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Eat, stay, play: Your guide to Barbados

Photo of Steph MarinkovicPhoto of Steph Marinkovic
By Steph Marinkovic

26 April 20245 min read

Worthing Beach This southern stunner is just one of Barbados' many beautiful beaches.

Please note: this article is sponsored by our partners at Visit Barbados and some links on this page will take you directly to the Visit Barbados website.

Vibrant Barbados, where crystal-clear waters meet pristine sandy beaches and a rich cultural heritage, is pure Caribbean bliss.

Chilled out beach time is a given on this island known for its spectacular coastline but peel yourself off your sun-lounger and you’ll find there’s plenty more to discover.

From its lively capital Bridgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to lush forests, fresh seafood and the Birthplace of Rum, we tapped the experts at Visit Barbados to reveal the island’s best bits.

Eat: Barbados’ best food

You won’t go hungry in the Caribbean’s culinary capital. Seafood is big on the menu here, cooked with a delightful fusion of African, European and Caribbean flavours.

Must-tries include flying fish, a Bajan staple often served fried in a sandwich ‘cutter’. You’ll find them all over the island but Cuz’s Fish Shack just outside of Bridgetown has a cult following for a reason.

The Oistins Fish Fry every Friday night also draws the crowds. It’s a late-night feast for the senses where residents and visitors come together to gorge on mahi-mahi, snapper and generous helpings of marlin served fresh from huge grills, then dance it all off under the stars.

More upscale dining comes in the form of Champers Restaurant in Worthing, where the delicious food is matched with unforgettable seaside views, and trendy Cocktail Kitchen in St Lawrence Gap. Both do the classics well, with everything from prawns to pasta on their menus.

Of course, you can’t do Barbados without sampling its most famous foodie export: rum. Considered the Birthplace of Rum, the island is home to the world’s oldest producer, Mount Gay Rum, founded in 1703. Go behind the scenes on a distillery tour to discover just what makes their rum so good (tastings included) or book into the cocktail workshop to shake, stir and muddle your way into mixologist status as you make classics like rum punch.

Stay: Barbados’ best hotels

There’s something for all types of travellers in Barbados, whether you’re looking for family fun or all-out luxury.

For true indulgence, the west coast, also known as the Platinum Coast, is home to some of the island's most upscale resorts and hotels. Ideal for couples looking for a romantic getaway, all 113 rooms at Sandy Lane have private terraces and lush furnishings complete with 60s charm. As well as three golf courses and an award-winning spa, you can enjoy watersports, a catamaran cruise or even a bespoke dinner for two on the sugar-white sands of its beach.

On the south coast, you'll find a mix of lively beachfront resorts, boutique hotels, and budget-friendly options. St. Lawrence Gap is particularly popular for its vibrant nightlife, watersports, and diverse dining scene, with plenty of properties that cater to families and couples alike. Nearby, Bougainvillea Barbados close to Maxwell Beach is perfect for families, who love its spacious suites, kids' club and family-friendly activities.

The Atlantic-facing east coast is more tranquil, where you can retreat to peaceful spots like The Atlantis Historic Inn near Bathsheba Beach. A family-owned property that dates back to the 19th century, it offers spacious suites complete with fluffy four-poster beds and stunning views of the rugged coastline.

Alternatively, stay central in Bridgetown and the surrounding areas for an authentic Bajan experience and easy access to cultural attractions, shopping and dining.

Play: Barbados’ best attractions

A day or two at the beach is a given on any Barbados holiday and luckily there are plenty to choose from. Bottom Bay is the island’s postcard shot but there’s soft sands and crystal-clear waters pretty much anywhere you look. With calm waters for paddling in, Brownes and Pebbles beaches are great for young ones, while lively Accra Beach (Rockley) takes the energy up a notch thanks to a string of buzzing restaurants and cocktail bars.

To get under the waves, Folkestone Marine Park is brilliant for snorkelling with a colourful inshore reef just 500m (a third of a mile) from the sand. For deep-sea diving, the specialists at Eco Dive create a safe experience with beautiful marine life. Don't forget your underwater camera.

Families won’t want to miss Harrison’s Cave ECO Adventure Park. This awesome limestone cave in the heart of the island is eerily pretty with giant stalagmites, flowing streams and crystal-clear pools. Part of the tour includes an underground tram ride, hard hats included.

Kids also love the dramatic ruins at Farley Hill National Park, where the remains of a 19th-century mansion built for royals like King George V create a unique backdrop for a sunny day out. The fantastic Atlantis Submarine experience is another family favourite. An underwater adventure in a real submarine, it’s the perfect way to meet marine life without getting wet.

Island safari tours up the ante and you can join an off-road 4x4 adventure to discover Barbados’ less-visited interior. It’s exciting, but safe, led by experienced guides who will take you through gullies and forests to the remote bays of the east coast with lots of photo ops included.

History lessons come via a wander through capital Bridgetown’s charming streets, where colonial buildings, the historic Garrison area and the Barbados Museum all reveal parts of the island’s past.

When is the best time to visit Barbados?

There’s not really a bad time to visit Barbados, with temperatures in the late 20s all year round. The driest months are between December and April. Summer is wetter with short, sharp showers that end as quickly as they start so it’s a good time to pick up a cheaper holiday. Come in August to join the colourful Crop Over festival, which ends with a bang with the Carnival-style Grand Kadooment parade, in November for the Barbados Food and Rum Festival, December for the Run Barbados marathon, or between January and April to catch a cricket match at Kensington Oval.

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