Location: Saint Michael, Barbados, Caribbean
Attraction Type: City
Significance: City, Heritage, Beach and Land Sports and Activities
How to Reach: There are a number of cheap and regular flights from most major US and European destinations to Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) in Barbados. You can also reach there through domestic flights from other Caribbean destinations.
Nearest International Airport: Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI)
With a population of nearly a hundred thousand inhabiting a mere space of 35 sq. miles, Bridgetown or ‘Town’, is unlike most other cities in the Caribbean. With its insistent hustle and bustle, its crowded streets and halted traffic at peak hours, it is far from the picture of the coastal seclusion that the name of Caribbean evokes. However, all you need to do is to take a look around at the brightly colored houses lining the streets, and you know immediately that beneath all the trappings of a modern metropolis, Bridgetown has a Caribbean heart — life, vibrancy and a desperately positive attitude towards life.
History of Bridgetown:
The British first landed in this area towards the middle of the seventeenth century and found on their arrival that they were not the first people to discover the land. The presence of a bridge on the inlet what is now known as the Careenage proved that the place was known and inhabited by the native Arawaks. In all probability, they also carried out some trade in the region. The British named the place after the bridge as ‘Indian Bridge’ that later became, quite simply, ‘Bridgetown’. Careenage was used widely as a trading route by the British. It does not carry any trading vessels anymore, but is a favorite trail for cruise vessels and catamarans.
In 1824, the Diocese of Barbados was established with affiliation to the Anglican Church. The moderate Saint Michael’s Parish became a cathedral, and the town became a city. A series of Royal Charters and Letters officiated by the British government added to the growing importance of Bridgetown, culminating in the formation of the local government in 1958, only to be dissolved within a decade. The governance of Bridgetown is now carried out by the Barbadian parliament.
Attractions of Bridgetown
The best thing about Bridgetown in Barbados is that it is a small city that can be explored by foot. In fact, traffic rush can make rental car rides ultimately delaying and a little frustrating at times. So, just depend on your foot and understand that it is the best way to experience the spirit and the vibrancy of this little but exciting city.
It is the hub of most activities in Bridgetown. Cave Shepherd is the most famous departmental store of this region, where you can find pretty much everything at very exciting rates. However, for buying local crafts and other Caribbean art objects, wait till the last, when you reach Pelican Village. It is located past the Bridgetown Fishing Harbor and offers the widest range of Barbados handicrafts and local food. Between your journey from Broad Street to Pelican Village, do not miss an opportunity to see the major landmarks and attractions of Bridgetown.
St. Mary’s Anglican Church
It is one of the greatest architectural landmarks of Bridgetown, as is the magnificent Parliament Building with its grand attached clock tower. This is in fact the oldest Parliament house in the entire commonwealth.
Other major landmarks that are must see destinations in Bridgetown include theNational Heroes Square
Chamberlain Bridge — the updated Indian Bridge.
Things to do
Barbados is a favorite destination for travelers who want to indulge in some kind of sports activity. Cricket is the national sport of Bridgetown and of Barbados. So, do not miss out on watching a day of cricket at Kensington Oval if you happen to be here on match day. If cricket is not your cup of tea, try out golf, polo, horse riding, tennis, parasailing and kite surfing. The beaches and shorelines of Barbados have attractions of their own. Snorkeling, sailing and surfing are some of the beach activities you can indulge in.
Hotels and Resorts in Bridgetown:
There are number of inns and hotels in Bridgetown, which include luxury as well as budget hotels. Some of the major hotels of Bridgetown include:
- Accra Beach Hotel
- Blue Orchids Beach Hotel
- Butterfly Beach Hotel
- Colony Club Hotel
- Dover Beach Hotel
- The Hilton Barbados
- Crystal Cove
- Sea Breeze Beach Hotel
- Sandy Bay Beach Hotel
The popular resorts in Bridgetown include
- Turtle Beach Resort
- Mango Beach Resort