First discovered by Juan de Bermudez, a Spanish sailor, in 1505 and named for him, the island chain was claimed in England’s name in July 1609. After colonisation, the island prospered, with the tourist industry beginning in Victorian times. That is still the nation’s economic base, and its continuing British cultural influences make it a popular destination for North Americans and Britons. The lure for vacationers is the moderate climate much of the year, many attractive small bays with beaches of pale pink sand and blue-green waters. Inland is an abundance of subtropical plants and flowers.
Bermuda is a chain of about 180 coral islands that poke up slightly above the Atlantic in roughly the shape of a fish hook.
Beginning in the 1870s, ships regularly disembarked passengers in Hamilton, the crown colony’s capital city. It is on the bay known as Great Sound, on the inner curve of Bermuda’s ‘fish hook’. But to reduce pedestrian crowds, most vessels now call at the cruise terminal at the former Royal Naval Dockyard, at the tip of the ‘fish hook’. Here are military features dating back more than 200 years, a Maritime Museum and Bermuda Dolphin Aquarium. Ferries make the 15-minute trip across Great Sound into the commercial and government bustle of Hamilton. At the opposite end of the island, via bus, taxi or rental moped, is the touristy town of St George, with colonial-era facades, a popular town crier and even city stocks for souvenir photos.
• Dolphin Aquarium
• Maritime Museum
• Natural History Museum and Zoo
• Bermuda Perfumery
• St George
• Botanical Gardens
Shops on Hamilton’s Front Street feature French perfumes, Swiss watches, Danish silver, cameras, Scottish tweeds, and spirits. Bermuda-made articles include handicrafts, pottery, cedar ware and paintings.
Cuisine is influenced by Caribbean, American and British tastes. Specialities include lobster, mussel pie, conch stew, fish chowder laced with sherry peppers and rum, shark, and sweet potato pudding. Cocktails use Caribbean rum; specialties are the Dark and Stormy and the Rum Swizzle.
When to go:
1km (0.6 miles).