Bermuda is a unique tropical-island paradise located in a remote corner of the western Atlantic Ocean. It is a peaceful vacation spot nestled in a sparkling blue-green sea. When the wind blows, Bermuda's islands, islets and outcrops are washed with white-topped, cool-green waves.
It's the diversity of color that first enraptures many visitors to Bermuda—not just of sky and sea but also of sand, trees, shrubs and flowers. The beaches are creamy-white and flecked with pink; the trees are a variety of lush greens. Pink oleander lines the roadsides and riotous vines tumble over limestone walls. Even the houses on Bermuda are colorful—pastel walls topped by white stepped roofs.
To add to this, Bermuda offers excellent restaurants, reliable sunshine, opportunities to purchase European goods and a variety of land and water activities, including cricket, afternoon tea and sailing. So it's no wonder that vacationers return to Bermuda year after year.
King's Wharf King's Wharf has something for everyone. Here you can sample typical island food and stroll through the shops and museums of the Royal Naval Dockyard. Part of the grand scheme to fortify Bermuda as the "Gibraltar of the West" was the building of the Royal Naval Dockyard that began in 1809. Today the meticulously restored Dockyard is an entertainment and shopping complex, with restaurants, crafts market, arts center, Bermuda Maritime Museum, historic Commissioner's House, cinema and the Clocktower shopping mall. If that's not enough, a snorkel park and watersport facility offer hours of activities to the adventuresome.
St. George St. George's was Bermuda's first town and former capital. The UNESCO World Heritage site is worth a visit for its quaint streets and alleys, historic architecture and museums. St. George’s Island was the site of the Sea Ventures’s wreck in 1609. Filled with historic buildings, it contains St. Peter’s Church, the oldest continuously used Protestant house of worship in the Western Hemisphere.
Hamilton Hamilton, Bermuda's capital, is a charming, small city of pastel houses with whitewashed roofs and attractive shops. Block after block of stores and restaurants line Front Street, across from the harbor.
Elbow Beach This beautiful beach is located only a few minutes from Hamilton. The beach has a gentle curve resembling an elbow, and is one of the most beautiful south shore beaches. Enjoy long walks on the white sand, beach volleyball and the many watersports options. Only 100 yards from shore is the Pollockshields shipwreck, which is popular with snorkelers and scuba divers.
Western Bemuda The parishes of Southampton and Sandys form the "hook" of Bermuda, sometimes known as the West End. Many of the sights lie on Somerset and Ireland islands, which are connected by short bridges to the main island. One stop to make in Southampton Parish is Gibb's Hill Lighthouse, the oldest cast-iron structure in the world which offers fantastic views of the islands and ocean.
Harrington Sound One of the main attractions in Harrington Sound is the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo in Flatts Village. Be sure to tour the scenic route Harrington Sound Road, and watch out for longtails and terns swooping over the water.
Crystal and Fantasy Caves A gorgeous must-see site located northeast of Harrington Sound, the Crystal and Fantasy Caves feature subterranean palaces of stalactites and stalagmites. The formations in Crystal Cave are said to be more than a million years old. The Fantasy Cave looks like an underground temple.
This isolated bit of paradise in the Atlantic is less than a two-hour flight southeast of New York. The closest land is North Carolina, 650 mi/1,050 km west.
The self-governing British territory is made up of 181 small islands—the largest of which are connected by bridges and causeways, creating a landmass shaped roughly like a 21-mi-/34-km-long fishhook that is no wider than 2 mi/3 km.
The first known European to sight the islands was Spaniard Juan de Bermudez (from whom Bermuda takes its name) around 1505. Spain left the islands alone, and they remained unsettled for another century.
In the 1500s, Bermuda became an important landmark and a significant hazard for ships crossing the Atlantic. Storms often swept ships onto the reefs that surround the islands. One such wreck led to the colonization of Bermuda.
In 1609, the Sea Venture, an English ship loaded with colonists en route to Jamestown, Virginia, struck one of the reefs. The colonists found Bermuda a good place to be marooned, especially because of the wild hog population, which provided a steady supply of meat. The castaways built two new ships and sailed onward the next year, but their brief stay encouraged settlement on the islands.
By 1612, there was a permanent British settlement, which started in St. George's. Originally ruled by the Virginia Company, it became a British Crown Colony in 1684 and eventually became an overseas territory. The population is a diverse mix, including those whose heritage can be traced to Africa, the U.K., the Azores, the West Indies and several other lands.
Because Bermuda lacked the water and soil to be a major agricultural producer, its fortunes were tied to trade. Much of the trade was with the U.S., and during the Civil War, Bermuda grew rich by trading English arms for Confederate cotton. After the war ended in 1865, Bermuda fell on harder times. But during the 20th century, the islands began to develop one of the world's first tourism industries, Bermuda's second-largest business.
During the 1960s, offshore banking, financial services and insurance also became important to the islands. Business remains Bermuda's largest business; it serves as the global base of operation for Jardine Matheson and the headquarters for Bacardi.
Under the Westminster system of government, Bermuda was governed by the United Bermuda Party (UBP) from the early 1960s to the late 1990s. During that period, Pam Gordon became Bermuda's first female premier. In 1998, the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) swept into power after a general election and remained in power until December 2012.
The One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) won the election in December 2012 with Hon. Craig Cannonier as premier. Michael Dunkley was elected premier in 2014, and E. David Burt took office in 2017.
Not only does it offer lush, tropical surroundings, splendid and unusual pink-hued beaches, plus a bevy of cultural attractions and sporting options, Bermuda is blessed with a distinct air of British propriety and European flavor that make it unique. Visitors will not only cherish memories of the islands' sherbet-toned homes, ubiquitous flower gardens and charming winding streets, but also of its gracious people, who are a little bit British, a little bit islander and always friendly.