This small island nation packs a rum punch and demands total escape, with its overriding air of relaxation and warmth of Bajan charm. You’ll love stretching out on its commanding beaches or challenging your par on the links courses, while catching a little local culture at the same time.
For those looking for the ultimate relaxation, you’ll find high-end resorts and quiet exclusivity on the west coast – where you can sink into a paperback and float in calm waters. Or head to the livelier south, where the swell of the Atlantic Ocean gives way, and the Caribbean lilt beats a little louder.
Just a mile away from the national heroes of Bridgetown, tickle your toes in the milky white sand at Browne’s Beach or cruise across to Carlisle Bay by catamaran. Soak up the rays and the waves at Dover Beach with a spot of boogie boarding. Then stretch further and watch the magenta sunset at Mullins Beach or swing by The Green Monkey’s undulating greens. Barbados has it all – with daily flights from London, you’ll be there before you know it.
Barbados all-inclusive holidays at Turtle Beach by Elegant Hotels provide plenty of activities, like Calypso dance lessons. Sandals Barbados and Sandy Lane both feature golf courses, designed by Tom Fazio, while Crystal Cove by Elegant Hotels has two floodlit tennis courts. For a luxury stay choose The Sandpiper or for a romantic retreat stay at Coral Reef Club or The House by Elegant Hotels, where you can experience a Champagne breakfast. For the best beach stays, Colony Club by Elegant Hotels and Sea Breeze Beach House are both famed for their powder white sands. For one of the nicest Barbados cheap holidays to choose from, the family-owned Coconut Court Beach ticks all the boxes – some of its rooms have small kitchenettes ideal for self-catering. The all-suite Bougainvillea Barbados is also ideal for families and friends.
Experience Barbados, the pearl of the Caribbean, blessed with idyllic beaches and endowed with a kaleidoscope of coral reefs.
1. Take a Barbados coast-to-coast island tour for stunning views across Barbados’ major towns: Bridgetown, Oistins, Holetown and Speights. Clip across the waves and hop offboard to explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites, historic churches and picturesque beaches. Refresh with included lunch and a drink at Animal Flower Cave, named for its floral-shaped anemones. It’s a gorgeous coastal spot.
2. Venture underground to admire the stalactites and crystal streams at Harrison’s Cave on the Best of Barbados tour. Other Bajan highlights of the day trip are visits to the majestic Andromeda Botanic Gardens, the fishing village of Bathsheba and the Barbados Wildlife Reserve.
3. Uncover the secrets of the underwater world – no SCUBA certification necessary – on an Atlantis Submarine Tour. You'll pass over colourful coral reefs and spy tropical fish, pointed out by the co-pilot. You won’t need any help spotting the shipwreck, 45 metres deep.
4. Sample the world’s ‘oldest’ rum in an authentic bar on The Mount Gay Rum Tour. Up your IQ as you learn about the ancient craft of Caribbean rum-making – from the blending and bottling to refining and aging. Don’t forget to take home a sample of your favourite, for you to sip on when you get home.
5. Pull up to the annual Crop Over festival to jam to cool calypso music and be dazzled by the colourful costumes, many befeathered. You’ve got plenty of chances to party, since the whole festival season lasts 12 weeks. If you can, catch the Last Canes closing ceremony to see the King and Queen of the Crop get crowned.
In Holetown you’ll find tranquil beaches and the candy-coloured Chattel Village, which sells a selection of authentic art, clothing and local gifts in landscaped tropical gardens. For designer goods, the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre is the best place to go in Barbados. They’ve got leading retail brands, two cinemas, a selection of restaurants and an art gallery. Shopping bags in hand, you can kick up your feet with a refreshing fruit punch at Café Bar Carizma in the heart of town.
Amble along the capital amongst the locals at Bridgetown and sample a slice of sweet, fluffy coconut bread or tuck into a traditional Bajan breakfast, of steaming fish cakes with spicy hot sauce. Wash this all down with a tall glass of aromatic amber tinted Mauby. One of the best places to visit is Oistins famous fish fry, where you can taste the national dish: flying fish.
In the north coastal town of Speightstown, you’ll see fishing boats vendors selling fragrant fruits and authentic Bajan art. Just five miles away is Nicholas Abbey, a Jacobean mansion with its own rum distillery. For a touch of opulence, hop aboard the steam train that loops around the handsome gardens. Looking for something more central? Meander through Hunte's Garden, the myriad of colourful flowers, dappled sunlight creates a perfect ambience, whilst classical music plays.
Situated on the east, Bathsheba Bay, otherwise known as the Soup Bowl, has the best beaches which attract surfers with its rolling waves and spectacular craggy rock formations, strewn along the bay. Like Bathsheba, wife of King David, why not reap the benefits of the mineral-enriched waters, to keep your skin looking radiant.
The scintillating south comes alive after dark in St Lawrence Gap. A mile-long street is crammed with bars, restaurants and nightclubs. If you love to party, the choice is as diverse as the people - from Latin parties to Reggae clubs. Or simply sit back and sip coconut water with locals at Dover Beach, under swaying casuarina trees. The best area to stay in Barbados is the west coast because of its pristine beaches and glitzy image, frequented by the glamourous, rich and famous.
The all-inclusive Mango Bay is a boutique beach resort, praised for its friendly service and live evening entertainment. For budget-friendly Barbados holidays, Rostrevor Hotel has spacious accommodation, with a fully equipped kitchenette, ideal for self-catering. Sugar Bay is a great family resort, which has activities for tots and teens, including a playpark and jungle gym. Experience luxury at O2 Beach Club & Spa, with a contemporary rooftop tapas bar, boasting panoramic views of Oistins Bay.