Taking a Nassau walking tour of Old Town and Downtown, the historic heart of the Bahamian capital, is an enriching and enjoyable way to explore the city. A walking tour allows you to immerse yourself in the city’s history, culture, and beauty while enjoying a leisurely and informative experience. It’s a wonderful way to gain a deeper understanding of this charming Caribbean destination.
Old Town Nassau is steeped in history, with centuries-old architecture, charming colonial-era buildings, and stories of pirates, privateers, and colonial rule. A walking tour allows you to delve into this captivating history as you wander through the narrow streets and past historic landmarks.
The architecture in Old Town Nassau is a captivating blend of colonial and Caribbean influences. From colorful Georgian-style buildings to the pastel-painted government buildings, there’s a wealth of architectural beauty to admire. Our Walking tour includes stops at local markets, art galleries, and cultural attractions. You’ll have the chance to interact with Bahamian artisans, learn about their crafts, and experience the vibrant local culture.
Why you must take a Nassau Walking Tour
Nassau is a photographer’s paradise, with its picturesque streets, colorful facades, and scenic waterfront views. A Nassau walking tour allows you to capture these moments and create lasting memories.
Visitors often enquire about Nassau’s rich pirate history, and a walking tour often includes stories and sites associated with famous pirates like Blackbeard and Calico Jack. You can gain insights into the city’s role during the Golden Age of Piracy.
Self guided walking tour of Nassau MapDownload Walking Tour Map
1. Parliament Square
Parliament Square is a historic and picturesque area renowned for its colonial architecture and political significance. Centered around a statue of Queen Victoria, it houses key government buildings, including the Senate, House of Assembly, and the Supreme Court. The square hosts ceremonial events like the State Opening of Parliament and is adorned with statues of Bahamian national heroes. A focal point for tourists, it offers a glimpse into the Bahamas’ colonial heritage, political legacy, and cultural identity, making it a must-visit site in Nassau.
2. Nassau Public Library
The Nassau Public Library & Museum serves as a repository of Bahamian heritage, offering visitors access to a diverse collection of books, historical documents, and artifacts. The museum section features exhibits on the Bahamas’ history, culture, and natural environment, including displays on indigenous peoples, colonial history, and notable Bahamian figures. This institution provides a valuable resource for research and education while promoting an understanding of the Bahamas’ rich past and present within its community and among visitors.
3. Bahamas Rum Cake Factory
The Bahamas Rum Cake Factory is a popular bakery and confectionery located in Nassau, Bahamas. It specializes in crafting delectable rum cakes that are infused with the flavors of the Caribbean. These cakes are renowned for their rich, moist texture and the use of premium rum in their recipes. The factory offers a variety of flavors, including traditional rum, as well as tropical fruit-infused options like coconut and pineapple. Visitors can sample and purchase these delicious treats, often packaged in distinctive Bahamian-themed boxes, making them a sought-after souvenir for tourists looking to savor a taste of the islands.
4. Bahamas Historical Society
The Bahamas Historical Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the history and heritage of the Bahamas. Based in Nassau, it operates a museum and research center, where it houses artifacts, documents, and exhibits that showcase the rich history of the Bahamas. The society hosts educational programs, lectures, and events to engage the public in the exploration and appreciation of the country’s past. It plays a vital role in documenting and sharing the cultural and historical legacy of the Bahamas. The museum is open to the public.
5. Queens Staircase
Also known as the 66 Steps, the Queens Staircase was hand-carved by slaves in the late 18th century and named in honor of Queen Victoria. This impressive staircase is a popular tourist attraction and offers a picturesque setting surrounded by lush vegetation. It serves as a symbol of Bahamian history and the resilience of the people who created it.
6. Fort Fincastle
Fort Fincastle is historic fortification built in 1793 during the reign of King George III. It stands atop Bennett’s Hill, providing panoramic views of Nassau and its harbor. The fort’s most distinctive feature is its neo-Gothic architecture, with a moat, drawbridge, and ramparts. Originally constructed to protect the island from invasion, it never saw battle but served as a symbol of British colonial power. Today, Fort Fincastle is a popular tourist attraction, offering visitors the chance to explore its historic structure, enjoy scenic vistas, and learn about Nassau’s rich history. As one of the highest elevations in Nassau, visitors enjoy sweeping views across Nassau and Paradise Island on this Nassau Walking Tour.
7. Gregory’s Arch
Gregory’s Arch, also known as “The Arch,” is a prominent architectural landmark in Nassau, Bahamas. It is a bridge-like structure with a central arch spanning a road. Named after former Bahamas Governor Sir John Gregory, it was built in the early 20th century.
The arch is a notable part of Nassau’s cityscape and often included in tours. It is admired for its aesthetics and adds to the charm of Nassau’s historic downtown area, making it a popular spot for photographs and exploration. On your Nassau Walking Tour you can explore Gregory’s Arch from below or above, by making use of the staircase.
