There’s far more to these islands than just rum cocktails and blushing beaches – with World Heritage sites, glittering caves and plenty to do on both sea and shore, these islands are packed with unique experiences that make it a destination for the curious explorer and adventure seeker alike.
Settled in 1612, Bermuda is Britain’s oldest colony and much of the most endearing of classically English sports and traditions remain alive and well on the island. Cricket, tennis and the ritual of afternoon tea are all popular pastimes, as is relaxing with a pint and joining in with singalong around the piano in one of St.George or St.Davids’ many classic British pubs.
A few things conspire to give Bermuda that blissful castaway island feel – no chain stores, advertising, neon lights or rental cars being some of the unique rules that set the island apart and also happen to make it a cycling haven. Our pick of cycling trails is the ‘Old Rattle and Shake’ Railway Trail, a disused railway line that weaves its way along almost the entire length of the island, a journey made even more therapeutic by the undulating jungle and pink sweeps of sand that you’ll pass on the way.
The well-preserved Somerset Bridge in Sandys Parish is officially the smallest working drawbridge in the world and makes a picturesque stop along the Railway Trail. Much of the bridge’s original stonework remains and it still opens creating a gap just wide enough for a sailboat mast to slot through. It’s a great little spot to pause and admire a micro feat of engineering.
Set adrift in the Atlantic blue, Bermuda capitalises on its enviable location as one of the world’s finest sailing hubs and the darling of the yachting crowd. One of the best ways to explore the islands is to hire your own yacht and find your own favourite cove or hidden beach at your leisure. Time your visit within the racing season and you can also experience the thrill and gloss of some of the world’s finest yacht races – even if you’re not a sailor, the sight of a fleet of yachts cutting across the ocean, spinnakers held high, is one to behold.
Bermuda’s coral reefs and crystalline waters – the clearest in the Western Atlantic – make it a world-class diving site, but there’s a lot more that lies beneath than just beautiful marine life. Under the aquamarine waters the seabed and reefs are loaded with shipwrecks, relics from a hazardous early naval heritage. Divers can get their underwater kicks touring the confederate Mary Celestia, the American schooner Constellation or the vast cruise liner the Cristobal Colon. With water this pristine, even snorkelers can spy the shallower wrecks.
For a truly thrilling perspective, take to the skies in a parasail and get a birds-eye view of the natural beauty of these Atlantic isles. From your high-flying vantage point, you’ll be able to pick out the ramparts of the old hill forts that pepper the verdant hills while enjoying breath-taking panoramas. The sweeping myriad of lush greens, vivid blues and dusky pink sands make for a stunning backdrop.
No, we’re not talking about golf. As well as excellent golfing courses, Bermuda’s sporting pedigree in tennis is also a noteworthy one. It has been considered the Atlantic’s tennis capital and famously introduced America to the sport. Avid players can work on their backhands on court at the state-of-the-art complex at the Fairmont Southampton, the largest on the island.
At barely 20 square miles you may think it would be hard to lose yourself in Bermuda, however wandering the tangle of charming back alleys and cobblestone lanes of St George’s Parish, you could easily find that time slips away. Dating back over 400 years, the historic town gives plenty of old-world atmosphere with its rich architecture and quirky street names such as Petticoat Lane, Barber’s Lane Alley. Don’t miss the Unfinished Cathedral, now a World Heritage site.
Another global claim under Bermuda’s belt, the islands also house the highest concentration of limestone caves in the world. The chandelier of stalactites that hang in the Crystal Caves, one of the islands biggest natural wonders, lend a gothic grandeur to Bermuda’s menu of activities. Crafted over millions of years, wandering their tunnels and chambers will add a mystical touch to your Bermuda adventures.
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