Sleeping in Airports

Bahrain Airport Layover Sightseeing

This article includes links to our travel partners at Tripadvisor, where you can read traveller reviews, book tours and plan your visit to Bahrain.

Bahrain Airport Layover Sightseeing
(photo credit: Leonid Andronov / Shutterstock)

Bahrain International Airport (BAH) is located on Muharraq Island, just 7 kilometres from Bahrain’s capital Manama. If you have a layover of more than six hours, you should consider going out of the airport to get a glimpse of Manama, the kingdom of Bahrain, a popular touristic destination in the region. A 15-minute drive from the airport will allow you to discover the kingdom’s history and culture at the Bahrain National Museum, the Al Fateh Mosque or the Manama Souq. If you’d rather spend a few hours shopping in air-conditioned malls or chilling at the beach, don’t worry; Manama also has what you need.

Airport Overview

Bahrain International Airport (BAH) is one of the smallest airports in the region and the oldest in the Persian Gulf. Opened in 1927, it was expanded in 2021 and consists of a single-passenger terminal for domestic and international flights. However, Bahrain International Airport has a few distractions to offer to the passengers, and if your layover is fewer than 6 hours, you’d better stay at the airport. The airport will particularly delight art lovers, as it is infused with Bharani art, with sculptures and paintings exposed in the terminal. It also possesses a local market, the Souq Al Qaisariya, designed like a traditional Bahraini market and that offers local food, drinks, jewellery, and local artwork. There’s also a small museum, the Cultural Heritage Galleries. And if you’re looking for rest, several lounges will provide you with comfort and art, both at the same time. For more information on the airport, check out our Bahrain Airport Guide.

Manama Sightseeing Attractions

Below are a few of the top things to do in Manama:

Bahrain National Museum

Bahrain National Museum
(photo credit: trabantos / Shutterstock)

The kingdom of Bahrain is a fascinating country with a rich 6000-year history, yet little known by most foreigners. Why not take advantage of your layover to learn its history and culture? The best place to do so is the Bahrain National Museum, where you can admire rich collections of architectural relics.

  • Time Required: Open from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM from Saturday to Thursday, visitors usually spend two to three hours there. The entrance ticket fee is only 1.1 BHD.
  • How to Get There: Located 15 minutes from the airport, the Bahrain National Museum can be reached by taxi or bus (Line A1, Bahrain National Museum bus stop).
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor to plan your sightseeing, read traveller reviews, or book a tour to the Bahrain National Museum.

Al Fateh Mosque

Al Fateh Mosque
(photo credit: trabantos / Shutterstock)

The Al Fateh Grand Mosque is a sublime white mosque worth the detour during your layover in Bahrain. It is one of the world’s largest mosques and has an enormous fibreglass dome. The delicate architecture is a blend of traditional and modern Islamic architecture, giving you many opportunities to take stunning photos. Remember, though, that you should dress modestly to enter the mosque (clothes can be provided at the entrance). Located near the Bahrain Museum, the Al Fateh Mosque is a quick visit that can be combined with the museum.

  • Time Required: A maximum of two hours, including transportation, is enough to have plenty of time to visit the mosque. Opening times are from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM every day except on Friday.
  • How to Get There: Located near the Bahrain National Museum, the Al Fateh Mosque is accessible with a 15-minute taxi ride or by bus (Line A1, Al Fateh Grand Mosque bus stop).
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor to plan your sightseeing, read traveller reviews, or book a tour of Al Fateh Grand Mosque.

Manama Souq & Little India

Bahrain Souq
(photo credit: lovelypeace / Shutterstock)

The entrance of the souq is marked with a beautiful 1949 gate, the historical building of Bab al Bahrain. Passing this national landmark, you’ll enter the bustling area of the market, a labyrinth of narrow alleys selling colourful handicrafts, spices, jewelry, etc. There are also plenty of small cafes and restaurants to taste the local cuisine. Inside the souq, visit “Little India,” an area full of Indian shops, old historic houses, and a 200-year-old Krishna Temple.

