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Planning a day or few hours in Bermuda

 
This page is about how to plan a great itinerary in Bermuda for just one day or few hours. Many multi-destination cruise ships dock in Bermuda (mostly at Kings Wharf) only for a day. They arrive in the morning and depart later on the same day giving barely some 7-8 hours to the cruise ship passengers to enjoy the island. So in such a short time how should you plan your day in Bermuda and maximize your time? There are countless tourist attractions and lovely beaches in Bermuda. Which ones should you prioritize and how to quickly reach the places without wasting much time in transits? 
 
 
 
The following section is aimed to answer such questions. Since individuals have varied likings and expectations, you may need to mix and match from the different sets of plans below to make your own. Or you can alternatively ask me a question by stating your requirement, I can then try to help you plan the day. You will get a link at the end of this page to contact me or share your own experience in Bermuda. 
 
 
Hi, We are very close to booking our cruise, and I have two pieces of information that I would like to obtain. We have one full day in Bermuda. Which is the name of the best beach/ geography tour you can personally recommend? I want to make sure we see the pink sand! How do we hook up with the beach tours? Also.. the next day the ship sails at 12:00 noon. What could we possibly do? It doesn't seem wise to stray too far from the ship. 
 
We are planning to see the Royal Naval Dockyard as you've suggested, the afternoon we dock @ 3:30. Do we take a bus from the dock to the Royal Naval Dockyard? How late do the busses run in order to get back to the ship each evening? Thanks for your help with all of this.. Never having been, it will truly be very helpful. 
 
Barbara White (August 2012) 
 
 
Hi, Check out the following links for some nice tours of the beaches + island. Consider the western parishes tour as that includes some of the great south shore beaches of Bermuda and will be closer to the dockyard. If you want to spend the whole day touring, then you may combine the eastern parishes tour as well that includes St. George's Town, a UNESCO world heritage site which is steeped in history. This is where the first settlement began in Bermuda in early 1600s. 
 
 
Kings Wharf is located within the Royal Naval Dockyard complex itself. So you can just walk around and visit the attractions within the dockyard. You can alternatively take a train trolley tour (a small train on wheels that runs on road). It starts from the cruise pier and takes you around the Royal Naval Dockyard complex. It also provides an on-board audio commentary giving descriptions of the places it passes by. 
 
On your last day, you don't seem to have much time. So either explore the dockyard complex further, or make it to a south shore beach early in the morning and come back by 11am. Bus #7 goes by most of the south shore beaches like Horseshoe bay, Church bay, Warwick long bay etc. Alternatively you can take a taxi and visit the Daniel's Head Beach &áPark (12-15 minutes drive). It's a serene beautiful place great for swimming &ásnorkeling, and not much known to the tourists. While returning from Daniel's head, you can walk back to the main road and catch bus #7 or 8 back to the dockyard. 
 
Regards, 
 
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) August 2012 
 
 
 
First of all: thank you very much for the great information! It is very helpful. We are coming to Bermuda in mid October and our ship will be in King's Wharf. I would like to go to the Crystal Cave with my son, and afterwards take Lunch or a snack. Then we would like to see a beach. Preferably Elbow Beach, maybe John Smith Bay or Horseshoe. 
 
According to the bus and ferry schedules the ferry arrives 5 minutes after the bus both in Hamilton and St. George. Is there another possibility to save time and come to the cave more quickly? We only have 8 hours in Bermuda. Do you think the program we are planning is realistic in that short amount of time? 
 
Marie Funken (September 2012) 
 
Hi, 
 
The only other way of reaching the caves faster is to come to Hamilton by ferry and then take a taxi (about 15-20 minutes). 
 
Your program is doable, however time your visits to the caves &ábeach properly. Also plan to take a quick lunch. Visiting Elbow beach or Horseshoe bay beach would require that you come to Hamilton and transfer to bus #7. Then continue on the same bus route to reach the dockyard. The entire bus ride from caves to the dockyard itself would take close to 1.5 hours. So I suggest you visit John Smiths or Shelly bay which are closer to the caves. Plan to come back to Hamilton or St George and take a ferry back. That would be fastest. 
 
Always target to reach back to the cruise ship at least 1 hour prior to its departure. Note that there are lots of attractions within the dockyard itself including the National museum in a fort, a beach (Snorkel Park), dolphin center, Clocktower Mall etc. So even if you comeback early, you can still go around the dockyard and visit some of these attractions. 
 
