Bermuda, also known as The Rock, formed 100 million years ago when a now extinct volcanic sea mountain rose out of the Atlantic Ocean in an area referred to as the Sargasso Sea. The 21-square mile self-governing British overseas territory is located 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) east of the U.S. Carolinas.
I just visited Bermuda for the first time on a press trip with Bermuda Tourism and to attend the Family Travel Association Summit. Bermuda met my high expectations with gorgeous beaches, balmy weather, and pastel-hued villages sprinkled along the edges of the narrow island. There were exciting discoveries too including rural cycling trails, world-class ocean swimming, and signature cocktails in Bermuda.
Cycling in Bermuda
Follow the Railway Trail, an 18-mile (29 km) foot and bicycle path past historic sites like Fort Scaur, underneath a canopy of fruit trees, and alongside Bermuda’s turquoise waters.
The Rail Trail is an abandoned railbed made up of nine sections (between 1 mile and 3¾ miles long). This path travels through the nine parishes (administrative areas) of Bermuda and is accessible at either end of the island or along the route. The trail is not continuous so be prepared to cross busy streets, bridges, and spots where you may need to carry or walk beside your bike.
I recommend hiring a guide at least the first time you ride the Railway Trail in Bermuda. I rode with Dexter from Social Cycles in Bermuda. He can set you up with a bike and show you around the island.
As host of the ITU World Triathlon Series – the next race is April 27, 2019 – Bermuda offers excellent road cycling. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to experience Bermuda on a road bike. You can read about professional triathlete and Olympian Flora Duffy’s favourite cycling route in this story about why the island is an excellent triathlon training destination.
Ocean Swimming and Snorkelling in Bermuda
Walk into Bermuda’s temperate ocean water wearing swim goggles or snorkel gear and prepare to be amazed. The water is crystal-clear. There is no other way to describe it unless you are Frommer’s who use the term ‘gin-clear’ to describe the ocean surrounding Bermuda. There aren’t any rivers or streams in Bermuda, so silt-carrying water doesn’t muck up the clarity. In some months, ocean visibility stretches to 200 feet.
I enjoyed fish and coral spotting in the clear ocean water while swimming from the beach at the Fairmont Southampton Beach Club. Here is a list of recommended snorkelling spots elsewhere on the island.
Before you swim or snorkel, visit the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo (BAMZ ) where you can learn about the creatures you may encounter underwater. Here is a YouTube video of Dr. Ian Walker from BAMZ describing some of the marine life you may encounter in the ocean surrounding Bermuda.
Dr. Ian Walker from BAMZ Explains Bermuda’s Marine Life
Signature Cocktails in Bermuda
My first alcoholic drink on the island (and possibly yours too) will be one of Bermuda’s signature cocktails – the Dark ‘n Stormy® or the Rum Swizzle.
Dark ‘n Stormy®
This traded marked signature cocktail, the Dark ‘n Stormy®, is only made with dark Gosling’s Black Seal Rum – there are no substitutions. If you need one (or more) to go, canned 250 ml versions of the Dark ‘n Stormy® are available for purchase on the island.
Dark ‘n Stormy® Recipe (courtesy of Bermuda Tourism)
4-5 oz. Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer
1.5 oz. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
In a tall glass filled with ice, add the Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer and top with the Gosling’s Black Seal Rum. Garnish with a lime wedge (optional). Stir the cocktail before drinking it.
Bermuda’s Swizzle Inn claims to have served the first rum swizzle on the island in 1932. Now it’s available at restaurants and bars all over Bermuda.
Rum Swizzle Recipe (Courtesy of Bermuda Tourism)
4 oz. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
4 oz. Barbados rum (or any amber rum)
2 oz. Triple sec
5 oz. pineapple juice
5 oz. orange juice
2 oz. Bermuda Falernum or simple sugar syrup
4 dashes of Angostura bitters
Juice of two lemons
Mix all ingredients in a pitcher with cracked ice and shake vigorously until frothing head appears. Strain into cocktail glasses.
I sampled a few rum swizzles on the island before trying and falling for Marcus’ Swizzle – a modified version of one of the original signature cocktails in Bermuda. You can find this refreshing blend of Cockspur Gold Rum, Falernum, Banana and Coconut rums, and Bermuda Gold Liquor hand-shaken with fresh lime and pineapple at Marcus’, a restaurant and bar in the Hamilton Princess Resort and Beach Club. The food is also delicious at Marcus’, where celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson uses local ingredients to create award-winning cuisine.
Travel Tips – Cycling, Swimming, and Signature Cocktails in Bermuda
- Bermuda is easily accessible by air, cruise ship, or private yacht. By air, Bermuda is located less than two hours from New York, three hours from Toronto or Miami, and seven hours from London. Click this link for more information on travel to Bermuda. I flew from Vancouver to New York (JFK) on Cathay Pacific First and connected to Delta First from New York to Bermuda. Both flights were excellent and on-time.
- Transportation options in Bermuda include mini electric cars known as a Twizy, mopeds, taxis or public transport (buses and ferries). Read more about transportation in Bermuda here.
- Bermudians drive on the lefthand side of the road.
- There is a wide range of accommodation options in Bermuda from Airbnb to luxury resorts. Visit the Bermuda Tourism website to learn more about places to stay on the island. I spent three nights at the Fairmont Southhampton and two nights at the more luxurious Hamilton Princess and Beach Club. I appreciated the tranquil location of the Fairmont Southhampton and nearby beach, but preferred the modern, art-filled Hamilton Princess and Beach Club.
- If you are travellling to Bermuda, you might appreciate reading about how to deal with airport security like a pro. And if you are flying to Bermuda with children, these tips on flying with kids will help you get there.
- You might like to read about our favourite beach products before you visit Bermuda.
Have you been to Bermuda?
I was a guest of Bermuda Tourism for part of my recent trip to The Rock. I was not required to write about Bermuda as part of this press trip. As always, if I don’t love a destination, I won’t recommend it to you.