Guide to Design
A Great Bermuda Vacation
So how do you actually design a perfect Bermuda vacation and what can you expect out of the island? Many viewers of this website have come back and asked me for a simple guide, something that will help to create a step by step plan for a great vacation in Bermuda.
There are too many vacation packages and deals in the web. And they can be often quite confusing. They do meet some of your expectations, but not all. They all seem to fall short of a perfect vacation design when it comes to balancing the best with the cost.
So how about a guide that helps you plan and create a great Bermuda vacation on your own? The guide below is based mainly on our own family vacation experiences in Bermuda over the past many years.
You may like to bookmark this page as you will need to come back here to go through the entire Bermuda vacation planning steps that I'll be suggesting below.
Decided on a vacation in Bermuda?
So let me start by asking you, have you yet taken a final decision for a vacation in Bermuda? Why not a Caribbean island? That may be a cheaper option. Well, if you are still unsure, check out Why Visit Bermuda
to know what this island can offer.
So, ready to design one of the dream Bermuda vacation packages?
How should you reach Bermuda?
The first step is to decide, whether you want to travel to Bermuda by cruise or air. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. If you are coming from the USA, the most common travel to Bermuda is by cruise. Well over 350,000 tourists visit Bermuda by cruise every year. But that doesn't mean that you got to do the same thing. While there are advantages like saving a lot of cost as you take a cruise, there are disadvantages as well like losing precious time on the sea.
So you may like to check out Why take a cruise to Bermuda
to understand the Pros and Cons very clearly before you finalize on your mode of travel to Bermuda.
Your next step is now to select and book with the Airline or a Cruise line to Bermuda. This is a big step and will involve a lot of money. So it needs some research at your end. Depending on the mode of your travel (Air or Cruise), go through one of the following links to find out all my reviews and recommendations on air travel or cruises to Bermuda.
You will know about all the airlines operating to Bermuda and schedule. Here I have also talked about Bermuda airport facilities, how to best plan your arrival and departure at Bermuda, required travel documents and so on.
I have extensively reviewed all the main cruises that are presently operating to Bermuda from the USA and what may be your experience on a cruise. You will also know about the cruises schedules, about the ports in Bermuda where the cruise ships dock, travel documents and more.
Where to stay in Bermuda?
If you decide to take a cruise vacation to Bermuda, you will be staying in a cabin of the cruise ship itself and won't generally need a hotel. But for the air travelers, there is one more important step - finding the right location and the hotel in Bermuda.
I always prioritize the location of stay first before I choose the hotel, because the place will decide what I'll get in and around it, like beach, great restaurants, bars, activities, transport etc etc. So first Choose the location of stay
. and then you can decide on the hotel. You may choose couple of locations initially and then compare the hotels to decide on one.
Now the hotel. For luxury stay, check out Top Luxury Hotels and Resorts
for my reviews of the best upscale accommodations. For budget accommodations like apartments, Bed and Breakfast, guest houses etc, visit Top Budget Hotels
for all our favorites in budget category.
Where to eat?
Whether you take a cruise or travel by air, you would probably not like to miss out on the opportunity of eating out at least once and experience what kind of great food and cuisine this island can offer. There are well over 150 restaurants in Bermuda that have been running to cater to the diverse culinary tastes of the visitors. So you will find all kinds of restaurants in the island, both budget and upscale.
And there are great English style pubs that serve unique island drinks that you won't find anywhere else like the famous Rum Swizzle and the Dark n' Stormy.
Booking your trip, hotel, flight or cruise to Bermuda
So by now you have done all your research and figured out how to travel to Bermuda, where to stay, eat etc. Now the tricky part is how do you find the best deal for flight, hotel, cruise or may be the whole trip? You may Find your answer here
How should you plan your days in Bermuda?
Now starts the tough part of planning - how to make best of the vacation days in Bermuda. It's tough for me to answer because I don't know the duration of your Bermuda trip, or what you like to do during your island vacation - snorkel, do sightseeing, be on the beaches, do boating, walk the nature trails, shop? And what do you like to eat - Bermudian cuisine, Italian, French, Continental, Indian or all?
Hmm, I got to make some assumptions here. I am going to create several vacation itineraries from our experiences. Some of them for full day, some for few hours. So you should have a good selections of itineraries to choose from. Most itineraries/tour plans also combine lunch in one of our several favorite restaurants.
