This little island republic in the Lesser Antilles is a Caribbean gem. The soft-sand beaches and blue ocean provide picture-perfect landscapes, but it is the welcoming Barbadians who truly distinguish this island.
Barbados, which has been colonised by the British, is English-speaking and has a unique British flavour. The experience includes cricket, horse racing, polo, high tea, and driving on the wrong side of the road.
Apart from the beautiful beaches, Barbados’ top attractions include caverns, historic monuments, gardens, plantations, a wildlife preserve, and other things of interest in Bridgetown, the capital city.
Naturally, some of the most popular things to do involve the sea. Snorkelling, diving, swimming, fishing, and other excursions are readily available.
For ideas on how to spend your time, see our list of attractions and things to do in Barbados.
Downtown Bridgetown, Barbados
Bridgetown, the nation’s capital, is not only home to a plethora of attractions, but it’s also a lovely spot to stroll about, shop, or eat. The downtown area is easy to explore, and most of the attractions are within walking distance.
The National Heroes Square and the iconic Parliament Buildings, with their neo-Gothic style architecture and clock tower, are two of the city’s most important landmarks.
The picturesque Chamberlain Bridge, known as The Careenage, is located across the street from the Parliament Buildings and offers views of the Constitution River. Yachts parked along the waterway and colourful structures line the waterside walkway may be seen from the bridge.
Wander inland to see the Nidhe Israel Synagogue, St. Michael’s Cathedral, and Queen’s Park’s 1,000-year-old baobab tree. Allow time to see George Washington House and the Garrison Tunnels, the Guard House, and the Barbados Museum at the Garrison Historic Area.
Bathsheba Bay. Barbados
Bathsheba Bay, located along the rough Atlantic coast, provides a stunning view of the ocean’s erosive strength. The beach here is littered with massive rock formations made by the remains of old coral reefs undercut by the unrelenting waves, making it popular with surfers but not ideal for swimming.
The bay’s water is shallow, and the surf forms a white lather, earning it the nickname Soup Bowl, a word used by surfers all over the world.
In the surf, you can see the ruins of a stairway and structure, while a restaurant and merchants selling items are a short distance away.
Stop here for a stroll down to the beach or a bite to eat. If you want to try something else for lunch, go past this area and up the hill to The Atlantis Hotel, where you may eat at the hotel’s restaurant. The De Garage restaurant, located just past the Atlantis, is a more informed choice.
The Beaches of Carlisle Bay, Barbados
Carlisle Bay, on the outskirts of Bridgetown, is one of Barbados’ most beautiful spots. This is one of the most tempting places to put your toes in the sea or set up a beach chair, with beautiful golden beaches and extensive lengths of crystal-clear blue seas.
Pebble Beach is one of the greatest bayside lengths, although Brownes Beach and Bayshore Beach are also worth a visit. Wading or swimming in the calm sea, renting a stand-up paddleboard, or simply relaxing on the beach are all options.
You can witness the racehorses enjoying a morning wash in the water and see the sunrise if you go down to Pebble Beach early in the morning. At the top of the beach, there are restrooms and showers.
St. Nicholas Abbey, Barbados
St. Nicholas Monastery’s Jacobean main house was completed in 1658, and the stories that have grown up around the abbey over the years are as fascinating as the building itself. The abbey, despite its name, was a plantation with no religious affiliation.
The property has passed through various owners throughout the ages, but it is now held by Larry and Anna Warren, who bought it in 2006. The estate has been repaired and is now used as a sugar crop. Visitors may visit the site for a couple of hours to see antiques, hear about the workings, and explore the grounds.
Cherry Tree Hill, a famous viewpoint location on the Atlantic side of the island with views over the island and out to the ocean, is close by. It’s worth pausing if you have time, especially if you’re not going to sites like Farley Hill National Park or Welchman Hall Gully, which offer their own stunning vistas.
