Southern Governorate Travel Guide

Our travel guide covers everything to know about Southern Governorate in Bahrain including the best places to visit, things to do, where to stay and more.

Introduction to Southern Governorate

Located in the southern part of Bahrain, Southern Governorate is one of the smallest governorates in the country but nevertheless packed with unique cultural landmarks, scenic natural beauty, and a rich history. Southern Governorate comprises five cities: Riffa, Awali, Isa Town, Jurdab, and Zallaq.

Bahrain International Circuit, which hosts the Bahrain Grand Prix Formula One race every year, is also located in the Southern Governorate.

List of Places to Visit in Southern Governorate

Southern Governorate is home to a variety of cultural and natural attractions, making it the perfect destination for travelers seeking history, adventure, and relaxation.

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  1. Bahrain Fort: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Bahrain Fort, also known as Qal’at al-Bahrain, is an ancient archaeological site that dates back to the 3rd century AD.

  2. Al Jasra House: Located in the village of Jasra, this 19th-century home shows you what traditional Bahraini living used to look like centuries ago.

  3. Al-Qudaibiya Palace: This palace is the official residence of Bahrain’s Prime Minister and is popular for its unique architecture and manicured gardens.

Natural Attractions of Southern Governorate: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  1. Hawar Islands: These stunning islands are located just off the coast of Bahrain and are popular for their pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, and exotic wildlife.

  2. Tree of Life: This is a natural wonder in the middle of the desert. It’s a fully matured tree, which is believed to be over 400 years old and not only does it provide shade, but it’s also considered a miracle tree as there is no known source of water for miles around.

  3. Al-Areen Wildlife Park: Home to over 100 species of animals, Al-Areen Wildlife Park offers visitors the chance to see exotic wildlife up close in their natural habitat.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Southern Governorate

Southern Governorate offers some of the best hiking and biking routes in Bahrain. For those who want to experience nature and adventure in the Southern Governorate, here are some of the best trails to try:

  1. Dhalkhout Pathway: A 3.4 km hiking trail that starts from the Jidhafs roundabout and takes you through a scenic route of the city.

  2. Tree of Life Hiking Trail: This 1.4 km trail will take you through the desert to the famous Tree of Life.

  3. Al Jazeer Beach: A stunning 2.7 km beach that offers a peaceful walk along the shoreline.

Best Things to Do in Southern Governorate: Activities and Tours

  1. Bahrain International Circuit: Catch the Bahrain Grand Prix or take a tour of the world-class Formula One racing track.

  2. Al Jasra Handicraft Centre: Learn about Bahrain’s ancient art and craft traditions and try your hand at making traditional crafts.

  3. Bahrain National Museum: This museum showcases the rich history and culture of Bahrain through exhibits and artifacts.

Week-Long Itinerary for Southern Governorate

Here’s a suggested itinerary for travelers planning to spend a week in Southern Governorate:

Day Activity
1 Visit Qal’at Al Bahrain (Bahrain Fort)
2 Enjoy the wilderness and beauty of Hawar Islands
3 Take a hike, bike or drive around the city of Riffa
4 Relax and enjoy the sun and sand at one of the beaches in the area
5 Visit Bahrain National Museum
6 Take a tour of the Bahrain International Circuit
7 Experience the tree of life, the giant tree that grows in middle of the desert

Food and Drink Scene of Southern Governorate

Bahraini cuisine is unique and flavorful, and Southern Governorate offers a variety of restaurants and cafes that serve delicious local and international cuisine. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  1. Machboos: This is a traditional Bahraini rice dish made with spices, meat, and vegetables.

  2. Shawarma: This is a popular Middle Eastern dish made with meat that is cooked on a spit and then wrapped in pita bread.

