Barbados is made up of four main towns: Bridgetown, Oistins, Holetown and Speightstown. Each are easily accessible and unique in its own little way as each one offers something different.
Bridgetown, the capital and largest city of Barbados is located in the parish of St. Michael in the central part of the island. It is the main commercial hub of Barbados. Broad Street is its main street, with a vast majority of duty-free shops commercial and financial businesses located here.
The Parliament Buildings, established in 1639, is the third oldest Parliament in the Commonwealth of Nation, and are located in Bridgetown.
Bridgetown is a major tourist destination for duty free shopping, especially for cruise ship passengers arriving at the Cruise Ship Terminal which is within walking distance.
Locals refer to Bridgetown as “The City,” but the most common reference by locals is simply “Town.”
Oistins is located in the parish of Christ Church on the southern part of the island. Oistins operates mostly as a fishing village and a vibrant tourist area. Oistins has become famous for its Friday Night Fish Fry, one of the island’s most popular visitor activities. The casual and upbeat Fish Fry is home to over 30 vendors cooking fresh fish and seafood on wood fired grills. Live music and dancing with plenty of drinks creates a festive atmosphere while still maintaining a family-friendly environment.
Oistins is also home to the Oistins Fish Festival, an annual folk festival that occurs every Easter for a week long celebration of all things to do with the local fishing industry, which includes fish-deboning competitions, boat races, net throwing, food, crafts, music, and dancing.
Oistins too is rich in history; this is where Articles of Agreement were drawn up to form Barbados’ own Parliament. The area is fairly close to many of the south coast hotels and holiday rental homes and has several beautiful beaches, including Enterprise Beach, known locally as Miami Beach.
Holetown is located in the parish of St. James, on the west coast of the island. It is where the first English settlers arrived in 1625 and was originally named Jamestown, after its benefactor, King James I of England. The Holetown Monument commemorates the history. It acquired the name Holetown because of the off loading and cleaning of ships in the small channel located opposite the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre.
Each February, the town hosts the Holetown Festival, a colourful local festival of crafts, music and historical parades to commemorate this event.
Holetown is the centre of the west coast and is home to many fine dining and local restaurants, bars, nightlife, world class name brand boutique shopping, and local crafts at the Chattel Village.
First and Second Streets are filled with a variety of restaurants and bars and are very popular especially on Friday and Saturday nights. The Limegrove Lifestyle Centre is a luxurious world class shopping complex with some of the world’s leading retail brands. It is the most stylish place to shop, dine, and to see and be seen—or to “lime” in Bajan vernacular.
Speightstown is located in the parish of St Peter to the far north of the island. It has a long and colorful history reaching back to the 17th Century when it served as one of the main ports connecting the island with England. Speightstown is also known as Little Bristol because of the ships trading connections with the city of Bristol.
The town is named after William Speight, a member of Barbados’ first Assembly during the Settlement years, and the former owner of the land where the town is located. This quaint and sleepy town is now the second largest town centre of Barbados.
Actress Claudette spent six months annually in Speightstown after her retirement, where she owned a holiday home, Bellerive.
There is a lot of activity in Speightstown particularly on weekends when locals and visitors come out to do their shopping. Many stalls can be found along the streets with vendors hawking local and imported fruits and ground provisions. Several delightful beach front bars, restaurants and cafes are located in Speightstown, including Jumas, Orange Street Grocer, Fisherman’s Pub and Little Bristol Beach Bar.