The Perfect Week in Bermuda
Any proper week in Bermuda will begin with enjoying one of any of the island’s pink-sand beaches – adventurous types might want to try snorkeling, paddleboarding, or cave-exploring. Soak up the island’s history at one of the many churches and museums, indulge in local seafood dishes, and don’t forget to bring home a souvenir or two!
17 Church St
Whether you choose a museum of national treasures and priceless artifacts or a gallery where you can purchase original works of art, visiting the local art scene is a great way to connect with a place. Since 1985, Windjammer Gallery has displayed original paintings, sculpture, and textile art by local professional Bermuda artists. Life-size bronze sculptures can be seen in the garden. Windjammer Gallery is located in the shopping area at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess and has scheduled exhibitions throughout the year. Shipping can be arranged for purchases. The Bermuda National Gallery is located in the City Hall Arts Centre in Hamilton. It opened in 1992 and is home to Bermuda’s art collection. Permanent and revolving exhibits include African, Bermudian (1680s until today), and European art. Gallery tour guides conduct informative tours of each exhibit. There is another branch of the Bermuda National Gallery in the UNESCO World Heritage site of St. George at Bridge House. Admission is free.
6 Rose Hill, St.George's GE 05, Bermuda
Once the base for the British Royal Navy in the Atlantic region, this enormous port complex is now a buzzing mix of restaurants, shops, art studios, excursion outfitters and more that occupy former warehouses. Among the premier attractions is the National Museum of Bermuda, housed in the fort. Other popular spots include the South Tower (a clock) and the North Tower (a tidal gauge). Buy local souvenirs at Dockyard Glassworks, the Bermuda Rum Cake Company and Bermuda Clayworks.
7, Walsingham Lane, Hamilton, Bermuda
A warren of rooms make up this cozy restaurant that some claim is the oldest on the island. The building itself was originally a private waterside home constructed in 1652—some 40 years after the first English settlers arrived to Bermuda—and it has operated as restaurant for more than a century. The name comes from the married Irish poet who lived here and spent his days on Bermuda composing love poems to local women. However, don’t let the tavern in the name fool you: The cuisine and vibe here is haute, and the menu showcases French influences on island favorites, as well as traditional Bermuda fish chowder and grilled meats; if they’re listed on the day’s menu, the soufflés are a must-try. There’s no longer exactly a dress code (the emphasis is on “elegant casual”), but like everything in Bermuda, it is best to err on the side of formal.
56 South Shore Road, Southampton SN 02, Bermuda
Blending a cheerful, laid-back spirit with a splash of formal elegance, The Reefs Resort & Club is uniquely Bermudian. Staff greets you with a rum swizzle upon arrival at the family-owned and operated property, then whisks you up to a room where bright botanical prints complement crisp white linens, deep wood tones, and tile floors, and windows offer views of the Atlantic’s turquoise-tinged waves. Days are spent indulging in frangipani salt scrubs and ayurvedic massages at the spa, sitting in on a sunrise yoga session on the beach and hitting the links nearby, or simply napping on a chaise at the freshwater infinity pool. Sited to capture awe-inspiring vistas of the water, limestone cliffs, and lush vegetation that surround the resort, three restaurants serve classic continental fare, but more adventurous types can rent a scooter across the street to sample the local food scene on a culinary tour of Hamilton and St. George.
16 Point Finger Road
Bermuda’s Botanical Gardens, established in 1898, sit on 36 acres in Paget Parish and are home to hundreds of flora species. There’s an impressive collection of orchids, along with hibiscus, fruit trees, and a palm garden. Site highlights include the sensory garden, the mighty Bermuda cedar trees, and the freesia flowers that (perhaps) inspired the title of John Lennon’s album Double Fantasy. Three times a week, 90-minute guided tours are offered, while entry is free every day. Located on the grounds is Camden House, an early-18th-century Georgian home that is the official residence of Bermuda’s premier (though it is currently used only for official functions).
8 Crystal Caves Road, Hamilton Parish CR 04, Bermuda
Along with pink sands and green golf courses, these subterranean grottoes are among Bermuda‘s iconic sites. First discovered in 1907 by the same family who still owns them, the caverns have spectacular crystal formations, crystalline pools, and underground waterways. Guided tours of the Crystal Cave, which measures more than 1,600 feet long and more than 200 feet deep, explain the differences between stalagmites and stalactites as well as the science behind the impressive underwater formations. A visit to the adjacent Fantasy Cave, which is deeper still, is included in the ticket price.
30 Kings Point Rd, Somerset Village MA 02, Bermuda
One of Bermuda’s most historic resorts—there’s even a 300-year-old sea captain’s cottage on the property—Cambridge Beaches is a traditional rose-hued confection that matches its four pink-sand shores. Though an English country club vibe prevails in many of the public spaces (think tennis whites and croquet on the lawn), the rooms are anything but stuffy, outfitted with vibrant coral and lime-green sofas, zebra-striped rugs, and in some rooms, private plunge pools. Relaxation can be found in the marine-sourced treatments on offer at the Ocean Spa, but if you’re looking to excite the palate, the acclaimed Tamarisk restaurant plates up local takes on creole specialties, from the iconic Bermudan fish chowder to fresh-caught lobster baked in garlic and coconut oil.
St Monica's Rd, North Shore Village, Bermuda
The fried fish sandwich, served on raisin bread, from Art Mel’s is a Bermudan tradition. But watch out, that scotch bonnet tartar sauce is HOT!
