Dates for your diary in Barbados

Famed for its warm welcome and its party spirit, this iconic island in the West Indies offers everything from blissed-out beach lounging to active pursuits including swimming near turtles, surfing and cave exploration.

Among its year-round highlights are beguiling Harrison’s Cave with its crystallised formations viewable from an electric tram, Flower Forest Botanical Garden on a former sugar plantation, with a trail of colourful plants and trees plus a café serving flying-fish sandwiches and home-made rum punch, submarine tours to view a shipwreck and dazzling reef life, and watching the sunset from the Barbados Boardwalk.

Above all, Barbados is a sociable, party-loving destination known for its friendly people and its hospitality, and there are a whole host of events that visitors can join in with throughout the year, mixing with locals to get a true taste of island life. We’ve picked out some of our favourites for the year ahead.

Dates for your diary in Barbados

Holetown Festival: 12 February-19th February 2023

This festival celebrates the anniversary of the first English settlement in Holetown on 17th February 1627. The week-long celebration showcases the culture and traditions of Barbados with events including folk singing, dancing, sports, street parades and food stalls offering traditional Bajan cuisine. 

Sandy Lane Barbados Gold Cup: 4th March 2023

One of the most prestigious events in the Caribbean horse-racing calendar as well as one of Barbados’ biggest sporting events attracts visitors from all around the globe. Run over a turf course at 1,800m (8.95 furlongs), it’s open to horses aged three years and up, who are ridden by local, regional and international jockeys. The setting is the atmospheric Garrison Savannah within the Garrison Historic Area with its military barracks and other historic buildings, close to the capital Bridgetown – home to Bajan horse racing since as far back as 1845.

Oistins Fish Festival: Late March

Oistins Fish Fry is an iconic weekly event in the pretty fishing village of Oistins in the parish of Christ Church in the south of the island, combining seafood shacks with dancing to a mix of back-in-time hits (Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Jamaican ska and old country and western) and calypso, including current Crop Over favourites (see below). Each spring it becomes even bigger and better, expanding into the island's largest community festival complete with activities for the entire family, including arts & crafts events and the likes of a greasy-pole climbing competition. Stalls sell fish cakes and other seafood, souse (pickled pork with a ‘pudding’ of steamed sweet potato), and beer.

Barbados Reggae Festival, 28 April-1 May 2023

Begun in 2005, one of the world’s leading reggae festivals attracts locals and visitors alike to see vibrant performances by home-grown and global artistes in an array of venues around the island. Past headliners have included the legendary Jimmy Cliff. Don’t miss the Reggae Beach Party with cabanas for hire.

Crop Over and Grand Kadooment: 7–14 August 2023

Celebrating a 200-year-old tradition honouring the end of the sugar cane season, the six-week Crop Over Festival celebrates everything Bajan with dusk-to-dawn parties, street food, and arts & crafts markets. Its culmination is Grand Kadooment Day, a carnival parade through the streets of St Michael, with masquerade bands, sequinned and feathered revellers and mobile bars.

Food and Rum Festival: late October 2023

This four-day event brings the island’s most famous rum producers, wine experts, mixologists, chefs and other food and drink personalities together to showcase their talents. Come along and enjoy VIP evenings, a food truck mash-up (bringing together the best of Bajan mobile culinary experiences in one place), breakfast on the beach, rum tours, community pop-ups and plenty more besides.

To book your Barbados holiday with full financial protection, call your Travel Counsellor today.

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