Bermuda is a small archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, east of South Carolina. Despite the close proximity to the eastern United States, visitors to Bermuda will feel as though they have entered another world. This charming collection of islands is renowned for its pink sands, crystalline waters and British colonial heritage, ideal for those not only seeking an island escape, but the experience of a lifetime.
No trip to Bermuda is complete without a visit to one of its iconic pink-sand beaches. The offshore presence of foraminifera, tiny creatures which wash up with shells and coral, lends the otherwise white sand a distinctive pastel hue. Most of Bermuda’s pink-sand beaches can be found along the south shore, including the famous Horseshoe Bay Beach.
© Jeremy T. Hetzel
Across the island, recreational opportunities abound. Visitors can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and paddleboard in the turquoise waters of the Atlantic, as well as hiking and biking on the Bermuda Railway Trail, which follows an old rail line across the islands. For those who crave adrenaline, parasailing is a delightful way to see Bermuda from a new perspective. Soaring 250 feet in the air, participants feel the sensation of soaring over sheltered coves, lush palm forests and quaint villages, an experience not to be missed.
St. George, Bermuda’s easternmost town, is the oldest continuously inhabited English settlement in the Americas, established in 1612. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, the quintessentially British colonial village centers around King’s Square, home to periodic 17th-century reenactments by actors in period attire. Popular historic sites include St. Peter’s Church, built in 1712, along with the Bermuda National Trust Museum and Fort St. Catherine, a stone fortification constructed in 1614.
© Five Furlongs
Traveling west from St. George toward the city of Hamilton, visitors can explore Crystal & Fantasy Caves, a subterranean wonderland home to an aquamarine-hued subterranean lake along with stunning stalactites and natural chandeliers rarely found anywhere else. This offbeat attraction in Hamilton Parish is worth the visit.
© Craig Stanfill
Bermuda’s capital, Hamilton, is bustling with activity year-round. City Hall in downtown Hamilton houses the Bermuda National Gallery, with outstanding 17th- and 18th-century paintings, in addition to the City Hall Theatre, which hosts numerous amateur and professional theater companies. During major festivals, visitors can catch a performance by Gombey dancers. These individuals’ vibrant costumes and lively movements blend British, West African and indigenous influences to create a uniquely Bermudian art. Just outside Hamilton on a scenic late-nineteenth-century estate is the Royal Palms Hotel, with splendid colonial and Bermudian architecture, deluxe rooms, a swimming pool and landscaped gardens. There is even a wraparound porch for watching sunrises and sunsets.
Ireland Island, at Bermuda’s westernmost end, is home to the National Museum of Bermuda, home to an exquisite collection of artifacts celebrating Bermudian history and culture, ranging from coins, banknotes and local crafts to a 100-year-old yacht called The Dainty, as well as exhibits focused on the legendary Bermuda Triangle. At Dolphin Quest, guests can swim with friendly bottlenose dolphins in a sheltered lake. It is a must for families.
© Jon Dawson
For those who enjoy a pint or two with their sightseeing, Ireland Island also houses the Frog & Onion Pub, serving British favorites with a local twist. Specialties include Bermuda-made sausages, or bangers, with mashed potatoes, as well as beer-battered fish and chips and fish chowder. Not to be overlooked, of course, are the craft beers produced locally by Dockyard Brewing Company. The Frog & Onion plays host to live music acts, including a piano player six nights weekly during peak season. In short, a trip to Bermuda is a jolly good time for one and all.
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Cover photo © Brian Gratwicke