Bermuda sounds like a tropical paradise, and it is, mostly, for part of the year, anyway.

For starters, it’s not actually tropical. It’s an island in the Atlantic with gorgeous blue water and pink sand beaches, but it’s at around the same latitude as Charleston, South Carolina. It’s not going to snow there, but it’s also not going to be bikini weather in December. But April to October, you’ll find lovely weather in the 80s good for all your outdoor activities.

You could probably golf or play tennis most of the year, if that’s your thing. And for a lot of people who visit or live in Bermuda, that might be their thing. It’s a preppy place. There are six golf courses squeezed into the 21 square miles of Bermuda.

The national costume is, well, Bermuda shorts – those tailored, just-above-the-knee shorts – with long just-below-the-knee socks with suit jacket and tie for men, which may sound silly on the mainland but looks super sharp in Bermuda. The men are the fashion stars here, with short suits in pastel colors to match the patchwork of houses on the island.

And speaking of houses… you may notice that almost every house here has a white roof over its plaster pastel exterior walls. There are no rivers or other sources of water on the island, so any new construction starts with a water plan. So those distinctive white roofs have a utilitarian function, too. Look closely and you’ll see that the roofs are terraced with limestone cement in a way that captures and filters rainwater at it runs off the roof.  The water drains into underground cisterns where it can be further filtered for indoor use. Pretty, especially over the pastel-colored houses, and practical.

white Bermuda roof under blue sky

Shopping

Such a small island has a surprisingly robust shopping scene. If you are just itching to get yourself into some Bermuda shorts, you have some options.

If you’re on a Celebrity Cruise ship docking at King’s Wharf in Bermuda, head for AS Cooper and Sons, a Bermuda institution with six outposts across the island. The Clocktower Mall is home to many shops for souvenirs – local artwork, housewares, t-shirts, sports jerseys, and more.

If that’s not enough, you can take a 20-minute ferry from the dockyard to Hamilton. There’s more of a city vibe in Hamilton, with upscale shopping for upscale locals and tourists alike on Front Street.

You can also take one of the most beautiful bus trips in the world from the dockyard to Hamilton, passing by some of the world’s best beaches. The bus will cost you a little more than a dollar each way, and takes about an hour between the two areas if you aren’t tempted to hop off to see something along the way.

Nature and beaches in Bermuda

Formed by volcanoes, the rocky coastline of Bermuda harbors beautiful stretches of beach. The pink sand beaches ringed by rocky cliffs are so beautiful, they have been named most beautiful beaches in the world many times. On the south end of the island, Horseshoe Bay Beach stretches for about one-third of a mile and is one of the most popular beaches on the island. It is easy to get to by bus, you can rent chairs and umbrellas, there are free showers and bathrooms, and there are several bars where you can get food and cocktails.


If you’d rather not share the beach, you can walk north and east along a beachside trail to several smaller and more intimate beaches, with the same pink sand and clear blue water but far fewer people.

Walk a mile or so to reach Warwick Long Bay, which several locals told me was their favorite beach. You can also reach Warwick Long Bay by bus.

Warwick Long Beach

Beaches aren’t the only natural wonder in Bermuda. In 1907 a couple of teenagers playing cricket discovered a hole with warm air coming from it, and decided to investigate. What they found was a sprawling underground cavern with crystal clear water. The Crystal Caves are up toward the northern end of the island and are worth a visit for any amateur spelunker.

Getting Around

Though the island is only 17 miles long, you’ll need some wheels (or sails) to get around to the various sites. Check out this article for how to get around in Bermuda.