Lush green mountain slopes, extensive coral reefs and famous shipwrecks make up the flair of the British Virgin Islands. Every imaginable type of water sport is offered in this little piece of paradise, but visitors who are less interested in sport will also get their money’s worth, for example watching dolphins and whales on the 50 idyllic islands. Norman Island is said to be the place that inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write his famous book Treasure Island. One might not come across swashbuckling pirates and treasure chests in the British Virgin Islands today, but the real treasure is the coveted soft sand and gently lapping blue-green waves. But paradise comes at a price, as the British Virgin Islands don’t come cheap. However, perhaps this is necessary to protect such a jewel of the Caribbean from mass tourism – so far successfully. See other countries in North America on philosophynearby.
Arriving by plane
There are no direct flight connections to the British Virgin Islands from Germany, Switzerland and Austria. British Airways (BA), Air France (AF) and KLM (KL) fly via St. Maarten to Tortola, United (UA) via New York, Chicago or Miami and San Juan (Puerto Rico). The islands are also accessible via St. Kitts, St. Maarten (Netherlands Antilles) and St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands) on intra-Caribbean airlines Air Sunshine (YI), interCaribbean Airways (JY) and VI Airlink (V6).
Frankfurt/M. – Tortola: 14 hrs 05 mins; Vienna – Tortola: 14 hrs 55 mins; Zurich – Tortola: 15 hrs.
Departure fee: approximately €13 (US$15).
Arrival by ship
The main ports are West End and Road Town (Tortola), Great Harbor (Jost Van Dyke) and St. Thomas Bay (Virgin Gorda). They are visited by cruise ships and are docking points for ferries to the US Virgin Islands.
As part of their cruises departing from Europe, Hapag Lloyd Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises, Costa and Phoenix call at the British Virgin Islands, among others.
Roadtown Fast Ferry operates between Road Town and Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas/US Virgin Islands). Smith’s Ferry Service Ltd. offers ferries from Road Town to Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Gorda and Anegada and from Charlotte Amalie to the West End. Speedy’s operates a ferry service between Virgin Gorda, Road Town and St Thomas.
Traveling by plane
VI Airlink (V6) has regular daily flights between Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Anegada. Charter planes can be hired from Fly BVI, among others.
Traveling by car/bus
The road network is well developed. Since there is no public transport on the islands, you should use taxis or rental cars for excursions.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
The roads are very winding but in good condition.
Car rental companies are available at the airport and in larger locations.
BVI Taxi Association taxis operate a variety of standard routes at fixed rates. The drivers are also tourist guides. Taxis can also be hired on an hourly or daily basis.
Holiday resorts also rent bicycles, among other things; partially free.
Traffic regulations: – Left-hand traffic. However, as in Europe, the steering wheel is on the left-hand side in most vehicles. Speed limits: – urban: 32 km/h (20 mph); – extra urban: 64 km/h (40 mph).
A temporary driver’s license is issued upon presentation of a valid national driver’s license for a fee of US$10; available from car rental companies.
Traveling by ship
Boat chartering is one of the largest industries on the islands. Yachts and ferries can be chartered for cruises and excursions. High season is from December to April. – New Horizon Ferry Service offers daily ferry services from Jost Van Dyke to Tortola. – Smith’s Ferry Service regularly connects Charlotte Amalie to Road Town and Road Town to Virgin Gorda and Anegada. – Speedy’s operates between Virgin Gorda and Beef Island and Road Town. Information on various ferry routes is available from the BV Islands Tourist Board (see addresses).