8. Balcony House historic Buidling and museum
The Balcony House, is a historic building with a unique architectural design. Constructed in the late 18th century, it features a distinctive covered balcony overlooking the street, hence its name. The house has served various purposes over the years, including as a private residence and as a museum showcasing Bahamian history and culture. Today, it stands as a well-preserved example of colonial architecture and is occasionally open to the public for tours, offering insights into Nassau’s past.
9. Christ Church Cathedral
The Christ Church Cathedral is a historic Anglican cathedral. Built in 1841, it stands as one of Nassau’s most iconic landmarks. The cathedral is known for its Gothic Revival architecture, featuring stunning stained glass windows and a picturesque interior. It serves as the mother church of the Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Visitors can explore the cathedral’s beauty and learn about its historical and religious significance while enjoying the serene atmosphere it provides.
10. Government House
Government House serves as the official residence of the Governor-General of the Bahamas, who represents the British monarch in the country. It is a historic and grand colonial-era mansion, known for its pink color and impressive architecture. Government House is located atop Mount Fitzwilliam and overlooks the city of Nassau. The mansion’s lush gardens and well-preserved interior make it an attractive site for guided tours and official events. It holds a significant role in Bahamian political and ceremonial affairs, hosting visiting dignitaries and serving as a symbol of the Bahamas’ colonial heritage.
11. Graycliff Heritage Village
You are now entering the Graycliff heritage Village. The Graycliff Heritage Village is a historic complex centered around the Graycliff Hotel, originally a colonial mansion built in the 18th century. The village includes a boutique hotel, restaurant, cigar factory, distillery, wine tasting and chocolatier.
It is renowned for its colonial architecture, lush gardens, and its role in preserving Bahamian heritage. Visitors can explore the property, dine at the restaurant, tour the cigar factory, and enjoy handmade chocolates while immersing themselves in Bahamian culture and history. It is well worth breaking from our Nassau Walking Tour here, and enjoy each of the Graycliff attractions.
At the end of West Hill Street is the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. Here, you can find free entrance to their Art Park and outdoor art exhibits.
12. John Watlings Rum Distillery
John Watlings Rum Distillery is named after John Watling, a historical figure associated with the Bahamian pirate era. The distillery offers guided tours where visitors can learn about the rum-making process, explore its historic building, and enjoy tastings of various rum varieties. The distillery is located in a charming colonial-era mansion (formerly the Buena Vista Estate) and serves as both a popular tourist attraction and a producer of premium Bahamian rum. One of our Nassau Walking Tour highlights is to head to the John Watlings bar for some Rum Tasting, cocktails and a free guided tour around the grounds. Look out for the James Bond filming location sign on the lawns of the grounds.
13. Junkanoo Beach & Margaritaville Waterpark
Junkanoo Beach, is a popular and vibrant stretch of shoreline known for its lively atmosphere and scenic beauty. This public beach is a favorite destination for both tourists and locals. Named after the famous Junkanoo festival celebrated in the Bahamas, the beach offers white sandy shores, crystal-clear waters, and an array of watersports and beachside activities. Visitors can relax under the sun, swim, snorkel, or enjoy the beachside bars and restaurants offering delicious Bahamian cuisine. The colorful beach huts and friendly locals add to its charm, making Junkanoo Beach a must-visit spot for those seeking a lively beach experience in Nassau.
Take some time out from our Nassau Walking Tour and put your feet up on Junkanoo Beach, or go for a refreshing dip in the water.
If you’re looking for a local Lunch stop, we recommend Arawak Cay Fish Fry, a 15 minute walk from Junkanoo Beach along the promenade.
Follow the beach eastwards towards the pier with the large white building overreaching the harbour. You will now be at the Margaritaville Resort and Fins Up Waterpark. The promenade continues eastwards along the marina and to the One Particular Harbour resort and the beach at the old British Colonial Hotel.
14. Pirates of Nassau
The Pirates of Nassau Museum, located on King Street, is a captivating attraction that immerses visitors in the swashbuckling world of pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy. Housed in a historic building, the museum features interactive exhibits, life-sized pirate figures, and detailed recreations of pirate ships and scenes. Visitors can learn about infamous pirates like Blackbeard, Anne Bonny, and Calico Jack, as well as the Bahamas’ role as a pirate haven. The museum offers an engaging and educational experience, making it a popular destination for those interested in the thrilling history of piracy in the Caribbean.
15. Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation
The Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation is a historical museum dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of slavery and the struggle for emancipation in the Bahamas. Named after Pompey, a key figure in the 1830 slave rebellion, the museum features exhibits, artifacts, and educational programs that depict the transatlantic slave trade, life on plantations, and the path to emancipation. Housed in the historic Vendue House once used for slave auctions, the museum serves as a significant cultural institution, fostering awareness and understanding of this critical period in Bahamian history.
We suggest visiting the following sights in and around Woodes Rodgers Walk and Bay Street:
- Nassau Straw Market
- Port Marketplace within the Cruise Port Terminal
- The Museum of Junkanoo at the Cruise Port Terminal
Traveling to Nassau on a Cruise? Be sure to read our Things to do in Nassau Cruise Port article.