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Travel guide to Bermuda

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

What to see and do in Bermuda

Just a short flight from most eastern U.S. airports, the fish-hook shaped island of Bermuda makes for a convenient getaway any time of year. Unforgettable pink-sand beaches, great food, friendly people, a laid-back vibe and unique cultural history that’s equal parts British and Caribbean boost Bermuda above and beyond the average vacation destination.
Bermuda
Photo credit: Stuart Gregory/Photodisc/Getty Images

Voted "Best Island in the Caribbean/Atlantic" 18 times since 1994 by Condé Nast Traveler readers, Bermuda offers a wide array of unique attractions and great places to eat and drink.

Eat

The Waterlot Inn is known for both steak and seafood and is a justifiably popular spot to indulge in both. The cozy yet elegant space is ideal for romantic meals, as well as group gatherings. Service is professional and attentive, and the aforementioned steak and seafood are perfectly cooked. Leave room for some sharable side dishes, in particular the ultra-decadent truffled mac and cheese.

Hog Penny Pub in Hamilton is one of the oldest pubs in Bermuda. The quaint and charming space serves up a variety of pub favorites like shepherd’s pie and fish and chips, along with some local dishes like Bermuda fish chowder and rockfish. The baked goat cheese is a standout appetizer we suggest starting your meal with.

Henry VIII is part pub, part fine-dining restaurant and part sushi bar, but the unlikely blend seems to work. Portions are large and dishes are fresh and well-seasoned. The atmosphere is lively, and it’s immediately apparent that this is a spot locals love. If you’re visiting on a Saturday, you can dance off your dinner when “DJ Uncle” takes to the tables and gets everyone moving. The action starts around 9:30 p.m.

Drink

Get the famous rum swizzle at the Rum Swizzle Inn (there are two locations). The tangy blend of orange, lemon and pineapple juices with a hefty dose of rum is Bermuda’s national drink. But watch out, it’s stronger than it tastes. You don’t want to get “swizzled” and end up stumbling out of the bar.

If you happen to be in Bermuda on a Friday or Saturday night, get your dancing shoes out and head to Front Street in Hamilton for drinks and a lively night out. The stretch of bars and restaurants here attract crowds of locals and tourists and is a great spot to unwind and take in the local nightlife.

Stay

Base yourself at the Fairmont Southampton, the largest hotel on Bermuda. The sprawling property boasts eight restaurants, an award-winning 18-hole championship par-3 golf course and a 31,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, as well as resort and spa pools. Despite the sheer size of the resort, it maintains a sense of warmth, thanks to the smiling staff always ready with a friendly greeting or helpful tip on what to do on the property or off. Spacious rooms make it easy to settle in and get comfortable, and private balconies offer a great way to take in the views and enjoy the ocean air.

Horseshoe Bay Beach
Photo credit: Stuart Gregory/Photodisc/Getty Images

Beach

Just steps away from the Fairmont Southampton you’ll find one of Bermuda’s most-famous beaches, Horseshoe Bay, recently rated number eight in Trip Advisor’s list of the top 25 beaches in the world. Sugar-soft sand in the most delicate shade of pink and water that sits somewhere between teal and turquoise on the color scale beckon beachgoers. We visited in the slow season so had much of this stretch of sand all to ourselves. It gets much busier during high season, which runs from May to September. In addition to the stunning sand and surf, Horseshoe Bay beach features limestone rock formations

Explore

A trip to the Crystal Caves turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip to Bermuda. The discovery of the caves dates back to 1907 when two teenage boys lost a cricket ball down a hole. In their quest to get the ball back, they inadvertently happened upon an underground cave. The two never found their ball, but the cave remains one of Bermuda’s most-popular attractions. A crystal-clear lake is surrounded by stalactites, stalagmites and chandelier formations, and it’s hard not to be in awe no matter which direction you turn.

Get to know the historic town of St. George’s with a comprehensive walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site. Known to be the earliest colonial English urban settlement in the New World. The walking tour of the town is followed by a personal greeting from the mayor. Tours run on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. between November and March. Tours start in King’s Square.

The Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art is well worth a visit while you’re in Bermuda. The extensive, brightly lit gallery showcases art inspired by Bermuda, from artists that include Charles Demuth, Jack Bush, Georgia O’Keefe and Albert Gleizes, among others. The gallery also hosts events and features rotating exhibitions. Ask for a peek into the storeroom to get an idea of the magnitude of its noteworthy collection.

Crystal Caves
Photo credit: Mark Harris/Photodisc/Getty Images

Shop

Spend a few hours at the Royal Naval Dockyard if you want to do some shopping. Formerly Britain’s largest naval base outside the United Kingdom, the Royal Naval Dockyard is now home to beautifully restored buildings, along with an array of shops and restaurants. In particular, make a stop at Bermuda Clayworks, a studio and gallery/shop showcasing eye-catching pottery and ceramic work. Stock up on handmade souvenirs, art and jewelry at the Bermuda Craft Market, and don’t leave the island without a box of rum cake from the Bermuda Rum Cake Company. Samples are offered, so you can try before you buy. We couldn’t resist the rum-swizzle flavor.

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