Newfoundland and Labrador Travel Guide
‘Oohs’ and ‘aahs’ aplenty are to be had in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, a destination which Mother Nature was surely smiling upon on the day of its creation. This amalgamation of the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador is best characterized by it breathtaking coastal scenery, pretty little fishing villages and friendly, welcoming locals.
St John’s is the provincial capital and a city that sits pretty on the Avalon peninsula at a point that could, in geographical terms, be considered the ‘start’ of the North American continent. The city originated as one of the first European settlements in North America, and there are plenty of worthy sights to confirm the city’s fascinating past—be sure you’ve got film in your camera or space on your memory stick to capture them.
Signal Hill is the city’s most famous landmark and a National Historic site that’s been used as a location for fortifications since the 17th century. View the city from the hill before descending to check out the gorgeous churches that are the Basilica of St John the Baptist and the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in the city center. Government House, where Queen Elizabeth II rests her royal head while visiting the city, is also well worth a visit.
Get some wheels and you can head off on a drive of the Irish Loop, a route on the Avalon peninsula with a distinct absence of Guinness and shamrocks but a resemblance to the scenery of the Emerald Isle as well as a history of Irish settlers. There may not be any leprechauns leaping out along the way, but you will get to see the awesome sights of the Salmonier Nature Park, Avalon Wilderness Reserve and La Manche Provincial Park.
The nature trail doesn’t end there either. A detour into Central Newfoundland brings opportunities for whale watching while over on Western Newfoundland the UNESCO World Heritage site that is the Gros Morne National Park packs an exhausting 40 miles of mountain hiking trails along which views of fjords and valleys carved by glaciers.
Eastern Newfoundland is best known for its lovely coastal areas in which tranquil coves and golden sandy beaches are typical. When the winter snow has thawed, jump into a boat for a spot of sailing or don your finest pair of Speedos and enjoy a refreshing ocean swim. Back on dry land, follow the region’s Discovery Trail for access to the Ryan Premises National Historic site, a destination that tells the story of over five centuries of fishing along the east coast.
Labrador on the mainland is as scenic as any other part of the province, having formed from eons of glacial erosion. A drive along the coastline promises views of icebergs and settlements of indigenous people living simple, self-sufficient lives. Labrador West is one of the finest regions in terms of scenery and conditions suited to outdoor pursuits such as hiking, camping and fishing. The Hermine Wilderness Park is an especially notable location that offers all these activities and other besides.