Located at the heart of the Leeward Islands, picturesque Antigua is ringed with an incredible 365 beaches giving a different sunbathing spot for every day of the year. Of course, time may be against you visiting all Antigua's secluded coves and sandy bays, but whichever swathes of sand you choose, they're sure to please.
The popular north west coast includes stunning Galley Bay and serene Soldier Bay; the south west region is adorned with emerald green hills and is generally less developed; on the east coast Half Moon Bay, now a National Park, stretches for almost a mile around the curved bay while further east Long Bay’s calm waters are protected by a coral reef and ideal for children.
Sailing enthusiasts swarm to the island at the end of April for Antigua Sailing Week, while year-round the well-preserved coral reefs are a snorkeller’s dream – particularly Paradise Reef and Deep Bay. Head inland to explore the rainforest clad hills; see Devil’s Bridge and dramatic blowholes spouting the foaming Atlantic surf; hire a jeep and explore scenic Fig Tree Drive or hop over to neighbouring Barbuda.
For absolutely breathtaking views of the island, climb Mount Obama (formerly known as Boggy Peak). The mountain boasts steep hills of ancient volcanic formation that are covered in plush vegetation and exotic flowers. The mountain's peak is an idyllic spot for seeing the sky be painted an array of pink, orange and yellow in the early evenings. A visit to Shirley Heights Lookout is a must, particularly on a Sunday when the far reaching views are accompanied by sizzling barbecues, rum punch and lively reggae and calypso beats.
Take a step back in time and tour evocative English Harbour, home to historic Nelson's Dockyard, the world's only Georgian dockyard still in operation and to discover more about the roots of the island visit Betley's Hope, Antigua's first sugar plantation, which was built in 1674. Adorned with restored stone windmills, a historic distillery and a regal Great House, Betley's Hope is a fantastic day out to learn about the island's principal national export – sweet Caribbean sugar.
Although not particularly renown for its extensive shopping scene, Antigua is home to eclectic and endearing shops, such as the Public Market in the capital city. The bohemian bazaar is teeming with stalls selling bananas, limes and other exotic delights including the famed black pineapple (also known as Antigua Black) and reddish flowers of antioxidant rich sorrel.
Like her fellow Caribbean cousins, Antigua is bountiful in culinary delights. The island boasts a wide assortment of restaurants for every occasion; decadent eateries with ocean views for sophisticated and glamorous evenings or bustling Latin themed tapas bars alive with music and lights. No matter what day of the week it is, there's always something going on at night in Antigua. Whether it be live steel bands and limbo dancers, classy cocktail bars or casual ocean-facing wineries, when then the sun goes does the fun just begins!
- Dazzling sugar-white sandy beaches
- Warm, crystal-clear seas
- Perfect for couples
- Ideal for families
- Abundant marine life
- Panoramic landscapes
- Historical attractions