Anybody looking to explore the history of Bahrain should pay a visit to Bahrain Fort. This UNESCO World Heritage site is thought to be the former capital of ancient Dilmun and is one of the most important archaeological sites in the Persian Gulf. Excavations over the years have revealed a large number of cultural, commercial, and military discoveries.
Qal'at al-Bahrain is located atop a large artificial mound that was created by centuries of rebuilding during continuous occupation. It was occupied from around 2800 BC, and has the remnants of two earlier forts surrounding it. The site has been open to the public since 2008, with a museum featuring five exhibition halls with more than 500 archaeological finds, which are explained via a free audio tour.
Visiting Bahrain Fort is best enjoyed as part of a day tour of the region’s other main highlights, including Al Fateh Grand Mosque, Bahrain National Museum, Manama Souq, and the Bahrain City Center complex. It is also included within certain half-day tours from Manama, taking in the Saar burial chambers, the Barbar Temple, and the Burial Mounds.
Insider’s Tip: The Bahrain Fort museum features a main courtyard leading to a café. Head here for a drink and to enjoy spectacular views overlooking the coastline.
Bahrain Fort overlooks the island’s northern coast. If not arriving as part of an organized tour, you can take bus number 5 from Manama, then walk half an hour to the site. The fort is also easy to reach via car; it’s a 10-minute drive from central Manama and is well-signposted once outside the city.