For visitors on the run, who are forced by their schedules to see Bermuda in anywhere from 1 to 3 days, we've devised a trio of self-guided tours, written as three 1-day itineraries. With these ready-made itineraries, you can have a complete, unforgettable trip, even though time is short.
You can cover much of Bermuda, especially the harbor City of Hamilton and the historic town of St. George, on foot. A week's visit will let you break up your sightseeing trips with time on the beach, boating, or engaging in some of the island's other outdoor activities, such as golf or scuba diving. Hitting the beach is the first priority for most visitors -- but you don't need us to tell you how to schedule your time in the sun.
Planning Pointer -- It's enlightening to take a ferry ride around the inner harbor before or after your City of Hamilton walking tour. You can get an overview of the City of Hamilton before concentrating on specific landmarks or monuments, or gain a new perspective on what you've just seen.
Island-Hopping on Your Own
Most first-time visitors think of Bermuda as one island, but in fact it's a small archipelago. Many of the islands that make up the chain are uninhabited. If you're a bit of a skipper, you can explore them on your own. With a little guidance and the proper maps, you can discover small islands, out-of-the-way coral reefs, and hidden coves that seem straight out of the old Brooke Shields B-movie The Blue Lagoon.
For this boating adventure, rent a Boston Whaler with an outboard engine. The name of these small but sturdy boats reveals their origins: New Englanders once used similar boats in their pursuit of Moby Dick. It's important to exercise caution, remembering that the English found Bermuda in 1612 only after the Sea Venture, en route to the Jamestown Colony, was wrecked off the Bermuda coast.
In the East End, you can explore Castle Harbour, which is almost completely surrounded by islands, forming a protected lake. If you stop to do some fishing, snapper will be your likely catch. (Visitors who rent condos or apartments often take their quarry back to their kitchenette to prepare it for dinner.) To avoid the often-powerful swells, drop anchor on the west side of Castle Harbour, near Castle Harbour Golf Club and Tucker's Town. Then head across Tucker's Town Bay to Castle Island and Castle Island Nature Reserve. In 1612, Governor Moore ordered the construction of a fort on Castle Island, the ruins of which you can see today.
In the West End, begin your exploration by going under Somerset Bridge into well-protected Ely's Harbour. To the north, you can visit Cathedral Rocks before making a half-circle to Somerset Village; from here, you can explore the uninhabited islands off Mangrove Bay.
You can rent a 4m (13-ft.) Boston Whaler -- and pick up some local guidance -- at Blue Hole Water Sports, Grotto Bay Beach Hotel, Hamilton Parish (tel. 441/293-2915; www.blueholewater.bm). Prices begin at $90 for 2 hours, $135 for 4 hours, and $195 for 8 hours. Rates do not include gas.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.