A pearl hidden in the Caribbean, Christopher Columbus named Nevis from his first sighting of the island in 1493. The island's cloud-capped volcanic peak reminded him of snow, which is called in Spanish.
Small and round, Nevis is only about seven miles (11km) long and five miles (8km) wide. It's an unspoilt and serene island that's a delight for nature-lovers and those seeking an escape from the modern world.
Its single volcanic peak rises 3,232ft (985m) above verdant rainforest filled with tropical flowers and animals, and the beaches and clear waters that surround the island provide the ideal holiday environment for swimming, sunbathing, and underwater exploration.
During the 18th century Nevis gained wealth from its sugar industry and became known as the Queen of the Caribbean sugar islands. Its social life became as decadent as it was extravagant. Today, grand estate houses and once lavish hotels lie in ruins and sugar plantations remain untouched since the decline of the once coveted trade.
The charm of its small towns, the genuine hospitality and friendliness of the people, and the laws controlling over-development and natural conservation attracts visitors today. Lavish manors have been preserved and rank among the best plantation inns in the Caribbean, and architectural gems and historical relics promise hours of exploration amid the natural splendour that covers the island.
Today, Nevis has a reputation for elegant living, with one of the world's most exclusive resorts and spas, golf courses, a variety of restaurants and bars, and beautiful gardens and beaches. A vacation in Nevis is sure to recharge any traveller's batteries.
Pinney's Beach is one of the best beaches in the Caribbean. The epitome of paradise, its fine white sands are backed by palm trees and lapped by calm Caribbean waters. Lying within convenient distance of Charlestown, Pinney's Beach has a few casual restaurants and beach bars, and is the closest thing Nevis has to a party beach, although the length of the beach ensures that a secluded spot can always be found. The four-mile (6km) stretch of sand is never crowded and entertains a beautiful lagoon, with ideal conditions for swimming. However, Pinney's Beach is not ideal for scuba diving and snorkelling as the water can be quite murky.
Oualie (pronounced wah-lee), meaning 'beautiful waters', was the original name of the island of Nevis, and the pretty stretch of sand known as Oualie Beach lives up to its name. Located on the northern shore of the island, Oualie Beach boasts fine yellow sand and sheltered waters that are ideal for swimming. The area also makes a good base for a holiday on the island of Nevis, with the excellent Oualie Beach Resort providing top-class accommodation in the picturesque bay. Oualie Beach is home to fun activities, with water taxis, scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing, mountain biking, and windsurfing easily organised from its pleasant dock area.
With very little commercial development and resorts, Nevis is attractive to travellers because it remains a sleepy and unspoiled Caribbean island. Hikers follow trails to a number of scenic views, pristine waterfalls, jungle ravines, and long stretches of beach. A climb up volcanic Mount Nevis takes about four hours.
Those wanting to experience the wealth of local flora without exhausting themselves can simply visit the Nevis Botanical Garden, which is one of the island's most popular attractions and features hundreds of exotic tropical plants, both indigenous and from further afield.
Visitors interested in the plantation culture of yore will see old ruins dotted all over the island. Two of the best places to see the remains of historic buildings are the Montpelier Plantation Inn, once the site of Montpelier House, where Horatio Nelson married Frances Nisbet in 1787, and the New River Estate, which was the last sugar mill to shut down on the island, remaining operational until 1958.
The capital of Charlestown is devoid of fast food chains and boasts some historic remnants of colonialism. Despite the scattered Edwardian buildings and old churches, not much sightseeing is really possible in Charlestown. Yet Hamilton House, housing the Museum of Nevis, is worth a visit.
No direct flights from Heathrow to this Destination