The Ultimate Bermuda Travel Guide
Cara London Todd
Food & Wine
Bermuda is saturated with color and I love immersing myself in all the shades. From the pink sand, turquoise water, azure sky, tropical flowers, corals and parrot fish to the beautiful hues painted on the homes, resorts and business buildings. Even the green plant life contrasts with the cool tones on the limestone cliffs! The vibrant colors make this location feel intensely alive. And yet, with all that energy, it's easy to feel a deep, peaceful core to the island, which is perfect for relaxing and feeling rejuvenated.
This small island (~20 sq. miles) offers a multitude of diverse activity options, gorgeous weather and is only a short flight from the east coast of the US —making it the ideal travel destination.
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Where to stay in Bermuda
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The Reefs Resort & Club
Sugar-pink boutique beachfront retreat that offers elevated island vibes on a silky smooth white-sand beach.
Private oceanfront cove that translates the vibes and colors of the sea directly into its spacious suites.
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Things to do in Bermuda
There is so much to see and do in Bermuda! Visiting will always make you wish you had more time or that you lived here.
While March and April offer whale watching, there are abundant natural wonders all year-around. Adventurous travelers may enjoy cave exploration, cliff jumping, cave swimming, hiking, snorkeling and scuba diving to view the coral reefs and marine life as well as investigate old shipwrecks. Museums of history, art and culture are ready for visits during times the weather feels a bit too cool or too warm. And, of course, when traveling to Bermuda, one must leave plenty of time for relaxation on the pink sand beaches and to enjoy the delicious cuisine.
Outdoor Activities in Bermuda
Botanical Gardens: A short drive out of Hamilton are 36 acres of lush gardens, fragrant flowers, palms, native trees and plants, sensory gardens, and greenhouses. The gardens are also the grounds for Camden House, the official residence of the Bermuda's premier. You'll also find the Museum of Bermuda Art here which is worth a visit for art and culture lovers.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Explore the magnificent coral reefs and colorful fish as well as the remains of old shipwrecks.
Railway Trail: Go for a hike at the Railway trail, which is about 18 miles of track that spans the island end-to-end. Historically, the train was known as the "Old Rattle and Shake." The trails are open to foot and bicycle traffic, although some sections may be difficult to pedal. You will traverse varied terrain from flat areas to steep slopes, enjoy rocky vistas, secluded beaches, fragrant flowers and trees and come across an old drawbridge. It's the perfect place to explore and take photos.
Living Reefs Foundation: This foundation works at restoring, conserving and rejuvenating the surrounding coral reefs that began to deteriorate due to pollution and other damage. You can arrange for special tours of their work to create new coral gardens, see the existing reefs and help clean them and plant coral. This important institution is vital to the local ecosystem, as well as local business and tourism. All of that beautiful pink sand originates from the coral and shells.
Southlands Estate Park: 37 beautiful acres of parkland and woodland that contains a historic main house and limestone quarries which were transformed into gardens and garden pools. Pathways lead through the estate gardens and trees. There is even a mausoleum... and a beach! You can walk through to the secluded Marley beach along the south shore. This estate has rich history, and many of the limestone blocks from the quarry are in the building of Hamilton. The residents saved this land and its natural beauty from becoming a large luxury hotel.
Visit Bermuda's beaches. While the question of the island's best beaches is subjective, many will list Elbow Beach, Horseshoe Bay, Warwick Long Bay and Cooper's Island.
Experience SUP Yoga on the water offered at several resorts, including Cambridge Beach Resort.
Try yoga with pilates twist at Shamana Circle on Front Street in Hamilton.
Tours in Bermuda
Hidden Gems Tours of Bermuda: If you only have a few days, I highly recommend connecting with Hidden Gems Tours of Bermuda. Ashley and Joel Cassidy offer a variety of adventures, including: cliff jumping, cave exploring, nature hikes, local history excursions, photography, romantic tours, family and kids activities, snorkeling and other water sports.
Depending on the tour/activity, meals and/or backpacks are included with necessary supplies. They take care of everything and let you know what you may need to provide. With them, you get to discover off-the-beaten-path wonders and gems that may be difficult and time-consuming to locate on your own. They offer tours and activities all year.
Bermuda Food Tours: Offers great food tours in Hamilton. There are several to choose from and your guide includes historical, architectural and cultural information as they take you to various eateries.
Crystal and Fantasy Caves of Bermuda: Explore caves with stalactite formations and underground pools of water. Walk along floating platoons over an underground lake and view formations above and below you. Calcite mineral deposits formed into waterfall shapes and reflections from the crystal clear water. Learn the history and science behind these wonders. Gift shops and gardens on site.
Boat Tour & Rental. Sail Bermuda is one group offering this. Businesses usually offer about the same rate island-wide so if you find one you are especially drawn to, go with them. You can sail, charter boats and go on tours.
KS Watersports: Offers jet skis, parasailing, boat tours, and kayak rentals
Axis Bermuda is for the water sports adventurer. You can surf, wakeboard, go tubing and snorkeling.
Castaway Charters is a good choice tours on east island.
The Bermuda Perfumery: One of the oldest standing perfume houses in the world. It's been on the island since 1928 and the current perfumer is Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone (only the third perfumer of this house). You will likely see her there as she is often busy at work and happy to greet visitors. The perfumes are all made naturally from island flora without the many chemicals and synthetics often found in perfumes. They are only found on Bermuda or by mail order. Tours and workshops are offered, as well as afternoon teas. Call ahead for schedules.
Rugged Rentals: Rent a Twizy, the tiny four wheeled electric vehicles which some find easier to manage than scooters (widely available at rentals across the island).
