Bermuda Holiday Planning Guide
The tropical "island" of Bermuda is actually a number of islands connected by road bridges and surrounded by numerous islets and cays. With access to everything from upscale resorts and quaint seaside inns, to tranquil pink-sand beaches and secluded snorkeling spots, a holiday in Bermuda appeals to most vacationers, regardless of age or budget. Although known as a place to relax, you'll find plenty of things to do in Bermuda. Partake in the dynamic nightlife of the capital city, explore scenic hiking trails, or roam the narrow streets of St. George, the oldest British town in the New World.
Places to Visit in Bermuda
Regions of BermudaSt. George's Parish
: Natural harbors and bays add to the beauty of St. George's Parish, while historic sites tell of the country's past.Pembroke Parish
: A fixture of any Bermuda itinerary, Pembroke Parish offers a combination of modern shops and restaurants plus pristine natural attractions.Paget Parish
: The country's university center, Paget Parish also showcases several cultural highlights, a harbor, and a number of white-sand beaches.
Cities in BermudaSandys Parish
: The three islands boasting a mix of museums, inviting beaches, mangroves, and harbors make Sandys Parish a must on your Bermuda holiday.Hamilton
: Bermuda's capital and main port, Hamilton charms with attractive architecture, well-known beaches, and abundant nature.Southampton Parish
: The scenic beaches and diverse natural sights in Southampton Parish offer something for everyone, making the resort town a favorite of Bermuda tourism.St. George
: The first pilgrims' settlement in the country, this World Heritage Site holds important historic sites and remains of original buildings.Hamilton Parish
: A rugged coast, mangrove-enclosed lake, and old village--in addition to other cultural attractions--make Hamilton Parish well worth a visit.
Popular Bermuda Tourist AttractionsHorseshoe Bay Beach
: Considered among the most beautiful in the world, Horseshoe Bay Beach boasts soft white and pink sand, sparkling water, and a variety of interesting amenities such as cafes and vendors on site. Crystal & Fantasy Caves
: Join a tour and discover the hidden world of these caves, with stalactite formations and a transparent natural pool beneath.Royal Naval Dockyard
: A living part of the country's naval history, today Royal Naval Dockyard includes a shopping area, diving site, and museum. Gibb's Hill Lighthouse
: Built in the 19th century to honor the queen, this landmark offers breathtaking panoramic views of the area. Bermuda Aquarium, Natural History Museum & Zoo
: A perfect family attraction in Bermuda, this complex lets you explore the rich biodiversity of the islands, from lizards to birds. Tobacco Bay
: Kick back with a cold drink, or try some of the popular beach and water sports at Tobacco Bay, a favorite relaxation spot.Elbow Beach
: Find your perfect spot in the sun at Elbow Beach, a pristine stretch of sand with a few resorts nearby for convenience. Front Street
: For shopping and dining during your Bermuda vacation, colorful Front Street is the place to be--where virtually every building charms with unique architecture.St. Peter's Church
: Although seemingly modest, St. Peter's Church has 400 years of history, together with a detailed interior of indigenous cedar wood.National Museum of Bermuda
: Meet the local historical and cultural heritage through this museum's variety of engaging displays and exhibits.
Planning a Bermuda Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Bermuda with Kids
Families on vacation in Bermuda will experience a warm welcome virtually everywhere they go, plus a wide spectrum of amenities. Known for its shallow bays and clean beaches with warm white and pink sand, the country is an ideal pick for younger kids who are learning to swim, and older kids can take part in snorkeling, kayaking, and other water sports. Meanwhile, parents can find plenty of safe places for playing and relaxing. Consider basing yourselves in one of the larger towns, such as St. George's
, which offer interesting sites for family walks and exploring.
Things to Do in Bermuda with Kids
Beaches are, of course, the main attraction in Bermuda. Look for spots with calm, shallow waters for kids, such as Horseshoe Bay Beach
, Elbow Beach
, and Clearwater Beach
Do take time during your Bermuda holiday to explore its engaging, kid-friendly places. Take your children to Fantasea Diving
, where they can learn the basics of diving and exploring the underwater world. Budding nature lovers will appreciate Bermuda Aquarium, Natural History Museum & Zoo
for its educational and engaging exhibits oriented towards visitors of all ages.
Tips for a Family Vacation in Bermuda
The first thing you'll want to figure out on your family's Bermuda vacation is the transport, regardless of whether you're staying in one place or visiting several regions. Since Bermuda doesn't offer cars for rent, you'll need to use taxis or public transit in the form of buses or ferries.
If your kids are prone to mold or mildew allergies, or you want to avoid large crowds and high heat combined with humidity, you might want to plan your trip for May/June or November, when it's both less crowded and not so hot.
When dining out, ask if the restaurant offers a discount for kids, or at least smaller portions. The same goes for the resort you choose: check if they offer lower prices for children under a certain age.
