An air of mystery may surround Bermuda, but getting to know the island is delightfully easy. And so rewarding. Condé Nast Traveler readers have voted Bermuda “Best Island in the Caribbean/Atlantic” 18 times since 1994. And Outside magazine recently named them the “Best Island” out of 30 top destinations for outdoor adventure. Intrigued? If you want to learn more, you’re in exactly the right place.
Sailing & Boating
Sailing has been part of Bermuda’s history from the beginning – a crew of shipwreck survivors founded the island, after all. Four centuries later, Bermuda is still in love with the sea and all its charms. The island is a top destination for sailing thanks to its ideal weather, calm and clear waters, historic relations with the international sailing community and major sailing events. Bermuda hosts the oldest regularly scheduled ocean race (the Newport Bermuda Race) and will host the prestigious 35th America’s Cup, presented by Louis Vuitton in 2017.
Diving & Snorkelling
Surrounded by teeming coral reefs, Bermuda has more than its fair share of marine life – and shipwrecks. Known as the shipwreck capital of the world, Bermuda is surrounded by more than 300 sunken vessels, many of which are still revealing their secrets. For scuba diving, you can access deep, calm water quickly and easily, spotting creatures like snapper, angelfish, sea turtles and spotted eagle rays. You can also snorkel right from shore. Either way, you’ll enjoy a colourful show of sea life and great visibility thanks to Bermuda’s clear waters.
Anglers will notice that Bermuda is shaped like a fishhook, and it’s safe to consider that a good sign. Bermuda earned its spot in the big-game fisherman's playbook decades ago by providing quick access to some of the best deep-sea fishing in the Atlantic. In the world of big-game fishing, three species take the cake in terms of size, power and mystique: marlin, tuna and wahoo. In Bermuda, you'll find all three of these species just offshore.
If you prefer your time on the water to be fast-paced and accompanied by a surge of adrenaline, look no further than Bermuda’s full menu of water sports. Try flyboarding, where jets of water shoot you skyward like Iron Man, or kiteboarding, where you can go soaring over the sea. Enjoy a gentler ascent while strapped to a parasail, or paddle a glass-bottomed kayak over swaying sea plants. Even the simple act of cliff jumping delivers big thrills.
n March and April, a parade of humpback whales passes through the waters off Bermuda as they migrate north to their feeding grounds in Canada, Greenland and Iceland. Take a whale watching tour to see these amazing 40-ton creatures in action and in their natural habitat.
Music, Art & A Culture of Creativity
With the island's beautiful backdrop, inspiration flows. Creativity is the powerful undercurrent behind so much in Bermuda, from visual art and poetry slams to handcrafted surfboards, masterfully curated shop collections and island-made perfumes. Seek out the spoils of Bermuda's creative community and find idyllic watercolours, original jewellery, eye-catching sculptures and thought-provoking music, theatre and dance performances. Live music is a perennial staple of island entertainment. The Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, held January through March, is an annual highlight.
The Big Names
There's a beach for every purpose in Bermuda, from lounging in the sun to swimming to hanging out with the kids. But these five stretches are superstars.
Set foot on Southampton's Horseshoe Bay Beach and you'll realise why it's Bermuda's most celebrated stretch of shoreline. USA Today named Horseshoe Bay one of the Caribbean’s top 10 beaches (even though Bermuda isn’t technically in the Caribbean). The long, sweeping crescent of pink sand is punctuated by rocky outcroppings and lapped by azure waves. The nearby Beach House offers snacks, rentals and changing facilities.
To the west of Horseshoe Bay in Southampton, West Whale Bay Beach has a fitting name because, in April, you may spot humpback whales offshore, migrating north to their summer feeding grounds. The large, grassy area behind the beach is an ideal spot to enjoy a stunning ocean sunset. Locals often shore fish here.
