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North America

Bermuda – the Perfect Long Weekend Getaway

Are you looking for a quick weekend getaway? Why not escape to the pretty island of Bermuda. Just a couple hours’ flight from Toronto, with only a time difference of one hour, Bermuda is easily among the most accessible of the beach North American islands. Most would assume it is part of the Caribbean, but it’s not. It is a tiny island in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, close to North Carolina.

Take advantage of securing yourself a window seat because as your plane descends into Bermuda you will be treated with beautiful views of the deep turquoise waters and limestone cliffs. The island’s beauty is definitely a natural draw with its pink sand beaches and pretty pastel coloured buildings, making this a great romantic couples’ getaway.

Bermuda-The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway | www.DreamPlanExperience.com

To get a lay of the land and discover all the best things to do, let’s explore it through the island’s three regions. There is St. George’s in the East End, the capital city Hamilton in Central Bermuda, and the Royal Naval Dockyard in the West End.

The East End

The East End is often referred to as St. George. This area was established by English settlers in 1612. With its rich architectural and military history, it has earned a spot among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here are some of the top things to do in this area.

St. Peter's Church

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This is reportedly the oldest continually operating Anglican church outside Britain itself. St. Peter’s Church was established at the same time as St. George’s in 1612. The grave yard which surrounds the church has been filled for centuries with two notable exceptions, the Governor (equivalent to Prime Minister or President), Sir Richard Sharples and his executive aid, Captain Hugh Sayers, where buried after their 1973 murders. An area to the west was reserved for burying black slaves.  

Unfinished Church

The Unfinished Church in Bermuda | www.DreamPlanExperience.com

This Gothic ruin is all that is left of the building that begun in 1874. The church was never finished for various reasons, mainly because of a disagreement of funds to build this one or restore St. Peter’s Church after it was badly damaged by a storm. 

Bermuda-The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Bermuda-The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway | www.DreamPlanExperience.com

When a hurricane in 1926 destroyed the roof and floor, the work stopped and it was left as is; as a preserved historic monument. Today, this picturesque ruin is closed off, but you can still peer in to see those amazing limestone archways.

Historic town of St. George

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Wander through the historic town, home to cute little shops, cafes and restaurants. Stroll through Somers Garden, where you will find my favourite moongate. Moongates are of Chinese origin and thought to bring good luck to those who pass through them. You will find moongates all over the island, but this was my favourite.    

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Lili Bermuda Perfumery

Lili Bermuda Perfume | www.DreamPlanExperience.com

Visit the historic Stewart Hall where the perfume is made on-site since 1928 from the island’s flowers. Here you can take a tour and learn how the perfumes are made. Twice weekly, on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, Stewart Hall hosts a classic English high tea. Why not indulge in a quintessential British pastime of enjoying the tiered trays of finger sandwiches, tiny cakes and petits-fours, plus scones with clotted cream, honey, and jam. Click here for more information.

Crystal Caves

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During the Ice Age, 1.6 million years ago, much of the earth’s oceans froze, sea levels dropped and rainwater seeped into Bermuda’s limestone, creating hidden caves. 

Bermuda-The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway | www.DreamPlanExperience.com

The legend goes that in 1907, a pair of young boys were playing cricket and lost their ball. When one went to retrieve it, he found himself inside an expansive underground grotto. In 1908, Mark Twain was reportedly the first to visit Crystal Caves, named for the rock formations lining its walls.

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Join the tour, where you will walk along a boardwalk suspended over the clear waters while your guide explains the geologic history of the site. Then, they’ll turn out the lights so you can see just how dark it might have been in 1907.

Blue Hole Park

Next to the Walsingham Nature Preserve, and just around the corner from Grotto Bay, is the Blue Hole Park. It’s known as a great destination for swimming, cliff-jumping, and cave exploring. This is a secluded spot known mostly to the locals.

Central Bermuda

Central to the island is Hamilton. It is the island’s capital city, or referred to as simply the “town” by the locals. It’s the business and financial hub of Bermuda. Aside from tourism, the island’s biggest industry is finance and insurance.

The downtown is where you will find the nice boutique shops in pretty pastel coloured buildings facing the waterfront. Grab a coffee or a rum sizzle and go for a stroll. If you are looking to bring back something from Bermuda then there is no better place to go than the Island Shop. Choose from ceramics, textiles and linens, glassware, and melamine printed with the signature island-inspired designs, usually in lime green and royal blue.

Bermuda-The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway | www.DreamPlanExperience.com

A highlight not to be missed is visiting the pretty pink Hamilton Princess & Beach Club Fairmont Hotel, where inside this contemporary hotel is full of artwork, including curated pieces from some of the legendary names of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and René Magritte. The hotel almost operates as a large gallery space, where you can roam the interior and gaze upon the Pop to Post-Modernist artwork. While there, why not dine at one of their three stand-out restaurants: 1609 bar and restaurant, Crown and Anchor or Marcus’ – any foodie of course will recognize the name, Top Chef’s very own Marcus Samuelsson.

Bermuda-The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Bermuda-The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway | www.DreamPlanExperience.com

In the middle of the “town” a must-dine at is the hipster all-day café and restaurant Devil’s Isle. Although Bermuda is not known for its domestic roasters, and trust me, the hunt for a good coffee brought us to many places, Devil’s Isle definitely draws a coffee crowd. It does serve up a menu of ramen, bowls, salads, crêpes and shareables that won’t disappoint any foodie. 

