Bermuda holidaysThe sample prices are per person based on two people travelling!
With Bermuda being a British Overseas Territory and having British colonial roots, English is the primary language spoken here. The English spoken here is different from the English spoken in the Caribbean, however. Some consider it to be closer to variants in the southern United States. Portuguese is the secondary language spoken in Bermuda due to immigrants from the Portuguese islands.
The official currency in Bermuda is the Bermudian dollar (BMD, BD$), which is at parity with the US dollar. Thus, US dollars are accepted in the country. ATMs are available throughout the island. The most widely accepted credit cards in shops, restaurants and hotels are MasterCard, Visa and American Express. Travellers’ cheques are widely accepted as well and visitors are advised to carry them in US dollars. Currency can be exchanged in banks and official exchange bureaux.
Even if Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory, British citizens are still required to present a passport which is valid for their entire stay in the country upon arrival (or six months if travelling via the US). A return ticket is required as well. The same rules apply to nationals from many EU countries, the US, Canada and Australia. Visa-free travel time for these nationals, including those from the UK, is limited to 21 days.
Bermuda has a subtropical climate which is maintained by the Gulf Stream. Weather is mild with a lot of sun year round and rain for only brief periods. Spring, summer and autumn daytime temperatures are pleasantly warm at between 21°C to 28°C - perfect for days out in the sun. Travel during these seasons is ideal. It is possible to travel to Bermuda in winter, with pleasant January temperatures of between 16°C to 20°C.
The sole airport in Bermuda is LF Wade International Airport in St. George, about seven miles northeast of the capital city, Hamilton. This airport has the highest landing and parking fees for airlines in the world, thus ticket fares here can be high. Ten airlines currently fly to the airport, with direct connections to the UK and North America.
Of the 10 carriers currently operating at LF Wade International Airport, only one flies to the UK. British Airways connects Bermuda to London-Gatwick with what rank as the largest aircraft that land on the island. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways connect Bermuda to New York. Meanwhile, Air Canada and WestJet connect Bermuda to Toronto in Canada. A typical direct flight from London to Bermuda takes about 7 hours.
While the Caribbean sees most tourists arrive from December to March, Bermuda experiences its low season during this period. This doesn’t mean, however, that travel is possible in winter, as a number of activities can still be done in Bermuda at this time. Many hotels offer discounts from 20 to 60 per cent during the off season. Taxis are the most common form of transport from LF Wade International Airport.
It is possible to enter Bermuda by water as there are several cruise liners that call at the island during summer, from April to October. Cruises from New York, Charleston, Miami, Norfolk, Bayonne and Boston make pit stops at Bermuda.
Bermuda only has one airport so there are no internal flights. With only 20 square miles of land, however, overland travel is easy. Local buses are frequent and comfortable. Taxis are available and easy to hire. Tourists are not allowed to drive in Bermuda thus bikes and motorbikes are popular, even with locals. Ferries run to and from many parishes on the island.
Bermuda’s buses are comfortable and air-conditioned. Services are frequent, too. Buses run from the capital, Hamilton, to the many parishes throughout the island. Visitors should note that the blue bus stops are for buses leaving Hamilton while the pink bus stops are for buses returning to Hamilton.
Ferries which dock at Hamilton Harbour service various destinations such as Southampton, Paget, Sandys and Warwick. Ferries also run from Dockyard to St. George and vice versa.
Bermuda law prohibits non-locals to drive cars in Bermuda. Thus, for visitors, and for plenty of locals too, bicycles and motorbikes are the way to go. Bicycle and motorbike rental is available. As in the UK, driving is on the left. Visitors are advised to take care on the narrow roads as accidents are common.
Taxis are an easy way to get around. There are taxi stands outside major hotels or cabs can be called by phone. In Hamilton, a prominent taxi stand can be found along Front Street. The flag-down rate is reasonable and covers the first mile, incrementing at US$1.40 per mile thereafter.
The capital city of Hamilton is a good place to begin your holiday in Bermuda. This is the island’s only city and within it are a number of interesting museums and notable buildings, forts and military structures which remind visitors of Bermuda’s long naval history, as well as parks and gardens, markets and restaurants.
Any visitor to Bermuda will want to head to the town of St George to further see and feel the history of the island. Founded in 1612, the oldest British town in the Americas offers wonderful heritage buildings that have been beautifully preserved.
The popular cruise port of Royal Naval Dockyard is also a good place to visit as it has Snorkel Park, a popular spot for snorkelling and other water-related activities. The dockyard is also a popular stop for scenic boat trips around Hamilton Harbour.
A great place to have a picnic and a swim is Fort Saur. Here, visitors can relax and enjoy the spectacular views of the blue waters of the Great Sound.
The parish of Paget is Bermuda’s veritable holiday destination. Here, visitors will find many resorts, beautiful Elbow Beach and Paget Marsh for wilderness activities.
The best beaches of Bermuda, however, can be found in Southampton Parish. One of the most famous ones, and perhaps the most photographed one, is Horseshoe Bay Beach with its beautiful pink sand.
