The capital of Barbados, Bridgetown, is home to almost half of the island's population. It serves as a transport hub and tourist attraction, offering not only beautiful beaches but also colonial monuments and a UNESCO-listed historic centre.

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Bridgetown may not impress at first sight, but for a half-day trip from the resorts, it's absolutely ideal. And if you don't want to rent a car in Barbados, then it's a great place for longer term accommodation too.

Sights and attractions

The centre is relatively small and can be walked through in an hour. Some of the biggest tourist attractions include the following:

  • The Parliament Buildings - the government of Barbados is housed in a small complex of neo-Gothic buildings built in 1874. It is not open to the public.
  • St. Michael'sCathedral - Barbados' main Church of England church and one of the oldest monuments on the island, originally dating from 1665 and rebuilt in 1789. Admission is free.
  • Garrison - a historic district full of military forts and quarters located south of downtown near Pebbles Beach and dominated by the famous Garrison Savannah racecourse, which is free to walk around if there's no racing going on.
  • Mount Gay Rum Distillery - the distillery of the world's oldest rum maker hosting tours for the public.
  • George Washington House - the plantation house where the young George Washington stayed for two months with his ailing brother. It is Washington's only residence outside his native United States. The house now serves as a museum.
  • Rihanna Drive - The former Westbury New Road in Bridgetown has been renamed Rihanna Drive since 2017. This is because it is home to the green and orange house where world-famous singer Rihanna grew up. The house is located at the end of the street. There is a tile in front of the house with her name on it, so you won't miss it.

The center of Bridgetown is considered to be National Heroes Square, which is connected by a pedestrian bridge over the small Constitution River to Independence Square.

Although Bridgetown is on the coast, you won't find a really nice pedestrian promenade along the waterfront in its downtown.

Beaches and swimming

In Bridgetown you will come across the most famous Barbados beach Pebbles Beach sometimes called Carlisle Bay. The beach is one of the longest on the island and will offer plenty of facilities for those who love busy life, tranquillity and snorkelling and diving.

Just about 200 metres from the shore in depths of 3 to 25 metres lie six sunken shipwrecks.

The smaller Brandons Beach is located to the north of Bridgetown near the harbour and Mount Gay Distillery. This beach is free of facilities and would make an ideal short stop for a visit to the distillery.

Accommodation in Bridgetown

Stay in the centre of the capital in case you don't have a rental car. From Bridgetown, buses and shared taxis (ZRs) take you more or less all over the island, and quite often (usually at least once an hour).

The truth is, however, that there are not many offerings right in the centre, and the only well-priced and relatively good quality accommodation is Mariner Motel with prices from 130 usd per night for 2.

Other accommodation can be found at Pebbles Beach, such as the Hilton Barbados Resort ***** or Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados ****.

Transport in Bridgetown

You can easily get around the sights and attractions right around town in 2 hours on foot.

Bridgetown serves mainly as a transport hub for getting around the island. Parking can be a problem, as you won't find any large free car parks directly in town, but there are pay garages, or you can stop for free anywhere on the street.

There are 4 bus stations in Bridgetown, detailed locations, names and destinations are broken down in the Transportation in Barbados chapter.

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