8 of the best beaches in Barbados

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Samantha Shillabeer

Samantha Shillabeer

From the so-called Platinum Coast on the west of the island to the rugged Atlantic shores over on the east, Barbados is home to some of the best beaches in the world. Whichever direction you head, Caribbean staples like white sands, swaying palms and piercing blue waters come as standard.

The calmer waters of the Platinum Coast of Barbados - photo courtesy of Visit Barbados
The calmer waters of the Platinum Coast of Barbados - photo courtesy of Visit Barbados

Each stretch of sand has something different to offer, too, whether you're after sunbathing space, watersports or something else entirely. Here's our pick of the bunch.

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1. Brandons Beach

  • Type: sandy, tranquil waters
  • Vibe: urban, energetic
  • Facilities: sun loungers and umbrellas, watersports rentals
  • Location: next to Barbados's capital, Bridgetown

Spend the morning strolling the colourful streets of Bridgetown or sampling the goods at the Mount Gay Rum Visitor Centre, before hopping over to Brandons Beach to cool off in the refreshing waters.

This pretty swathe of sand is really popular due to its central location, but it's big enough that it never feels overly crowded. There are loads of watersports to choose from, including snorkelling and catamaran trips.

2. Needham's Point

  • Type: sandy, gentle waves
  • Vibe: lively, popular with holidaymakers
  • Facilities: watersports rentals, lifeguard
  • Location: on the island's southwest coast, just south of Bridgetown

Needham's Point is sandwiched between Pebbles Beach to the north and Drill Hall Beach to the south. You can flit between all three to your heart's content, making the most of the spotless sands and bath-warm waters.

Head out to sea for a spot of snorkelling, and you might just find yourself swimming alongside sea turtles. When you fancy a bite to eat, Cuz's Fish Stand is a must - it claims to serve the best fish sandwiches on the island.

3. Brownes Beach

  • Type: wide and sandy, calm waters
  • Vibe: relaxed and fun
  • Facilities: beach umbrellas, beach clubs, lifeguard, watersports rentals
  • Location: on the island's west coast

One of the biggest beaches in Barbados, Brownes Beach rolls out all of the Caribbean stereotypes. Here, pristine sands are accessorized with coconut trees, and the sea is so turquoise it looks like it's been filtered.

The turquoise sea at Brownes Beach, Barbados © Gemtek1 - Flickr Creative Commons
The turquoise sea at Brownes Beach, Barbados © Gemtek1 - Flickr Creative Commons

Neighbouring Carlisle Bay is one of the best places on the island for snorkelling and scuba diving, thanks to the multiple shipwrecks that lie offshore. Sign up for a catamaran trip, and you'll be taken out to the best spots.

Barbados weather: find out more about the weather in Barbados, and discover when we think is the very the best time to go to make the most of these glorious beaches and bays.

4. Weston Beach

  • Type: sandy, calm waters, plenty of shade
  • Vibe: quiet, popular with locals
  • Facilities: none - bring what you need
  • Location: on the island's west coast, next to a small fishing village

Weston Beach is one of the quieter beaches on Barbados' Platinum Coast, so it's ideal if you're looking to escape the crowds. There aren't any hotels here, which means you'll see more locals than holidaymakers.

The southern end of the beach is home to a shallow inshore reef, where you can snorkel with tropical fish. Hang around until sunset, and you'll get an unbeatable view of the sun dipping into the Caribbean Sea.

5. Crane Beach

  • Type: pink sands, lively waves
  • Vibe: upmarket, sophisticated
  • Facilities: limited, unless you're staying at the Crane Resort
  • Location: on the island's southeast coast

Famous for its pink-hued sands, Crane Beach often appears in lists of the world's top 10 beaches. The Crane Resort, which stands on the cliffs above the beach, is one of the most luxurious hotels in Barbados, but the beach is public and open to everyone.

Crane Beach, Barbados with its famous pink sand © Willcop - Fotolia.com
Crane Beach, Barbados with its famous pink sand © Willcop - Fotolia.com

The rolling turquoise waves are great for swimming and boogie boarding, while the tall palms and surrounding cliffs provide some shelter from the wind.

6. Dover Beach

  • Type: sandy, good conditions for watersports
  • Vibe: lively, popular with both tourists and locals
  • Facilities: lifeguard, watersports rentals, food and drinks stalls
  • Location: just off St Lawrence Gap, on the island's south coast

Footsteps from the popular resort of St Lawrence Gap, Dover Beach is a hive of activity. Sunbathers can lie horizontal on the wide stretch of powder-soft sand, while watersports fans can pick from the likes of jet skiing, boogie boarding, and windsurfing.

If you need to stretch your legs, head across the road to the Dover Playing Field, where you can often catch a game of cricket or football. Or take a stroll up to 'The Gap' and check out the seafood restaurants, open-air bars and independent boutiques.

7. River Bay

  • Type: rugged, large waves
  • Vibe: wild and natural
  • Facilities: picnic benches, toilets, changing rooms
  • Location: on the island's northeast tip

Set on the island's exposed northeast coast, River Bay is a stark contrast to the palm-lined stretches of sand in the west. People flock here to watch the large Atlantic waves pounding the cliffs, creating impressive sea sprays.

You can wander down to the shore for a paddle, but full-on swimming isn't recommended. Instead, pack some food and drink, and set up camp on one of the picnic tables for the best views.

8. Bathsheba Beach

  • Type: sandy, big waves
  • Vibe: surfer's paradise
  • Facilities: limited - just a couple of beach shacks selling drinks
  • Location: on the island's east coast

Head to a major surfing spot known as the Soup Bowl, Bathsheba Beach boasts some of the best waves in the world. International competitions are held here every year, attracting top surfers from around the globe.

Surfing the Soup Bowl at Bathsheba Beach, Barbados © Tarik Browne - Flickr Creative Commons
Surfing the Soup Bowl at Bathsheba Beach, Barbados © Tarik Browne - Flickr Creative Commons

Even if you're not a surfer, you'll have loads of fun coming along and watching the experts perform their tricks in the water. Keen photographers will be in their element here too - the white, foamy waves and giant boulders that line the beach make it a really scenic spot.

Fancy booking your very own Barbados beach break? Virgin Atlantic flies direct to Barbados from Manchester and London Heathrow in around nine hours - check out the latest deals on fares to Barbados right here.

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Samantha Shillabeer

Samantha Shillabeer

Article updated on Thursday 11th February 2021 in: Beach Caribbean Nature Virgin Atlantic

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