If you’re visiting the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, fantastic days of relaxing in the sun on one of its beaches isn’t the only thing to experience. The island has a long and rich history dating back many centuries, and so another one of its attractive features are the multiple historical sites dotted across the landscape. One of the most popular of these is Blackbeard’s Castle.

This stone tower is located in the town of Charlotte Amalie and was built by Danish colonists in 1679 as a lookout for ships entering the harbor and position for cannons – being at sea level, the cannons were able to accurately strike enemy ships. Originally, it was known as Fort Skytsborg, and nobody knows for sure when it was renamed to Blackbeard’s Castle.

Popular lore tells us that the famous pirate Blackbeard used this tower to aid him in his piracy. It’s not known if he actually did or not, but it makes for a good story. Due to the legend, there’s a 14 foot-tall bronze statue of Blackbeard in front of the tower. It’s likely that at least some pirates used the tower as a lookout, if not the infamous Blackbeard himself.

If you go here, expect to be told the tale of Blackbeard by a costumed performer. The performance is excellent, but Blackbeard’s Castle is best for its stunning vistas of the surrounding Charlotte Amalie landscape. Many old colonial houses of wealthy islanders have been converted into museums and can be viewed from this vantage point. There’s also a pool which you can swim in if you bring your bathing suit!Expect to pay $15 per ticket for the walking tour. Children are admitted free.

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