3 Blue Hole Hill
This is an island original. Not only is this pub home to the namesake Rum Swizzle cocktail, it’s also the oldest watering hole in Bermuda. Still family-run, this famous establishment first opened in 1932. The bi-level restaurant has a patio and newish gift shop, along with the old-school bar with its walls covered in graffiti left by drinkers. The menu consists mostly of pub fare—shepherd’s pie and the fish sandwich are two popular choices. Breakfast is available weekends until 3 p.m. You’ll likely want to order the bar’s signature drink: The Rum Swizzle is a blend of light and dark rums and a variety of fruit juices served over ice. (The place also now boasts a second location, called simply the Swizzle, in Warwick on the western end of the island.)
Moongates are of Chinese origin and thought to bring good luck to those who pass through them. You’ll see moongates tucked all over the island of Bermuda, but a personal favorite is located in Somers Garden in St. George’s. This particular moongate is set among towering palms and a nice assortment of tropical plants and flowers. It’s a relaxing place to visit, hidden away from the bright sun and tourist crowds that can overwhelm the island in the busy tourist season. The garden is open daily and there is no fee to enter.
Lighthouse Road, St Anne's Rd, Cross Bay SN 01, Bermuda
Built in 1846, this is one of the oldest cast-iron lighthouses in the world. It was visited by Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, shortly after her coronation. For spectacular island and sea views, trek up the 185 steps to the lighthouse’s lantern. The adjacent restaurant, the Dining Room, is open for lunch and dinner, and serves pastas, pizzas and more-substantial entrées.
This elevated pan-Atlantic restaurant is at the storied—and adults-only—Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa. Celebrated for his locavore approach, chef Keith DeShields showcases the best flavors of the region, from both land and sea. While the menu changes daily, signature dishes at the candlelit restaurant include lobster baked in garlic and coconut oil or grilled wahoo with mango and roasted red onion salsa. The cheese plate served with house-made chutney is a dessert standout. Book a table outside for uninterrupted water views. A recent(ish) relaxing of the dress code has made jackets optional.
The best way to orient yourself after landing in Bermuda is to head straight to the shoreline and board the Coral Sea, a dual deck glass-bottom boat. Sunny, Ed, and Mikey from Captain Kirk’s Coral Reef Adventures steer the ship through the Great Sound and under the island’s largest/longest bridge, past the sunken wreck, the H.M.S. Vixen, and out into the Bermuda Triangle. After explaining a bit about the history, geography and culture of the island, you’re free to wander the ship. Sip a rum swizzle while you peer into the turquoise blue waters and watch hundreds of neon color fish swim below.
60 Tuckers Point Drive, Hamilton Parish HS 02, Bermuda
The centerpiece of a vast resort, golf club, and residential community complex, Rosewood Bermuda sits on 240 acres of waterfront land overlooking Castle Harbour, Harrington Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean. The recently refurbished resort is anchored by the Manor House, where 88 guest rooms blend classic cottage-style architecture and modern interiors that continue to set the standard for today’s luxury seekers: think canopy and four-poster beds, plantation shutters, and colonial-era antiques, all set against a cool white backdrop. Spring for a deluxe poolside room, which also has access to a private poolside daybed. Just don’t expect too much down time. Three on-site restaurants and two bars are beyond selfie-worthy, treatments at the spa incorporate local ingredients like cedar and juniper, and hotel guests receive membership to the 18-hole Roger Rulewich–designed golf course, tennis courts, and a beach club that sits on an exclusive stretch of pink sand for the duration of their stay.
24 Rosemont Avenue
Located in Hamilton’s boutique Royal Palms Hotel, this intimate restaurant is the personification of Bermuda: a haute yet traditional celebration of the sea.. Antiques including porcelain pieces, heavy silk curtains, and Queen Anne chairs—coupled with the garden-view restaurant’s location in a mostly residential neighborhood—imbue the place with the feel of an old-fashioned private English home. The menu features sophisticated preparations of fresh-caught seafood (like grilled branzino and roasted rock fish) in artful presentations. The wine list is excellent and extensive, while the crepes Garibaldi (filled with hazelnut- chocolate sauce and dished up with berries and cream) is a must for dessert. Lunch is served Mondays to Fridays only; the restaurant is closed on Sundays.
103 Front Street
If you’re looking for a party atmosphere and excellent people-watching, this restaurant/bar positioned near Hamilton’s harbor is your spot. It serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night snacks. DJs spin and live music is performed throughout the week.
When you think of the word pub, chances are you picture something like this place. Housed in the old Cooperage of the Royal Navy Dockyard, this causal bar-slash-restaurant is all about cozy atmosphere; there’s even a fireplace that was originally a forge used to produce iron hoops for barrels. The menu showcases comfort food—fish-and-chips, savory pies, and brisket with Yorkshire puddings—not to mention some local touches like the pepper jam served with red-onion rings. Enjoy a pint or two of ale, pilsner, or porter from the onsite Dockyard Brewing Company (the most established of the breweries on the island). The hoppy offerings change regularly.
19 Maritime Lane, Royal Naval Dockyard MA BX, Bermuda
Rum cakes, so the story goes, were once hard biscuits that got dunked in the daily serving of black liquor provided to sailors of yore. Whatever the origin, the recipe has improved over the years, and you can taste the newer—and softer—versions soaked in island rum at the Bermuda Rum Cake Company. This “cakery,” which is housed in a historic dockyard, is a Bermudan marquee attraction. Sharing a space with a glasswork factory, the bakery allows visitors to see the classic treats prepared and packaged and also try free samples. In addition to traditional cakes with lemon and vanilla, there are ones flavored with chocolate and coconut—as well the Swizzle, dotted with apricots, cherries, pineapple, and other ingredients.