Nassau has survived a colorful history of intrigue and adventure to emerge as a laidback and friendly seaport.
The capital city of the Bahamas is situated in the northern coastal region of New Providence Island. Originally called Charles Town, it was destroyed by the Spanish in 1684 and surfaced as Nassau in 1695. Over the years it’s been a pirate haven, British colony, asylum for freed slaves and battleground of rival European powers.
Today it is a far quieter place, but much of its history can be explored. Climb the 102-foot (31-meter) Queen’s Staircase, a set of 65 stone steps that were carved by hand in the late 18th century. They lead to Bennet’s Hill, the tallest point on the island, and were built as a route to and from Fort Fincastle.
Once you’ve reached the top and admired the views of the harbor and downtown area below, visit the fort with its unusual triangular shape. It was built in 1793 to protect the city from invaders. Next door is the water tower, which is also a lighthouse. Take the elevator to the top for exceptional views of the area.
From here make the short descent to downtown Nassau. Relive its past in the Pirates of Nassau Museum. Board the replica of a pirate ship and study artifacts including cutlasses and flintlock pistols. Then take a walk to Bay Street, just a couple of minutes away. This is the main shopping street through Nassau and has many bars and restaurants as well. This is a popular destination for cruise ship visitors.
The Bahamas is famed for its beaches; several within easy reach of Nassau. One of the most popular is Cable Beach, a few miles west of the city. It is four miles (three kilometers) of white sand lined with luxury resorts, restaurants and bars. Take advantage of the watersports here including waterskiing, parasailing and kite boarding.