It’s hard to believe, but the pictures are real! The tropical paradise of Antigua is a pristine island of soft, white-sand beaches, dark turquoise waters and never-ending sunshine. Even in winter, the temperatures are in the mid-20s (°C) and that's as 'cold' as it gets. This former British colony in the West Indies is only 22km long and 17km wide, but you'll find plenty of opportunities for leisure and relaxation during your holidays in Antigua. Smaller and less touristy than other Caribbean islands, it offers broad beaches and secluded coves, creating the perfect setting if you're looking for the easy life and the perfect tropical escape from home.
Enjoy a tropical climate with an average temperature of 26 (°C) throughout the year, which is ideal for beach weather. Temperatures generally don't fall below 21°C at night, so if you love enjoying the great outdoors after dark or having a midnight dip in the sea, holidays here will tick all the boxes.
It takes about 8 hours 30 minutes to fly from the UK to Antigua's V.C Bird International Airport (ANU), which is roughly 8km northeast of St. John’s.
For history and culture during your time away, visit Nelson's Dockyard, an historic naval base that was used by the British from the mid-18th century to the end of the 19th century. See the historic forts and visit the Dockyard Museum to learn more about the colonial past and the archaeological artefacts that have been discovered in this area.
Or, visit the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda, which is St John's oldest building and offers a fascinating insight into the island's history, from colonial artefacts to model exhibits of sugar plantations. Have a walk around Falmouth Harbour, a beautiful horseshoe-shaped bay with luxurious yachts. If you're looking for an adrenaline pump, book a snorkelling and scuba diving excursion. Here with someone special? Go on a private sunset cruise, one of the highlights of any holiday to this beautiful destination.
Relax on the breath-taking sandy beaches, go swimming or snorkelling, or head to a west-facing area to see an amazing sunset. Remember to slap on the sun cream regularly during the day, as UV levels here are very high all year round.
One of the most exclusive beaches is Galley Bay, a glorious white sandy beach next to the luxurious adults-only Galley Bay Resort & Spa, a popular wedding venue. You'll find other stunning beaches all around the island, wherever you're booking your Antigua holidays. In fact, there are 365 beaches here, so technically you could visit a new beach every day if you stayed here for a year.
See Devil's Bridge, dramatic limestone arches that have been gradually carved by the sea over many years. It's a great spot for photography, especially in the early morning when you can see the sunrise over the Caribbean Sea.
Food & Drink
Seafood is very popular here, thanks to the incredibly clean water around the island. Try some delicious eggplant or salt fish for breakfast (which is a tasty change from a bowl of cereal or toast!), or order a cocktail with fresh tropical fruits while you admire the tropical scenery. You'll find restaurants throughout the island serve many different types of cuisine, from Italian to American, so there's something for all tastes. If you book an All Inclusive hotel for your holidays in Antigua, you'll normally benefit from a delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner in your package, as well as snacks and drinks.
Antigua is best for...
Adventurers: Zip-line through the tropical forest.
Photographers: Capture the elaborate masquerade costumes at Antigua Carnival.
Families: Take a scenic glass-bottom boat trip together and spot the exotic marine life below the waves.
Honeymooners: With its stunning scenery and relatively quiet atmosphere, Antigua holidays are ideal for honeymooners.
Language: The language spoken here is English.
Currency: The currency used here is the East Caribbean Dollar (EC$).
Local time: Antigua is 5 hours behind GMT/UK time.
Fly: V. C. Bird International Airport.
Flight time from UK: The flight time to Antigua is 8.5 hours.
Tourist information: For more tourist information, please click here http://www.antiguabarbudatourism.org.
Weather and climate
Treat yourself to long days of glorious sunshine all year round when visiting this paradise island. Summer and autumn are hurricane season, but big storms are rare. They’re also the time of year with the warmest weather and sea temperatures, so they’re still popular times to visit the island. However, bear in mind that the sea is warm enough for paddling and swimming all year round off the coast of this island.
Book your holiday in the spring or winter for slightly cooler temperatures in the mid-to-high-20s °C. Hurricanes don't occur often, and are virtually unheard of outside of June to October.
By bus: Buses (large, privately owned minivans) won’t take you to the smaller beaches, but routes run between St John’s and English Harbour or St John’s and Jolly Harbour. These can work out to be very affordable compared to hiring a car.
By taxi: Taxis aren't metered, but fares are widely published. Nevertheless, it's wise to agree the fare before you set off.
By car: If you're visiting more remote beaches or just want more independence during your Antigua holidays, you can hire a car from the airport, where you'll find various rental companies. You must buy a local driving licence, and prepare yourself for rough roads and a few goats!
Sailing Week: Every spring, trade winds off Antigua provide the setting for the Caribbean's biggest maritime event of world-class yachting and sailing races.
Summer Festival: For ten days, from the end of July to the first Tuesday in August, the island comes alive with colourful costumes and the sounds of steel pan drums.
Antigua Carnival: The Summer Festival ends with Carnival Monday and Tuesday, when islanders parade through the streets of St John in elaborate masquerade costumes and dance to the tunes of brass and steel bands.