Nassau is home to several forts, including Fort Fincastle Bahamas. From its walls and cannons to its proximity to other attractions, like Queen’s Staircase, it’s the perfect historical destination to visit on your Bahamas vacation.
Travelers looking to learn about the history of the Bahamas will want to visit the three Nassau forts. And while all of them are worth checking out, Fort Fincastle Bahamas is the one you’ll want to see if you don’t have time to visit the others. With its well-preserved structure and convenient location, diving into history has never been easier or more enjoyable.
Fort Fincastle Bahamas is one of the oldest structures in Nassau. Dating back to 1793, Lord Dunmore, the governor of the Bahamas, ordered its construction to protect the Bahamas from attack. The other two Nassau forts, Fort Montagu and Fort Charlotte, were completed earlier in the 18th Century.
While Fort Fincastle never saw battle, its defensive fortifications speak to the threats Caribbean colonies faced at the time. From pirate raids to rival European powers seeking to expand their empires, the early colonial days of the Bahamas were far from free of perils.
In the 19th Century, the local government ordered the construction of Queens Steps Nassau, which provided easy access to and from Fort Fincastle.
Like the other Bahamas forts, the colonial government built Fort Fincastle to withstand attack. Because of that, it remains in remarkable condition today, centuries after its construction.
As you tour the area, you’ll see the fort’s massive walls, as well as cannons and other defensive components. These could fire cannonballs at any enemy ship far out into the Nassau Harbour.
Fort Fincastle is on the highest point of the island, Bennet Hill. While you won’t need to worry about keeping an eye out for pirate ships or Spanish galleons anymore, the fort’s position does offer a wonderful view of Nassau and its harbor.
Queens Steps Nassau is a flight of 66 stairs carved into solid limestone. Constructed in the early 19th Century by 600 slaves, the staircase is an architectural marvel, as the slaves who built it used nothing but simple building tools. It took the slaves 16 years to complete the project.
The government hoped that the staircase would give easy access to the nearby Bahamas forts. Soldiers were able to quickly access the defensive structure whenever an emergency arose.
Today, the staircase is one of the top places to take pictures in Old Town. It features lush, tropical foliage on the side opposite the limestone wall. Besides creating the ideal aesthetic for selfies, it also helps keep the temperature in the area lower than it’d otherwise be.
Be careful walking up the staircase, as some of the steps are uneven and different distances apart from one another.
While the other two Nassau Bahamas forts, Fort Montagu and Fort Charlotte, are also easy to visit, Fort Fincastle’s downtown location makes it the most accessible out of the three.
If you’re in Downtown Nassau near the cruise terminal or a similar location, you can reach nearby Queens Steps Nassau in around 15 minutes on foot. Travelers looking to approach the fort via the staircase should head south down Elisabeth Avenue. Otherwise, you can also go south down East Street and turn on Prison Lane. Doing so lets you reach the fort’s summit without having to walk up Queen’s Staircase.
Depending on where you are on the island, taxiing to Fort Fincastle is also an option. It may be a good idea, particularly if you or one of your travel companions finds mobility (especially up hills and staircases) difficult.
As mentioned, Fort Fincastle is on Bennet Hill, the highest point on New Providence. Around the base of the fort, you’ll also find a market selling souvenirs and trinkets. There’s also Queen’s Staircase, which can provide some respite from the hot afternoon sun.
Don’t miss out on Queens Steps Nassau. Located just around the corner from Fort Fincastle, the steps played an important role when the fort was in use, making them worth a visit for their historical significance alone. However, with a tropical canopy and a wall of rough limestone, the staircase is also beautiful.
Fort Fincastle Bahamas combines many of the elements that make Nassau famous. From fascinating history to stunning tropical views, no trip to New Providence is complete without visiting the Nassau forts.
After touring Fort Fincastle and Queens Steps Nassau, you’ll find yourself in Old Town, with a plethora of nearby attractions to visit. The Bahamas Historical Society is well worth a visit, as are the Pirates of Nassau Museum, Parliament Square, and the Nassau Public Library.
Interested in learning more about some of the different Nassau attractions? Browse through some of our other travel guides, and make sure to check out our interactive Nassau map.Explore our Nassau Travel Guides