Discover Barbados – this Caribbean Island is world famous for its easy-going calypso culture, hip-swaying music and vibrant nightlife, all fused with age-old English customs and traditions – just perfect for a beach holiday or romantic getaway.
Discover a lush green landscape of rolling hills scattered with 17th and 18th century colonial plantation houses, edged by numerous pristine beaches and encircled by warm turquoise waters that are perfect for swimming, scuba diving and snorkelling.
A British Crown Colony from 1627 and independent since 1966, Barbados is renowned as the ‘Little England’ of the Caribbean: enjoy afternoon high tea, watch cricket almost any time and listen to local Bajans speak with an English accent. With three separate resort areas – Holeton, St Lawrence Gap and St Peter – Barbados offers all the ingredients you need for a relaxing or active beach holiday.
Things to do and see
Enjoy a great nightlife, with numerous fine dining restaurants, dance clubs and classy bars, especially around St Lawrence Gap – the nightlife centre of Barbados, located on the south coast. Holetown, located in the centre of the west coast, boasts some of the island’s ‘poshest’ resorts.
Sunbathe on a choice of pink-hued and white-sand beaches lined with 5-star resorts and stroll streets lined with 18th and 19th century buildings in the capital, Bridgetown. Explore an array of fascinating man-made and natural attractions, especially along the rugged and unspoiled eastern Atlantic coastline.
Here, you can ride an electric tram through the astonishing subterranean caverns of Harrison's Cave, home to stalagmites and stalactites, cascades, streams and underground pools filled with blind crayfish.
Admire thousands of orchids, sweet-smelling frangipani and many more species of colourful flora at Andromeda Botanical Garden then encounter local fauna such as red-footed turtles, caimans, green monkeys, brocket deer, agoutis and iguanas at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve. Also see the exotic flowers and spice trees at the Flower Forest, set in a former sugar plantation high above the Atlantic Ocean in one of the most scenic regions of Barbados.
Admire colonial architecture, including the St Nicholas Abbey, a Jacobean plantation house built around 1620 and still graced with ornate Persian arches surrounded by a manicured 80ha garden, as well as the 17th century Sunbury Plantation House, featuring a unique collection of horse-drawn carriages, antiques and old prints.
Also admire the hibiscus- and poinsettia-covered remains of Farley Hill, one of the island’s most famous plantation houses, and the Morgan Lewis Mill, a charming, still-intact colonial-era sugar mill. Tyrol Cot is the former home of Sir Grantley Adams, the first premier of Barbados, first constructed in 1854 and now beautifully restored by the Barbados National Trust and featuring a craft village where you can watch artisans creating local handicrafts.
In the lush tropical garden at Welchman Hall Gully, just 2km from Bridgetown, see trees dating back before 1627 when British settlers first arrived in Barbados, as well as breadfruit trees that are supposedly descendants of the seedlings brought here by Captain Bligh (of the Bounty). Look out for wild monkeys amid the flora. For scenic panoramas hike up to the summit of Mount Hillaby (343m) or see the dramatic vistas from St John’s Parish Church.
Barbados offers a wide selection of accommodation options to suit most budgets, mainly along the sheltered west coast. For 5-star pampering try: the elegant Cobblers Cove Hotel, a former colonial mansion; the luxurious Coral Reef Club, set in lush manicured gardens; or The House, an exclusive and rather posh retreat set inside a mock-medieval fortress.
Further south, try: the Hilton Barbados, set on a rocky peninsula with panoramic sea views; Little Arches, a charming boutique hotel; or Turtle Beach Resort, an upscale resort named after the turtles that sometimes nest on the nearby white-sand beach.
Best time to visit Barbados?
The best time for a Barbados beach holiday is during the dry season, from January to June. However, Barbados enjoys sunny skies and warm weather year round, with average temperatures ranging between 24°C and 29°C, usually accompanied by north-east trade winds.
Except for the occasional hurricane, rain showers are quickly over during the wet season, which runs from June to October. For more climate info: Barbados Weather Guide
Location – Barbados is the Caribbean's easternmost island, located around 160km east of St Lucia.
Getting there By air, Barbados receives daily non-stop flights from North America, Europe and other islands in the Caribbean. How to get to Barbados . . .