Most countries in the world are independent, but there are around 45 that are not. The island of Bermuda is one of those affiliated with another powerful nation. A British “territory” in the Atlantic Ocean, it has its own government but the head of that government reports directly to London. Like many island countries, Bermuda relies on tourism for much of its income, but it is also an important banking and insurance center. Tourists flock here to enjoy the fine sand, the crystal clear waters, and the warm weather on its row of beautiful beaches.
These are the top ten not-to-be-missed places in Bermuda.
This magnificent place with its turquoise-colored sea always draws a myriad of people and cruise ships. At the famous
, guests can enjoy long walks and the full range of water sports and activities that can be experienced on sand and water. The long walks can include the neighboring beaches: Warwick Long Bay, West Whale Beach, and the Cove.
On these beaches the umbrellas, water toys (inflatable rings for the kids) and lounge chairs come with a fee, which is collected at the end of the day. The showers, bathrooms, and dressing rooms are always clean and tidy. The beaches also deserve a high score for uniqueness and idyllic charm. Safety is excellent too — lifeguard stations are located everywhere along the beach in a typical Baywatch style. The entire coastline in this area can be explored via a rented public transport scooter.
The long white-and-pink-colored sandy beach has a natural wading pool among the rocks that is a spectacle of nature and entices curious visitors to swim and explore. At the entrance to the beach you can find snack bars, restaurants, and bed-and-breakfast resorts with Wi-Fi connectivity and good food that will make every stay a comfortable one.
The Church Bay Beach
The access to the
Church Bay Beach
— via a wooden ladder — is very impressive. The beach is very small and intimate compared to the other beaches of the island. You enter through an open-air public garden that is well maintained and offers wooden tables and benches where families and couples are usually having picnics. The descent to the beach then involves many stairs, but it is certainly one of the best beaches in Bermuda. The water is ideal for a swim although it gets a bit rough during the stormy season. Snorkeling is the most common activity that every guest can enjoy.
The clear waters hold an interesting array of colorful tropical fish and marine life (corals, protected reefs, aquatic creatures, etc.). A close encounter with a huge turtle, rays, eels, dolphins, or soft corals is always an awesome experience when exploring the ocean floor. To take good pictures of the sea and the sunset, guests can hike over a rocky hill to a cliff for the most fantastic sunset views and the panoramic landscape that surrounds the Bermuda. The beach can be reached by taking the bus number 7 at the South Hampton Parish bus terminal.
Warwick Long Bay Beach
This is a remote, almost deserted beach with pink sand and glasslike waters at the foot of a pleasant nearby park. As you arrive you will immediately notice the scenic landscape. Strolling along the quiet and calm shoreline, admiring the rocky edges of the surf, seeing lots of birds, and having few people around guarantee a stress free outing in Bermuda. If you love the music of the waves and the serenity of less-crowded beaches, the
Warwick Long Bay Beach
will leave a lasting impression on you.
Here, there are no water sports, no trays with ice cream or juice drinks, no vendors or other amenities of any sort. This place offers a break from the touristy atmosphere generally present around the island. It is less densely populated and provides the chance to swim in its cold waters and enjoy an almost paradise-like atmosphere on a beach that is reasonably accessible yet secluded from other beaches that surround it. It is an ideal place for couples that want to enjoy a little privacy during their honeymoon or for families who want to take a break from the noise, long lines, huge crowds and persistent hawkers. The distance from the bus stop to the beach is about 330 feet with a slight uphill return.
Bermuda Maritime Museum
If you want to know more about the island that you are visiting, go to the
Bermuda Maritime Museum
. It is one of the largest on the island and explores the history of Bermuda — it is even publishing a series of books on the subject. The Maritime Museum is located within the grounds of the former Royal Naval Dockyard at the west end of Bermuda. The house of the Commissioner is used to display a series of exhibitions, while the basement shows the Bermuda Defense Heritage — a display of the island’s defenses and fortifications. It also highlights the important role of the local forces in the First World War.
The island museum is home to a building where you learn about the mural paintings of Bermuda made by local artist Graham Foster. The main floor has a number of themes related to the history of Bermuda including slavery, immigration and tourism, and an entire room devoted to the history of the Bermuda Race and the country’s political past. The upper floor houses collections of maps, books, coins, maritime art, and materials relating to the activities of the Royal Navy and the U.S. forces especially during the Second World War. The view of the ocean from the windows of the museum is breathtaking. A visit to this informative and educational museum is truly a must when on the island.
This structure was the main base of the Royal Navy in the western Atlantic from the time of American independence through the Cold War. French colonizers had also used the islands as a resting place for the operations against the Spanish galleons in the 16th century. The War of American Independence threatened British supremacy in the western Atlantic and the Island assumed great importance and function as a naval base because of its strategic location. After the closure of most of the facility in 1951, the base fell into disrepair and neglect. Storms and lack of maintenance caused damage to many buildings.
