Bahrain is a small country (the largest of its islands is just 55km/34 miles long and 18km/11miles wide) and much of its landscape is desert. Therefore, driving is by far the most convenient way to get around. Most of the Bahrain’s excellent road network is concentrated in and around Manama and the country is connected to Saudi Arabia by the 20km/12 mile-long King Fahd Causeway . There are no restrictions on women driving in Bahrain, however care should be taken when entering Saudi Arabia via the Causeway, as women are not permitted to drive there. Roads in major towns in Bahrain are generally well maintained and are four to six lanes wide at some points.
The speed limits in Bahrain are 60km/h (40mph) in towns and residential areas, 80-100km/h (50 to 60 mph) on open roads and 120km/h (70mph) on motorways. There are no toll charges on Bahrain’s roads apart from the Causeway where you will pay 2 BHD (£3.72) to cross in a small vehicle. Bear in mind that tourists are not permitted across the Causeway in hired vehicles. International driving licences are accepted only after confirmation from the Traffic & Licensing Directorate, which can be arranged when hiring a vehicle. Otherwise, you must hold a valid Bahraini driving licence in order to drive in Bahrain legally.
Short-term visitors to Bahrain may find driving on Manama’s heavily congested roads a little daunting, so taking a taxi is a good way to get around. Taxis in Bahrain are easily identified by their roof signs and orange colour and can be either hailed in the street or pre-booked in advance. Drivers are legally required to calculate the fare by meter, however some drivers may simply come up with a price at random. It’s advisable to ask your driver to switch on the meter before starting your journey.
Buses in Bahrain are operated by the privately owned Cars Transport Corporation, which is regulated by the government. Travelling by bus is the second most popular mode of transport (after the car) and the network connects most towns, cities and residential areas. However, be aware that routes and timetables are difficult to get hold of and Bahrain’s buses are mainly used by migrant labourers and day workers. Expats may be better off either hiring a car or taking a taxi.
There are several coach tour operators in Bahrain which organise air-conditioned trips to popular tourist destinations. For further information on how to book and prices consult the Bahrain’s tourist information website here.
Due to its small size and a general lack of demand, Bahrain currently has no rail network. However, plans are in place to develop a railway infrastructure which will eventually connect all the Persian Gulf countries.
Trams and Light Rail
Bahrain has no light rail, underground or tram network. Plans to install a 103km long monorail system which will connect Muharraq, Manama, Seef and Isa Town are currently under review.
Bahrain International Airport is situated on Muharraq Island, 12km from Manama. The country’s national carrier is Gulf Air, which flies to destinations worldwide. There are also two budget airlines, Air Arabia and Bahrain Air.
Other ways to get around
Hiring a car is the most popular way of getting around in Bahrain. For those wishing to travel further afield, there are several ferry companies which operate between Bahrain and Iran, information on timetables and tickets can be found here. More adventurous travellers may like to take a traditional Bahraini camel ride into the desert or along some of Bahrain’s stunning white sand beaches.