Bermuda Day Tour
Lovely beaches, forts & caves
This is usually a full day self-guided tour covering some lovely beaches and historic forts in St. George's, followed by a visit to the famous Crystal and Fantasy caves and then more beaches. To make it a half day tour, you can return after covering the sites in St. George's.
If you are docked at Royal Naval Dockyard (i.e. Kings Wharf), a good option is to take the first orange route ferry in the morning and get directly to St George. You get a great view of Bermuda's north shore from the ferry. The ferry finally enters St. George's harbor through a narrow water channel called Town Cut and reaches St George's town taking a total time of about 35 minutes from dockyard.
Photo: kansasphoto, flickr, cc by 2.0
Note that the Orange ferry operates during summer (April to November and on weekdays only). It has limited runs. Alternatively take a ferry from Dockyard to Hamilton (20 minutes) and then a bus to St George (#10, #11 are the fastest, and take about 52 minutes). You need to then start early.
Part-I of Tour
There is a shuttle minibus service which operates in St. George every 1/2 to 1 hour (depending on time of the day) and caters to Tobacco Bay Beach and Fort St. Catherine. Avail this minibus service if you want, the other option is to walk. The minibus service is available all through the day but usually during summer (May to October) when there are enough tourists.
You can buy a return ticket for the minibus ($7) from the Visitors Information Center at 25 York Street, St. George. You can board the minibus from Kings Square which is the town center and only few minutes walk from the ferry dock. If you decide to walk, it will take about 1 hour 30 minutes of leisure walk to visit all the places mentioned in this part of the tour plus the time you will spend at each place. During summer, carry an umbrella, a bottle of water and sun screen lotion.
The minibus will take the Government Hill Road, go past Somers Garden, make the first stop at Unfinished church and proceed towards Tobacco Bay Beach. This is where you get off (unless you want to visit the Unfinished church
which itself is a wonderful historic edifice whose construction could not be completed mainly due to parish infighting).
It takes hardly 6-7 minutes from Kings Square to get to Tobacco Bay Beach
by minibus. It's a lovely small beach and great for snorkeling and swimming. You will notice many rock formations on the water, some looking like pillars. These are great places to spot colorful fish if you decide to snorkel. Snorkel gears are available on rent. The beach has facilities such as wash rooms and a beach bar.
Tobacco bay beach Bermuda
Next walk down to the nearby Achilles Bay Beach
(about 600 yards). This is another tiny and beautiful beach overlooking Achilles Bay. There is a restaurant here known as The Black Beards Hideout
with lovely view of the water. Snorkel rentals are usually available on this beach as well.
Achilles Bay Beach Imagery
Rotate the image for 360° view
On one side of the beach is the famous Fort St. Catherine
. This fort was originally built by the British in early 1600s to defend against Spanish attacks. This is arguably the best fort in the island and very well maintained. You can see cannons mounted and lots of artifacts and exhibits of British military inside. This fort has been converted into a museum.
Fort St. Catherine, Bermuda
Photo: reivax / flickr, cc by 2.0
On the other side of the fort is St Catherine's Beach
overlooking the lovely Gates Bay. This is a relatively secluded beach and you won't get any facilities here. Spend some time here and then proceed along Barry Road to reach another fort known as Alexandra Battery
. It's about a mile from St. Catherine's fort. This is another British fort built in 1860s to protect the north shore. You can see Rifled Muzzle Loader guns mounted here.
Another great attraction is a small beach known as Building Bay right next to the fort. This is a sea glass beach and you can see lots of colorful sea glasses here. There is also a cave here on the beach. You can usually find lot more sea glasses inside the cave. You can spend about 45 minutes at the fort and the beach together, and move on.
Building Bay Beach Imagery
Rotate the image for 360° view
Hardly 200 meters from Alexandra fort and further down Barry road is Gates Fort
. This is another historic fort built in early 1600s. Its purpose was to stop enemy boats from entering St. George's harbor through the Town Cut water channel. View of Town Cut and north shore from top of the fort is awesome.
Barry road hereafter becomes Cut Road. From Gates Fort you need to walk back to Fort St. Catherine or Tobacco Bay Beach and take the minibus to return to Kings Square. If you planned to spend only half a day for this tour, then this is where it ends. Depending on your next destination, you can take a public bus towards Hamilton or take a ferry to dockyard.
For a full day self guided tour, continue to Part-II.
Part-II of Tour
So worked up your appetite by now? For quick lunch try out Mama Angie's Coffee Shop
located at 48 York Street (2-minute walk from) Kings Square. The fish sandwiches and fish cakes are really good and so is the coffee. For a proper lunch you can consider the waterside restaurant The Wharf
on Water Street at a short walking distance from Kings Square or White Horse Tavern
located at Kings Square itself.
After lunch, take bus #1 or 3 to reach Crystal and Fantasy Caves
in about 25 minutes from St. George. Located at Hamilton Parish, these are the best caves in Bermuda with dramatic formations of stalactites and stalagmites. There is a crystal-clear beautiful lake inside each cave. You can avail guided tour of the caves complex. Spend about an hour and 15 minutes before you start for your next destination. If there is a long queue (due to large cruise excursion groups), there can be a long wait time, and you may need to get back directly to Hamilton after the cave visit (take bus #1 or 3).
Crystal Cave and Cahow Lake, Bermuda
Otherwise for another lovely beach visit, take bus #1 or #3. You will pass through Tuckers Town. Get off at the lovely John Smiths Bay Beach
. This beach is a long and wide stretch of pink sand. The beach is located at Smith's parish and is excellent for snorkeling. You will mostly find locals here and few tourists. This beach is seldom visited by the tourists because it's somewhat out of the way. Continue on bus #1 or #3 and reach Hamilton city.
John Smiths Bay Beach Bermuda
Instead of a beach (and if you have time after the visit to the caves), you can walk up to the Blue Hole Hill bus stop (a short and easy walk), and take bus #10 or 11 (towards Hamilton) to get to Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo
(BAMZ) in about 10 minutes... this too is one of the most sought after tourist attractions in the island. In the aquarium you can see many exotic marine life of the Atlantic as well as reef systems. The zoo has small animals and birds from various places across the world. Once done, continue on bus #10 or 11 to reach Hamilton city.
Photo: Brian Gratwicke, cc-by 2.0
Depending on the time left, you have two options now.
Stroll along Front Street
, visit some of the glittering stores or enter the alleyways to find some nice souvenirs to take back home. If you are returning to the Dockyard, you can later take the blue route ferry from Hamilton Ferry Terminal (takes 20 minutes to reach dockyard).
Take bus #7 from Hamilton which takes the south shore road and goes all the way to the dockyard. This option will be suitable if you are returning to your cruise ship docked at Kings/Heritage wharf. The bus will take the South Road and go past several lovely south shore beaches including Warwick Long Bay, Jobson's Cove, Chaplin Bay, Church Bay, Horseshoe Bay etc. It's a scenic ride and takes about an hour to reach dockyard.
Check out the page Bermuda Map
. It has maps of almost everything that you need.
3) Bermuda Tours
: Know about many other great tours and excursions in Bermuda.
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