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A gorgeous mix of swaying coconut palms, sugar-soft sands and calm turquoise waters draw holidaymakers to Barbados time and again. And while west and south coast beaches are dreamy, backed by a good range of hotels and villas for all budgets, this is just the beginning of the island’s charms. A lush interior, rugged Atlantic coast and a lively, friendly culture combine to make Barbados an all-time Caribbean favourite.
High glamour rules Barbados’ west coast, where swanky resorts and private villas ooze sophistication next to dreamy white sands and gentle seas. If you're after some serious pampering, it's the place to be.
The south is lively, with family-friendly stays and a clutch of bars and restaurants. The wind-battered Atlantic east coast is again a different story, with steep cliffs and roaring waves that draw flocks of surfers from all across the globe.
As the island is tiny – approximately 34km (21 miles) long and 23km (14 miles) wide – it pays to get out and explore beyond the luxury confines of your hotel. Venture inland, and you'll find a staggeringly beautiful patchwork of sugar cane plantations, lush gullies and underground caves complete with tumbling waterfalls.
A major highlight of any Barbados holiday is experiencing the island’s Bajan culture first-hand. So, bounce your head along to the kettledrums and penny whistles of a traditional tuk band, feast on tasty seafood fresh off the fishing boat at Oistins famous Friday night Fish Fry, and pay a visit to one of the local rum distilleries for a tipsy tour through the island’s history.
If you happen to get homesick, worry not. There’s a more familiar side to Barbados that makes the island feel like a tropical home away from home. As a former British colony, which was once dubbed Little England, you’ll find that afternoon tea and village cricket are island institutions (Kensington Oval is the place to be). And, yes, you can get ‘proper tea’ here too.
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