1. The Garrison Historic Area
If you can tear yourself away from the beach, Bridgetown’s Garrison Historic Area is well worth a visit. Dating back to 1650, it’s believed to be the most authentic and complete British garrison in the world and was recognized by UNESCO in 2011 for its architectural significance. Watch the changing of the guard, walk through the tunnels or take a tour to find out what George Washington thought about Barbados.
2. Welchman Hall Gully
This is an opportunity to see Barbados’ fauna and flora in their natural state; tucked into a ravine, it’s a quiet and peaceful haven shaded by tall trees where green monkeys hang out in the canopy while centipedes, frogs and other creatures can be spotted on the forest floor. From the top of the steps there is a wonderful view over much of the island.
3. Flower Forest Botanical Gardens
The best of the island’s diverse flora is preserved in this lush tropical forest. Wander among spectacular trees and exotic flowers of all shapes and colours up to the top of the mountain for panoramic views over the wild east coast. It’s a wonderfully tranquil place and an oasis of cool on a hot day.
4. St Nicholas Abbey
This plantation is one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the western hemisphere and it oozes old-world charm. With a small working rum distillery, the beautiful house and lush gardens provide a fascinating insight into the history of the sugar trade. Watch the sugar cane being crushed using steam power, taste the end product and don’t forget to take home a personally engraved bottle of rum.
A jagged arc of golden sand fringed with palm trees, Bathsheba is one of the most stunning beaches in Barbados. Located on the island’s undeveloped east coast, it’s a wild and windswept place with huge boulders jutting out of the sea. It’s not safe for swimming but the huge Atlantic rollers are renowned as a surfers’ heaven where young Bajans hone their skills on their boards.
6. Bottom Bay
Tucked away on the south coast, Bottom Bay is the ultimate tropical beach: a wide expanse of soft pink sand backed with swaying coconut palms and gently lapped by turquoise water. From the high coral cliffs behind the beach there’s a panoramic view of the south coast and, if you’re lucky, you might spot a turtle or a whale offshore.
7. Oistins Friday Fish Fry
Friday night in Oistins is the island’s biggest party. Join the locals as they gather at the bustling seaside fish market with live entertainment, street vendors, crafts and traditional food. Jostle with the crowds and dance the night away with some barbecued flying fish in one hand and a potent rum punch in the other