Warwick Parish also features some of the island's most spectacular beaches. With its half-mile (0.8 km) stretch of sand, Warwick Long Bay ranks as the island's longest beach. It's set against a backdrop of scrubland and coastal grasses. Just offshore, a jagged coral island floats above the water, making this an excellent area to snorkel. Just to the west of Warwick Long Bay, tiny Jobson's Cove is one of the island's most visually stunning beaches – here, steep, jagged rocks crash into a sheltered inlet. It's a serene zone to just listen to the waves lap at the pink sand and stick your feet in the calm, stunningly clear waters.
Tobacco Bay Beach earned its name when survivors of the shipwrecked Sea Venture discovered tobacco growing here. Now, you'll notice unusual limestone formations off the shoreline, a haven for marine life like parrotfish and sergeant majors. This most popular beach in St. George's Parish also offers equipment rentals, a snack bar and, during summer nights, frequent bonfires with music and chill crowds.
Enjoy a variety of year-round events including art and music festivals, culinary happenings, lively sporting events, summer beach parties, fun holiday festivities and national cultural celebrations. In May and June of 2017, the island welcomes the prestigious 35th America's Cup, presented by Louis Vuitton.
5 of Bermuda’s Most Secluded Spots
Want to walk into an island postcard? Try Jobson’s Cove, a slice of pink sand, blue sky and crystal-clear waters surrounded by jagged rocks. You'll feel a world away from everyone and everything as you spread out on the sand, close your eyes and listen to the gentle waves rolling in. Jobson’s is a great spot for snorkelling, too, with colourful marine life easily visible in the calm, shallow water.
This 2.5-acre nature reserve is tucked away in Southampton Parish. Farmlands and hillside forests surrounding the pond create a quiet backdrop for a picnic or even a lazy day with a book. In many spots, your only company will be egrets, sandpipers and kingfishers, making this a prime spot for birdwatchers.
The Bermuda Arboretum
It’s easy to lose yourself in this oasis of calm and peacefulness, located on 22 acres in Devonshire Parish. The Arboretum is covered with lush greenery and natural habitats endemic to Bermuda. Walk the trails, commune with nature and enjoy the silence.
For decades, Cooper’s Island was off-limits. Situated on the southeast tip of the island, this beautiful spot was previously occupied by the U.S. military and NASA, only re-opening to the public in 2011. Now a 12-acre nature reserve, the park boasts seabirds, Bermuda cedar trees and giant land crabs. Climb the wildlife observation tower for a sweeping panorama of the island.
You’ll have to hike a bit to get to this secluded spot, but it’s worth it. Astwood Cove in Warwick Parish is nestled below a steep cliff, so be careful on the way down. Once you’ve made it, you’ll be greeted with one of Bermuda’s most visually impressive and least-crowded beaches.
Bermudian cuisine was born from a mix of British, Caribbean, African, Native American and Portuguese influences and ingredients. Sample a classic Bermudian specialty like fish chowder or taste the modern spins that innovative chefs around the island are bringing to the table (wahoo crudo, anyone?). You can enjoy good steak, curry, pasta or ribs out here, but it’s the seafood that wows. Nothing tastes better than local fish caught daily. Be sure to try cocktails, too – the rum-based varieties are island favorites.
Find retail bliss in Bermuda. Go on a shopping spree that takes you to the boutiques and studios of the island's artful innovators – you'll come across treasures like rare vintage pieces, perfumes crafted using island essences or jewellery made with Bermuda's legendary pink sand. The shops on Hamilton's Front Street offer stylish fashions, while the Royal Naval Dockyard and the Town of St. George offer everything from locally made arts and crafts to colourful island accessories.
Whether you're exploring an oceanside trail or immersed in a spa treatment at a world-class spa, Bermuda offers many ways to unwind and unplug from the everyday. For an invigorating adventure, hike or bike the island end-to-end or go rock climbing on coastal cliffs. For some leisurely play, follow in the footsteps of champions on Bermuda’s six golf courses. Or find serenity in a subterranean limestone cavern, where spa treatments feel all the more relaxing. Whatever your speed or style, you'll find a sports, recreation or spa experience perfect for you.