Beginning in the 1980s, the increase in tourism revenue to Bermuda inspired the government to transform the Dockyard into a tourist attraction. Currently there are almost always huge cruise ships moored here, and local businesses occupy the former warehouses. A renovated clock tower lends charm to the popular viewing terrace.
The Dockyard is truly monumental in all aspects. Most sections offer free access although a small number ask fees upon entrance. The interesting collection of village shops includes a rum cake factory (with free tasting),
Jon Faulner’s pottery shop
, and a factory making glass objects. Swimming on the beach just below the dockyard is allowed.
Crystal and Fantasy Caves
Crystal and Fantasy Caves
lie less than a half-mile away from the
Hamilton Parish region
. There is plenty of parking available for this off-the-beaten-path adventure. The tour is guided and there is normally a group of about 20-30 people. Infrastructure to descend into the cave is safe and significant physical effort is not required. The guide opens the gate and everyone descends gradually to about 52 feet below the ground.
The path is not slippery and the temperature inside the caves is generally warm enough. The final section is a staircase leading to a pitch-dark cave, but the leader provides headlamps so everyone can appreciate what is inside. The whole tour and the explanations of how it was found are done in English.
Teenagers playing cricket games accidentally discovered the Crystal and Fantasy Caves in 1884. They lost their ball, wanted it back and during their search they found the caves — which had already existed for almost 30 million years. Floating walkways can be found inside the caves. The leader will turn on the festive lights for guests to see the amazing stalagmites and stalactites. They look as if they are made of salt, and come in many shapes and sizes: some are downright bulky, others spindle-thin. The formations at one point surround a crystalline underground lake up to 55 feet deep. No reservations are needed to explore the caves, and tours are scheduled every 20-30 minutes. There are a gift shop and cafe available after your tour.
Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute
A visit to the
BUE (Bermuda Underwater Exploration) Institute
is something you must include in your holiday itinerary. The rooms are beautifully landscaped and well thought out. The collection of shells is remarkable. The other “attractions” are amusing, for example the shark attack — or the bathyscaphe simulation ride where you wait in a small room for your turn to enter an elevator with a dozen seats and a microscopic screen (a kind of dynamic cinema). This will simulate the descent of a bathyscaphe to the ocean floor. The Exploration Institute can be reached in about fifteen minutes (walking) from the center of Hamilton.
The BUE building houses many relics of the scientific studies that have been made over years of seabed exploration. It is rich in pictures and objects of the sea. The institute is one of the best options in Bermuda if you want to learn about the ocean and the many forms of marine life. The main goal of BUE is to encourage all people to have a better understanding and appreciation of the sea and consequently, to protect the marine environment. The general theme of the exhibitions hosted there is the interrelationship between people and the ocean, emphasizing that it is a real living, evolving entity that needs to be explored, studied, cared for and protected.
Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity (Bermuda Cathedral)
is located on
and is early English-style Anglican church built by the James Cranston of Oxford and redesigned in neo-Gothic style by Scottish architect William Hay after a fire in 1884. If you climb up its narrow spiral staircase you can reach the top of a typical Anglican four-top corner tower — where 218 yards away you see the whole of
Hamilton Parish City
and the nearby harbor. Work on the church began in 1886 and was completed in 1911. It still looks fresh and is an impressive cathedral.
A large part of the building consists of Bermuda limestone; some of the decorative ornaments from Caen stone were carved in France. The cross vault is recognizable and admirable even from the outside. The bell of the cathedral stands behind bars in front of the church. A wooden wheel hanging beside it is rotated to make it ring and call on the faithful before every holy mass and prayer time. Also in front, the winds blow on a series of flags that symbolize the communities of Bermuda. Entrance to the Cathedral is free.
Located on a hill on the outskirts of Hamilton this pentagonal fortress is a pleasant retreat from the bustle of the city. It offers spectacular views of the capital and the cruise ships in the harbor at Hamilton.
was built in 1870 to defend against a possible attack by U.S. forces. Inside the fort you can find a lot of guns, gun emplacements and bastions –although the main attraction is the impressive gardens.
A winding path leads through a dense bamboo forest; there are towering palms; the palm trees and pimento provide a striking contrast to the formal order of the terraced gardens that fall within its walls. On the fort’s yearly anniversary, the Bermuda Pipe Band offers a colorful show with Scottish bagpipes, drums and dancers.
Front Street is the main street of
where every tourist must pass to board the ferry. It is the shopping center of the island with plenty of signature-brand shops, supermarkets, bars, and fine dining restaurants.
On this street is the tourist office where you can find all the information about activities on the island.
is extremely safe and pleasant, an excellent place to walk around and have a drink while enjoying the sunset.