Gustavia, the capital of St. Barths, blends European sophistication with seductive tropical shores and small-town charm. Known as the Caribbean island where the hottest celebrities suntan in seclusion, St. Barths is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a luxurious Caribbean getaway.
Dotted with adorable red-roofed houses and Scandinavian architecture, Gustavia offers you a well-rounded glimpse of all that St. Barthelemy has to offer. As the country’s capital, Gustavia is the largest city on the island.
Things to do in Gustavia
By far, the best things to do in Gustavia are to go beach hopping and mall shopping. Gustavia is home to countless high-end stores. You’ll find global behemoths like Dior and Louis Vuitton, in addition to local companies like Ligne St. Barth cosmetics and Calypso. Furthermore, you’ll be happy to know that your purchases will be duty-free!
Water activities are all the rage in Gustavia. You can go surfing, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, and even kitesurfing. Try beaches like Shell Beach, which is within walking distance from town. The beach really does live up to its name– its sandy shores are covered in tiny seashells. It is one of the top beaches on St. Barths, and is often frequented by cruise ship travelers.
The ruins of Fort Gustave are a fascinating glimpse into the island’s history. It was the most important fort during the years in which the country was under Swedish rule. Although its stately walls have been reduced to rubble and only a few fiberglass cannons stand alongside the remains of an old lighthouse, the fort remains a popular attraction, due to the magnificent views of Gustavia and the harbor below.
You can also visit Fort Karl. Like Fort Gustave, it stands on a lofty hilltop and offers breathtaking views of the ocean inlet below.
Gustavia is home to several fascinating historical sites. Built in the late 1700s during the Swedish period, the stately mansion that now houses the Wall House Museum features artifacts, art, and documents from St. Barth’s past.
You can also pay a visit to the St. Barth Municipal Museum. There’s no cost to enter, and it’s great for history buffs. You’ll get to see some interesting artifacts, and learn about the island’s history through photographs and documents.
Where to stay in Gustavia, St. Barths
After you’ve picked out which activities you want to try out from the list of the best things to do in Gustavia, you’ll need choose your accommodations. Interestingly, there aren’t any high-rise resort hotels on the island. However, you can rent lovely apartments, houses, and even luxury villas.
Many of these villas were built to reflect the French and Swedish culture of St. Barths. Some however, feature a more contemporary look and feel.
Ready to travel to St. Barths? Find the perfect rental villa for you and your fellow travelers!