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From traditional souks (markets) to ultramodern skyscrapers and high-end eateries, Kuwait City has sights and attractions to surprise any visitor.
Cradled between Saudi Arabia and Iraq, this tiny yet beautiful tourist destination is an oasis in a land of desert plains. Kuwait City will surprise any visitor with a number of attractions on offer, from excellent museums and galleries to historic sites, lively restaurants and beautiful beaches. Here Culture Trip suggests an itinerary that will help you get the most out of a weekend visit to Kuwait City.
Pro tip: Although certain locations are accessible on foot, you can always rely on public buses as they are economical and comfortable, costing only 250 fils (£0.63) to travel anywhere in Kuwait.
Morning – Spend the morning at the Kuwait Towers and witness weaver’s magic in Sadu House
Start your morning with a stroll alongside the seashore on Arabian Gulf Street in Sharq district. Then take a tour of the famous Kuwait Towers, located right next to the beach. With their distinctive blue-green “sequins”, they opened in 1979 and are a collection of three towers that serve as a water storage facility, café, restaurant and a revolving lookout point. Take some time out to relax and bask in the beauty of Kuwait from the viewing platform. There is a fee for the viewing platform, but it’s free if you’re a diner.
Pro tip: Dine at the Horizon Restaurant, where you can enjoy an international buffet at 82m (269ft) above sea level.
A short taxi ride away, located right next to the National Museum of Kuwait on the Gulf Road is Bait Al Sadu (Sadu House). Sadu House is different from the other museums in Kuwait that showcase the country’s modern and ancient history through art, artefacts and archaeological findings. It is an experience that you should not miss.
Sadu House is a beautiful, traditional Kuwaiti-styled house where visitors can discover the Bedouin art of weaving (Sadu weaving). Take a walk around the exhibition rooms, learn about the history of weaving and see traditional looms and the delicate metalwork and embroidery that was used to embellish outfits.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to visit the gift store to buy some traditional and authentic Kuwaiti artefacts.
Afternoon – Go on a date with the past in Souq Al-Mubarakiya with the smell of spices for company
Souq Al-Mubarakiya is one of the oldest souks (markets) in Kuwait and is located between Abdullah Al-Mubarak, Abdullah Al-Salem and Palestine streets. It was the center of trade in Kuwait before oil was discovered. The souk has an unmistakable charm that preserves Kuwait’s past beautifully to reflect the country’s rich heritage and culture.
Old men and women in the souk sell everything from herbs, spices and apothecary goods to clothes and accessories. There is nothing you cannot find here at a reasonable rate. Take your time, explore the markets and enjoy the various sights, sounds and smells as you get transported to the ancient Kuwait with all its charm.
Pro tip: Do not settle for the first price you hear. There is scope for negotiating the price and you can actually get good deals from the shops here.
Evening – Time for some fun shopping and dining at The Avenues
The Avenues is the perfect ending to your first day in Kuwait City. This is Kuwait’s largest shopping mall. The layout of the mall is unique with its seemingly endless straight hallways that are intersected by other streets. A high ceiling allows abundant sunlight to pour in, and the decor is magnificent.
The mall offers nearly 800 stores – and around 200 of these are mid- to high-luxury international brands that can really impress a discerning shopper. If shopping is not your thing, you can explore the tastes of the world from the variety of restaurants and cafés in the mall.
Full day – Enjoy a day in calming Failaka Island
After spending all of the first day in the city, why not head to Failaka Island? Around 16km (10mi) offshore, it will be a welcome break and a chance to explore the island’s rugged landscape and stunning archaeological sites.
Pro tip: You can reach the ferry terminal from the city on bus numbers 15 and 34 and take the one-hour Kuwait Public Transport Company Ferry ride to the island.
Stroll through streets reminiscent of Greece with white two-storey houses, small courtyards and bright green doors and window frames. If you have an extra day, book yourself an overnight stay through the town’s only hotel (meals are provided). Alternatively, if you want to try the local way of life, stay over at one of the newly refurbished heritage houses. For those who prefer to head back to the city, hop on the ferry in the evening.
Evening – Enjoy the food aboard a dhow with Al Boom
Wind up your trip with a delicious seafood dinner at Al Boom. A seafood and steakhouse like no other, this atmospheric restaurant is set on the huge Mohammedi II dhow (traditional sailing vessel). Enjoy the Omani lobster, Gulf shrimp skewers and grilled Kuwaiti zubeidi fish. After dinner, enjoy some coffee and dates, offered in the Captain’s Quarters. To complete the unique dining experience, collect your souvenir: a boat nail. This is the best end to a good weekend in Kuwait City.