1. See the cliffs and waves of Bathsheba Beach
You can be sure that you’re in for a real treat whether you travel to Bathsheba to wax up the surfboard and don the board shorts for a ride over the waves of the famous Soup Bowl (experts only! ), or to marvel at the striking cliffs and protruding rocks that sprawl and pepper the sands and shoreline alike.
This is without a doubt one of Barbados’ most picturesque seaside locations, nestled in between two rocky headlands on the island’s east coast.
While swimming is not advised (the rip tides can be fairly strong), other excellent activities to take in the area’s natural beauty include climbing the sea vines and dunes to watch the pounding waves break or conversing with the local Bajans at Bathsheba Park.
2. Stroll around historic Bridgetown
The capital of Barbados, recognized by UNESCO, rarely fails to impress.
The vibrant Broad Street commercial district cuts through the centre and is lined with charming minor historic attractions like the Chamberlain Bridge and the stunning Neo-Gothic Parliament Buildings, constructed in the finest Victorian English design.
The vibrant quays of Bridgetown Harbour, where little rum bars pulse with the talk of visitors and off-duty local fisherman alike, balance off the pompous sculptures of Nelson and other major colonial luminaries.
Yes, Bridgetown is a wonderful location to wander around and experience the Bajan culture.
3. Relax in the midst of Hunte’s Gardens
This stunning haven of horticultural majesty, a mosaic of blossoming orchid blooms and emerald-green fern bursts, soaring palm boughs and yellow-tipped craboo trees, is a great location to learn about the incredible diversity of life that blesses the tropical Caribbean.
The gardens, which are owned by a local named Anthony Hunte, are designed to offer a whole sensory experience.
Visitors are welcome to explore the curving roads and nurseries, discovering the rare blooms while unwinding to classical music that floats through the tree trunks and canopy.
4. See a heritage wonder at St. Nicholas Abbey
St. Nicholas Abbey’s exquisite Jacobean façade may be seen east of Moore Hill in northern Barbados if you go through the lush meadows and palm groves there.
The property dates all the way back to the 1600s, when sugarcane was originally grown and collected on the fields around the main house, making it one of only three historic sites of its sort in the Western Hemisphere.
Unusually, the crop is still grown here today, and St. Nicholas Abbey itself has been transformed into a museum, welcoming visitors to tour its renovated interior spaces.
The price of admission also includes a rum punch beverage and access to Cherry Tree Hill’s lovely avenues, where you can get amazing views of the cliffs along the east coast.
5. See horses and history at the Garrison Savannah Historic Area
Visitors may explore the Garrison Savannah Area, a combination of history and athletic activity, on the southern half of the island, just a short distance from the center of Bridgetown.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the area features structures like the George Washington House, where the former first President of the United States once took sanctuary in the 1750s.
There are also a number of British forts and barracks that are in ruins.
The Garrison racetrack, however, commands attention.
Rich Barbados landowners used to race their mares here, and the heart-pounding events are still held there today with regular racing days on the Turf Club’s calendar from January to April!
6. Hug the baobab of Queen’s Park
The enormous trunk of Barbados’ biggest tree, which lives up to its name as the “bulbous baobab,” can be located on the lawns of the Queen’s Park in the center of Bridgetown, where it may be embraced by a group of people.
It takes almost 15 adults to stretch around the whole circumference of the middle branch of this tree, which is widely regarded as the fattest tree in the entire Caribbean area. The great tree’s age and heritage are described on a modest plaque, and the Queen’s Park art gallery is also located in the park’s surrounding gardens.
7. Walk the length of the Barbados Boardwalk
The Barbados Boardwalk connects nearly two kilometers of beachfront along the southern coastal stretches of the island, making it the first of its kind in the entire Caribbean.
Flat and well-maintained, it draws walkers and joggers, who may trek all the way from the sparkling sands of Rockley Beach in Hastings in the east to the coconut trees of Coconut Court Beach in the west.
Along the road there are innumerable tiny rum shacks and bars to enjoy, while there are also swaying palm trees and flowering cassias, attractive clusters of fig bushes and lots of spots to stop and soak in the salty sea wind.
8. Party and eat at the Oistins Fish Fry
For first-time visitors to Barbados, Oistins Fish Fry has steadily grown in popularity and status.
The shindig, which takes place on the streets between Welches Beach and Miami Beach on the south coast every Friday and Saturday night (Friday is especially lively! ), is one to remember.
There are sizzling barbeques cooking up some of the freshest swordfish and marlin, mahi mahi and lobster you could imagine, along with live bands spouting a medley of reggaeton and samba, steel drums and Bajan folk.
But what’s the true draw? That has to be the group of people—a mix of locals and tourists—who were all happy, eating, and having a good time.
9. Get a sense of the real Barbados in Speightstown
Away from the beach resorts and protected ancient villages around Bridgetown and the south coast, Speightstown entices visitors with its rows of run-down fishing shacks and some weathered buildings from centuries past, providing something of a more realistic image of island life.
Visit the Arlington House Museum’s exhibits, where the restored 18th-century chambers ooze with tales of British slave traders and buccaneers.
Alternately, go to the beach, where shrill fruit and fish vendors compete for customers.
Then there is the revitalized Speightstown esplanade, which stretches along the northern shore and passes a variety of snow-white beaches and alluring rum bars.
10. Go supersonic at the Barbados Concorde Experience
Who would’ve thought that the final resting place of the legendary Concorde would be a small aircraft hangar on the edge of Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport.
But it is, and today thousands of visitors a year make a beeline for the spot to learn all about the world’s first supersonic commercial flier.
The exhibitions deal with the advanced technologies that were used to get these famous jets up to whopping speeds of more than 2,000 kilometers an hour, and patrons can even see the fuselages themselves, complete with swish interiors and those unforgettable swordfish nose designs!
11. Delve underground at Harrison’s Cave
Get ready to descend into the earth as you follow Harrison’s Cave’s meandering tunnels and caves, one of Barbados’ most spectacular natural wonders, among the rising hills near Walkes Spring and Carrington.
Laden to the brim with bulbous stalagmites and stalactites, the subterranean passages here hide echoing chambers like the 50-meter-high Great Hall and curious geological formations, like the so-called Altar, formed from millions of years of mineral deposits.
While there are walk-up tours available, the tram ride into the cave’s depths is the most well-liked.
12. Go rum tasting at the Mount Gay Distillery
It is impossible to visit this rum-soaked treasure in the middle of the Lesser Antilles chain without at least trying some Mount Gay, the island’s most well-known alcoholic beverage.
On the harboursides of historic Bridgetown is the distiller’s visitor center, which features exhibits that trace the island’s more than 300-year history of rum production.
The tours are reasonably priced, highlight the complex procedures used to perfect the Mount Gay flavor, and provide a ton of samples along the way. Don’t be shocked if you leave feeling a little dizzy. Additionally, there is an on-site gift and souvenir store with name-brand items.