Barbados Wildlife Reserve
The Barbados Wildlife Reserve is a fantastic spot to observe and appreciate some of Barbados’ most famous animals, such as the island’s iconic green monkeys. The monkeys are frequently seen interacting with other animals in the reserve, amusing themselves by bothering tortoises and other residents.
In this tranquil park, shaded pathways go through a mahogany forest. Within the borders of the facility, agoutis, monkeys, deer, tortoises, and iguanas roam freely, giving excellent possibilities for photography and close interactions. Parrots, caimans, maras, and snakes are among the other occupants. Plan your visit so that you arrive at the park at 2 p.m. for feeding time.
Farley Hill National Park, Barbados
The remnants of the big house on Farley Hill are overgrown with trees and vines, producing a picture possibly more dramatic than when the hall was in its full splendour, like an undiscovered Mayan ruin in the jungle.
The home is said to have been erected around 1818 and lived in for a long time until falling into disrepair in the 1940s. In the mid-1950s, it was renovated to use as a filming location, but the materials employed were combustible, and the great hall was destroyed in a fire.
In 1965, the government purchased the land and established Farley Hill National Park. Picnic tables and wonderful spots to rest are available on the 17-acre grounds, which include the front garden and an area of mahogany trees behind it.
Green monkeys, occasionally with offspring, may frequently be seen reclining in the branches behind you. The hall is totally encircled by a fence, however, the barrier is very near to the structure, offering lots of opportunities to peep inside and observe the internal arches.
Welchman Hall Gully, Barbados
The lush tropical garden’s setting and natural atmosphere distinguish it from many of the other gardens on the island. The flowers and trees surround you as you stroll down the broad, wheelchair accessible route that lies amid the remnants of a succession of collapsed caverns.
Some of the more apparent sights include huge bamboo trees, beautiful plants, a nice pond, and the monkey play area, where you may often spot green monkeys in the mornings when food is put out. The garden also houses endangered plants and animals, as well as a few Barbados-only plant species.
A steep flight of stairs at the entrance leads to a high point in the garden with a stunning view over the green hillside and beyond to the sea. This area has a covered shelter and benches, making it a good place to relax after a tour of the grounds.
Bottom Bay beach, Barbados
Bottom Bay is a remote golden-sand beach on Barbados’ Atlantic coast, reachable via a lengthy flight of stairs and sheltered by tall palms. On both ends of the beach, cliff walls border the beach, and the azure-coloured water stretches out to the reef, with the deep blue sea stretching out to the horizon behind it. It’s probable that you’ll have the entire area to yourself.
Even if you don’t want to spend time on the beach, the cove may be seen from the overlook to the south. Bottom Bay Beach, the ocean, and another beach in the opposite way are all visible from a flat location.
Andromeda Botanic Gardens
Colourful brick walkways, stepping stones, and grass paths wind through these beautiful hillside botanical gardens. Tropical plants from all over the world are laid out in different zones creating small, intimate spaces. Some of the highlights are the palms, the rhododendrons, and an absolutely huge bearded fig. These trees once covered the island and were the inspiration for Portuguese sailors, who named the island “Barbados,” meaning “bearded ones.”
From the highest level of the garden, you can see out to the ocean. Note that the trails here are uneven and, in some cases steep, making them inaccessible to visitors with mobility issues.
Folkestone Marine Park & Museum, Barbados
The Folkestone Marine Park & Museum, located just outside of Holetown, is a multifunctional park where tourists may go snorkelling, diving, or simply enjoy the beach and playground. The Stavronikitia, an intentionally sunk ship sitting in 120 feet of water approximately a half-mile off the coast, is the park’s most famous attraction. With skilled divers, the ship is a popular dive location, and local dive businesses may assist arrange expeditions.
Don’t worry if you can’t dive; simply take your snorkel and paddle around the inshore reef to explore the local marine life. It’s also a popular spot for paddle boarding and kayaking because the water is generally calm.
A children’s playground, tennis courts, picnic tables, and a coastal promenade can be found on the park’s beach. The Folkestone Museum, which has exhibits and aquariums, is also on-site.