Warwick Parish is a good place for holiday makers who are keen on exploring on horseback as well as for those set on playing a round of golf or two.
With a long colonial and naval history, Bermuda has a lot of historical landmarks to fill any visitor’s itinerary. A good place to visit to learn more about this history is the Bermuda Maritime Museum, a former British Navy base but now a popular tourist attraction on the island.
As far as living and breathing Bermuda’s history, however, it doesn’t get any better than a trip to the oldest, continually inhabited British settlement in the Americas, St George. The whole town, with its museums, old colonial buildings and churches, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The capital city of Hamilton is not bereft of its own colonial heritage. Here, the most notable attraction is the commanding Anglican Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, whose current Gothic Revival design was crafted in 1885.
Another famous attraction on the island is Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. Located in Southampton, this cast-iron structure is one of the oldest such in the world. Visitors who climb to the top of the lighthouse will be rewarded with scenic views of the Atlantic.
Close to St Catherine’s Beach is the largest fortification on the island, Fort St Catherine. This large structure dating back to 1614 stands at the northernmost point of Bermuda.
Horseshoe Bay Beach is a natural landmark that is popular with holidaymakers in Bermuda. This stunning beach, with its pink sand and rugged boulders, is the image of Bermuda that is most often depicted in postcards.
Finally, a favourite attraction on the island is the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo. It has 200 fish species as well as reptiles, birds and mammals.
Bermuda’s entertainment options, while limited, are easily able to satisfy any visitor’s holiday to this British territory. Much of the night-time entertainment takes place at hotels. After dinner, hotels like to treat their guests to live music, piano sing-along sessions and dancing. There are many island cruises in Bermuda, too, which are popular with visitors as well as locals seeking to get a nightlife fix.
Two areas which are particularly well-known for having some of the best pubs on the island are St George and St David’s Island. The oldest pub in Bermuda, which is now also a restaurant, is White Horse Tavern. It is a local favourite not just with visitors, but also with Bermudians. It has a particularly great setting-right at the edge of the water with views of the harbour.
Visitors to Bermuda during the months of January and February are in for a treat as around this time the island holds the yearly Bermuda Festival for the Performing Arts. Various venues around the island, such as City Hall Theatre and Church Street, see live music performances from jazz musicians, pop bands and classical groups. Theatre and dance are a major component of the festival, with performances by internationally renowned artists.
A dance performance that is worth seeing on the island is gombey dancing. This cultural heritage can be traced back to the islanders’ African roots and is a significant component of local Bermudian culture. Gombey dancing on the streets happens during important holidays. Outside of holidays, the Visitor Information Centre of Bermuda can direct tourists to venues for gombey dancing on any given night.
Being an island, Bermuda has seafood as a key ingredient in many of the local dishes. Fish chowder is a favourite here. This dish features the local catch cooked with dark rum, sherry and pepper. Tuna, rockfish, wahoo and lobster are the other types of seafood which visitors will regularly see on restaurant menus. For Brits in need of a taste of home, fish and chips is widely available.
Desserts are particularly popular on the island and some of the well-loved desserts here include those made from bay grape. When ripe, bay grapes can be eaten right off the tree, as most school children on the island do, or made into jelly or jam. Cassava pie is traditionally eaten by Bermudians during Christmas.
As far as dining options in Bermuda are concerned, visitors will find an array of restaurants lining the streets of Hamilton and St George. However, most hotels employ good chefs which can prepare both local and international fare. Pubs are popular places to dine, with Hamilton offering the best selection.
Because most of the ingredients are imported from the US and Canada, prices tend to be expensive, especially in restaurants close to cruise ship docks, but local fare at cheaper prices can be found away from the main tourist hubs.
Hamilton’s Bolero Brasserie is a good place to find a wide selection of local seafood in Bermuda. The historic Waterlot Inn and the award-winning Lido restaurant at Elbow Beach are other good places to dine out as well.
There are many beaches and swimming areas on the island. The most popular one is Horseshoe Bay Beach, the island’s most photographed pink-sand beach. Meanwhile, Tobacco Beach in St George is the preferred beach for cruise ship passengers. Less popular but still good for a swim is Warwick Long Bay. Visitors are advised to take precaution here as there is a strong undercurrent and a steep sand slope.
Couples on Bermuda holidays will want to take note of the services offered by hotels and resorts packaged specifically for couples. Luxury establishment Elbow Beach, a Mandarin Oriental property, is a beachside resort which is perfect for couples to splurge on the finer things in life. Meanwhile, romantic dinners can be had in Tom Moore’s Tavern, a quiet restaurant that was the former private residence of an Irish poet.
Families will want to take note of Shelly Bay in Hamilton Parish. Its shallow waters and sandy beaches are perfect for holiday makers wanting to spend a day or two sunbathing and playing around with the children. After the beach, families can visit the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, which has animals that kids will enjoy seeing.
Other than the many water sports easily done in Bermuda’s beaches, a good activity for adventure seekers in Bermuda is hiking the Bermuda Railway Trail. The trail follows the dismantled tracks of the former railway stretching from St George all the way to Somerset Village. Along the way, walkers are offered spectacular views of the island.