First-time visitors to Barbados will quickly fall in love with this Caribbean island’s charms. It’s a destination that has it all.
From powdery white sand beaches and colorful coral reefs to a rum-fueled nightlife amid UNESCO-listed colonial architecture, this is a modern Caribbean paradise. Read on to discover the top 12 most beautiful places to visit in Barbados…
1. Rockley Beach – one of the most stunning places to visit in Barbados
There are many beautiful beaches in Barbados but this stretch of sand is the stuff dreams are made of – lazing a day away at Rockley Beach is a quintessential Barbados experience.
Located on the southern side of the island, it’s great for both a relaxed day of swimming and for catching some waves while bodyboarding.
The sapphire waters lap at a shore fringed with swaying palms, underneath which are comfortable chaise lounges. Not convinced yet? Check out six more reasons why you should spend your summer in the Caribbean.
My must-do highlights of Rockley Beach
- For those who love to golf, play a round at Rockley Golf Course surrounded by breathtaking scenery.
- Take a lovely stroll along the impressive south coast boardwalk.
- Relax with a refreshing drink at the Tiki Bar.
2. Hunte’s Garden – a beautiful gem of an attraction to visit in Barbados
Blanketing a geological fault in the earth towards the east side of the island, this garden is brimming with a dazzling array of colorful plants, all of them growing over one another in the dappled sunlight.
Follow the crisscrossing paths as they meander through the garden and lose yourself in the singing birds, lizards scampering underfoot, and classical music drifting out over the garden from speakers.
My must-do highlights of Hunte’s Garden
- Gaze in awe at the vibrant and beautiful plants and unique gardens.
- Take a picnic to have a picturesque lunch in the center of the lush grenery.
- Get lost in the 3-acres of garden by wandering around the paths.
3. Barbados Wildlife Reserve – a great place to explore in Barbados
Located in mahogany wood towards the northern coast, the Barbados Wildlife Reserve is another beautiful place to visit in Barbados.
Brick paths cross through the 4 acres of reserve, where underneath the trees you’ll see monkeys, deer, peacocks, iguanas, turtles, and much more.
Most are roaming freely, while others (like the snakes) are thankfully kept in enclosures.
My must-do highlights of Barbados Wildlife Preserve
- Enjoy a unique experience of walking around the preserve where the wildlife run close by.
- Check out the fun tours you can do, such as feeding the animals.
- Explore through the Barbados Museum and Historical Society to learn about the areas past.
4. Bridgetown – one of the best spots to explore in Barbados
Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados, a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with vibrant life and beautiful old colonial architecture.
With a population of just over 100,000, this is where you’ll find most of the locals on the island.
Strolling through the city can easily occupy a whole day – but it’s the historic downtown area stretching south towards the garrison that landed the city on UNESCO’s list.
My must-do highlights of Bridgetown
- Discover the shipwrecks at Carlisle Bay and stroll along the golden sand beach.
- Delve into history by visiting the George Washington House.
- Try some delicious authentic Bajan food at Cuz’s Fish Stand on Pebbles Beach.
5. Carlise Beach – one of the most beautiful beaches in Barbados
Another one of the most beautiful beaches in Barbados, this pretty crescent-shaped bay has all the usual Caribbean cliches such as the white sand, turquoise sea, and swaying palm trees and it’s also a popular spot for scuba diving, snorkeling, and exploring the underwater shipwreck.
Other reasons to visit include its having calm waters which are perfect for swimming and historic lighthouses, the Needham’s Point Lighthouse.
My must-do highlights of Carlisle Bay
- Cool down with a swim in the crystal clear waters on a hot day.
- Have a go at water sports such as snorkelling to admire the underwater world and treasures.
- Take a walk along one of the surrounding hiking trails.
6. St Nicholas Abbey – a must-see attraction in Barbados
This beautiful old building is one of only three Jacobean mansions in the Western hemisphere, and one of Barbados’ most atmospheric spots. Part plantation, part museum, and part rum distillery, there’s plenty here to keep visitors occupied.
The main building was constructed in 1658 as a plantation, and that tradition lives on today.
Visitors can tour the mansion and its beautiful gardens, or opt to catch the steam train that loops around the property.
My must-do highlights of St Nicholas Abbey
- Hop on the train that circles around the property to get a 360 degree view of the building.
- Take a visit to the rum factory, and have a taste of the popular drink.
- Stroll through the plantation grounds to be amazed by this traditional historic activity.
7. Animal Flower Cave – a unique natural tourist attraction
The animal flower cave is a large cave at the northern tip of Barbados, another of the island’s spectacular natural attractions.
Accessed by steps carved into the rock, as you delve inside you’ll be treated to snapshots of the ocean through large, natural openings.
Below, fizzing waves crash over the cave lip and collect in beautiful pools. The views from on top of the cliff are equally as interesting – between February and April keep an eye out for migrating humpback whales.
My must-do highlights of Animal Flower Cove
- Have a unique experience by swimming in the pools of the cove.
