Bahrain is home to everything from mighty modern malls to traditional souks when it comes to shopping, meaning that the island is bound to cater to every taste. Shopping in Bahrain is much more than a pastime—it is a way of life. Fridays and Saturdays, the days that comprise the Gulf weekend, see commercial areas teeming with visitors of all nationalities who are there for the bargains, the restaurants, and to meet and greet friends.
If the idea of haute couture and brand-name designers is appealing, then it seems like a new shopping center is opening every month. Each one is individual when it comes to layout, theme, and atmosphere. Al Seef is among the biggest of all the island’s malls, while the nearby Al A’ali is not far behind in terms of scale. Bahrain Mall and Dana Mall are both found in the adjacent Sanabis area and house all the big names, and the Sitra Mall is a little further away from the main cluster. The massive Bahrain City Centre is also a fully-equipped leisure complex with a multiplex cinema, two hotels, and a water park.
At the other end of the spectrum, the traditional souks are as entertaining and offer just as wide a selection of merchandise. Laid back and friendly, they provide as much of a tourist experience as they do bargains. The biggest and most popular is the Manama Souk, while the Muharraq Souk offers a true village atmosphere within the city. The Iranian Souk in Isa Town offers a great selection of second-hand goods, chotchkies, and even has a captivating bird market. In Adilya, you will find carpet merchants and a number of craft centers for local Bahraini handiwork.