Kingstown, on the southwest coast of St. Vincent, is among the world’s least populous capital cities, with around 20,000 residents. No bustling metropolis, it is instead a quiet, low-key port, distinguished by a number of historic buildings. As in much of the Caribbean, the French and the British competed for decades to control the islands that now make up St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The British eventually won and ruled, except for several brief periods, from 1763 until 1979, when the islands achieved independence. Kingstown's 18th- and 19th-century buildings, which could have been lifted straight out of London, are some of the most appealing sights in this charming city. Its nickname—the City of Arches—is a reference to the arches of the Georgian buildings that shade the sidewalks.
For many travelers, Kingstown is primarily a gateway to exploring the 32 islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Bequia, just an hour's ferry ride away, is among the easiest to reach if your time is limited. While St. Vincent feels wonderfully remote, Bequia is even more lost in time. With a population of under 5,000, this is an island where everyone soon knows your name.