Barbados is a true tropical island paradise. Think stunning blonde beaches lapped by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, year-round sunshine and rum punch! However, Barbados’ appeal is far wider than this with its colonial heritage and rugged natural scenery. A winning combination of the exotic and the familiar.


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My two kids say our family holiday to Barbados was the best ever! It truly is a great destination for families. The highlight was our catamaran trip out to swim with the turtles.
Travel Counsellor

Known as the 'Pearl of the Caribbean', Barbados is a deservedly world-famous destination. A gorgeous tropical paradise containing the popular cruise port of Bridgetown, the island itself is actually an enormous coral reef that was formed over a million years ago. This unique geography results in a breathtaking coastline, and some of the best snorkelling, surfing and diving action in the world!

The western half of the pear-shaped island, often referred to as the Platinum Coast, is dominated by deluxe beach resorts with great facilities. The central highlands area of the island is home to some interesting cultural sights (including distilleries and plantations), picturesque villages and some amazing walking and hiking trails. The eastern half of the island, which gives way to the Atlantic Ocean, is commonly referred to as the 'Soup Bowl' because of its big waves and foaming surf; this is the place to be for surfers and backpackers, home to an assortment of low-cost accommodation and lively beach-side bars.

Called 'Little England' by some, Barbados' strong ties with English culture over the years have bequeathed it a genial atmosphere and good infrastructure. The sun shines 340 days of the year in Barbados, and the famously friendly locals only serve to increase the island's glorious ambiance. Barbados is one of the most popular winter sun vacation destinations in the world for northern hemisphere tourists, and is an obligatory stop on any Caribbean cruise adventure.

Interesting Fact

Measuring just 21 miles long and 14 miles wide, it is possible to drive around the tiny island of Barbados in around three hours.

Essential Sights

Andromeda Botanic Gardens Discover over 600 plant specimens as well as streams and ponds at this lush six-acre garden wonderland (above), considered to be one of the finest post-war gardens in the world. The garden was created from scratch by renowned horticulturist Iris Bannochie in 1954, with many of the plants collected by Iris as she travelled across the globe. The original garden of Barbados also has a delightful café.
Bathsheba Beach Bathsheba Beach is considered rugged Barbados at its finest. The sand may be wide and welcoming, but the water is too wild for safe swimming. On the plus side, that makes it perfect for surfers who flock here. There’s also miles of untouched sand and rock formations to explore. Anyone visiting in November can watch pro surfers in action at the Bathsheba Soup Bowl international surfing competition.

Try a Taste

Cou cou & flying fish

Flying fish served with cou cou is the national dish of Barbados. It’s similar to polenta or grits and is made with corn flour and okra. On its own, cou cou is a staple dish that can be added to virtually any meal with meat and fish to give it a bit more heft. 

Macaroni Pie

Often considered to be the island’s unofficial national dish, macaroni pie is essentially a baked and very rich take on mac and cheese. It’s incredibly versatile, with some vendors adding spices such as black pepper, curry pepper and various hot sauces.

Mount Gay Rum

The world’s oldest rum distillery, established in 1703 –  learn all about how rum is made, from sugar cane to the coral-filtered water that’s native to Barbados. Enjoy a traditional Bajan lunch or try a cocktail mixing session

What I had not realised before visiting Barbados was the great food I would get to sample. There are some absolutely fabulous restaurants to try, our favourites being Champers, The Fish Pot and Lone Star, which is right next to Ju Ju’s – a great beach café. People are so friendly wherever you go – locals and tourists mix together in bars and restaurants and on beaches.
Travel Counsellor

The Island's Best Beaches

Bath Beach

If you just want to soak in calm Atlantic waters, then the aptly named Bath Beach is the one for you. It is undoubtedly one of the best swimming beaches on the island and the undertow that renders many east coast beaches unsafe for swimming is almost absent here. Aside from facilities and parking, this beach even has a small waterfall.

Miami Beach

This south coast stretch is popular with locals and tourists alike, due to its typically calm waters and stunning sunset views. The western end of the beach is particularly suited to kids but it’s easy to pass the bulk of the day here, in and out of the sea. Away from the sand and sea though, the beach sits just half a km from the famous fishing town of Oistins – home to the legendary Friday Fish Fry.

Crane Beach

Situated towards the southern end of the south coast is Crane Beach. For anyone not staying at the Crane Hotel, it can be challenging to reach. As one of the island's most beautiful beaches though, it’s totally worth the effort – approach the beach from the northern end via the stepping stone rocks. The sand has a peculiar pink hue – perfect for picnics – and the sea is generally safe for swimming, but you’ll want to keep an eye on small children.

Brownes Beach

Ideal for anyone staying in the capital of Bridgetown, Brownes is one of the largest beaches in Barbados. Consequently, this pristine wide stretch of soft white sand rarely gets crowded, while its shallow turquoise waters are just perfect for a refreshing dip. Various shipwrecks in the bay have attracted a lot of fish, so Brownes is definitely one to visit for divers and snorkellers too.

Away From The Beach

Visit Bridgetown Bridgetown is packed with so many historic sites that you can easily spend a day working through them all. There’s the Garrison Savannah – Barbados’ home of horse racing since 1845 – the Matthias Church, the ruins of St Ann’s Fort, and George Washington House – the one-time home of the former US President.
Ride The Bajan Bus You’ve never experienced a bus tour quite like this. This colourful 30-ish seater open-sided bus is arguably the perfect way to see the best of Barbados, stopping by the most beautiful beaches or a variety of local rum shops. Many Bajan buses come equipped with booming sound systems and guides who will try to get you to laugh all the way.

Where To Stay

O2 Beach Club & Spa

This all-inclusive property is Barbados' newest luxury resort, and with its cool beach club feel and plum setting on a white-sand beach, it has fast become one of its most talked about. Its selection of six dining options includes a contemporary rooftop tapas lounge with views over Oistins Bay, and a fine-dining fusion restaurant.

Sea Breeze Beach House

The epitome of the famous Bajan welcome, staff at this all-inclusive property very happily advise guests on and book for them local outings ranging from rounds of golf to partying at the weekly Oistin’s Fish Fry. Staff also provide extra touches such as poolside misting, cold towels and ice lollies; something that the little ones will adore.

Treasure Beach

An adult-only boutique hotel where guests immerse themselves in art, cultural and culinary journeys. There's a welcome cocktail upon arrival, all-day à la carte dining, premium drinks and a Sunset Cocktail Hour featuring a different bar offering every evening. Some of the suites come with a private plunge pool, and the Wine Cellar is a highlight for any stay.