Pickup the ones that you like the most. You may also like to tweak those a little, or mix and match to make it just the perfect recipe for yourself. But, do it in a way so that you don't spend a lot of time in transit. Let me take an example:
Let's say you have just one day time in Bermuda and you are docked at Kings Wharf at the western end. Then it's better to plan your day with the attractions around dockyard and in Sandys parish, and may be in adjacent Southampton or Warwick parishes. You should of course spend some time in Hamilton City or St. George as well, and use the ferry for quick transportation from the dockyard.
If you are by now confused with location of all the places I mentioned above, then check out this Map of Bermuda
to get an idea of the places and their locations.
Getting around Bermuda
Before I get to the itineraries, one more thing which is important. How do you commute or get around the island? Best is to make use of the Bermuda Public Transportation
- bus, ferry, and sometime taxis. Both buses and ferries are air conditioned and quite comfortable. In Fact transportation passes (available at all Visitors Information Centers, main bus and ferry terminals etc) give you unlimited hop on and off access to both buses and ferries. You can also rent scooters if you are comfortable. That will give you all the freedom you need.
There is no Car Rental Service
in Bermuda because the government doesn't want the roads in this tiny island to get cluttered with rental cars when there is already good public transport system available. Pollution is also another factor.
Here are some rough estimates of the time it takes to travel between important places in Bermuda. So you need to consider this travel time while planning your day.
Between Kings Wharf dockyard (west end) and Hamilton city (centrally located), the ferry can be a lot faster than the bus. A direct ferry from dockyard to Hamilton City (Blue Route) will take about 20 minutes compared to an hour by a bus. The ferry plies both ways.
Dockyard to St. George by ferry (Orange Route) takes only 35 minutes compared to 2 hours by bus with a transfer (change in bus) at Hamilton. However this ferry route operates between April to November only. There is no direct ferry from Hamilton to St. George (goes via dockyard). The bus from Hamilton to St George takes little less than one hour.
Bermuda Vacation Itineraries
Following are my recommended itineraries to get the best of your Bermuda days. Pick up the ones of your choice as per your time plan. Tweak them, mix and match the ones that complement each other, and make your days in Bermuda just the way you wanted.
This is one of our favorite full day itineraries in Bermuda. You will spend some great time in two of the top Bermuda beaches, see Gibbs Hill lighthouse, Kings Wharf Dockyard and dine in some nice restaurants in the island.
This itinerary in Sandys Bermuda and Somerset village includes visits to Somerset bridge, the beautiful village, Fort Scaur, Heydon Trust, and Mangrove Bay Beach.
The western Bermuda is just fabulous. Starting from the Dockyard in Sandys Ireland Island to great beaches and parks, you can make a great itinerary.
It's a scenic walk through greenery's, beautiful golf courses, beaches, forts and so many other wonderful places. You can also plan for a short snorkel.
South Shore park in Bermuda is part of the nature reserve and has some of the spectacular beaches and coves. It connects Southampton and Warwick.
This is a half day walk through the heritage town of St George and visiting the historic sites of Bermuda. You can imagine yourself back into the 17th century. If you want, you can always complete the tour using a transport or even a horse carriage.
Hamilton is the capital of Bermuda and has some of the main attractions around the city. If you like to walk, take this self guided tour to explore sites like Bermuda National Library, Perot's post Office, City Hall and Arts Center, Victoria Park, Bermuda Cathedral, Cabinet House, Cenotaph, Hamilton fort and Spanish point. You can complete the tour using a transport or even a horse carriage if you so want.
Ferry Reach Park located at St. George's Parish is the second largest parkland in Bermuda. It's a great place for family and kids. You can explore the wonderful flora and fauna, three historic forts, a lake, a bay with a lovely little snorkeling beach, and a walking trail that goes through the leafy tunnels and then along the coastline. At the western tip of the park, there is Ferry Island which you can access by Bermuda's one of the oldest wooden footbridge. Once there used to be a ferry dock here between 1612 and 1871 when ferry was the only transport that connected St. George to the main island of Bermuda.
You can have a great half day itinerary in Bermuda by combining nature walks at Spittal pond and Paget Marsh, followed by BUEI. You have an option to combine the Hamilton City Tour
in the 2nd half and make it a full day compact program.
This full day itinerary in Bermuda gives you a perfect mix of everything - top beaches, forts, caves, aquarium and great food and drinks.
If the weather or public holidays come into play
Well, the last thing what you want is the weather or other factors like public holidays coming into play and restricting your vacation activities in the island. But it does happen at times. Not everything is always in your control.