  3. Luqaimat: These are small sweet dumplings that are deep-fried and then soaked in syrup.

Local Beverages

  1. Gahwa: A traditional Arabic coffee that is served in a small cup with dates.

  2. Laban: A refreshing yogurt drink that is often served with meals.

  3. Jallab: A sweet drink made with a mix of grape molasses, rose water, and almonds.

Where to Stay in Southern Governorate: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Southern Governorate offers a variety of accommodation options to suit all budget needs. Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel, budget-friendly hostel, or a cozy guesthouse, you’ll find plenty of options in the area. Some popular hotels and resorts include:

  1. Al Areen Palace & Spa: A 5-star luxury hotel that offers guests a private pool and a spa.

  2. The Ritz-Carlton: A luxurious 5-star resort that offers private beaches, an outdoor pool, and world-class dining.

  3. Mercure Grand Hotel Seef: A budget-friendly 4-star hotel that is located in the Seef district of Manama.

What to Buy in Southern Governorate: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Bahrain has a strong culture of traditional handicrafts and souvenirs. When shopping in Southern Governorate, keep a lookout for:

  1. Pottery: Bahrain has a long history of pottery-making, and you can find beautiful souvenirs made of pottery in shops and markets around Southern Governorate.

  2. Pearls: Bahrain was once world-famous for its pearls, and you can still find high-quality pearls in the city’s many jewelry stores.

  3. Spices: The Middle East is world-famous for its spices, and you can find a wide range of spices and spice blends in markets and shops around the city.

Local Culture and Customs of Southern Governorate

Bahraini culture is rich and diverse, and visitors to Southern Governorate will find warm and welcoming locals who are proud to share their culture and customs with visitors. Some cultural practices to keep in mind include:

  • Dress modestly when visiting religious sites.
  • Remove your shoes before entering a mosque or someone’s house.
  • Greet people with “As-salamu alaykum” (peace be upon you) and respond with “Wa alaykum as-salam” (and upon you, peace).

Best Time to Visit Southern Governorate

The best time to visit Southern Governorate is between November and February when the weather is mild and pleasant. Summer months (June to August) are hot and humid, and temperatures can soar up to 40°C.

Do’s and Don’ts of Southern Governorate


  • Dress modestly when in public areas.
  • Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Try local food and drinks.
  • Bargain when shopping at markets and souks.
  • Carry sunscreen and water when exploring outdoor attractions.


  • Drink alcohol in public areas.
  • Eat or smoke in public during Ramadan.
  • Take photographs of people without their permission.
  • Show public displays of affection.

Safety and Health

Safety in Southern Governorate

Bahrain is a safe country, and Southern Governorate is considered safe for tourists. However, visitors should follow basic safety precautions such as avoiding dark alleys and carrying only necessary belongings.

Health in Southern Governorate

Bahrain has a good public healthcare system, with many hospitals and clinics located throughout the country. Visitors should ensure that they have proper travel insurance before traveling to Southern Governorate.

Getting to Southern Governorate: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Southern Governorate

Bahrain International Airport is the main airport in Bahrain and is located in Muharraq, just a 15-minute drive from the Southern Governorate. There are several international airlines that operate flights to and from Bahrain.

Bus Stations Near Southern Governorate

The Bahrain Public Transport Company operates buses that connect Southern Governorate with other parts of Bahrain.

Other Options

Taxis and rental cars are also available in Southern Governorate, and they offer a convenient way to explore the area at your own pace.

How to Get Around in Southern Governorate

Buses, taxis, and rental cars are the most popular ways to get around Southern Governorate. Visitors should note that public transportation in Bahrain is not as well-developed as other countries, so private transport may be the best option for those looking to explore the area.

Where to Go Next from Southern Governorate: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Southern Governorate is well-connected to other parts of Bahrain, making it the perfect base for exploring the country. Some nearby destinations and excursions include:

  1. Manama: The capital city of Bahrain is just a short drive from Southern Governorate and offers visitors a chance to explore the city’s many cultural attractions and landmarks.

  2. Muharraq: Another nearby city, Muharraq is known for its traditional architecture and local markets.

  3. Al Areen Wildlife Sanctuary: Explore one of the best natural wildlife parks in Bahrain, where you can spot exotic animals in their natural habitat.


Southern Governorate is a must-visit destination for travelers looking for a mix of culture, history, and natural beauty. From ancient archaeological sites to stunning beaches and natural wonders, Southern Governorate offers something for everyone. With a rich history and a vibrant local culture, Southern Governorate promises to be an unforgettable destination for visitors to Bahrain.