  • Time Required: Consider at least three hours, transportation included, to visit the souq. Add one or two hours more if you intend to take your time and have a meal there.
  • How to Get There: The Manama Souq is 20 minutes west of the airport. You can get there by taxi or bus (Line A1, Manama Terminal, then walk for about 10 minutes).
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor to plan your sightseeing, read traveller reviews or book a tour.

MODA Mall & Bahrain Mall

The MODA Mall in the Bahrain World Trade Center hosts world-famous luxury brands and designer shops for a top-notch shopping experience. If you want to pamper yourself, you will also find many restaurants and beauty salons just a short ride from the airport. For a wow experience, you can also opt for the Bahrain Mall, the largest shopping mall in the country, home to many luxury brands and yummy food courts.

  • Time Required: The duration of your shopping escapade depends on your love for luxury brands, but don’t plan less than two hours for the MODA Mall and three hours for the Bahrain Mall.
  • How to Get There: The MODA mall is near the Bahrain National Museum, about 15 minutes from the airport by taxi. You can also get there by bus, with line A1 (Palace Avenue bus stop, then walk for about 10 minutes). The Bahrain Mall is further away, about 30 minutes from the airport, and it is best to reach it by taxi.
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor to plan your sightseeing, read traveller reviews or book a tour.

Bahrain Bay Beach

On an island where the sun is always shining and the water is always at a perfect temperature, what’s better than spending some time at the beach? Bahrain Bay Beach is your best option on a layover, as it’s just a few minutes from the airport. Chill on a deckchair on the pristine white sand, or have fun in some of the activities offered at the beach, such as water slides and a wave pool. Be careful, though: if you travel during the summer, it’s best to avoid being under the sun during the day, as the weather can be pretty warm (around 40 degrees with high humidity).

  • Time Required: Consider at least 3 to 4 hours to enjoy your stay at Bahrain Bay Beach.
  • How to Get There: The best option to get to Bahrain Bay Beach is to grab a taxi that will take you there in 15 minutes from the airport.
  • Plan Your Sightseeing: Visit Tripadvisor to plan your sightseeing, read traveller reviews or book a tour.

Airport Transportation

Conveniently located near Manama, Bahrain International Airport offers a few transportation options. Several air-conditioned bus lines regularly operate between the airport and the city center, while taxis and car rentals are also available for layover travellers.

Public transit options include:

  • Bus: Four public bus lines serve Bahrain International Airport from and to the city center of Manama (Line A1, A2, 10, 11), running every 20 minutes from to. Departure is located outside the Arrivals Hall, on gates 3 and 4. For fares, routes and schedule: Bahrain Public Transport Company Website.

Private transit options include:

  • Taxi: Taxis are located outside the Arrivals Hall, in the Car Park B area. You can reach Manama city center in 20 minutes by taxi, any time of the day or night, for about 8 BHD.
  • Limousine Service: Bahrain International Airport also offers limousine services operated by Hala Bahrain. For prices and reservations: Hala Bahrain Website.
  • Car Rentals: Several car rental companies are located on the ground floor, in the public Arrivals area (opposite gates 1 and 2). You have the choice between all car levels, from economy to luxury.

Before You Go: Layover Tips

Now that you are motivated and excited about your mini layover vacation check a few final logistical concerns off your list before you fully commit.

  • Do you need to organize a visa to leave the airport? Requirements change frequently and for each nationality, so be sure to seek out current details on the availability, cost, and procedures of obtaining a transit visa.
  • When is your next flight’s check-in time? Double-check with your airline exactly when you need to be at the airport – and plan your layover accordingly.
  • What are security wait times like at the airport? Some airports are notorious for extended security wait times, so be sure to research in advance and factor that into your overall time budget.
  • What’s happening with your luggage? When you check in to your first flight, confirm whether your luggage will be checked through or needs to be picked up between your connecting flights. Check out our Bahrain Airport Guide for information on luggage storage.

Other Useful Resources

Finally, here are a few handy resources to help you plan your layover even more thoroughly: