Visiting Hamilton - What to See and Do
(Hamilton Bermuda L F Wade International Airport BDA, Bermuda)
The island's capital Hamilton
is easily the most developed town on the island, being an ideal base for those who don't plan to hide away at a beachside resort. This pleasant lively waterfront spot is where cruise boats call to port, tourists come to shop and dine, and local Bermudans conduct their business.
Front Street runs along the waterfront, serving as Hamilton's lifeline for shopping, restaurants, bars and additional forms of diversion. All other streets head upwards into the hills that form the capital. Visitors can get a taste of Bermuda's history at its impressive range of museums and similar attractions, such as the Bermuda Maritime Museum, and also at historic sites like the Royal Naval Dockyard.
boasts an eclectic mix of nature, history and all-around beachside lounging. Its pink sand beaches are extraordinary, the Victorian-era remnants of British naval power impressive, and the options for a night out or memorable meal surprisingly broad. From the capital Hamilton, all things are possible on this compact island.
Ten things you must do in Hamilton
- Front Street is where all life on the island begins, and often ends. This waterfront boulevard is home to a vast range of bars, restaurants and shops. Since the cruise ships dock just down the way, Front Street bustles all the time. Its Emporium complex is a village of indulgent consumption, and if you want to meet the locals (expat or Bermudan), just pop into a tavern at sundown and listen to some tales.
- Caribbean forts are an iconic element of most islands in this part of the world. Bermuda has several, including Fort Hamilton, which features underground passages, a moat and super views from its ramparts. Canons still wait idly for action and the gardens are simply beautiful, giving many reasons to pay this old fort an afternoon visit.
- St. George's is the other main town on the island and it is absolutely worth a day of exploration. From its historic King's Square, where the prisoner stockades once held pirates, to its maze of cobbled streets, this is where the Victorian Bermuda of old really comes to life. Pick up a good map and let yourself get lost for a while (in time and in reality).
- Bermuda is something of a pilgrimage site for global golfers. Its courses are simply magical, being almost too pretty to bother concentrating on your swing. The Public Port Royal Golf Course is one of the world's best, while the Fairmont Southampton promises to challenge even the most experienced golfer. The Belmont Hills Golf and Country Club is the other choice for a challenging yet entertaining round of golf on this island.
- There are plenty of amazing viewpoints on Bermuda, but throw in a historic lighthouse and you've got something special. The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, built in 1846, is a gem. It is not only the oldest cast-iron lighthouse in existence, but the views from its tower are widely regarded as the finest on the island.
- Bermuda has a hidden underground world that few visitors realise is there. The Crystal Caves, located at Bailey's Bay, are world-class and developed enough to be easily navigated by the average Joe under the guidance of a tour. The features inside the Crystal Caves really are impressive, and the ease of accessibility make it fun for just about anyone.
- There are a lot of lovely beaches on the island, close to Hamilton, but the island's pink sands are a rare sight indeed. Shelly Bay, Church Bay, Tobacco Bay and John Smith's Bay are some of the best for experiencing the coolness of Bermuda's famous pink beaches. More famous and crowded beaches include Horseshoe Bay and Echo Beach. They're not pink, but certainly pretty and full of fun-filled amenities and sports.
- Caribbean islands are known for their lovely tropical biospheres, and on Bermuda you can't get better than the Botanical Gardens. One of the island's top attractions, this 35-acre / 14-hectare garden is laced with easy walking paths and filled with exotic trees, plants and flowering bushes. A 90-minute tour adds some education three mornings a week at 10:30.
- To really get a sense of the maritime heritage of Bermuda as an English colony and pirate hideout, spend an afternoon at the Maritime Museum. This 19th-century fort contains a wealth of fascinating artefacts, from pirate treasure to dungeons. Several historic buildings on the site cover all the angles of the British naval presence in the Caribbean. It is an essential attraction if you would like to understand how it all began on Bermuda.
- The perfect way to experience the undersea realm of the island is at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo. This one-stop attraction features a 140,000-gallon tank, the world's finest living coral reef system in an aquarium and a great little zoo with flamingos, tortoises and other native creatures.