skip to Main Content

TIPS

Why You Need to Visit St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Iceland, Ireland, Norway, England, France and Denmark are travel destinations that are likely on your radar. But what if I told you that you could experience all of these cultures and environments in one place? Welcome to St. John’s, the capital of city of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the most eastern places in North America, St. John’s offers history, nature, wildlife and culture. Here’s why you should go.

Iceland, Ireland, Norway, England, France and Denmark are travel destinations that are likely on your radar. But what if I told you that you could experience all of these cultures and environments in one place? Welcome to St. John’s, the capital of city of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the most eastern places in North America, St. John’s offers history, nature, wildlife and culture. Here’s why you should go.

 

Good things to know

Book in advance

Iceland, Ireland, Norway, England, France and Denmark are travel destinations that are likely on your radar. But what if I told you that you could experience all of these cultures and environments in one place? Welcome to St. John’s, the capital of city of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the most eastern places in North America, St. John’s offers history, nature, wildlife and culture. Here’s why you should go.
Are you one of those travelers who likes to “play it by ear” or “figure it out when you get there”? Well, you might want to plan just a little bit ahead. There’s only so many rental cars and accommodations available in Newfoundland. Book things that will really make or break your trip ahead of time, especially if you go during the summer.

Time Zones
Did you know Newfoundland has its own time zone? Newfoundland Time. And it’s an hour and a half later than Eastern Standard Time. Most of neighboring Labrador is on Atlantic Time, which is a half an hour earlier. But then some of Labrador operates on Newfoundland Time. Basically what I’m saying here is that it can get confusing, so if you have something important scheduled (like a flight or a ferry), double and triple check the time.

Moose on the Loose

Iceland, Ireland, Norway, England, France and Denmark are travel destinations that are likely on your radar. But what if I told you that you could experience all of these cultures and environments in one place? Welcome to St. John’s, the capital of city of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the most eastern places in North America, St. John’s offers history, nature, wildlife and culture. Here’s why you should go.
Bullwinkle may be majestic, but they actually are quite a bit of a problem here. Drive carefully, especially at night, because moose regularly cross the main roads. If you think it’s unpleasant to hit a tiny bird with your car, imagine a moose. Scary and downright dangerous!

A Note on Size
Newfoundland may be an island, but it’s a big one—slightly smaller than California! Most of it is rather rural and driving across the island can take all day long. If you plan on exploring the island, keep that in mind while planning.

Visiting St. John’s

This 500-year-old city is one of the oldest in the “New World,” and is the easterly most city in North America. Its roughly 100,000 residents enjoy a mix of big-city luxury and small-town charm. The town is quite walkable and drivable, with lots of great shopping, restaurants, historical sites and more.

Where to stay

I love a stylish hotel, but I also love a good deal. The Alt Hotel affords you both, and is close to the best St. John’s has to offer. Your stay also includes a continental breakfast, which I especially love before a long day of sightseeing. Blue on the Waterfront is also nice option and has a lovely onsite restaurant and bar.

In a city as quaint as St. John’s, you’d expect a few idyllic B&Bs… and you’d be correct. Check out Leaside Manor or the Roses for a more intimate accommodation experience.

 

Places to explore

Signal Hill, Cabot Tower

Iceland, Ireland, Norway, England, France and Denmark are travel destinations that are likely on your radar. But what if I told you that you could experience all of these cultures and environments in one place? Welcome to St. John’s, the capital of city of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the most eastern places in North America, St. John’s offers history, nature, wildlife and culture. Here’s why you should go.

You’ll find the best panoramic views of the city from atop Signal Hill. Due to its strategic placement overlooking the harbor, this spot has long been an important site for the military and maritime signalmen. Tour iconic Cabot Tower, which dates back to 1898. This is also the site where Guglielmo Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic wireless message in 1901.

Hope you packed your hiking boots (or at least walking shoes)—there are over five kilometers of trails here. The North Head Trail is a favorite as it offers beautiful views of the harbor and the colorful homes of the Battery.

