Bermuda is probably best known for two things: lurid, knee-length shorts and the fabled Bermuda Triangle, a stretch of sea where boats and planes are said to have mysteriously disappeared. However, these lazy stereotypes serve only to distract from what is an exceptionally beautiful destination.
Comprised of around 180 islets, Bermuda looks like your archetypal Caribbean retreat with its fine sandy beaches, colourful coral reefs and swaying palms. But it’s nothing of the sort. In fact this lonely archipelago floats 1,030km (640 miles) off the coast of South Carolina, adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, far from anywhere in particular.
A British Overseas Territory, Bermuda has embraced many traditions from the motherland: from sophisticated gents playing cricket to refined ladies supping afternoon tea. There are even red phone boxes.
Discovered by the Spanish in 1505, Bermuda fell into British hands a century later and has remained part of the much-diminished empire ever since. The legendary writer, Mark Twain, popularised the islands in the late 19th century. “You go to heaven if you want – I’d rather stay here instead,” he cooed. John Lennon was another fan of the archipelago, which was the muse behind his song, Borrowed Time.
For some time Bermuda has been considered a destination for the, shall we say, more mature traveller. And while its scenic golf courses, colonial hotels and genteel vibe do suit elderly travellers, the archipelago has started to attract a younger crowd in recent years. They come for the excellent scuba diving, the cycling and other adventure activities, or just to explore the beauty of the archipelago from the back of a motorbike.
And beautiful it is. Bermuda’s coastline is blessed with pink sandy beaches and crystalline waters, while inland visitors will find an abundance of subtropical plants and flowers, interspersed with quaint pastel cottages. There are certainly worse places to disappear.