Fewer & Better Guides: Bermuda
Bermuda is a magical place and holds a very special place in my heart. My dad’s family always went to Bermuda during the winter; my parents went on their honeymoon there; we took trips to the island as a family; my husband and I took our first vacation together there. I have an enormous collection of vintage sweaters from Triminghams and a lifelong fondness for ginger beer and sherry pepper sauce. The latter is particularly excellent on scrambled eggs or in a Bloody Mary!
While Bermuda feels like another world, its short distance from New York (only a 90 minute flight from JFK!) and the ease of being able to use US dollars as opposed to changing currencies makes the trip as easy, if not easier, than the trip from DC to New York. Bermuda’s airport, LF Wade, has several flights on major carriers per day, and is located only a scenic taxi ride away from many of the most popular hotels.
Where to Stay
I’ve personally only ever stayed at Elbow Beach and the Coral Beach Club, although I’d love to try Tucker’s Point and the Rosedon Hotel in the future. I love the South Shore beaches, and both Elbow Beach and Coral Beach are some of the most beautiful beaches on the island, if not in the world. They are right next door to each other and are private beaches. The staff at both are always happy to set up an umbrella and lounge chair for you on the beach, and the Frozen Hut at Coral Beach makes the most delicious dark ‘n stormies and rum swizzles!
One thing I particularly love about Coral Beach is that breakfasts and afternoon teas are included. You can have breakfast either in the dining room or brought to your room, and as all of the rooms have balconies, there is simply nothing better than enjoying a leisurely breakfast while overlooking the ocean! Afternoon tea is served on the veranda in the main clubhouse, where you can find a rocking chair and enjoy the stunning view and feed little sparrows that perch on the railing.
Hotels can definitely be expensive, however, and there are many AirBnB and VRBO options on the island if you are traveling with a large group.
Where to Shop
Although my all-time favorite Bermuda store, Trimingham’s, is now closed, there are many lovely shops on the island! Some of my favorites are Lili Bermuda for perfume, Calypso for beautiful clothes, the Irish Linen Shop and The Island Shop for all sorts of household goods, Crissons for jewelry, and of course The English Sports Shop, a Bermudian institution!
Where to Visit
There are so many amazing places to visit in Bermuda that it’s hard to narrow down my favorites! Below are my five unmissable spots to see when you are in Bermuda. I’m not including beaches in this section because they deserve their own section!
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse: The tallest lighthouse on the island. If you can make it to the top, you have unbeatable views of the entire island! It’s worth the climb even on windy days.
St. George’s: The oldest settlement on the island. St. George’s is home to the oldest Anglican Church in the western hemisphere, as well as the beautiful Unfinished Church. There are lots of little boutiques in downtown St. George’s if you want to shop, and it’s a beautiful place to spend the afternoon!
Crystal Caves: The Crystal Caves are beautiful. Discovered by two boys who were looking for a lost cricket ball, they are definitely a must-see for any visit! A note: the walkways are slippery so be sure to wear sensible shoes.
Bermuda National Gallery: I always have to visit museums when I’m in a new place. I loved the National Gallery–filled with art both about Bermuda and by local artists, it is a wonderful way to get a sense of the artistic culture of the island. The National Gallery is located in Hamilton, so you can easily wander around Front Street before or after your visit.
Railway Trail Tour: The railway trail follows the old railway line in Bermuda, and is now accessible by walking or biking. During my last visit, we went on the bike tour of the railway trail and had an amazing time! It was a great way to see parts of the island you wouldn’t normally stumble across, such as the Heydon Trust Park, stops on the railway line, and small beaches.
What to Do
Sail around the island: There are lots of ways to experience Bermuda, but one of the best ways is from the water! There are many different charter services, but I’d recommend taking a sunset cruise.
Whale watching: I haven’t had a chance to go whale watching yet, but it’s definitely on my list for our next trip!
Take a private taxi tour: This is another great way to see the island. We had an amazing tour guide, and while I’ve been to Bermuda before, it was great to see the island from a local’s perspective!
Railway trail bike tour: I mentioned this above, but this was one of my favorite things I’ve ever done in Bermuda! We had an amazing time exploring the island and areas off the beaten path. It was really such a fantastic experience, and I highly recommend it! We biked the Somerset section of the trail, and during our next visit I’d love to explore more.
Snorkeling: With the crystal clear water of Bermuda beckoning, how could you resist snorkeling? There are beautiful coral reefs and lots of shipwrecks.
Where to Eat
La Trattoria: We have to make a visit every time we’re on the island! The food is incredible and the portions are huge. A bonus if you are on a budget: the prices are quite reasonable.
Paraquet’s: A local favorite. The fries are amazing.
The Dining Room: This is the restaurant at Gibbs Hill. It offers some of the best views on the island, especially at night! It’s perfect for a romantic evening.
Mickey’s Elbow Beach: Mickey’s is right on the beach and offers wonderful views of one of the best beaches on the island.
Coral Beach Club: Coral Beach is a private club, but if you have the chance to go, jump on it! I love the food at Coral Beach, much of which is prepared from local ingredients. I’ve never had a less than excellent meal here and the service is perfect.
Swizzle Inn: The home of the famous rum swizzle! Swizzle Inn, stumble out 😉
Frog and Onion Pub: A classic pub where you can try some of Bermuda’s local beers.
You can’t make a travel guide to Bermuda without recommending a few favorite beaches! It’s so hard to narrow them down, but below are my top five favorite beaches.
Warwick Long Bay
There are so many more things to see and do in Bermuda that I couldn’t fit in this guide–it’s a magical place and one of my favorite places in the world. If you’re planning a trip, let me know so I can live vicariously through you!