Whether you’re going it alone or jetting off on a multi-gen adventure, it’s hard to beat Barbados when it comes to the wide range of activities on offer. Whether your happy place is a white sand beach or a fragrant spice market, Barbados has something to offer every type of traveller. The best bit? This Caribbean paradise is easy to get to thanks to British Airways, with up to 12 weekly flights direct to Barbados.
All beaches in Barbados are open to the public – even the ones in front of five-star resorts (many of which can be booked through British Airways Holidays). Most have fantastic water sports facilities, which means endless opportunities for water-based fun. Does Grandma want to try her hand at parasailing, but the kids want to sprawl on a sun-lounger? In Barbados, this won’t be a problem. The easy access also makes it easy to flit between different stretches of sand. Our favourite beaches in Barbados include Pebbles Beach, a great snorkelling spot with a playground and picnic tables, and Mullins Beach, on the western coast. There’s plenty of room to lay out your beach towel here, although adrenaline junkies are also well catered for – jet skis can be rented and glass-bottomed boat tours depart from this beach, too. For spectacular sunsets, it’s got to be the west coast, which is where you’ll find the Waves Hotel and Spa.
Travelling with some fussy eaters in tow? It won’t be a problem in Barbados, famous for its diverse cuisine. You don’t have to splash the cash either – some of the tastiest dishes can be found at street food stalls, whether it’s fresh seafood or spicy West Indian curries. And while there are plenty of restaurants catering to those with a taste for the finer things in life (St James’ award-winning QP Bistro, formerly known as The Cliff, is a case in point), there’s no shortage of spots where you can rock up in your swimsuit, too. Our favourite places for casual dining include Mullins Beach’s Bombas Beach Bar and Bo's Plaice, a family-run beachfront restaurant in St James.
The opportunities for exploration
Although Barbados is famous for its beaches, there are plenty of other reasons to visit this Caribbean paradise. Not afraid of a little mud? Sign up for an off-road go-kart or ATV tour with Barbados-based Off Road Fury, and rumble through sugarcane plantations and along a dedicated network of trails. A 4x4 tour, offered by numerous local operators, is a great way to escape the crowds and explore more remote parts of the island, and fans of pedal power should consider a guided bike tour. Fancy going it alone? There’s no shortage of local bike hire shops, although we suggest saddling up in St Lawrence Gap – the roads here are smooth and well maintained, and it’s the starting point for numerous spectacular coastal routes.
We get it. Not everybody knows their divot from their double bogey but that’s the beauty of golfing here – you don’t have to. Yes, there are some of the world’s finest golf courses in Barbados (including the historic courses at Sandy Lane) but there are plenty of golfing destinations with a wider appeal, too. Christ Church’s Barbados Golf Club is a great example – despite being a championship course, it was designed to be a place where amateurs and experts can play side-by-side, and the beautiful terraced clubhouse is a great place for a sundowner. Fancy cranking up the fun factor even more? Head to one of Barbados’s many mini-golf courses for some themed fun.
As much as we love some beach-related downtime, visitors who squeeze in a culture fix will gain a wonderful insight not only into Barbados’s landscape but its people, history and traditions. Its first inhabitants were Carib and Arawak Native Americans, and a great place to learn about how they shaped Barbados is at St. Michael’s Barbados Museum and Historical Society, which has a brilliant, interactive children’s gallery and 500,000 artefacts dating from prehistoric times through to the the 21st century. But Barbados’s museums are as diverse as the island itself, and we also recommend the Museum of Parliament, where you can explore the Commonwealth’s third-oldest parliament building, and the George Washington House. The USA’s first president stayed here in 1751, and it’s a fantastic place to learn about life in Barbados in the 1700s.
The water sports
Everybody knows about Barbados’s beautiful beaches, but it’s easy to underestimate just how much fun can be had in the water, too. It’s famous for its shallow, warm water (the sea temperature rarely dips below 27°C) and you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to locations, although some of the best spots can be found on the south and west coast, which has the calmest, clearest water. Thrill seekers can opt for a spot of jet skiing and parasailing, or don their flippers for an underwater exploration – sea turtles are regularly spotted, along with dazzling shoals of rainbow-hued reef fish. Check out the "aparthotel" Beach View Hotel & Villas as your base on the West coast – this family friendly resort makes it a fantastic base for fans of water sports. Generally, conditions get slightly rougher towards the south - great news for windsurfers and kitesurfers, many of whom make a beeline for Barbados’s southern tip.
If you're dreaming of a Barbados holiday, find out how you can make your dream a reality with British Airways. With direct flights from London Gatwick, all British Airways Holidays packages are ATOL protected, include 23kg baggage allowance per person and offer access to a 24-hour holiday helpline. You can also secure your holiday with low deposits. Book now at ba.com/barbados.