Regards, 
 
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) September 2012 
 
 
Hi Raj, 
 
first of all, thank you so much, you are a great help in making my mind constructed travel plans more realistic. 
 
Would it also be possible to take a taxi from St. George to the caves? Would that safe time, too? Going through the map it seemed easy to go from the cave to Hamilton by line 1 and then change to line 7 and drop off the bus for Elbow Beach and later take the bus further to dockyard. Or for the way back taking line 7 leading the other direction, back to Hamilton, and taking the ferry. There I wonder which is the faster and/ or more beautiful route. If I plan like that, what amount of time should I consider for lunch, and beach? 
 
Another thing I was wondering about was, if it really gets that crowded at the ferry terminal being in line for a day pass. Is it really true, that the bus leaves five minutes before the ferry? 
 
Thank your very much for your quick and easy response and your help 
 
Regards 
 
Marie Funken (October 2012) 
 
Hi Marie, 
 
You get taxis from St George as well. If you need to wait for a bus, then a taxi would save time. Otherwise take the bus. 
 
The bus routes are well laid out and it's easy to reach a place by bus if you know the route #. So taking bus #1, 3, 10 or 11 from the caves to Hamilton and then changing to #7 is easily doable. But it's the time that you need to watch out for. Bus #7 takes the most scenic route along the south shore beaches. If you decide to go to Elbow and Horseshoe bay beach after the caves, you can plan to spend about 1 hr 15 mins in each, and 30-40 minutes for lunch. But start the day early. You may be able to spend some more time in Horseshoe beach depending on how quickly you are able to get the buses. 
 
I suggest you go through the bus &áferry schedule thoroughly and understand the timings. They run independently and at their own frequency. I don't know which day of the week you arrive. Note that the frequency on the week ends is low compared to the week days. Also the orange route ferry between Dockyard and St George has limited runs (6 times a day) and operates only from Monday to Friday. 
 
There can be a long queue at the Visitors Info Center at the Dockyard (Kings Wharf area) for the pass/tickets. That's the first thing every cruise passenger wants to get. 
 
Regards, 
 
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) October 2012 
 
Hi Raj, 
 
..Yes, I have studied the bus schedule. According to the schedule the bus leaves St. George once every hour at :52. There will be half an hour waiting time from the ferry arrival to the departure of the bus in St. George. The orange ferry leaves Dockyard 9:45 am and takes 35 min. to St. George. The arrival of the ferry would be 10:10 am; departure of bus 10:52 am. I don't know how long the bus takes from St. George to the caves. As I could imagine St. George is quite nice, so half an hour waiting time might not be the worst and a chance to look around historic downtown. 
 
As I have gotten more familiar with the islands beauty while studying the possibilities I came to the conclusion to leave the exact plan open to the real circumstances and stay flexible and keep to the module principle. If one thing doesn't work I'll take over to doing another. It was fun getting to know Bermuda theoretically. It will be the most fun to come and visit. 
 
Thank you very much for your help, it is really appreciated! 
 
Regards, 
 
Marie Funken (October 2012) 
 
We will be at dockyard, take bus 7 to horseshoe bay at 7am ish. Stay there till 10am. take bus 7 to lighthouse, eat at Henry VIII. (can we walk there from lighthouse?) then take bus to Maritime Museum (at dockyard). from there at 2pm take ferry to St. George. Once there should we take taxi to crystal caves? then can we walk to swizzle inn? From there we would like to see St. George. should we take taxi to St. Peter's church and St. Catherine's fort? and which order should we visit them. from there we are going to Hamilton. How should we travel there.? thanks. :-) 
 
Chantele Biondi (March 2014) 
 
 
Hi, 
 
You can walk from Gibbs Hill Lighthouse to Henry VIII (about 400 meters). From St George you can take bus #1 or 3 for Crystal Cave. From the caves you can walk to Swizzle Inn (about 300 meters). From there take bus #1, 3, 10 or 11 for St George. From Sr George Town Center (Kings Square), St. Peter's Church is an easy walk (York Street). You can come back to King Square and take a mini bus service to St Catherine's Fort, or walk (about 25 minutes). It's an uphill walk. Get back to town center and you can catch bus #1, 3, 10 or 11 for Hamilton City. 
 
