Walking Tour of Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
St Thomas is the main island in the US Virgin Islands chain. Its capital and largest city, Charlotte Amalie, is frequently visited by cruise ships in the Caribbean because of its incredible duty-free shopping. The tiny streets and alleyways are cluttered with shops selling a variety of goods, from fine jewelry to liquor to clothing. There are a few other things to do in town, besides shopping, and most of them are included in my walking tour below.
This walk begins at Vendors Plaza, an open-air marketplace, near the pier, directly in front of Fort Christian, the distinctive, brick-red building which has served as a prison, a police station, a church, a residence of the governor, and, now, a museum. It is the oldest building on the island (1671) and a National Historic Site.
Emancipation Park is just north of Vendors Plaza. It was here that the island’s slaves were set free by the governor, in 1848. Nearby is the House of Legislature of the Virgin Islands, a bright, mint-green structure.
Walk north on Tolbod Gade, and then turn right onto Norre Gade. The Frederick Lutheran Church is ahead on your left. Beyond the church, turn left on Lille Taarne Gade and left again on Kongens Gade, to reach Government House, an elegant, Danish Colonial edifice, built in 1867.
Now,climb the 99 Steps (actually more like 125) to the top of Government Hill. The views of town and harbor are wonderful, and there is also a museum here, Haagensen House.
Walk back down the stairs and turn right on Kongens Gade, then take the stairs straight ahead to Garden Street and turn right, then left on Crystal Gade. Ahead, on your right, is the St Thomas Synagogue, one of the oldest in the United States. The floors are still covered with sand, symbolic of the exodus from Egypt, across the desert. Now, backtrack on Crystal Gade and turn right on Raadett’s Gade, which leads to Main Street. Once on Main, it’s time to explore the myriad shops between here and the pier. St Thomas is the most popular shopping destination in the Caribbean, and the variety of goods offered seems endless. Work your way up and down the cross streets and alleyways to find that special treasure. When you are about to drop from shopping, then return to the starting point of the walk, by heading south to the pier, and turning left.