Barbados is one of the most eastern Caribbean island states, located off the northern Atlantic coast of South America. Once a British colony, the island became independent in 1966, but is still part of the Commonwealth today. Thus the head of state is still Queen Elisabeth II, who is represented on the island by the current governor.
The official language of the approx. 430 square kilometre island is English. Of the total population of around 278,000, almost a third live in the capital Bridgetown. The rest of the population lives in 11 parishes (comparable to German communities or districts). The climate in Barbados is warm all year round with an average annual temperature of about 26 degrees.
The main economic sector of the island is tourism. Other important sectors are the sugar and rum industries. Well-known neighbouring islands of Barbados include Grenada, Martinique and Trinidad. In addition to numerous sights, the island is characterised by its unique Caribbean flair and joie de vivre. It can be reached by boat or via the international airport, which is about 15 kilometres from the centre of the capital.
Below we present you the most exciting tours, the most beautiful attractions and the best sights on Barbados:
1. Diverse capital Bridgetown
Located in the southwestern corner of the island, Bridgetown is the cultural and commercial centre of the island. The historic old town has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011. Numerous interesting and architecturally appealing colonial buildings such as St. Michael’s Cathedral or Harrison College adorn the city centre. The Constitution River, which flows into a marina right in the city centre, is another important sight of the city. The marina is called Careenage by locals.
The Chamberlain Bridge, which crosses the Careenage, is a popular destination for tourists. Here is also the central National Heroes Square with a monument statue for the famous British admiral Lord Nelson. It is the ideal starting point to explore the old town with its busy streets. Visitors will find typical Caribbean delicacies, shopping and a lively nightlife.
2. Barbados Museum and Historical Society
The Barbados Museum is located in Bridgetown south of the city centre. The interesting museum offers its visitors an insight into the history of the island and the Caribbean. The building was once a British military prison from the 19th century and was converted into a museum in 1930.
The museum houses numerous relics from the past centuries, such as artefacts of the natives, old weapons, historical furnishings or maps from the colonial period. The museum is an absolute must for visitors interested in culture and history.
3. Time Travel at George Washington House
Not far from the Barbados Museum is the George Washington House, another historical highlight. The building was named after the first American President George Washington. It can be proved that he spent about two months on the island in 1751 and lived in this building.
Today the two-storey building is a museum. The ground floor was left as far as possible in its original state. The first floor contains exhibitions of artefacts from this period and shows the history of slavery during colonial times. George Washington House is visited by tourists and locals alike.
4. Arlington House Museum
This wonderful 18th century house, located in the northern town of Speightstown, has also been converted into a museum. This museum also leads the visitor through the history of the island. A special feature of this house is the very modern interactive audiovisual tour through time.
A particularly popular highlight of the exhibitions for children is a talking pirate who tells the story of Speightstown. Different exhibitions on 3 floors tell of different epochs and themes.
5. Barbados Concorde Experience
To this day, the Concorde is an aircraft that fascinates and captivates many people, even though production has long ceased. On Barbados interested visitors can once again indulge in this fascination. At Grantley Adams International Airport a real Concorde G-BOAE (Alpha Echo) is displayed in a hangar.
Visitors can enter the old British Airways aircraft and learn more about its unique technology and history inside. This attraction is almost surreal in comparison to the other sights of the island.
6. Dream beach and turtles in Carlisle Bay
Carlisle Bay is located on the western edge of the island on the coast of Bridgetown. The bay offers not only one of the most beautiful beaches on Barbados (Pebbles Beach) but also impressive underwater worlds. Both here and at Brown’s Beach there are several shipwrecks within reach of the shore and are a refuge for countless colourful fish and many other sea creatures.
Whether guided tours with one of the numerous providers or a snorkeling tour on your own, here you can admire crystal clear water and a great variety of species. A special highlight here is swimming with wild sea turtles, which appear again and again in the bay and around the wreck and are meanwhile used to humans to a large extent (nevertheless please do not stroke!).
7. Rum-Tour in the Mount Gay distillery
Rum is still one of Barbados’s most important export goods today, and the 300-year-old family-run company Mount Gay is considered a pioneer among Caribbean producers. During a guided rum tour you will learn more about the process and the technique of rum production. We would like to point out, however, that in the Mount Gay Visitor Centre the emphasis is on food.
The actually active distillery is located further north, so that visitors only get a very limited insight into the production process. If one knows what to expect (namely a tasting room that is oriented to the US market), then one can enjoy the visit. We find the price in order and the drive through the hinterland a pleasant change to the beach life on Barbados.
8. Oistin’s Friday Night Fish Fry
The small town of Oistins has long since become a tourist centre and one of the most important sights in Barbados, especially the fish market on Friday evening is a real magnet for visitors. And you shouldn’t miss a visit to the Friday Night Fish Fry, because it’s much more than just a place with seafood on the grill!
In Oistins on Friday after sunset tourists mix with locals, loud music is played, alcohol flows in streams and one experiences a good insight into the party life of the Bajans. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a quiet and tasty restaurant visit, you should rather visit the stands on another day of the week when it is less crowded (and usually even cheaper)!
9. Sea Cave Animal Flower Cave
The Animal Flower Cave is located at the northernmost end of the island state. It is the only accessible sea cave and popular sight in Barbados. This special place is a great photo motif and was discovered in 1780 by two British researchers.
Especially popular with tourists is the attached restaurant with bar and terrace. From the terrace you can enjoy the beautiful view of the sea and the surroundings in a relaxed atmosphere and with a typical Caribbean drink.
10. Harrison’s Cave
Harrison’s Cave, an impressive cave landscape with a visitor park, is located practically in the middle of the interior. The cave system of this popular sight extends over about 2.3 kilometres. Visitors can discover the extraordinary area with its caves and waterfalls on a guided tour with an underground train.
More adventurous visitors can go on the adventure tour on foot, equipped with helmet and protective equipment, on a journey through the wet caves. Partly on the knees, too. Special children’s tours are offered for young visitors.
More things to do and activities for your Barbados holiday
Best time to visit Barbados
We recommend the following months as best time to travel for exploring the attractions and acivities of Barbados:
January, February, March, April, May, and December
You can find more information about the weather, including all climate data, on our climate page for Barbados.