Bermuda Botanical Gardens

Another highlight in this area is visiting the 36 acres in the Bermuda Botanical Gardens. Established in 1898, as part of an effort to protect and cultivate native and endemic flora, like the Bermuda palmetto and cedar trees. Wander through the exterior grounds through the rose and hibiscus gardens. You will also find it is where the locals bring their dogs to walk on the extensive grounds.

Bermuda-The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Bermuda-The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway | www.DreamPlanExperience.com

The West End

The West End, often referred to as the Royal Naval Dockyard was the UK’s largest naval base in the Atlantic. That was until it went out of use in 1995. Today, it’s home to shops like Dockyard Glassworks and the Bermuda Rum Cake Company, Dolphin Quest and Snorkel Park, all a bit too touristy for me. The West End is really why everyone comes to Bermuda, it’s where you will find the iconic pink sand beaches. And, it didn’t disappoint.

Horseshoe Bay Beach

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One of the island’s most iconic beaches, with its long stretch of pale pink sand against the deep turquoise water is definitely a vision. As you walk the coastline you will come across dramatic rock formations and secluded coves.

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This area offers some of the best snorkeling or deep ocean dives. Some estimates put the number of shipwrecks along the reef surrounding the island at around 300; with new ships being continually discovered. Click here for Blue Water Divers to learn more.

Bermuda-The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway | www.DreamPlanExperience.com

Gibb's Hill Lighthouse

The best part of heading up to the lighthouse is for the view. Built in 1844, it offers panoramic views of the entire island, and out to the Atlantic Ocean. I’m sure the view from top of the lighthouse would be even better, but it was closed the day we were there.

Bermuda-The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Rent a Tizzy while in Bermuda as your fun way to see the island | www.DreamPlanExperience.com
Instead of conventional rental cars, Bermuda offers a fun and eco-friendly fleet of two-seater electric vehicles perfect for zipping around the island. Click here for rental locations.

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27 Comments

  • Angela

    A really great read Renee, I would love to visit Bermuda especially to have a go in a Twizy! Those beaches look amazing. Another destination onto my wishlist!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Angie! The Twizy certainly were a fun way to get around the island, especially to see those amazing beaches. They are definitely right up there on being the top beaches I’ve seen before. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • CHELSEA MESSINA

    The crystal caves are so beautiful. I’ve been to an underground cave lake in Tennessee that are similar to the crystal caves. It’s amazing what you’ll find below our feet.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting! You are right it is absolutely amazing what we might discover below!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you so much Julien for stopping by and commenting! So glad you like the island – it definitely has some pretty pink sand beaches doesn’t it?

  • Mark Crone

    Nice post Renee. I’ve been to Bermuda a few times but not in a few years now. I’ve seen and experienced most of what you wrote about and you are bang on. Bermuda is a great destination for an extra long weekend (but I’d take a week too…). I need to get back! Thanks,

    Mark / Mark’s Travel Journal
    https://www.markstraveljournal.me

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting Mark. Good to hear you think I captured it all!

  • Carol Colborn

    Would you believe I thought the Bermudas were in the Caribbean? Thanks for including the map! The Twizy is indeed bermudaful! And the Crystal Caves are gorgeous. Again, thanks!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Carol for your comment, yes, it is definitely a misconception that people associate it with the Caribbean countries.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      How wonderful Dana, it will be a great destination for a visit. Thanks for commenting.

  • Ada

    While I knew “approximately” where Bermuda was, I didn’t realize it was so far north and not actually in the Caribbean. (I’m a little embarrassed.) I’ve never been much of a beach vacation sort of girl so have always overlooked the Caribbean, but all the historical aspects you highlight in the post sound right up my alley. That grotto is absolutely amazing too. I just might be giving Bermuda a visit soon, especially since it’s so close.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Yes, I am not a beach person either, and this destination captured my interest for a weekend visit.

  • Ketki

    The crystal caves look breathtaking with its formation. The architecture and beaches also look amazing. I did not know there was so much to do in Bermuda! Love this post, Renee.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      It definitely does. I loved strolling through the old town and visiting some of the historical sites and visit their lively shops. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Josy a

    Oooh awesome! My husband went to Bermuda without me a few years ago (he was making a VFX advertisement for their tourism office) I think he only really got to see the resorts, but you have shown sooo much more. Those crystal caves are stunning, as is the rocky coastline.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thanks Josy! As well something I didn’t get to do was to walk their rail trail which overlooks the coast. Definitely something up your alley! And I was sad not to have done it.

  • Heather

    Well I learned a lot in this post. I had no idea Bermuda was made up of 170 islands! I also had never thought that it was a British territory. interesting that non-residents can’t rent cars. Sounds like my kind of place (I don’t like to drive in my own country) but that Twizy looks SO fun!! The pink sand beaches and that moongate are calling my name!! I seriously love that moongate!

  • Kevin

    Reading this post made me so nostalgic! I visited Bermuda (also for a long weekend, and you’re right, it really is perfect for three or four days) before I started blogging and it is one of my favorite island destinations because of how unique its history and geography are, being located directly east of South Carolina and quite far from any Caribbean island. I didn’t have time to do the caves when I was there, which I’d definitely want to see next time!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      I am so glad to hear that this returned a lot of memories for you. The caves are definitely great to visit. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • Karthika

    Your photos are amazing. I feel like I have spent time here already looking through them. I would love to visit someday and just lay on the beach doing absolutely nothing 🙂

    • The.Holidaymaker

      That does sound good doesn’t it? Thanks for your comment. Appreciate you stopping by.

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