- Grab some Insta-worthy shots from inside the cove looking out into the ocean.
- Stop for a bite to eat and enjoy some delicious food.
8. Bathsheba Bay
Located on the east coast of the island where the Atlantic Ocean crashes at the shore, Bathsheba Bay is a rugged getaway from the relaxing beaches on the west side of Barbados.
Here, interesting rock formations both large and small dot the bay, the ebb and flow of the tide shaping them over thousands of years.
It’s not a great spot for swimming, but if you’re looking to go surfing then it’s hard to beat. Otherwise, pack a picnic and enjoy its rugged beauty.
My must-do highlights of Bathsheba Bay
- Spend some time relaxing along the stunning beach shoreline by sunbathing.
- Visit the beautiful Andromeda Botanic Gardens located nearby.
- Catch the waves with some surfing out on the turquoise waters.
This small village sequestered away on Barbados’ northwest coast is filled with a rustic, nautical charm. Visitors will love the historic colonial buildings, giving the entire place a great vibe.
It’s only enhanced by the fresh fruit sold by vendors on the shady streets, while fishermen unload their catches down at the jetty. It’s a far cry from the upscale villages further south, but it’s just as fantastic and beautiful.
My must-do highlights of Speightstown
- Go on a walking tour around the area that ends with a dinner whilst watching the sunset.
- Take a visit to the Tiyi By Design Art Jewelry Studio to look at the creative range of unique pieces.
- Sip on a refreshing beverage at One Eleven East Beach Bar on a hot temperature day.
10. Sandy Lane Beach – one of the best beaches in Barbados perfect for vacationers
Another of the island’s most popular beaches is Sandy Lane Beach. Located on the west coast of the island, it’s an idyllic Caribbean swimming spot.
Perfectly white sand, calm turquoise waters, and beautiful mahogany trees all come together to create the perfect spot for some sun, sand, and water.
My must-do highlights of Sandy Lane Beach
- Spend an afternoon relaxing at the luxury boutique spa.
- Hire a jet ski to have some fun out exploring around the waters.
- Admire the spectacular views overlooking the ocean and across the horizon.
11. Queen’s Park – a must-see popular tourist spot
Located in Bridgetown, Queen’s Park is a lovely stop while you’re exploring the capital of Barbados. Here you’ll find a peaceful fountain and a quaint, colonial bandstand, but the biggest attraction here is a baobab tree that’s over a thousand years old.
It’s one of the largest trees on the entire island, and for many, represents the timelessness and longevity of Barbados.
With so many beautiful places to visit in Barbados, what are you waiting for? Get planning and you’ll be exploring this enchanting island for yourself in no time.
My must-do highlights of Queen’s Park
- Book a night at Harbour Lights Beach Extravaganza and Dinner Show.
- Go on a snorkelling cruise to explore around the ocean and underwater world.
- Take an Instagrammable picture underneath the historic baobab tree.
12. Harrison’s Cave – a great thing to do when visiting Barbados
Lying at the heart of Barbados is Harrison’s Cave, one of the natural wonders of the island. This crystallized limestone cave is characterized by rushing streams, clear water, and towering stone pillars.
Visiting the expansive cave goes one of two ways. The first type of tour is a tram ride through the interior, letting you see the whole space in comfort.
The other type is more adventurous, where you’ll crawl, scramble and swim through some of the smaller areas of the cave.
My must-do highlights of Harrison’s Cave
- Be amazed by the incredible naturally formed gallery of stalactites.
- Explore through the mysterious and magical underground caves.
- Don’t rush through. Take your time to admire the formations.
13. Oistins – a top Barbados destination that offers a laid-back vibe
Barbados is known for its colorful spots and its crystal clear beaches. If you are looking for a top thing to do in Barbados, Oistins has everything to offer and more.
One of the must-dos is to attend the annual Oistins Festival which takes place every Easter weekend. The event is held in the picturesque fishing village in the parish of Christ Church, on the south coast of the island.
Rest assured if you are not into fish, there are plenty of other things to do like visiting the breathtaking Miami beach which has been nominated as the best beach in Barbados.
Try food from Chefette which is a leading fast-food restaurant chain scattered across the island.
My must-do highlights of Oistins
- Make sure to eat some delicious and fresh locally produced fish.
- Play a round of golf at Barbados Golf Course.
- Visit Miami beach, famous for being one of the best beaches to see.
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Michael Cowley – writer and photographer
Ever since he was knee-high to a grasshopper Michael has always had an affinity for adventure. Growing up he was lucky enough to live in a handful of exotic far flung locations including Hong Kong, Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania and since then he’s continued seeking out new places and cultures. In his spare time he explores everywhere from the sizzling street markets in Bangkok to random back alleys in Sri Lanka and everything in between! He also has a special fondness for Cohibas, trying all kinds of street food, playing carrom with random strangers, and fine wine – he knows his clarets from his chiantis. He counts Cuba, Amsterdam, Indonesia, Goa, Cambodia and Italy as his favourite destinations. Find Michael on Instagram or Twitter.