The best thing about this Caribbean Island is its discoverable size. Measuring just 21 miles long and 14 miles wide, it takes less than an hour to get from one side to the other! Being so compact, you'll have plenty of opportunity to discover our top 10 must-see experiences in Barbados.

From former plantation houses to popular beaches with sugary white sands; rum distilleries to accessible sea caves and so much more, our experts have compiled all of the best activities into one handy guide.

Don't forget, we can arrange private guided tours tailored to your personal interests and requirements. Pick-up and drop-off can be confirmed from your hotel at your preferred time, and we can arrange a lunch reservation at one of the best dining spots on the island to complete your day.

1. Stroll around Farley Hill National Park

Set on 30 acres of lush hillside, Farley Hill house was once regarded as the most impressive mansion in Barbados. The land was purchased by the wealthy Briggs family, before building commenced in 1818. Specifically designed to entertain guests, the family welcomed many royal visitors to the Georgian mansion over the years. Sadly, the house was destroyed by a fire in 1965,  leaving just its grand walls.

This historic site is known today as Farley Hill National Park, officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1966. Situated amongst a forest of mahogany trees, the park is an ideal spot to escape into nature. See the crumbling ruins and explore expansive grounds, which are transformed into a stage for musical and theatrical events including the Barbados Jazz Festival and Gospelfest. Climb to the top of the hill to take in the best, far-reaching views of the rugged coast. 

2. Discover nature in the Barbados Wildlife Reserve

Across the road from Farley Hill National Park you’ll find the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, situated in a lush four-acre mahogany grove. The reserve is primarily a monkey sanctuary for the Barbados Green Monkey, but you'll spot many other animals strolling freely and playing in their natural environment.

Follow the nature trails winding through many species of tree and plant life and get up close to a range of exotic species including parrots, flamingos, agouti, armadillo, Brocket deer, pelicans, caimans, iguanas, and more.

3. Tour Arlington House Museum

Allow time to visit Speightstown in the north of the island, dotted with colourful colonial buildings, a bounty of ivory-white beaches and enticing rum bars. One of the popular attractions in the heart of the town is Arlington House, an 18th century mansion-turned-museum, where you can experience life in a bygone era.

Arranged over three storeys, there's a range of exhibits and interactive features for the whole family to learn about Barbados’ heritage. Different themes include town history and typical lifestyles, plantation memories and the nautical trade, highlighting the prominence of Speightstown as an ocean trading “hub” to the New World.

4. Shop at Limegrove Lifestyle Centre

If you’re looking to pick up more than a few standard souvenirs while on holiday, the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre in the heart of Holetown is perfect for duty-free shopping, with designer stores such as Gucci, Cartier and Michael Kors, plus an eclectic mix of locally owned boutiques.

Pop into the art gallery to admire the work of local, Caribbean and international artists and sample cuisine from around the world in one of the alfresco restaurants. The Centre is also steps away from the Holetown Monument and the Holetown Methodist Church, a beautiful building erected in 1912.

5. Explore the capital Bridgetown

UNESCO World Heritage-listed capital Bridgetown is an interesting place to spend time wandering around atmospheric streets, home to souvenir shops, museums and of course Rihanna Drive, where the world-famous Barbadian pop star grew up.

Browse the shops on Broad Street, stroll along Swan Street, and take a tour of interesting historical sites including Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill to learn how sugar has been traditionally made on the island. Other historical landmarks include Harrison's Point Lighthouse and the Jewish Synagogue, one of the oldest synagogues in the world. 

If you're planning to be in Bridgetown for the evening, we can arrange a Harbour Lights Beach Extravaganza. We'll provide hotel transfers so you can enjoy a colourful beach barbecue featuring fire eating, stilt walking and a steel band. 

6. Go underground at Harrison's Cave

Harrison's Cave is one of the island’s most famous attractions featuring dramatic rock formations. This sprawling underground cave system is a natural phenomenon, with stalactites hanging from the roof of the cave, stalagmites emerging from the ground, secret tunnels and flowing streams of crystal-clear water over two kilometres long. This tour can be done via tram or an exhilarating eco-adventure hiking tour.

