fahd causeway and take in the staggering panoramas. The tower itself – pictured – is a spectacle to behold, sitting high above the water like a spaceship. Go for the views, not just the food! Click here to learn more.

Delve into Bahrain’s History

Bahrain has a culturally rich history and it’s all covered in the Bahrain National Museum, which features ancient artifacts from the 5000 year story of the area. Comprised of 9 main halls, entry to the museum is cheap (just 1 BHD/$2.65 USD) and the museum is open 08:00-20:00 every day except Tuesdays. Elsewhere, you can find the remains of Qal’at al-Bahrain (Bahrain Fort). This 16th century Portuguese fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the area was key to understanding Bahrain’s history. Entry to the site is free and there is an on-site museum. In total, the country has four historic forts, which are a draw for those interested in learning about the country’s trading history.

Hit the Beach

Bahrain isn’t exactly known for its beautiful beaches, but if you fancy taking some time out on the sand then Al Jessayah is the best public beach, though beach clubs and hotels offer far prettier private beaches. Alternatively, the Al Dar Islands are an eight-minute boat ride from the city: a full beach resort complete with cabanas and huts, shopping, restaurants and watersports. Further afield, the Hawar Islands are a 50km boat trip from Manama, but well worth a visit. The 35 islands, 80% of which are made up of a wildlife preservation zone, are still relatively undeveloped. If you’re planning on visiting the Al Dar or Hawar Islands, be sure to take your passport for coastguard inspection.

It’s also worth considering a trip to the Wahooo Water Park. Cool off and make a splash at this indoor-outdoor water park located in the enormous City Centre Shopping Mall in the glitzy Seef district of Bahrain. Entrance is 12 BHD (28 EUR).

Souk Shopping in Bahrain

From browsing for spices and perfume to sampling the street food and picking up all manner of souvenirs, no visit to Manama is complete without a wander through the souk (or Manama Souq). This bustling market is a little oasis of traditional Arabic culture amidst the skyscrapers of Bahrain. Enter via the historic Bab Al Bahrain building.

For a more modern shopping experience, visit the City Centre Bahrain. Located in the Seef district, the largest shopping centre in the country offers everything from conventional stores to a range of cuisine, cinemas and even its own hotel complex!

Brunch in Bahrain

Bahrain has fully jumped on the bandwagon of a la carte brunching, and most large hotels and resorts will offer a brunch event at least once a week.. Al Safir’s Chocoholic Brunch at the Sheraton Hotel is one for those with a sweet tooth. Chocolate sculptures line the entrance hallways as guests are served chocolate-infused drinks and treated to a menu of cacao-laced delights. There’s also plenty of sushi, shellfish and dim sum on offer. Brunch at the Sheraton is served on Fridays, and costs 22 BHD or 28 BHD if you’re drinking alcohol (51-65 EUR).

Other things to do in Bahrain

  • Visit the Al Fateh Grand Mosque. Join a guided tour of this impressive public monument with a capacity for 7000 worshipers and known widely as Bahrain’s cultural centre. Dress conservatively for your free tour and keep legs covered – no shorts.
  • Visit the Tree of Life, a 400 year old tree on the site of an ancient fortress.
  • Check out the twin 240-meter towers of Bahrain World Trade Center, Manama’s most modern architectural sight
  • Learn more about nightlife, bars and restaurants in Bahrain via TimeOut Bahrain.

Have you been to the Bahrain Grand Prix? Leave a comment below!

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Your guide to off-track activities at the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix. The next race is on March 19-22, 2020.

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Alice West is a freelance copywriter from the UK with a passion for traveling to F1 races around the world.

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