The Rooms

Iceland, Ireland, Norway, England, France and Denmark are travel destinations that are likely on your radar. But what if I told you that you could experience all of these cultures and environments in one place? Welcome to St. John’s, the capital of city of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the most eastern places in North America, St. John’s offers history, nature, wildlife and culture. Here’s why you should go.
Modern melds with the historic throughout St. John’s. Experience it for yourself at The Rooms. This public cultural space boasts breathtaking harbor and city views, and houses the province’s most extensive collection of artifacts, art, and archival records. You’ll find an extensive collection of natural history specimens (think birds, polar bears and even carnivorous plants), and artifacts that play an important role in Newfoundland and Labrador’s history.


Jelly Bean Row

When you think of places with brightly colored houses, the Caribbean might come to mind. How about Newfoundland? Downtown St. John’s is known for its striking Jellybean Row houses, clapboard homes in vibrant reds, yellows, blues and pinks. Bring your camera along (really, it’s probably just your smartphone) to capture the charm, or sign up for a photography tour.
 

Quidi Vidi Village

Iceland, Ireland, Norway, England, France and Denmark are travel destinations that are likely on your radar. But what if I told you that you could experience all of these cultures and environments in one place? Welcome to St. John’s, the capital of city of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the most eastern places in North America, St. John’s offers history, nature, wildlife and culture. Here’s why you should go.
This tiny village feels a world away from modern times, but it’s really a short walk from downtown St. John’s. Lovingly called “The Gut” by locals, this historic fishing village entices locals and tourists with its beautiful sunsets. Check out Quidi Vidi Village Plantation—a crafter’s incubation facility, designed to help emerging artists grow their businesses. Watch incredible artists work in their studio, and shop their wares as well. A stop at Quidi Vidi Brewery is a must! Order a pint of their iceberg beer, which really is made with water sourced form icebergs.

 

Where to eat

Merchant Tavern

Without merchants, there would be no St. John’s. Hundreds of years ago, English merchants arrived with supplies and goods for fishermen. They’d stick around for a while, catching up with the locals over food and drink. Merchant Tavern is a nod to this time period, highlighting local ingredients and traditional eats. Try the fish and chips; pan roasted cod; fresh pasta; and raw bar selections.

Chinched Restaurant and Deli
It’s all about nose to tail dining here. Enjoy a selection of housemade charcuteries, as well as dishes made with local ingredients, like squid ink pasta; steamed Newfoundland mussels in curry sauce; braised beef cheek with wild mushrooms and more. They also offer deli meats to enjoy at home.

Rocket Bakery
Great coffee, baked goods, full breakfast, and soup/salad/sandwiches for lunch. It’s one of those places that never lets you down. Try their homemade porridge made with toasted oats and sunflower seeds, cinnamon, ground flax, currents, cranberries and ground chia seed with local wild blueberry powder.

Where to shop 

Newfoundland Chocolate Co.

If you’re a chocolate fan, go here. Hobbyist chocolatiers sold their first box of chocolates at a craft show in 2008. 10 years later, they’re one of the most beloved brands in the province. Their chocolate bars with Newfoundland sayings might be the best souvenir you’ll find!

Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador
Find textiles, pottery, jewelry, paintings and more at this non-profit shop and gallery all about supporting local artists. Looking to get your hands dirty? They also offer pottery workshops throughout the year.

Day trips from St. John’s

Witless Bay & Bay Bulls 

Iceland, Ireland, Norway, England, France and Denmark are travel destinations that are likely on your radar. But what if I told you that you could experience all of these cultures and environments in one place? Welcome to St. John’s, the capital of city of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the most eastern places in North America, St. John’s offers history, nature, wildlife and culture. Here’s why you should go.

A half-hour’s drive south of St John’s, you’ll find the summer home of 2.5 million seabirds and the largest Atlantic puffin colony in North America. It’s also a notable whale watching site and in the spring, you could even see a few icebergs! Check it out on your own, or book a puffin and whale watching tour.

Conception Bay
Love SCUBA diving? You won’t want to miss the opportunity to dive the wrecks of ore carriers sunk by U-boats during World War II. Prefer staying above the water? You’ll find whale watching, fishing excursions and sea kayaking as well.

