Beautiful Bermuda - 6 Places to Visit in 3 Days!
“You can go to heaven if you want to. I'd rather stay in Bermuda.”
- Mark Twain
I only had four nights on this beautiful island and, it has left me longing to return – though next time I would visit during peak season (May to October)! It was unfortunate as there were gale warnings the first two days that I arrived (March). However, I still managed to fit quite a lot in and enjoyed sunny periods throughout the trip too!
Getting There: Treat Yourself
The ‘Beast from the East’ snowstorm was still in force when I left Dublin and so, it caused quite a turbulent start to my trip. It was difficult to even find transport to the airport…when I finally did arrive at the airport, I was notified that my flight would be delayed by a couple of hours. With all of this time to kill, I decided to treat myself to the airport lounge. I would recommend it to anyone who has a few hours to kill at the airport! For €25 (booking online), or, €29 (purchasing at the airport) per person, you have access to complimentary drinks, snacks, newspapers, magazines, and a comfortable sitting area to recharge your electronics.
After another delay on my stopover in NYC, I finally made it to Bermuda. The instant beauty of the island was evident straight away! I had never before seen such beautiful clear blue water while landing at the airport! Rather than taking a taxi, I took the cheaper option and caught a shuttle bus to my hotel from the airport. I had not pre-booked the bus – I was able to hop on one from right outside the main entrance to the airport. It’s quite a scenic drive from the airport.
Even visiting during the off-season, be prepared for an expensive trip. You are not likely to find accommodation for under $100 a night (with some hotels costing much more than this). There will be other expenses on top of this too, for example, taxes, gratuity costs, etc. The hotel I stayed in, Fairmont Southampton, cost $350 a night. The majority of goods/food is imported to the island – this is one of the main reasons for the high cost of food.
Getting Around the Island
Rental cars are not allowed in Bermuda. You are likely to require taxis or buses to explore the island – taxis can set you back quite a bit. The roads are quite tight and did not have many footpaths; this was the only real issue for me as a tourist in Bermuda. When I am on holiday, I love to wander on foot to explore. However, it was difficult to wander on small roads with no footpaths in Bermuda. One alternative to avoid roads is to walk or jog the Bermuda Railway Trail (more to follow on this later!). However, it can be quiet to walk on your own!
Unless you are willing to pay for a taxi everywhere, I recommend becoming familiar with the bus service. There are only eleven bus routes and so, they are easy to familiarize yourself with. I only used two different buses while visiting the island, these bus routes were sufficient in getting me from one side of the island to the other. There is also a ferry service that will drop you at various locations around the island. However, this schedule only runs during the peak season months. See the above video for tips on getting around the island.
After checking into my hotel, Fairmont Southampton, I couldn’t resist exploring the nearby beaches. All of the above beach photos were taken close by Fairmont Hotel. Therefore, you can see that the hotel is a great location if you want to spend a lot of time by the beach. However, unlike other popular beach destinations that I had visited, there were no boardwalks, etc. connecting each beach area to the next. This meant that (unless you are willing to swim to each section) it is a bit of a trek to walk up and down in between some of these beaches. Also, due to it being the off-season, I could not find anywhere open close by the water to relax with a drink while enjoying the beautiful sea views. However, the Ocean Club Restaurant (part of the Fairmont Southampton) is open during peak season – it is between the hotel’s private beach area and Horseshoe Bay so it would be a nice spot to relax during open-season.
As previously mentioned, The Fairmont Southampton has a private beach. This beach is at the foot of the entrance road to the hotel (a hotel shuttle bus will drop/pick you up from the beach). This private beach connects to the beautiful Horseshoe Bay Cove that is known for its pink-like sandy beach. Mermaid Beach, Marley Beach, Surf Side Beach, and Elbow Beach all lie along the same coastline road after Horseshoe Bay, so there are plenty of beach options in this area.
2. FRONT STREET AREA
I had seen many pictures of the pretty and colorful Front Street online and I couldn’t wait for a trip to see it for myself. This colorful street is found along Hamilton Harbor and is the main shopping area and activity hub on the island. It is a pretty area and is enjoyable for wandering; you can walk up along the Harbor with your ice cream/coffee with many side streets to stroll up and down along the way too. These streets have a good mixture of shops, cafes, ice cream parlors, dining, and bars. Some of these buildings have lovely outdoor and balcony seating areas where you can relax and watch the world go by at the Harbor. The Bermuda Parliament, the Cabinet Building, and the War Memorial (for Bermuda’s war veterans who served the country during the first and second World Wars) are also found close by Front Street (see above pictures).