Historical Attractions in Bermuda
Royal Navy Dockyards: Visit the dockyard to explore the maritime history of Bermuda. Here, you can see the fort, visit the Bermuda National Museum and the Bermuda Arts Center and shop at the boutiques in the Clocktower Mall. There is much going on at this bustling port with artists, glassblowers, artisans and places to rent snorkeling equipment and bicycles.
St. George's: A preserved historical town on the east end of the island that is a Unesco site. There are many great things to experience here including the Bermuda National Trust in the Globe Hotel, the fort and St. Peter's Church. If you enjoy architecture, history and culture you will want to visit this beautiful small town. It's also the home of the Bermuda Perfumery mentioned above.
Spittal Pond: A nature reserve with 64 acres of open space and wetlands. There are trails, native plants and a plethora of birds.
Tom Moore's Jungle, aka Blue Hole Park: 12 acres of jungle, mangroves, ponds and turtles. There are caves and grottos and the magical blue hole swimming area.
Ocean Discovery Centre at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI): Explore the mysteries of the ocean and the underwater world surrounding the island, including science and history and information about the Bermuda Triangle. This 41,000 square feet centre is on the outskirts of Hamilton.
St. David's Island: See the Carter House, which may be the oldest home in the area and built about 1640. You can see the surrounding farm and get a feel for the way of life in the 1600s through exhibits and the museum. Also see the St. David's Lighthouse nearby.
Gibbs Lighthouse: One of the oldest cast iron lighthouses in the world. It was built in 1844. After climbing 185 steps you can enjoy panoramic views of Bermuda and the shoreline. There is a gift shop and restaurant at the base.
Admiralty House Park: This used to be the site of the admirals home of the Royal Navy but it is no longer there. You may find some underground tunnels and see a few remains of the house site. The park is beautiful, quiet and secluded with limestone cliffs. It's on the north end of the island near Spanish Point and is rarely touristed. It has a beautiful little beach with pristine water and you can climb the surrounding limestone rocks and if feeling adventurous, jump from them into the lagoon-like water.
Moon Gates are scattered all around the island as a result from the Chinese immigrants from about 1860. Look to find as many as you can. It is believed that when you walk through them you are gifted with good luck.
A note from Cara
Rental cars are not allowed on the island. So when it comes to transportation, ferries, taxis and buses are all great options. Otherwise, you can rent a bike, scooter or Twizy (a tiny four wheeled electric vehicle).
Places to eat & drink in Bermuda
Art Mel's Spicy Dicy: A fast food dive on the outskirts of Hamilton that many claim offers the best Bermuda fish sandwich. Fish sandwiches are on menus all across the island and everyone has their favorite. but this one is iconic. Don't forget to try Bermuda's famous ginger beer soda. It may be just the right drink to wash down those delectable sandwich morsels.
Breezes: If you want to dine with your toes in the sand on Long Bay Beach, this is the outdoor meal experience for you. It'll feel so wonderful you may not even notice the delicious Caribbean cuisine and specialty cocktails. Located in Cambridge Beaches Resort and open seasonally.
Bolero Brasserie: This gem is tucked into a narrow alleyway just off of Front Street in Hamilton and independently owned by a husband and wife team. The chef/owner, Jonny Roberts, creates honest, authentic, simple French and Spanish style food, including a substantial tapas menu. An expert in flavors, he uses few ingredients to create exciting, inspired and tasty comfort food. There is also a great wine selection. If you want an enjoyable meal served in a comfortable "come as you are" environment that locals frequent, you won't want to miss this. Highly recommend!
Pearl: Looking for the best sushi on the island? This is the place. Japanese food with a modern flair. Located in Hamilton on Front Street, above Port O' Call.
Astwood Arms: In Hamilton on Front Street. A great establishment when you desire quality gastro-pub fare. Casual eatery to enjoy fine food and ale.
Devil's Isle: Burnaby Street in Hamilton. Best coffee — organic and locally roasted on the island. Farm-to-table cafe style that is warm and welcoming with fresh, nutritious food prepared beautifully. Also includes a deli for take out meals and picnics. This is a fabulous place to become a "regular." Organic with GF/V/VG options.
Little Venice (and it's adjacent wine bar): Authentic Italian food prepared beautifully with a large, diverse wine list. On Bermudiana Road, Hamilton.
Ascot's Restaurant: Beautiful ambiance through the garden and a patio lounge. Gorgeously presented European-style food. Reservations far in advance necessary. Located at the Royal Palms boutique hotel.
Tom Moores Tavern: Historic restaurant with an elegant, quaint charm. The building was built in 1652 as a private home. This restaurant is named after Tom Moore, the Irish poet who is storied to have visited here in 1804. The current Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, also dined here in 1970. European style food and a good wine list. People come here for both the food and the experience. Located in Tucker Point area.
Mad Hatters: Quirky, casual style with imaginative and tasty culinary fare. Known as one of the best restaurants by locals and visitors alike. The food is an eclectic combination of classic European and Thai/North American. Not only is the ambience a wonderland, but there are hats covering walls which guests are invited to try on and enjoy. All staff are Bermudians. Located on Richmond Rd, Hamilton.
Alex and Petes Bermuda Artisan Ice Cream at the Dockyards: Small batches made each day and it's a local father and son business.
Meltdown Ice cream: Tucked in a little corner on Front Street in Hamilton. Before 1900 this spot was called Old Cellar Lane and a place to stable horses near the Front Street businesses. It's under the Walker Arcade. Luscious ice cream and fabulous flavors.
A note from Cara
Most restaurants and cafes on the island have great options for GF/V/VG and are careful when working around food allergies.
Need to Know
Bermuda combines adventure, rejuvenation and romance and has many independent, local businesses that provide exceptional service. Additionally, travelers may participate in coral reef restoration, conservation and education during their stay.
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