Ferryland

Iceland, Ireland, Norway, England, France and Denmark are travel destinations that are likely on your radar. But what if I told you that you could experience all of these cultures and environments in one place? Welcome to St. John’s, the capital of city of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the most eastern places in North America, St. John’s offers history, nature, wildlife and culture. Here’s why you should go.
You may notice there’s an Irish vibe throughout Newfoundland—especially on coastline near St. John’s. The Irish arrived here during the 17th and 18th Century, first as summer workers for fish merchants, then as permanent settlers. You’ll see that influence in the food, music, art and culture here—especially in this historic village.

Iceland, Ireland, Norway, England, France and Denmark are travel destinations that are likely on your radar. But what if I told you that you could experience all of these cultures and environments in one place? Welcome to St. John’s, the capital of city of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the most eastern places in North America, St. John’s offers history, nature, wildlife and culture. Here’s why you should go.

If the weather cooperates, enjoy a picnic lunch at the Ferryland Lighthouse, which dates back to 1870. For a look at what early life was like in the 1600s, visit the Colony of Avalon. Established in 1621 by Sir George Calvert, this place is regarded as the best preserved early English colonial site in North America. Their visitor center showcases artifacts and houses a working archaeology lab. Tour excavation sites with a local guide, where you can actually watch archaeologists on a dig!

Like this post? Save it on Pinterest!

Iceland, Ireland, Norway, England, France and Denmark are travel destinations that are likely on your radar. But what if I told you that you could experience all of these cultures and environments in one place? Welcome to St. John’s, the capital of city of Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the most eastern places in North America, St. John’s offers history, nature, wildlife and culture. Here’s why you should go.

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. My husband and I visited Newfy in 2016, his mother was from there and moved to VA with his dad, and my husband had been there when he was 15, returning there 51 years later! We drove from the State of Maine, all day, arriving in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to board the overnight ferry to Port o Basque on the southwestern part of Newfoundland. We drove 6-7 hours to Gros Morne National Park where we camped for 3 nights and visited spectacular West Brook and hiked up Gros Morne Mountain! Afterwards we drove to Twillingate for one night and went out on a boat and saw icebergs in July! Then, on to Trinity, a town that’s been perfectly preserved and has beautiful hills, near the spectacular Skerwink Trail. After driving hundreds of miles we finally arrived in St. Johns and spent a week visiting his two aunts, one uncle and his cousins! We’d first commented how we’d probably never return as there was just too much driving involved, but then, the scenery is just so dramatic and spectacular and the people so so nice, we will return some day!

  2. I just spent 3 weeks Samantha in all of these places in September. We drove 4,000 miles all throughout the beautiful islands of Eastern Canada! So beautiful and such an enjoyable way to see the beginning of fall.

  3. We just loved Newfoundland and would and do recommend it to everyone. One thing I would add is to go and stay in Twillingate!! Great article, thanks!

  4. I attended MUN for my grad studies. I loved my stay in St. John’s, during my break, I visited few nearby cities like Carbonear and Bay Roberts.
    I will certainly love to visit it again…soon.

  5. My wife and I visited Newfoundland from California for our honeymoon seven years ago and it’s officially my favorite place that I’ve ever been. I’ve never seen any place so beautiful. St. John’s is the coolest city and it has an incredible amount of history and the people are the friendliest I’ve met anywhere. I can’t reccomend it enough, I absolutely love Newfoundland. One thing that I can’t believe this article left out is George Street. It’s party central. I think I counted 22 bars on that street and it’s probably not more than a half mile long. It’s kinda like Burbon street; no cars at night, a ton of bars, and lots of live music. The music is another one of my favorite things there; it’s really unique and fun. It’s kinda Irish but not exactly Irish. It’s great. As far as great food I highly reccomend Bacalao. It’s Newfoundland cuisine and it’s amazing. Probably the coolest thing we did was drive the Irish Loop. It’s pretty much an all day trip around the eastern part of the Avalon Penninsula. It’s one of the most gorgeous drives you can ever do; it’s right up there with the Pacific Coast Highway in California. To anyone considering a trip to Newfoundland I highly reccomend it. If you are like me you won’t want to go home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Why You Need To Visit St. John’s, Newfoundland And Labrador
Back To Top