Dream Island Escapes

Craving an island vacation? Get inspired by these exotic destinations.

Dream Town: St. Barts

This French island has morphed into the chicest shore in the Caribbean, but still maintains its European flair and unique small-town roots.

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St. Barts: Gustavia
Photo: Laurent Benoit

Hot Spot with Heritage

The demographics of St. Barts set it apart from other Caribbean islands—most residents here are of European descent, around half of them the progeny of French fishermen and farmers (mostly from Normandy and Brittany) who came here in the 1600s. Sweden ruled St. Barts for almost 100 years (from 1784 to 1878), giving the place yet another layer of European heritage.

Quaint, red-roofed Gustavia (left), the island capital, flaunts its Scandinavian heritage proudly with harborfront street signs in both Swedish and French. Luxury shops such as Cartier and Louis Vuitton dominate the waterfront. Apartments and a few houses crawl up hillsides behind old churches. (Crooner Jimmy Buffett and actor Steve Martin both own villas overlooking Gustavia.)

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