If it rains on a day or the weather is inclement (although not very usual), you should have a second plan to make most of the day. Visit What to do on a rainy day
to make that plan-B.
If you are visiting Bermuda during the winter (November to March), it's another matter that Bermuda shows its beautiful serene side to you which is otherwise not much visible when the tourists have swamped the island, but unfortunately during winter, several attractions and activities remain closed or operate at reduced frequency. The winter guide
can help you plan your days.
Cruise schedules are not in your hands or unknowingly you may land up in the island and find out that one or more days are public holidays. Which means lot many things would be closed. Is it a hopeless situation? Find out What you can do on public holidays
Finally check out the following articles and discussion forums where many visitors have asked me for suggestions to help plan a great vacation in Bermuda and I have answered them with all my experiences.
1) Bermuda vacation on budget
: Know how to plan and enjoy a great vacation in Bermuda on budget. It's highly possible and many do it.
Viewers' Reviews and Comments
Anne (August 2013)
Hi Raj. Our cruise is from Oct 27-Nov 2 '13 docking at King's Wharf. We are excited to visit Bermuda and take in the island! I was wondering if you can suggest how my husband might be able to charter a fishing trip during our stay.
Regarding the beaches, will all be open during this time? Are there beach chair rentals and light fare available at the beaches? Is it fairly simple to get to Daniel's Beach from the port as well as others? I read some of your responses regarding the best time of visit/weather conditions for April - September and the weather during early October. Will you please comment on the weather at the end of October---is it still warm enough for swimming or just for relaxing on the beach? I read highs of 80 and lows of 60 for October, which would be lovely.
Lastly, a little concerned about attire: Bermuda shorts to light jackets the way to pack for this time of year? Any suggestions for getting the most of our stay is appreciated. Thank you, Raj.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, August 2013)
Hi Anne, I have discussed several fishing charters in this article: Fishing Charters
All public beaches remain open all through the year. Chair/umbrella rentals are not available in all beaches. I have discussed beach wise amenities (rentals, cafe etc) in Bermuda beach forum
However in Oct-end/Nov you are likely to get chairs, umbrellas, snacks etc only in Horseshoe Bay beach (Southampton) and Tobacco bay beach (St George). You can reach Horseshoe by bus #7 from dockyard (about 35 minutes) and Tobacco Bay Beach by taking Orange route ferry to St George (35 minutes) and then walk (about 20 minutes) or take a mini bus from Kings Square.
Daniel's beach is close to the dockyard but there is no bus which goes all the way up to the beach. It requires some walk from the bus stop. Its best accessible by taxi or scooter. Refer to my article Daniel's Head
for its exact location and how to reach:
Attire: Yes, Bermuda shorts, cotton comfort wears, light jacket etc (you may not need the jacket though, just in case the temp falls in the evenings)
Check out Itineraries
where I have discussed many itineraries to make the most out of your days in Bermuda.
Hope this helps! Regards,
Pat March (March 2013)
My Dad was born in Bermuda as his father worked in the RN dockyard. He wanted to visit but died before he was able. Now I would love to. We are fit unsophisticated UK pensioners and like to plan our own trips as we prefer home stays to hotels. We don't like it too hot but love to snorkel (65f+ is OK) and would be interested in museums. Ideally we would visit in the low season, Do you have any advice?
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, March 2013)
Hi, May through October is the high season in Bermuda, and by early November all cruise ships would have left the island, and Bermuda looks so much quieter and cleaner. There won't be too many tourists to bother you in the beaches or anywhere else. If you are looking for 65F+ temperature, a good month to choose would be November when the air temperature hovers around 71 degree F and water temperature around 73 degree F.
Home stays in Bermuda are essentially apartments or villas that are given out on rent by owners who do not live on the island, or those who have created an extension in their properties for additional earnings. Villa rentals would be more expensive than apartment rentals in general, and both require minimum number of days stay (usually a week or more). Go through the following link to know about vacation rentals in Bermuda ... I have discussed the best value rentals for both apartments and villas with location and price category, and also listed the top cheap restaurants in case you plan to eat out for a change.... Bermuda Vacation Rentals
If you like Museums, you must visit the National Museum of Bermuda located in Royal Naval Dockyard. It was earlier known as the Bermuda Maritime Museum. It is open all through out the year (except on Christmas Day). I have also listed and described most of the top museums and historical buildings of Bermuda here: Bermuda Museums
Note that the only drawback of visiting Bermuda during low season is... many attractions and activities remain closed during this time due to low demand. Regards,