Sun-soaked and teeming with a unique blend of tradition and modernity, Kuwait is a gem nestled in the heart of the Middle East that’s often overlooked by British tourists. This tiny but mighty nation offers a rich tapestry of experiences, from its futuristic skyline to its inspiring heritage. If you’re planning a 48-hour sojourn in Kuwait, this itinerary will offer you a taste of everything this captivating emirate has to offer.
Getting To Kuwait From The UK
The easiest and most direct way to travel from the UK to Kuwait would be by air. Kuwait Airways, British Airways and Finnair all operate direct flights from London Heathrow to Kuwait International Airport in Kuwait City. It’s also possible to fly direct from London Stansted to Kuwait City with Jazeera Airways. Finally, Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines both fly indirect, with a brief stopover in Istanbul.
Flights are surprisingly affordable between London and Kuwait, with a return trip available from around the £200 mark.
Direct flights depart from Manchester Airport to Kuwait City, too, but prices are significantly higher than when departing from Heathrow.
The flight duration from Heathrow (or Manchester) Airport to Kuwait is approximately 6.5 to 7 hours. On arrival, you can hire a taxi or use ride-hailing services such as Careem or Uber to reach your destination within the city.
British nationals can either apply for an E-visa in advance of their trip or get a visa on arrival in Kuwait, which generally lasts for 90 days. For additional information about E-visas, see the website of the Ministry of Interior. Do be aware that immigration officials in Kuwait may request to see proof of return or onward travel, a sponsor’s letter, and proof of an accommodation booking upon arrival.
Anyway, enough of the admin. Let’s touch down in Kuwait for the weekend and explore this fascinating country…
Day 1: Delving Into Tradition
As the sun peeks over the horizon, the city of Kuwait slowly stirs into life. The call to prayer from distant minarets echoes through the gentle morning air, as dawn unfolds, revealing the grandeur of the city’s traditional skyline. The scent of freshly brewed Arabic coffee wafts from roadside cafés, blending with the aroma of freshly baking Khubz.
Stalls begin to set-up, ready to unveil the wealth of treasures hidden within the city’s traditional marketplace. This is the day to delve into Kuwait’s rich history and tradition, immersing oneself in its captivating heritage.
Morning – Kuwait National Museum & Seif Palace
Start your day with a hearty breakfast at your hotel or a local cafe, where you can taste traditional Kuwaiti breakfast items such as Balaleet (sweet saffron noodles served with a savory omelette on top), or Chbaab (Kuwaiti-style pancakes).
Once satiated and satisfied, head over to Kuwait National Museum, just a stone’s throw away from the city centre. Delve into Kuwait’s past by visiting the Heritage House and the Archaeological and Astronomical museums inside the compound. The museum offers a compelling journey through the country’s history, from the Neolithic Age to the advent of oil.
Next, pay a visit to the nearby Seif Palace, a spectacle of old-world Arabic architecture. With captivating blue tiles, intricate mosaics and a majestic watchtower, the palace reflects the rich Kuwaiti heritage.
Afternoon – Souk Al-Mubarakiya & Grand Mosque
After getting your fill of history, head to the Souk Al-Mubarakiya. This traditional market encapsulates the spirit of old Kuwait. Meander through the bustling stalls selling everything from perfumes and spices to gold and local handicrafts. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and don’t forget to indulge in a traditional Kuwaiti lunch at one of the central restaurants. Try Majboos or Machboos, a fragrant rice dish loaded with spices and meat.
Next, visit the Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in Kuwait. The mosque’s grandeur, coupled with its serene atmosphere, provides a soothing retreat from the bustling market. A guided tour will offer glimpses of the exquisite Islamic architecture and the main prayer hall that can accommodate up to 10,000 men.
Evening – Stroll along the Corniche & Dinner at Marina Crescent
As the sun begins to set, take a leisurely walk along the Kuwait City Corniche. The scenic thoroughfare offers extraordinary views of the Arabian Gulf. Watch the sunset and enjoy the cool breeze.
Unwind at Marina Crescent, a popular waterfront lined with restaurants and cafes serving both local and international cuisines. Enjoy a delightful dinner while savouring the stunning views.
Day 2: Embracing Modernity
You rise with Kuwait on the second day as the sun casts long shadows over the city’s modern architecture, the cityscape exudes a futuristic charm, in contrast to yesterday’s traditional vibes. The soft hum of the morning traffic sets the day’s rhythm while the city’s parks and gardens glisten under the early morning dew. Today is the day to embrace Kuwait’s diverse modernity, exploring the seamless integration of ultra-modern amenities with an enduring cultural heartbeat.
Morning – The Avenues & Tareq Rajab Museum of Islamic Calligraphy
Fuel up for a fun-filled day with the local favourite Fatayer (a soft, oven-baked pastry stuffed with spinach, cheese, or meat) or Ful Medames (cooked fava beans seasoned with lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil – typically served with flatbread).
After a hearty breakfast, gear up for a shopping spree at The Avenues, the largest shopping mall in Kuwait. This mall is a one-stop destination for fashion, homeware, and entertainment.
Next, visit the Tareq Rajab Museum of Islamic Calligraphy, home to a splendid collection of Islamic art, including rare manuscripts, ceramics, and metalwork.
After this deep dive into history, take a ten minute taxi to Amr Bin Al Aas street (Kuwait’s famous ‘food street’) for lunch. Follow your nose – or simply join the longest queue! – and you’ll be richly rewarded.
Afternoon – Scientific Centre & Kuwait Towers
Post-lunch, head to the Kuwait Scientific Centre. This fascinating centre boasts a large aquarium showcasing marine life from the Arabian Gulf, an IMAX Theatre, and a Discovery Place for children.
No visit to Kuwait is complete without stopping by the iconic Kuwait Towers. The landmark consists of three towers, the tallest giving a panoramic view of Kuwait city. Enjoy a coffee or snack in the rotating café and take in the mesmerizing cityscape.
Evening – Al Shaheed Park & Farewell Dinner at Arraya Centre
Wrap up your 48-hour stay with a visit to Al Shaheed Park, the largest urban park in Kuwait which features beautiful botanical gardens, two museums, a lake, and spectacular views of the Kuwait skyline.
Lastly, enjoy a farewell dinner at Arraya Centre, one of the city’s tallest buildings. Opt for a rooftop restaurant to relish your meal with a stunning, shimmering backdrop.
The Bottom Line
Two days in Kuwait might seem a brief time to explore, but with this itinerary, you can sample the traditional and modern aspects of this Arab nation. With its rich heritage, engaging culture, modern marvels, and warm hospitality, Kuwait promises a memorable visit that will leave you yearning for more. See you again next year?
Perhaps you’re heading to the UAE next? If so, don’t miss out on these traditional Emirati dishes you simply have to sample while you’re there!