Experience quiet exclusivity and inimitable French flair on a honeymoon holiday or romantic getaway to St Barts, a Caribbean island famously renowned as a playground for the rich and famous, with pristine world-class beaches, gourmet dining and haute couture designer shopping in abundance.
Sunbathe on the sugar-white sands of Anse de Grande Saline, go kite surfing in Grand Cul se Sac Bay and people-watch celebrities everywhere.
Experience a chic French Riviera lifestyle in the charming St Tropez-like town of St Jean and along the streets of the picture-perfect capital, Gustavio – arguably the Caribbean’s most exclusive yachting port.
Here, sleek multi-million dollar mega-yachts bob alongside tiny fishing boats in a small harbour framed on three sides by green tree-clad hillsides dotted with whitewashed red-roofed houses.
Stroll narrow streets lined with 18th century Swedish and French stone buildings housing gourmet eateries, art galleries and chic boutiques. Learn about the island’s fascinating history at the Musée de St Barthélemy, browse for stylish duty free clothing and fashion accessories then relax at an al fresco café, enjoying cold drinks and gourmet cuisine.
By hire car, explore the island’s verdant and hilly landscape, dotted with brightly coloured ‘gingerbread’ houses and old Swedish cemeteries ringed by white picket fences.
Stop at Lorient, site of the first French settlement and home to a popular surfing beach, a 19th century church and a reconstructed 17th century Norman manor. Then watch local woman weave lantana straw handicrafts in the quaint traditional villages of Corossol and Colombier.
St Barts offers a choice of gorgeous white-sand beaches that indent the island’s coastline.
Few are crowded, all are public and free. While nudism is official forbidden, it occurs nonetheless (at Saline and Gouverneur beaches); topless sunbathing is common.
The best beaches in St Barts, include…
(Anse de Grande Saline) – Unwind on the soft sugar-white sands of this 500m-long beach that shelves into calm turquoise waters framed by bush-covered cliffs.
There are no facilities on this undeveloped beach, so take your own sun umbrella, food and drinks.
The beach is accessed along a trail that runs beside disused salt ponds and through bush-clad sand dunes.
Come for the day or stay longer in the stylish gingerbread cazes (traditional Creole houses) at nearby Salines Garden Cottages. Saline Beach is located on the south coast of St Barts.
(Anse du Gouverneur) – Unwind on this secluded 300m-long beach of white sand that shelves into the calm waters of a turquoise bay framed by grass-clad cliffs and sand dunes.
Sunbathe au natural, swim in the warm waters, snorkel the rocky promontories and enjoy scenic views across to the neighbouring islands of St Kitts, Saba and St Eustatius.
There are no facilities on this remote beach, so take your own beach umbrella, food and drinks.
Gouverneur Beach is located on the south coast to the west of Saline Beach.
(Anse des Flamands) – Pick your own spot to sunbathe and swim on the wide, powder-white sands of this 700m-long beach that shelves into turquoise waters framed by verdant hills that offer good walks with panoramic views.
Facilities on this uncrowded beach include umbrellas, sun loungers and a range of creature comforts supplied by the beachfront resort. Visit on a day trip or stay longer at the luxurious Hotel St Barth Isle de France.
Flamands Beach is located on the northwest coast.
(Anse Colombier) – This idyllic 500m-long white-sand beach faces a calm and secluded cove framed by scenic bush-clad cliffs on the northwest part of the island.
Hire a boat or take a half-hour walk along the marked coastal path from nearby Flamands Beach, enjoying breathtaking views along the way.
Pack a picnic and visit for the day to swim, snorkel and sunbathe on a beach once owned by billionaire David Rockefeller.
(Anse de Grand Cul de Sac) – Unwind on this narrow 700m-long beach that curves around a reef-protected bay flanked by rocky promontories and edged by a selection of beachfront hotels, bars and restaurants.
Facilities include umbrellas, sun loungers and a variety of water sports equipment for hire.
Grand Cul de Sac Beach is a popular spot for windsurfing and kite surfing when the breeze picks up. And the shallow, reef-protected waters are perfect for families with small children as well as for kayaking and fly-fishing adventures.
Visit for the day and watch frigate birds dive-bomb the waters for fish or stay longer at the luxurious Hotel Guanahani and Spa. Grand Cul de Sac Beach is located on the northeast coast.
