What to do in Barbados


The island is a typical destination for relaxing by the sea and easy trips inland. What are the best things to do in Barbados?

Beaches and swimming

Barbados is renowned for its white sandy beaches with azure seas. Most tourists head to the island specifically for swimming in the sea, which is clearly the main activity. Although Barbados is commonly referred to as part of the Caribbean, in reality its shores are only bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, as it is displaced about 150 km east of the main Caribbean island belt.

Search for the best hotel on the beach

Literally all the local beaches are covered in fine white sand, only occasionally mixed with small pebbles or shells (especially on the little-visited east coast).

What are the best beaches in Barbados?

You'll find beaches almost all around the island, but they vary quite significantly from coast to coast.

The west and south coasts

Narrow sandy beaches line virtually half of Barbados from Speightstown to Silver Sands. The beaches stretch through densely populated flat areas and are lined with villas or resorts along almost the entire length of the west and south coasts.

At regular intervals, however, there are public access paths between the houses, always marked with a "Public Access to the Beach" sign.

The beaches of the west and south coasts are the most visited and you will find many places completely devoid of people as well as larger lively beaches with sunbed hire, restaurants and bars.

Some of the most famous beaches in this part of Barbados include Carlisle Bay (Pebbles Beach), Folkestone Marine Park, Maxwell Beach and the strip of beaches around The Richard Haynes Boardwalk in the Hastings and Rockley area.

The sea on the west coast is calmest, with bigger waves in the south, but still safe for swimmers and ideal for bodysurfing.

South East Coast

For a different kind of beach, look southeastwards from the airport to the easternmost point of Barbados around the towns of Diamond Valley, Harrismith or Long Bay.

The beaches here lie in small open bays beneath cliffs up to 15 metres high. They are very photogenic and most of them are covered with a grove of coconut palms.

The surface of the local beaches is again fine white sand, sometimes with a coating of seaweed. The beaches of the southeast tend to be semi-empty with only a minimum of visitors. Services here are provided only by locals in the form of coconut sales or sunbed hire.

For the most beautiful beach in this part of Barbados, we would choose Bottom Bay Beach.

East Coast

This part of Barbados looks dramatic and very deserted. Long sandy beaches alternate with rocky and rocky stretches, and the hilly east coast looks both majestic and photogenic.

The local beaches, the most famous of which is The Soup Bowl in the town of Bathsheba, are more for swimming than for bathing. The waves can be big and the currents dangerous.

Are all the beaches public?

Many beaches are occupied by large hotel resorts with their own bars, sunbeds and gated access from the mainland.

By law, however, all beaches in Barbados are free to all visitors for their entire length. So even parts of the beaches at hotel resorts can be visited without worry even if you stay in a completely different hotel.

How are the beaches in Barbados equipped?

Beaches at hotel resorts and in the larger towns are well equipped with comfortable sun loungers, umbrellas and fully stocked bars or restaurants. The larger beaches (mainly on the west and south coasts) also usually have free toilets and public showers.

Outside the resorts, beaches tend to be more natural. However, you'll usually find sunbed and umbrella hire and more or less impromptu snack bars on the beaches. However, it's not a good idea to rely on the beach shops, as you won't be able to buy something to eat everywhere. Therefore, always take a sufficient supply of drinks and food with you.

The cost of renting two sun loungers and one umbrella at most beaches is between 15 and 20 usd. You can always pay in cash only, in both US and Barbadian dollars.

Beaches in Barbados have the advantage of natural shade from mature trees, which can be found almost everywhere.

Taste Barbados rum

Ideal growing conditions for sugar cane, Barbados' largest export, contribute to the tradition of rum production.

True rum was born in the Caribbean and it is in Barbados that you will find the oldest rum distillery in the world. Mount Gay has been producing rum here continuously since 1703.

Visit the distilleries and learn all about rum production on the island. The best program is offered by the largest company Mount Gay. Tours of the romantic-looking estate are also popular. St. Nicholas Abbey in rural northern Barbados.

In addition to tastings at the distilleries, you can buy rum at any shop or bar. How much do you pay for a bottle and how much for a cocktail? Check out the Money and Prices in Barbados chapter.


Barbados is an ideal destination for snorkelling, even for beginners. The local coral reefs guarantee a huge variety of underwater flora and fauna, and at the same time, in several places they are perfectly accessible directly from the beach without having to pay for expensive boat trips.

Snorkelling in Barbados may not provide the amazing conditions you'll find in the Red Sea, Indonesia or Palau, but it's certainly one of the top snorkelling spots in the Caribbean.

We would recommend the 2 most beautiful snorkeling spots:

  • Folkestone Marine Park - Extensive coral reefs right off the beach in a protected no-boat zone.
  • Carlisle Bay - 6 sunken shipwrecks easily accessible from the beach (200 metres from the shore in depths of 3 to 30 metres)

Snorkelling equipment can be bought for example in large supermarkets (Massy) or at some beaches where rentals are also available (approx. 15 usd per set per day).

Visit the botanical gardens

Although Barbados may give you the impression of a densely built-up place without a hint of nature once you arrive and drive to your hotel in the south and west of the island, just drive 25km from Bridgetown towards the centre of the island and you'll find yourself in a hilly area full of rainforest.

And it's here that you'll come across several small but stunning private botanical gardens, where you'll discover local and exotic tropical fauna and enjoy some quiet time.

Here are three of the best gardens in Barbados: Flower Forest Gardens, Andromeda Botanic Gardens, Hunte's Gardens.

Book a car in Barbados


Surfing is one of the most popular water sports on the island. There are several surf schools in the Bridgetown area, including:

There are ideal conditions for surfing all year round.

Among experienced surfers, the most popular beach on the east side of the island is guaranteed to be The Soup Bowl.

For the less experienced, the west or south coast is suitable, especially the southernmost part of Barbados around the town of Oistins, where there are already quite big waves.


If you are not experienced in diving, you can take beginners courses at local dive centres (e.g. Barbados Blue Watersports at the Hilton Hotel). An instructor will train you in the pool before the actual dive in the sea. If you're keen on diving, you can also take the PADI international diving test.

A large number of divers head to Carlisle Bay to dive, where there are shipwrecks on the bottom, some of which are already at depths that are not reachable by snorkelling.

In general, however, Barbados is not one of the best destinations for diving. There are not so many coral reefs around the island, or they are easily accessible from the shore for snorkelling.

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