Caribbean Beat Magazine

Barbados by road | Explore

Barbados is world-famous for its spectacular beaches — but when you’re ready to experience the rest of the island’s natural beauty and cultural riches, there’s no better way than a road trip. A full gas tank, your favourite playlist, and good vibes are all you need to enjoy these three itineraries

  • The rugged coast at Bathsheba, one of the classic sights on a drive along the east coast of Barbados. Photo courtesy Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
  • A rum tasting at historic St Nicholas Abbey. Photo courtesy Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
  • Barbados Whole Day Map
  • A profusion of tropical flora at Hunte’s Garden. Photo by Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock.com
  • Barbados Half A Day Map
  • National Heroes Square at the heart of Bridgetown. Photo by Agf Sri/Alamy Stock Photo
  • Barbados, Bridgetown Couple of Hours Map

If you have a whole day . . .

Loud whistles and the clickety-clack of train wheels on a twenty-four-mile track were once familiar sounds through Barbados’s dense canefields, forests, and gullies. Evidence of the island’s Victorian railway — in operation from 1883 to 1937 — still spans the former route from Bridgetown to Belleplaine in St Andrew parish. Here’s what you’ll find along the way.

Foursquare Rum Distillery and Heritage Park: cleanse your palate with rum, the island’s pride and joy — after Rihanna, of course. Lively insights about the rum-making process, from sugarcane to bottle, never disappoint.

Neighbourhood rum shops: these watering holes pop up along the journey, sometimes with smiling invitations to join a friendly game of dominoes. A casual meal of local fare and a rum punch are recommended for refuelling.

Sunbury Plantation House and Museum: constructed in flint and other imported stone for one of the island’s first colonial settlers, it’s the only great house in Barbados with all rooms open for viewing. 

Hackleton’s Cliff: perched a thousand feet above the sea, with sweeping views of the east coast almost to the northern tip of the island. Ask locals about the associated folktales, which you’ll never forget.

The Soup Bowl: dramatic waves frilled with white foam are ideal for surfing competitions in Bathsheba, on the island’s wild east coast.

St Nicholas Abbey Heritage Railway: though not on the old train route, this is a bonus for railway buffs. An actual steam locomotive excursion takes you past the historic great house and ends at Cherry Tree Hill.

If you have half a day . . .

Treasure hunts are only for children — said no one. Barbados is full of scenic vistas, and some say the landscape gets more picturesque the further north you go. There’s plenty to discover — sometimes just around the corner, and in sunken gardens, too.

Arlington House Museum: this elegant three-story eighteenth-century house in Speightstown is full of memories of Barbadian heritage, told through interactive technology

Barbados Wildlife Reserve: roam freely and at your own pace, like the animals in their natural habitat. Green monkeys rustling in the bushes, birds tweeting to each other, and reptiles basking in the sun are just some of the attractions at this sanctuary in St Peter.

Farley Hill National Park: majestic in its glory days, this hilltop mansion — now an awesome ruin surrounded by mahogany woodlands — overlooks the east coast. It’s a cosy and shady escape to nature for a picnic, a wedding, and serenity. 

Hunte’s Garden: once a natural limestone gully, transformed in the 1950s into a lush utopia of miniature secret gardens and rare exotic plants, best admired on a stroll. 

If you have a couple of hours . . .

If you have just a morning to spare, Bridgetown and its Garrison — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is a must-do. Explore the historic centre of the island’s capital on foot, then head by car through the western outskirts and along the south coast.

Agapey Chocolate Factory: from bean to bar, pleasure your tastebuds with a tour of this cocoa workshop on Hincks Street.

Wickham Lewis Boardwalk: a picturesque gateway to the city’s Broad Street, bopping catamaran cruises, and flight-seeing via helicopter tours.

National Heroes Square: a prime stage for cultural events in the city against a backdrop of historic monuments and architecture, including the nineteenth-century Parliament Buildings.

Drill Hall Beach: just a stone’s throw from the historic Garrison Savannah and its military environs, tranquillity abounds — and so do baby turtles scurrying to the sea.