Hosting the 35th America's Cup this year, Bermuda is founded on a legacy of sailing.
In 1609, an English ship, the Sea Venture, was wrecked here in a violent storm en route to Jamestown, Virginia - which led to the island's colonisation by the British. Some say the event provided the inspiration for Shakespeare's play The Tempest.
More than 400 years on, the modern-day drama of the America's Cup will unfold in the waters of Bermuda's Great Sound with a backdrop of pretty islets and pink beaches made of crushed coral. Horseshoe Bay Beach and Elbow Beach are classics, but Tobacco Bay - a short walk from the former capital St George - is great for snorkelling, and has a café serving beer, snacks and reggae. Clearwater Beach and Turtle Beach at Cooper's Island are also rarely crowded, the
Myths and legends abound. The historic town of St George on the east end of the island has St Peter's, the oldest Protestant church in the New World, and pretty twisting alleyways - with names such as Featherbed Alley, named after a hard-drinking townsman who, arriving home late to find his wife had thrown their bed out of the window, promptly flopped on the mattress and slept on the street. There's also Shinbone Alley, named after drunken sailors who crawled out of the town's taverns, bruising their shins on the way.
Bermuda is still a British Overseas Territory, and Englishness is apparent - from afternoon tea to cricket - but American influence is also strong nowadays, particularly in the financial sector. There are also Afro-Caribbean characteristics seen in the traditional Gombey dancers - whose whirling to a hypnotic drum beat has its roots in African slave dances - and Portuguese flavours in the cuisine, inherited from the indentured labour brought from Madeira and the Azores.
Many restaurants and bars can be found in the former Royal Naval Dockyard - which will become the America's Cup Village over the next few months - serving spiny lobsters in season, wahoo sandwiches, and panfried Bermuda rockfish with almonds and banana. And Bermuda's drink of choice - hands down - is, of course, rum. Less likely to spoil than fresh water and sturdier than beer, rum has long been the drink of seafaring types. The perfect toast for the winner of the America's Cup will not be champagne, but instead a Dark 'n' Stormy made with local brews Gosling's Black Seal rum and Barritt's ginger beer.
Where to watch The 35th America's Cup
The America's Cup takes place May 26 - June 27 on Bermuda's Great Sound. There are 10 days of qualifying races followed by challenger playoffs and then the finals. The main event takes place over six days beginning June 17. The new America's Cup Village at the Royal Naval Dockyard is the home base for all six racing teams and for spectators, with big screens, commentary and views of the finish line. Tickets can be bought through the America's Cup ticketing site, or via official travel providers (americascuptravel.com; helmevents.com; moorings.com).
Fort Scaur in Sandy's Parish forms part of a 22-acre garden with the expansive views expected from a bastion built in the late 1860s to defend the Royal Naval Dockyard.
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse in Southampton Parish: the 185 steps can be climbed for a panoramic view from one of the oldest cast-iron lighthouses in the world - which also has one of the best views on the island.
The Queen's View sits just below the lighthouse on Lighthouse Road, and also has excellent views of the Great Sound.
On the water join one of the official Spectator Boats, situated as close as possible to the course with unrivalled views of the racing. There will also be private yachts for chartering through Rosewood Tucker's Point and berths at Caroline Bay Marina.