Nestled between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait is one of the Gulf countries’ most oil-rich countries and is famous for the glamorous way of life it offers. It’s also a fantastic destination to experience an authentic taste of contemporary Arab culture and, alas, the joys of luxury island living.
Whether you’re in search of history and culture or watersports and body bronzing, here are the 5 best islands to visit in Kuwait.
1. Kubbar Island ~ The Great Escape
This green and beautifully sandy island is located in the Arabian Gulf, some 30 kilometres off Kuwait’s southern coast. This tiny islands has a diameter of less than 400 metres and feels like a true tropical escape. Keep an eye out for the local wildlife – the flamingos are famous! Kubbar Island’s coral reefs also make it a popular destination for scuba divers.
Tip: Kubbar Island is uninhabited and undeveloped, so be sure to pack a picnic.
2. Green Island ~ Perfect for Families
Green Island is one of Kuwait’s most popular tourist destinations. It was the first artificial island created in the Persian Gulf region and is one of the latest islands, with an impressive 3.14 kilometre diameter. There’s plenty for visitors (especially families) to enjoy, including a huge swimming pool, amphitheatre, bouncy castles, children’s playground, bike rental, walking trails and a fantastic picnic area.
Tip: There are plenty of great restaurants on the island, with plenty of options for picky kids, making this a great island for families.
3. Warbah Island ~ A Birdwatcher’s Dream
Warbah Island is a large mud flat facing Iraq, situated some 100 metres off Kuwait’s northern shore.
It is famous for its ornithological history and attracts birdwatchers from all over the world, paritculalry during the summer breeding season.
Tip: Keep an eye on the sea as well as the sky and you may spot humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins doing their thing.
4. Umm An Namil ~ The History Buff’s Dream Island
Umm An Namil is located in Kuwait Bay and is home to several archeological finds from the Bronze Age and Islamic period. Though it is one of the most interesting islands, it is located just 600 metres off mainland Kuwait and makes for a fascinating visit.
Tip: Umm An Namil translates as ‘Mother of Ants’.
5. Failaka ~ An Island of History and Culture
Failaka Island is a haven of important cultural and religious buildings, including a pantheon where sun-worshipping and human sacrifices are thought to have been practiced.
Tip: Prior to the Iraqi Invasion, Failaka Island was home to over 2,000 residents and had several schools. The village of Az Zawr was the longest continuously inhabited village in Kuwait. Many of the houses can still be seen, complete with bullet holes and various battle scars.
Make it Happen
Visas: You can find info regarding Kuwait visa requirements for US citizens here.
Get there: The main airport in Kuwait is Kuwait International Airport, which is located in Farwaniya, about 15 km outside of Kuwait city centre.
When to go: The best time to visit Kuwait is during spring (March to May) or autumn (September to October) when temperatures are more manageable (summer is too hot). Winter in Kuwait is also pleasant.
Where to stay: There are many modern accommodation options in Kuwait, from city centre hotels and apartments to luxury resorts by the sea. Look for properties in Salmiya if you want to be out of the city centre but near the beaches and great dining/nightlife areas.