Most hotels and restaurants include a number of facilities that make the trip easier for the parents. For example, you can find a babysitter easily, and hotels usually include playgrounds and children's clubs. You can usually ask for additional cribs or smaller beds if needed.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Bermuda
Cuisine of Bermuda
Due to the historical connection with Great Britain and Portugal, Bermuda's cuisine primarily derives from those two culinary traditions, with additions, modifications, and inventions through the centuries.
Fish forms the basis of most of the meals, varying from tuna to shark, and the island's abundant vegetables and fruits also feature prominently, including peas, cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, strawberries, and spices like pepper.
If you have to pick a representative dish to try on your Bermuda vacation, consider fish chowder--a concoction of fish, vegetables, and black rum. Other well-known meals include shark hash served on toast and codfish brunch, boiled and served with cooked vegetables.
For dessert, choose from pancakes or sweet pastry filled with jams or fresh fruit (especially strawberries and bananas), or breads and puddings made with almonds, nuts, and cinnamon.
Shopping in Bermuda
You'll have plenty of shopping opportunities during your Bermuda vacation, from street markets to malls and high-end stores.
The narrow streets of Hamilton
boast small shops and vendors that sell traditional handmade crafts. Look for jewelry and other items made with the famous pink sand and feathers of the birds that live on the islands, as well as works made from Bermuda's trademark cedar wood.
Don't miss the chance to witness Bermuda's world-famous glassblowing at Bermuda Glass Blowing Studio
in Hamilton Parish.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Bermuda
Interesting Facts About Bermuda
● Don't be surprised to see businessmen sporting the famous Bermuda shorts that originated here--the garment is considered formal wear.
● Native Bermudans refer to themselves as "onions"--a reference to the beloved succulent that grows here.
● St. George
was the second town founded by the English in the new continent.
● The notorious Bermuda Triangle is the part of the ocean in the country's vicinity with a history of mysterious plane and boat accidents, leading to legends about paranormal activity.
Things You Should NOT Do in Bermuda
As on any trip, when on your Bermuda holiday, keep your personal belongings close to your person. This is especially important on beaches when you're in the water; consider tucking them away in a pouch.
As far as etiquette is concerned, there are no strict rules, but you should remain polite at all times and try not to include politics or religious beliefs in any conversation. Also, remember that the famous Bermuda shorts are a part of formal clothing, so avoid gawking at men dressed in the classy garment.
Holidays & Festivals in Bermuda
Bermuda holds an array of public events and celebrations throughout the year. One of the most popular is Bermuda Day, which takes place on May 24 in Hamilton; enormous parades, dances, and traditional swimming events herald in the beginning of summer.
If your Bermuda vacation falls around the end of September, try to attend the Gombey Festival: this showcase of traditional dance and national costumes will open your eyes to the island's history, culture, and cuisine.
A spring tradition since the early 20th century, International Race Week draws a variety of ships from all over the world, as well as a large contingent of nautical enthusiasts.
Smaller events happen on a weekly basis in most of the towns, usually on weekends. During Hamilton's Harbor Nights, the locals display their crafts and food, followed by music and various entertainers.
Useful Bermuda Travel Tips
Common Greetings in Bermuda
As a British Overseas Territory, Bermuda is an anglophone country, with Bermudian English widely spoken as the official language. However, Portuguese influence has left its traces, particularly with immigration from Cape Verde and the Azores.
Tourists will be able to get by fine using English on their trip to Bermuda, though knowing a few local phrases should also come in handy. If someone asks you, "wopnin?" it means that they want to know what's going on, what's happening. If they tell you that you're an "ace boy/girl," they think you're a good person and friend. Such endearing visitors may be invited for a "greeze"--a delicious meal. When the food comes, you can express your delight (and show off your Bermy knowledge) by exclaiming "chingas!"
Climate of Bermuda
Subtropical Bermuda experiences high temperatures from May to October, when the average of 29 C (85 F) combines with 85-percent humidity. These periods--especially July to mid-October--may prove quite uncomfortable for those who do not tolerate heat well, so consider planning your Bermuda trip before or after.
Although Bermuda lacks a rainy season, high annual precipitation keeps the islands abundant with greenery. Hurricanes do occur here, so keep your eye on the forecast and always adhere to any weather advisories.
Transportation in Bermuda
Since you will probably want to explore more than one region of the country during your Bermuda holiday, it's good to familiarize yourself with public transportation. You can avail yourself of the solid public bus service, with passes available for one day or more. Use ferries to island-hop, with the same pass system. The buses and ferries differ in colors, so ask around, since some of them have different facilities, such as wheelchair access.
Bermuda has no official car rental operators, but you might arrange something with the locals if you really want to drive on your own. Alternatively, numerous taxis in the capital and all the larger towns can help you get from place to place.
Tipping in Bermuda
In Bermuda, tipping is customary, with a 17-percent service charge included in the price of the service at restaurants and cafes. If you don't see this on the bill, include it when paying your waiter.
For taxi drivers, consider adding 10 percent. Likewise, hotels often charge a 10-percent service for housekeeping and porters, though you can always leave more at your discretion if especially satisfied with the experience.