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) March 2014 
 
 
I love this site Raj-so informative and easy to follow. My wife and I áarrive in Bermuda on Sunday, July 20th aboard the Grandeur. Our only full day is Monday the 21st. We are on a snorkel trip in the AM and will be dropped off at the ship at 12:00. We are planning to get to the South Shore Beaches by 1:30 or so. If we walk along the beaches for a few hours and then head into St.George's say for 6:00 PM will there be much to do? Will places of interest be closed? We would have a bite to eat and then take the long bus ride back to the ship. Does this seem reasonable or would you advise to stay at the beaches a little longer and then do some site seeing on the way back to the ship (not seeing St. George's). I appreciate the time you devote to this site and hopefully you can help us out. Sincerely, 
 
Brad (July 2014) 
 
 
Hi, 
 
July 20th is a Sunday and all stores, retail outlets and other activities in St. George's and even Hamilton City would be closed. Stores and outlets close by 5pm even on weekdays and the places would be deserted after that. Only the clocktower mall in dockyard remains open until about 6pm on Sundays. So I think spending more time on the beaches would be a better option. Try the South Shore trail... here is the link
 
To eat, you can consider one of the following: 
 
1) Swizzle Inn south shore pub in Warwick ... start the walk from Horseshoe bay beach in that case (west to east) 
 
2) Gulfstream (recently opened... seafood, Italian, International cuisine)... start the walk from Warwick Long Bay and get to Horseshoe. It's located opposite to horseshoe entrance and on the main road 
 
3) The Dining Room restaurant ... below Gibbs Hill Lighthouse in Southampton and close to Horseshoe (note the lighthouse closes by 4:30pm). 
 
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) July 2014 
 
 
Hello 
 
I will be in Bermuda in June one day, coming in on a Saturday on a cruise ship. I want to go to the Horseshoe Beach, spend some time on the beach and see a few sights and shop, and be back to the ship on time. Any suggestions? 
 
Ruth Woodcock (November 2015) 
 
 
Hi, First take a bus (#7 or 8) to Horseshoe Bay Beach (about 35 minutes). You can pay in cash ($5 in exact change in US or Bermuda currency, or buy tokens of $4.5 each from Visitors Information Center located next to the pier). From Horseshoe bay beach, walk down (or take a short bus ride #7) to Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, climb up to the balcony at the top for a view around. Visit the souvenir shop at the base of the lighthouse as well. Continue on bus #7 to Hamilton city (about 20 minutes from bus stop). 
 
Walk along Front Street to see the shops (this is the main hub of Bermuda). Try out the fish sandwich at Rosa's (121 Front Street)... has been voted best fish sandwich in 2015. From Hamilton get back to the dockyard by ferry (20 minutes ride. Check the ferry schedule for Saturday). 
 
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) November 2015 
 
 
 
Arriving on cruise ship west end 4/23 Saturday and would like to see as much of the island as possible in a day. Was interested in the dockyards and Hamilton or what u would suggest? From west end can one walk to dockyards to get Ferry and purchase ticket? Thank u in advance for your reply 
 
Connie (February 2016) 
 
 
Hi, if one full day is all what you have and like to see most of the island, then I suggest you take a guided minibus tour that takes up to 15 persons on a per person rate. The driver is usually a certified tour guide and will let you know a lot about the island and its history. A full day island tour covers western, central and eastern parts of the island showing you all the major highlights including some lovely beaches, historic buildings, forts, parks &áreserves etc. The tour stops at several places along the way for photo ops. 
 
They will also stop for lunch usually at Bermuda's one of the old traditional restaurants with typical local flavor. The driver ensures that you are back at the port well in time. If you are looking for similar such tours but in more privacy, then another good option is hiring a taxi by the hour (minimum 3 hours required) and take an island tour. The Blue Flag Taxis have drivers who are also government certified tour guides. You can discuss with the driver and draw up a tour plan, or just leave it to him after letting him know about your site preferences and time constraints. The total transport cost won't be much higher than minibus, in fact it would be lesser if you are in a small group of 4 or so. There are taxis with capacity of 4 and 7. You should ideally book a tour in advance. 
 
Visit the following links for more info on these options and how to book the tours: 
 
 
 
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) February 2016 
 
 
Related Articles 
 
1) Check out Bermuda Compact Itinerary to get lot more ideas about how to make a great compact itinerary in Bermuda. 
 
2) Check out Bermuda in 2 Days to know how to work out a great itinerary in 2 days or even less. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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