Social Media

Breathtaking beaches in Barbados—11 astonishing spots from rugged and mysterious Bathsheba to the picture-perfect white sands of Gibbes Bay

Over the last few years, I’ve fallen head over heels in love with the Caribbean. As a backpacker by heart, the Caribbean wasn’t on my radar for many years, instead, I chose to travel to places like Nepal, India and Guatemala, searching for ancient temples and intriguing cities. But all that changed when I headed to Cuba a few years back. Cuba in itself is an incredible country for so many reasons, but on one particular bus journey from Havana to Trinidad, I remember gasping in excitement at the view of the Caribbean coast from the open bus window. I expected the Caribbean to be super luxurious (parts of some islands are, of course). In contrast, I’m more of a wild, deserted beach kind of girl, so I was excited to discover that there are endless rugged beaches throughout the Caribbean and you don’t have to spend thousands of pounds to see them. A year after my trip to Cuba, I visited the Dominican Republic and not long after that headed to Barbados for ten days with a friend whose family grew up on the island. And while parts of Barbados are known for incredible luxury, (the hotel Sandy Lane in Saint James charges close to $1,200/£1,000 a night for example) there are also more authentic parts of the island, places where you can have the entire beach to yourself.

An image of the shoreline with trees on the beach surrounded by bright blue water and a little boat in the distance at paynes bay in Barbados
One of my favorite Beaches in Bardados—Paynes Bay on the west coast of the island

Arriving in Barbados one evening we picked up a hire car from Alamo at the airport. If you want to really explore the island I’d highly recommend hiring a car—we paid around $380/£300 for six days with full insurance. Buses and minivans run along the main roads all over the island, which is helpful if you’re on a budget, but hiring a car allows the extra freedom of exploring on your own time. We chose to split our stay into two parts, spending the first half on the north-east coast in Speightstown and the last three nights down on the south coast in Worthing, this enabled us to see different neighborhoods, find the best places to eat in Barbados and to explore as much of the island as possible during our short stay.



1. Paynes Bay

2. Mullins Beach

3. Gibbes Bay

4. Smitons Bay

Home to luxury hotels and resorts, the west coast is where the A-list comes to vacation and it’s easy to see why, palm trees line every beach and the calm translucent ocean is that perfect shade of turquoise you only see in the Caribbean. It’s not unusual to spot turtles and brightly colored fish swimming alongside you on the west coast but watch out for the super yachts and catamarans (and their sometimes questionably loud music) that occasionally dock up in hidden bays.

A tiny boat sits on the horizon line in the ocean at sunset. The view is from Mullins Beach, one of the most incredible beaches in Barbados
Sunset on the west coast

We visited many stunning beaches along this stretch of coast. Paynes Bay is good for swimming and turtle spotting—although it does get busy. Mullins Beach, further north, is much less crowded and a little calmer and is home to a cool restaurant and bar called Sea Shed where the rum punch is delicious and the staff are super chilled. I’d recommend getting drinks to take out and walking around the corner along the sand to one of my favorite beaches in Barbados, Gibbes Bay. This pretty patch was deserted on most days we visited and provided the perfect sea-front stretch to laze away on—the sea here is beautifully tranquil too and there are no rocks or coral as you enter. And to catch the best sunset I like the tiny stretch of sand at Smitons Bay which you’ll likely have it all to yourself.


5. Archers Bay

6. Animal Flower Bay

The north coast is the smallest coastline and at the top of the country, the scenery changes dramatically, if you want to swim I’d advise against the north coast though as it’s very rocky and the sea can be rough at times. Archers Bay, tucked away through fields and down makeshift steps, is the place to visit for a beach all to yourself. And on a cliff edge just around the corner from the secluded bay is Catch 22, a great little restaurant that serves delicious fish dishes. The grounds of the restaurant boast an impressive Olympic-sized swimming pool that overlooks the ocean providing an endless expanse of blue as far as the eye can see.

A bright blue swimming pool overlooking the ocean on the north coast of Barbados. On this stretch of coast sit some of the most beautiful beaches in Barbados
Catch 22's pool with a view
Local school children sometimes have lessons at the pool but guests of the hotel next to the restaurant can also use it too. Animal Flower Bay at the very northern tip of the island has great views across the rocky coast, huge waves have battered the rocks over the years and turned them into a craggy, yet beautiful coastline complete with rock pools and a steep sheer drop straight off the cliff edge into the ocean. If you're lucky you might even spot a turtle.


7. Bathsheba Beach

From what I saw of the east coast, it can only be described as magical. This was the coast I explored least, simply due to time constraints but I did manage to make it over to the stunning stretch of beach in Bathsheba. The magic around this area starts with the drive alone, winding up and down hills, through lush scenery, past pink churches, palm trees, and banana plantations until the view opens up to huge boulders strewn across the Atlantic Ocean as Bathsheba begins to dominate the landscape. 

Lydia Swinscoe walks past huge coral boulders on the beach in Bathsheba, one of the most incredible beaches in Barbados
The beach at Bathsheba
The mysterious rock formations that protrude out of the waves are said to be huge coral boulders that broke away from coral reefs millions of years ago. After being eroded by the waves, they now create a fascinating landscape. This area is popular with surfers but avoid swimming as there are dangerous undercurrents. Shallow rock pools punctuate the shoreline and the water is said to have healing properties, so take time for a dip if you’re looking to cool off.


8. Worthing Beach

9. Carib Beach

10. Sandy Beach

11. Crane Beach

The south coast is pretty popular, and given its closeness to the airport and the country’s capital Bridgetown, that makes sense. We stayed in Worthing and I headed to Worthing, Carib, or Sandy Beach every day to swim and sunbathe. This whole area is perfect for swimming and snorkeling with an easy-to-swim-to coral reef not too far from the shore. It’s also pretty good for beginner surfers as the small waves further out each morning make it easy to practice. There are some cool little beach bars and restaurants along the beachfront and St Lawrence Gap, known for its fun nightlife, is a short stroll away. 

A view out to the turquoise ocean from Carib Beach, one of the most stunning beaches in Barbados. There are palm trees lining the shoreline creating perfect shadows on the white sand
Carib Beach
Further east along the coast is Crane Beach, another one of my favorites for scenery since the cliff edge dramatically gives way to the beach ensuring a James Bond film vibe.

A blue beach umbrella on the edge of Crane Beach with a coconut stall beneath it. Crane beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in barbados
Coconut stand at Crane Beach
We drove to Crane one morning and spent the day on the beach where the waves are a little bigger but swimming feels safe as there’s a breaker not too far out. There’s also a great bar on Crane called the Grove—part of The Crane Resort. Shaded by trees and set back from the beach it’s the ideal spot for a post-swim cocktail.

Post a Comment


Theme by BD