Unwind on the soft white sand of this gorgeous palm-fringed beach that shelves into clear turquoise waters (a marine reserve) perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
There are no facilities, so pack a picnic of food and drinks. Marigot Beach is just across the headland from Grand Cul de Sac Beach.
Unwind on the sugar-white sands of this 1.2km-long beach that curves around the reef-protected Baie de St Jean.
The beach is divided by the Eden Rock promontory, home to the hotel of the same name, and offers good swimming, snorkelling and windsurfing. Facilities include umbrellas, sun loungers and water sports equipment for hire.
Go for a day and enjoy snacks or lunch at one of several beachfront bistros or stay longer at one of the beach hotels, such as the charming Les Islets de la Plage or the legendary and glamorous Eden Rock Hotel.
St Jean Beach is located on the north coast.
This north coast beach just to the west of St Jean Bay is popular with surfers due to the usual onshore breeze. The golden sands lie beneath bush- and tree-covered hills.
Facilities are provided by a number of beachside hotels, such as the Hotel Manapany.
in addition to relaxing on a white-sand beach, St Barts offers a range of water sport activities, including the Yellow Submarine, a submersible that allows you to cruise the coral gardens by day or night without getting wet.
Scuba diving and snorkelling – For scuba diving, choose from more than 20 dive sites in the offshore waters around St Barts, most of which lie within the Réserve Marine de St Barth.
Good dive sites include: Pain de Sucre, an islet off Gustavia harbour; l'Ane Rouge, off Colombier Bay; the Île Forchue to the west of St Barts; and the wreck of the Kayali.
Or take an excursion to nearby Coco or Saba islands. Look out for colourful reef fish as well as sharks, rays and turtles. Several dive centres offer open-water PADI certification courses.
For good snorkelling just a short swim away from the beach try the shallow reef-protected waters at Anse de Cayes, Baie de St Jean and Grand Cul de Sac Beach
Surfing – The best beaches for surfing, kite surfing and windsurfing include Anse des Cayes, Toiny, Miliou and Lorient. Local clubs rent equipment.
Sailing – Located mid-way between Antigua and St Thomas, St Barts is a popular sailing destination, with a selection of good anchorages in the many sheltered coves indenting the island.
Several operators in Gustavia Harbour offer day or longer crewed and bare-boat charters. Or take an excursion cruise to one of the offshore islands.
Fishing – Hook up a deep-sea charter for: mahi mahi from March to July; wahoo in September; and bonito, tuna, barracuda and marlin at any time of year. The best fishing is off the north coast. The annual St Barths Open Fishing Tournament is held annually in mid-July.
St Barts (21km²) offers unique honeymoon accommodation options in small, intimate hotels and villas to suit all budgets.
Try the elegant and luxurious Hotel St Barth Isle de France, which overlooks the white sands of Framands Beach, or the award-winning Hotel Guanahani and Spa, located on a peninsula facing Grand Cul de Sac Bay and beach.
The best time to visit St Barts is from January to April during the winter dry season, when you can expect cooler daytime temperatures that average 26°C (78°F) with little to no rainfall. The driest months are February and March.
You can expect sunny days throughout the year, even during the summer wet season, which extends from May to November. Temperatures increase to an average high of 31°C (87°F).
St. Barts has a hot tropical climate, with year-round sunshine and occasional brief rain showers. Sea breezes relieve some of the daytime heat.
There is a slightly cooler, dry season from December to April and a hot and humid season from May to November. September through November are the wettest months.
For more climate info: St Barts Weather Guide…
St Barts, or St Barths (short for St Barthélemy), lies 24km (15mi) southeast of St Maarten and 225km (140mi) north of Guadeloupe.
The most convenient route to St Barts is to fly into Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) on St Maarten island, followed by a short 15-minute connecting flight to Gustaf III Airport (SBH) located in the village of St. Jean on St Barts.
Given the size of Gustaf III Airport (SBH), there are no non-stop flights to St Barts from North America or Europe.
St Maarten's Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) – the second-busiest airport in the eastern Caribbean, after San Juan, Puerto Rico – receives daily non-stop flights from the USA, Europe and other Caribbean islands.
By sea, St Barts is linked to either side of St Maarten/St Martin by fast hydrofoil, taking 45 minutes, and a ferry service taking 1 hour 30 minutes. Note: the short sea voyage is often choppy.
Find out how to get to St Barts…
Latest update: St Barts: 9 July, 2022