Barbados is the Caribbean at its stylish and sophisticated best. Not only does it have the Caribbean requisite coral-sand beaches, turquoise waters and laid-back charms, but it mixes its easy-going Bajan attitude with traditional English activities like cricket matches and afternoon tea. Society events like polo games and horse racing add a touch of glamour, too.
Barbados offers plenty to do, with everything from hiking trails and manicured golf courses, to historic plantation houses and beautifully maintained tropical gardens. The island measures up at 21 miles by 14, so getting out and about (either by hire car or local bus) is easy.
, on the west coast, is the glitziest part of the island, and has been dubbed the 'Platinum Coast' and 'Millionaire's Row'. Beaches here and on the south-west coast face the Caribbean Sea, and have sugary sands and calm, sheltered waters. There are plenty of beachfront bars and restaurants to try out, too. Then you've got the bustling capital city, Bridgetown, where you'll find fantastic shopping, colonial architecture, and statues of the island's national icons in National Heroes Square.
For natural beauty, take a trip to Welchman Hall Gully and the Andromeda Botanic Gardens, or climb Mount Hillaby for widescreen views over the island. Of course, a visit to the Mount Gay Rum factory is a must –
it's the oldest rum brand in the world.