Though it is the capital city of the Bahamas’ 700 islands, Nassau is more often associated with the mega Atlantis resort on adjoining Paradise Island than with its own colorful past. In fact, this was once a stronghold for pirates—Blackbeard among them—who used it as a base for intercepting Spanish galleons. Reminders of a past existence as a British colony are everywhere, from its pastel colonial buildings to the driving conventions (on the left). The island’s West African heritage shines through in the colorful Junkanoo parades and traditional foods like johnnycakes. And thanks to grand gated communities and ambitious new restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs like Nobu Matsuhisa, the island’s glitzy future seems assured.
Taking a walking tour of the city conducted by the Ministry of Tourism to see some of the oldest architecture in the Bahamas.
Learning about the island’s fascinating—and long—history battling and harboring pirates at the (slightly kitschy) Pirates of Nassau Museum.
Dining at the under-the-radar Café Matisse, a favored restaurant among expat locals and well-heeled part-timers. (Tip: Try the linguine with crabmeat and braised leeks in creamy saffron sauce.)