At the lowest point in the cave, you can leave the tram and walk alongside a spectacular waterfall which plunges into a deep pool below. Whilst in the area of Harrison's Cave, a nearby tourist attraction is Welchman Hall Gully. Formed long ago by collapsed caves, walk along the mile-long deep ravine filled with a tropical forest of palms, bamboo, and mahogany, fustic, sandalwood and baobab trees.

7. Take photos at Animal Flower Cave

At Barbados' most northerly point, descend into photogenic caverns full of natural wonders. The Animal Flower Cave has evolved over the years from the continuous Atlantic Ocean waves crashing against it, carving out one of Barbados' best attractions.

The views from inside the caves to the outside offer some highly instagrammable photo opportunities – you might even spot passing humpback whales if you visit between February and April.

8. Go rum tasting

Being the birthplace of rum, stopping by rum shops and a renowned distillery in Barbados is simply a must. Built in 1660, the beautifully restored St. Nicholas Abbey, with its distinctive Dutch gables and red roof, is one of only three authentic Jacobean buildings in the western hemisphere.

On this old sugarcane estate, you’ll find a working rum distillery where you can sample homemade rum punch, alongside a museum depicting 18th century plantation life on the island. There's also a railway that takes you on a journey through the plantation’s grounds on a beautiful steam train. While you're in the area, don't miss out on stunning views of the Barbados coastline by scaling Cherry Tree Hill.

Fancy taking your rum experience to the next level? We'll arrange a private dining experience at Colony Club’s elegantly appointed Rum Vault.

For an in-depth understanding of the history of this spirit, check out our rum story of Barbados guide (link).

"I would love to organise a group or private tour of The Mount Gay Rum Distillery for you. At the working estate, you'll explore the original well, molasses house, fermentation and distillation house. Afterwards, pick up one of your favourite rums and take a bit of Barbados back home with you." Kerin, Destination Manager





9. Wander around Hunte's Gardens

Hunte's Gardens is Barbados’ most memorable botanic garden and really shows off how tropical the island is. With hummingbirds and monkeys frolicking amongst plants and orchids and classical music streamed through hidden speakers, it’s one of the most exotic botanical gardens in the world!

During your visit you may bump into the gardens' engaging founder, Anthony Hunte, Barbados' top horticulturalist. He often entertains guests with stories and invites them onto the verandah of his home to sample his famed rum punch. 

10. Relax on the beautiful beaches

Often referred to as the "Platinum Coast", the sought-after West Coast of this tropical island is renowned for its golden sands, turquoise waters and coral reefs. Primarily comprising the three parishes of St. James, St. Peter and St. Michael, the West Coast is the best place to stay if you’re after a relaxing beach day, where gentle waters allow for relaxed swimming, snorkelling and stand up paddle boarding. Water skiing, tube rides and jet skiing are options if you want to experience some adrenaline pumping activities out on the waves, or we can arrange a catamaran tour with snorkelling equipment, transfers, food, and drinks included. Find out more here

Head over to the East Coast to watch international surfing competitions at Bathsheba Beach's Soup Bowl, a name derived from the foamy water found here. Meanwhile in the South, one of most beautiful areas is Crane Beach. After the sun sets over the pink-white sand, sample local delicacies at Oistins Fish Fry, which is a hub of activity on weekend nights.

For more information, take a look at our Best Beaches in Barbados Guide. (link)

Want to escape to the sunlit shores of Barbados?

Barbados brings vibrant culture, stunning beaches, delicious cuisine, and historic sites to your summer getaway, all in the surrounds of lush, tropical greenery. There’s plenty for all kinds of travellers to enjoy, whether you’re whisking your loved one away on a dreamy honeymoon or seeking some solo time in paradise.

To create your personalised itinerary in Barbados, speak to our Travel Specialists. We’ll help design your tailor-made getaway that covers all the best bits of Barbados.

Why we're the Barbados experts
  • Airport meet-and-greet for immediate post-flight assistance
  • Escort through to your private transfer for a seamless arrival
  • Direct line of contact to Kerin's team for any requests or assistance
  • In-resort support for booking taxis, excursions and restaurants
  • Barbados lounge passes included on return

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