Resting in the waters between England and France, we find Guernsey – the subject of our latest Vacation Travel Guide video.

Although the second largest of the Channel Islands, Guernsey is still only 65 square kilometres. While small, the island manages to punch well above its weight in the world, with a long and fascinating history.

Guernsey’s fortunes were fashioned intermittently by trade and war. St. Peter Port, the capital of Guernsey, is not just a pretty face. While today it is one of the loveliest harbour towns in Europe, its picturesque streets were shadowed by conflict during World War II.

Watching over it all, Castle Cornet has been safeguarding the harbour for over 800 years. From its ramparts, you’ll find views back over the town, out to sea, and beyond to the sister islands of Herm and Sark. Within the castle’s barracks are some of the island’s museums, which are perfect places to find and follow the threads of Guernsey’s historical tapestry. On the outskirts of the capital lies the La Vallette Underground Military Museum which chronicles Guernsey’s role in the Second World War.

While Guernsey has a stormy past, the darkness is balanced by the glow of the great art that was born there. In the 19th century, Victor Hugo wrote Les Misérables in his home on the island. From that vantage point, and with a periodic gaze back at his homeland of France, he penned the classic novel. A decade later, that same coastline served to inspire the works of fellow countryman, Renoir.

Just as impressive as its past is Guernsey’s power to let you lose yourself in the present. The sweet sunshine and breeze off the water hum in the background of this Channel Island treasure.