Barbados holidays have long been synonymous with images of a platinum coastline, palm dotted sands and gallons of rum punch. This is what you might expect when you visit here, but there is so much more to experience beneath the surface of the Caribbean scenes we all dream about.
Barbados is home to 92 kilometres of golden coastline. Beach after beach offers palmed shade, rows of sun-loungers and crystal-clear water that's ideal for kids and adults alike. The western coast is a firm favourite, with the beaches of St James and St Peter having earned Barbados the nickname of the platinum coast.
It's not just the west of Barbados that has all the fun, however. The eastern side of the island is a little more lively, making the beaches less reliable for swimming but perhaps a more attractive option for watersports enthusiasts and picnickers. The Soup Bowl at Bathsheba is a surfers paradise, with huge Atlantic waves crashing into the sands, while the East Coast Road's scenic ocean is a great spot to find a bite to eat.
Bridgetown is the capital city of Barbados, and as such it benefits from a vibrant commercial centre and restaurant culture. It also has a handful of beaches, each of which has its own unique stretch of white sand and clear blue water. Visit a rum distillery or shop at its markets.
Christ Church is a parish on the southernmost tip of Barbados. Golfers, surfers, sunbathers and those who simply want to enjoy a fantastic meal can all unwind here. Beaches range from the isolated to the hectic, and you can party in St Lawrence or relax in quieter villages.
Tucked between the capital Bridgetown and its lively neighbour St Lawrence, Hastings boasts white-sand beaches and azure ocean dotted with palm trees. You can escape the crowds or dive into the hustle and bustle. Walk the coastal boardwalk, visit a UNESCO garrison or head to St Lawrence for nightlife.
Holetown is Barbados' original town, but that doesn't mean it's old school. Packed with shopping opportunities at a sweet retail village, snorkelling excursions and one crazy gorgeous beach, it's a one-stop shop for holidays in the endlessly-warm Caribbean sun. There's international dining and plenty of rum here.
The social elite love to hobnob in St James, but that doesn't mean it's beyond reach for the average holidaymaker. Specialised resorts make the sunny skies and golden beaches of this town in west Barbados easily available to couples and families looking for a pristine paradise.
For a mix of some of the best beaches in Barbados and definitely its biggest nightlife scene, stay in St Lawrence, commonly referred to as The Gap. Hotels and villas stand shoulder to shoulder with luxury resort complexes across this resort on the south coast of Barbados.
From historic Speightstown to some of the most beautiful wildlife resorts on Barbados, the parish of St Peter is a destination for those who prefer to take their holidays at a gentle pace. The beaches are luscious, the landscape is stunning and there are many upscale resorts on this Platinum Coast.