As the capital and largest city of Bahrain, Manama is one of the Middle East's most prosperous economic and business hubs. It's famous for its gleaming skyscrapers and vast shopping malls, but there's plenty more to this city than just being a modern metropolis. The globally diverse cuisine found here has made Manama somewhat of a foodie destination, whereas impressive museums, historic souks and a lively nightlife scene mean that there's something for everyone.
For a taste of the city's culture, make your way to the Bahrain National Museum, Manama's largest, which houses a rich collection of ancient archaeological artefacts showcasing almost 5,000 years worth of the country's history. Other sites of interest here include the Al-Fateh Grand Mosque and the Bahrain Pearling Path – a UNESCO-listed site situated on Muharraq Island, which chronicles the historical importance of Bahrain's pearling industry. There's also the Bahrain International Circuit which is used for the annual Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix.
The numerous air-conditioned shopping malls in Manama make the city a shopper's haven. These include the Moda Mall – decked out in high-end designer brands including Cartier, Versace and Gucci – and the enormous Seef Mall – which houses over 370 different shops, restaurants, cafés and a large cinema multiplex. For trinkets and souvenirs, make your way to the Bab el-Bahrain Souk, which sells an array of hidden gems down its narrow streets.