Bermuda – ‘The Jewel of the Atlantic’. Pink sand beaches, deep turquoise waters, warm friendly people, splendidly secluded and utterly unique. Top that off with no neon signs, a limited number of cars, strict environmental laws and an ambiance of purity and that’s Bermuda!
Composed of 180 islands that are linked by bridges, it is divided into nine distinct parishes and has a population of approximately 65,000 people. It’s only 23 miles long and 1.75 miles wide at its widest point. On the east side, you will find Bermuda’s former capital until 1815 – St. George. The oldest English-speaking colonial town in existence and also a World Heritage Site. This town is steeped in history and the narrow streets such as Barber’s Alley and Aunt Peggy’s Land just add to this town’s charm. And its’ historic buildings now operate as houses, restaurants and shops. In the town centre – King’s Square, look for the dunking stool that was once used to dump gossiping women into the harbour.
The capital is Hamilton, the centre of Bermuda’s activity and the transportation hub as both bus and ferry terminals are located here. It is one of the smallest capital cities in the world and can easily be explored by food in just a couple of hours. Beautifully painted Victorian buildings stand along Front Street, the town’s main drag that overlooks magnificent Hamilton Harbor.
Make sure to stop and say hello to Johnny Barnes, Bermuda’s most famous celebrity. Every morning, Johnny stands for five hours at the Crow Land roundabout and waves to commuters as the head into the city. A life-size bronze statue stands erect in honour of Johnny, also known as “Mr. Feelgood” and “Happy Man”. His portrait adorns Hamilton’s Visitors Service Bureau, and even Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has honoured him.
On Wednesday evenings in the summer, the street is closed to traffic for “Harbor Nights” – a weekly evening festival featuring craft and food stalls, street performers and late-nite shopping.
Stop by the Royal Navy Dockyard on the west side. Back in 1809 , it was the largest British Naval facility outside the UK but now is a shopping village for both the locals and tourists alike. Look for amazing Bermudian art, local culinary feasts and great retail shopping.
A couple other ‘must sees’ while visiting Bermuda are the ‘Crystal Caves’ – see incredible crystal stalactites and stalagmites surrounding a clear lake of 55 feet deep and ‘Paget Marsh’ – a unique and unspoiled 25 acre nature reserve located minutes from downtown Hamilton.
And for diving enthusiasts, Bermuda is nicknamed the “Shipwreck Capital of the World” and ranked second for wreck diving by Scuba Diving magazine’s 2011 Reader’s Choice Awards. Not much wonder with over 300 shipwrecks that have come to rest on the shallow coral reefs surrounding Bermuda ranging from a 16th century Spanish galleon to a 1930’s cruise ship – truly a diver’s delight!
And of course, let’s not forget the beach and Bermuda is home to the one of the world’s best –
Horseshoe Bay Beach. This popular beach (off South Road, Southampton Parish) has been consistently ranked the best year after year.
Whether you are looking for adventure, culture, shopping or just plain old relaxing, Bermuda has got you covered!