As previously mentioned, there is a Bermuda ferry service. A terminal for this ferry is close by Front street. It can drop you to Royal Naval Dockyard (see more on this area below) and various other locations around the island from here. During the summer, there is a street festival that happens each week along Front Street. It’s called Harbor Nights.
3. CRYSTAL CAVE
Every time I googled what to do in Bermuda, I was drawn to the photos of these caves! And so (even with my claustrophobia!), I decided to visit the Crystal Cave….and it did not disappoint! When I arrived at the cave, I was still dubious if I was going to even go through with the visit inside of it. However, the ticket desk attendant and the tour guide were very helpful and assured me that I would never be too far from the entrance to the cave. They advised that everyone is free to leave at any stage of the tour if so required – this put me at ease. There was a second smaller cave (Fantasy Cave) which I had not booked for fear that it may be too tight for me. However, after my experience in the Crystal Cave, I believe that I would have been okay for the second tour too.
Our tour guide was great and full of interesting facts; he was a superb storyteller! As the name suggests, inside the cave appeared crystal-like and contained a multitude of stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is approximately 500 m long and 62 m deep. The lower 19-20 m of the cave is below the water level. The caves are thought to have inspired many different people – from Mark Twain to the creators of Fraggle Rock!
Visit the Crystal Cave website for more information on these caves.
4. GIBB'S HILL LIGHTHOUSE
Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse was just a few minute’s walk from my hotel (Fairmont Southampton) – not too far from Horseshoe Bay Cove. The lighthouse was built in 1844. It is the taller of the two lighthouses found in Bermuda, standing at a height of 245 feet with 185 steps to the top of the lighthouse.
Spectacular views across the island can be seen from the top of the lighthouse. I would highly recommend it as a must-see for your trip! I conquered another fear here as I was not expecting to be brave enough to walk outside onto the ledge at the top of the lighthouse. The views were so amazing that I couldn’t resist stepping outside to admire the scenery.
5. RAILWAY TRAIL
As mentioned earlier, the Railway Trail is another way of exploring the island. It’s perfect for anyone intending to walk and jog while on their trip. I only stumbled upon this trail by accident when I was leaving Gibbs Lighthouse. It stretches from one side of the island to the very other side and contains many points of exit/entry along the way.
It was pretty quiet along the trail when I walked it so I was slightly dubious of walking it on my own – thus only walking it for around 20 minutes. It was only afterward, when I googled the trail, that I saw how popular it is. There were beautiful pictures of the pretty scenery that I had missed out on by not walking more of it. I regret that I hadn’t planned better and walked some more of the trail – especially the sections by the ocean.
6. ROYAL NAVAL DOCKYARD
The Royal Naval Dockyard was quite a journey from where I was staying. However, the bus trip over to the Dockyard was cheap and provided lovely views of the island along the way. The Dockyard is the most visited site in Bermuda and is the island’s major cruise port. It is steeped in history – dating back to when the British Royal Navy established the Royal Naval Dockyard (after defeat in the American War of Independence). It continued to be a naval base until it officially closed in 1995.
During the summer, I can imagine there is a great buzz around the Dockyard. Off-season, it was very quiet. Many businesses were shut on the day that I visited the area. Bermuda National Museum, which explores the maritime and island history of Bermuda, is located here. There’s a lot of art and crafts at the Dockyard. For example, Bermuda Craft Market, Bermuda Arts Center, Jon Faulkner Gallery (ceramic and pottery), and Bermuda Dockyard Glass (glassworks) are all found here. The area also features watersports (jet ski tours, para-sailing, mini-golf, snorkel tours, and private boat charters), cafes, restaurants, and retail.
I was drawn to the impressive Clocktower Mall building. It was built in the 1850s as a warehouse for the British Navy – it is now used as a mall. The Mall was open, however, I only met a few customers inside of it….which was great in some ways as I had it all to myself!
HOTEL: FAIRMONT SOUTHAMPTON
Like many of the hotels in Bermuda, Fairmont Southampton is on the pricey side. Be prepared for extra fees that may automatically be added to room fees (such as, tax/tourism fees, nightly resort fees, nightly gratuity fees, etc.). Access to the outdoor hot tubs (which overlook Bermudas South Shore) and access to the indoor pool during the day is through the Willow Stream Spa and thus can also be at an extra cost.
There are many dining venues on the grounds of this hotel – they do cater to different price ranges. We ate in the Boundary Sports Bar and Grille on one of our evenings; the food was great and reasonably priced.
As well as the spa and dining facilities, there is a golf course, tennis grounds, and the hotel even has a private beach (right next to the beautiful Horseshoe Bay Cove beach). Diving excursions are available from here too. The scenery from the hotel is spectacular; see below for some of the ocean views and the private beach.
Have you been to Bermuda? Would you go back? Please comment below!
Thanks for reading,