Charming architecture from the Swedish period, adorned with Anglican church. Throw in colonial-style homes, adorned with vibrant Caribbean colors. That’s the alluring beauty of St. Barts.
Quite frankly, St. Barts is very small island. With a car, you can reach anywhere, from Point A to Point B within 15-20 minutes. Similar to most cities in the South of France, you’ll know the entire island by heart within a few days. That is, if you manage to exit your villa. Speaking of where to stay, it’s still important to know where each neighborhood is, so you can book hotels/Airbnb/villas with a good grasp of time in transport. Try to stay in these three areas: Gustavia, St. Jean, or Saline.
Reputation: Tourist hub.
The 411: Though it sounds like the name of a Nordic city, one that belongs in the movie Frozen, Gustavia is where the main port is located. Built in 1787 by the Swedish, Fort Gustavia is located on top of a hill which provides the panoramic view of the port which used to be invaded by pirates. Shaped like a horseshoe around a tiny harbor, Gustavia was protected by stone forts back in the day. With 3,100 residents in this part of St. Barts, there are also an overwhelming amount of tourists in Gustavia. Shops, designer boutiques, restaurants line up the busy waterfront.
Don’t miss: Shopping, stroll along the dock, and Fort Gustavia. The restored wooden and stone buildings in this area were left from the Swedish era, including the renovated Wall House which houses St. Barts museum and library.
2. Saint Jean
Reputation: Hidden pretty villas and luxury hotels.
The 411: Saint Jean is centrally located, and welcomes visitors with the second largest shopping area on the island. You’ll see many extravagant villas, hotels, and restaurants here. You’ll also find the best beaches in Saint Jean, especially for water sports.
Don’t miss: Eden Rock Hotel, the most luxurious hotel built by Rémy de Haenen, who was also St. Barts mayor from 1962 – 1977.
Reputation: Oldest and religious.
The 411: As one of the oldest villages in St. Barts, Lorient is also where the island’s religious influences began. The recently restored church is located here, on top of a hill with a cemetery below. In January, you’ll witness music concerts and festivals by the church.
Don’t miss: The beach in Lorient is good for families, and surfers.
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