Spectacular sunsets and stunning seascapes: Our St Barts travel guide

Published

24 April, 2022

Edited

5 September, 2022

Describing somewhere as one of the most beautiful destinations in the world is a high accolade indeed; however, when it comes to the French Caribbean island of St Barts (St Barthélémy) this is not an exaggeration by any means. First time visitors are sure to be blown away by the sheer natural beauty of this tiny isle. Towering green-clad mountains rise out of the cerulean ocean, whilst silky white sand beaches line the shore. Combine the stunning scenery with the island’s excellent restaurants, elegant bars, boutique shops and exclusive yet laidback lifestyle and it’s little wonder this tiny patch of paradise has become a popular high society haunt over the last couple of decades.

St Barts Island Activities

With just one small regional airport on the island, visitors can arrive for a vacation in St Barts via private jet, the puddle jumper service or boat enjoying a spectacular aerial or sea-level view of the island en route to your villa. Whether you’re itching to get out exploring or can’t wait to admire the landscape further from the comfort of your sun lounger, you’ll find adventures and relaxation aplenty on this magnificent isle.

Nature lovers will relish the opportunity to explore the incredible landscape. From surfing, kayaking and snorkelling to sailing, cliff jumping and hiking (and everything in between), activities abound on St Barts. Charter your own catamaran and set off to sail the seven seas or else mask up and embark on a scuba expedition, exploring the colour-filled coral reefs below the waves. Simply speak to your onefinestay concierge and they can organise a personally tailored itinerary for you, featuring plenty of travel tips to help you make the most of your St Barts vacation.

Beautiful St Barts beaches & sumptuous sunsets

First thing’s first: a healthy dose of vitamin sea. With around 20 beaches on the island of St Barthélémy, you’ve got plenty of spots to choose from. The options range from glamorous stretches of sand, lined with sophisticated sun worshippers, to remote lagoons with nothing but the sea breeze leisurely passing you by.

Nikki Beach & Colombier

Those wanting to soak up some glitz and glamour should head to Nikki Beach. This gorgeous stretch of coast is renowned for its powdery sands, pristine shores, and its world-famous beach club - often frequented by well-known stars in the balmy summer months. Prefer things a little quieter? Seclusion-seekers will love Colombier beach, only accessible by boat or a rugged 30-minute hike.

Lorient Beach

For groups with younger children, the soft sand and gentle waves of the beach at Lorient make it the perfect family-friendly option. This reef-protected beach is an excellent choice for those planning on enjoying a spot of swimming and snorkelling; there’s a whole world to be discovered beneath the crystalline waves. Near the end of the beach are a series of natural pools - ideal for babies and toddlers to splash about safely.

Shell Beach

Come evening, the various camps of beachgoers congregate together on Shell Beach to enjoy some of the best sunset views on the island. Nestled beneath Gustavia’s rocky cliffs, this lovely bay earned its namesake from the thousands of tiny shells scattered amid its soft, white sands. The waters here are particularly calm, making it a safe swimming spot.

Fort Karl

If you wish to escape the crowds, then a short climb up to Fort Karl will reward the adventurous with magnificent sunset views and fewer people to rub shoulders with. Dating all the way back to 1789, this formidable fortress was used to protect the town of Gustavia - nowadays, it’s one of the most scenic spots to soak up the island’s spectacular sea views.

St Barts history & culture

Despite being a tiny island, St Barts certainly packs a punch in the culture department. Occupied over the centuries by an ever-changing list of nationalities, including the French and the Dutch, St Barts has kept the best parts of each culture for its own, blending them with the laid-back atmosphere and joie de vivre for which the Caribbean is famed.

This rich and complex heritage is visually represented by the colonial-style mansions, cliff-top forts, Scandi-style clock towers and various museums which can be found scattered over the isle. Sites such as the Wall House, Fort Karl and Fort Gustave hark back to the Swedish occupation of the island, whilst in the little fishing village of Corossol, you’ll be able to hear the older inhabitants speaking in an old Norman dialect.

The hub of the island is its port capital, Gustavia. Named by the Swedes in 1784, in honour of their king at the time, and declared a ‘free port’ the same year, this bustling town has long been a duty-free haven. Nowadays the harbour is thronged with gleaming yachts, sophisticated restaurants, elegant hotels, buzzing bars, designer boutiques and luxury stores - the ideal spot for a bit of shopping, should you be in need of some retail therapy.

Elegant eateries and bustling beach bars in St Barts

St Barts' rich and complex history definitely translates into its cuisine, making it somewhat of a foodie hotspot in the Caribbean. Gourmands flock to the endless restaurants, which range from haute cuisine hotspots to local snack bars, to enjoy a delicious array of French, West Indian, Italian, Creole and Asian flavours. In fact, with so many restaurants and cuisines to choose from, tourists are truly spoilt for choice.

Bonito

If it was left up to us, then we would make tracks for Bonito. Combining effortless French chic with a healthy dose of laidback Caribbean attitude and an unexpected Peruvian twist, this has to be one of our favourite dinner spots on the island. Make sure you get there for sunset so you can sip on expertly crafted cocktails whilst you enjoy the show. When the food arrives, you’ll be able to enjoy it overlooking the twinkling lights of Gustavia's harbour.

Tamarin

Another incredible French fusion restaurant is Tamarin, also in Gustavia. Set in a relaxed, palm-fringed garden, here you’ll enjoy a winning blend of balmy evening weather, delicious food and a convivial atmosphere. What’s more, Tamarin is a great dinner option for any families, boasting a dedicated children’s play area and toy café, friendly staff and a children’s menu that even the fussiest of eaters will enjoy.

Shellona

Finally, if we were to pick a spot for understated drinks on the beach then Shellona would be it. Laze on a sun lounger or plump cushion and enjoy an expertly blended pina colada, or two - you are on vacation after all!

How to get to St Barts

The breathtaking location of the St Barts airport means that you'll be landing on the shortest runway in the Caribbean. Therefore, the majority of flights are smaller and regional, as private jets and aircraft with seating of 16 or more are too large to land. The most popular transport choice is initially landing on St Maarten or San José and then connecting via a short small aircraft flight to land directly on St Barts, taking in some stunning aerial views of the island along the way. Alternatively, you can sip on tropical concoctions from the comfort of your own private water transfer or else opt for the scheduled ferry service. Either way, the trip via water will take about 45 minutes. All guests are met in St Barts by their villa greeter who will assist with car rental collection or transfers and escort guests to the villa.

THE ONEFINESTAY EXPERIENCE

Whether you’re after relaxation, adventure or pure foodie indulgence, here at onefinestay we know exactly what it takes to make your getaway special. With our incredible range of exclusive concierge services, you’ll have a host of sumptuous experiences at your very fingertips. Relax with your very own in-home spa experience, feast in the comfort of your home with your own personal chef or explore the oceans in style in a gleaming private yacht. What’s more, it can all be booked pre-stay, meaning all you have to do when you get there is relax. Pure bliss.

READY TO ESCAPE TO ST BARTS?

OOZING WITH NATURAL BEAUTY AND WITH AN ABUNDANCE OF IDYLLIC BEACHES, ST BARTS HAS ALL YOU NEED TO TRULY UNWIND AND RECHARGE. SPEAK TO ONE OF OUR TRAVEL ADVISORS TO BEGIN PLANNING YOUR FRENCH CARIBBEAN GETAWAY TODAY.