Shopaholics find their Zen in Holetown, where souvenirs and quaint little shops practically grow on trees. There's no shortage of duty-free shopping either, covering everything from alcohol to designer brands and jewellery.
There are two malls – one of which features a cinema – along with the adorable Chattel Village, a cluster of multi-coloured shops hidden away in tropical gardens, whose interiors are dedicated to authentic gifts.
Rum for days
Holetown's vibrant 1st and 2nd streets are where you'll find much of the culinary action, which covers just about all four corners of the world. Holetown has changed ruling hands throughout its almost 400 years of history, which is reflected in its range of cuisine. With sushi and French fare, Caribbean barbecue, pizza and beach bars, your palette is in for a serious treat.
In terms of nightlife, Holetown keeps things easy-going with dimly-lit wine bars and little beach shacks. Don't be fooled by the sometimes ramshackle appearance of the latter – these huts are where you'll find the best and most authentic cocktails, alongside taps running golden brown with the local rum.
Animals up close
The vast majority of activities in Holetown involve getting out and about in the gorgeous sunshine. There are spots in this historic town for thrill seekers and, especially, animal lovers. Holetown has its very own marine life centre, where you can get up close and personal with local wildlife. It's not a ticketed centre like you might think, but rather a chunk of beach where snorkellers can dip below the surface and swim past reefs tucked just offshore.
As if that wasn't enough, there are also glass-bottom boat tours to take you on a cruise around the coast. Many pause beside reefs and shipwrecks so you can leap from the decks and do some more snorkelling - just be prepared to get cosy with schools of fish and sea turtles.
The main shores in Holetown – aptly named Holetown Beach – are a stretch of bright blue water backed by rich white sands. They reach warm, bath water temperatures throughout most of the year, so swimming is always on the menu, as is sunbathing.
Holetown Beach stays active with watersports like jet skiing, water skiing and kayaking, as well as snorkelling. There are beach bars and restaurants within reach for mid-afternoon snacks, and down at the southern end of the shore you'll find the West Coast Boardwalk, where you can stroll along the coast and catch the sunset. Walk North, and you'll find an even wider range of beaches to enjoy.
As the island's first official town, Holetown is about as original as it gets. Adventurers landed on Barbados' west coast nearly 400 years ago, but Holetown has since had some time to modernise. Even so, the beautiful beaches and local rum are long-standing favourites that have aged very gracefully.
With year-round warmth, Holetown is known for its sun-drenched holiday potential, attracting visitors to its white sand beaches that teem with watersports. The dining is worldly, the rum is sweet and the duty-free shopping is never-ending. What's more, Barbados' capital city, Bridgetown, lies in the not-too-far-off distance, which means your Caribbean holiday just got a little bit brighter.