Newfoundland and Labrador together are Canada’s most eastern province. Newfoundland itself is an island about the size of Iceland that is isolated, rugged, and in many ways its own country. Being an island with a population that for thousands of years survived because of the sea, the best way to visit Newfoundland is by boat.
Newfoundland and Labrador is divided into five tourist regions:
- The Avalon Peninsula is the most populous region and includes the capital of St. John’s. Cape Race Cultural Adventures and Ocean Quest Adventures are two excellent operators in the region.
- Moving north from Avalon, life gets even more laid back in the Eastern region. Eastern is also the gateway to the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon.
- Newfoundland’s large Central region includes Iceberg Alley, Gander, and Fogo Island.
- The most western region of Newfoundland and last stop before Labrador, Western is home to ancient mountains, fjords, icebergs, whales, miles of coastline and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Vast and untamed, Labrador attracts truly enterprising travelers.
- St John’s is Newfoundland and Labrador’s most populous city (pop.113,948, as of 2017); however, go 100 km around St. John’s and you’ve got half the people in the entire province. The city combines urban convenience with small-town charm. Situated along Iceberg Alley, Twillingate is picturesque and charming.
- Trinity is an oceanside town with a rich history.
- Battle Harbour is a restored National Historic District of Canada.
- Scenic and historic, Brigus is an hour from St. John’s and famous for its annual blueberry festival.
- Gander is a relatively large town that has historical significance as an important refueling point for trans-Atlantic flights.
Things to Do
Newfoundland and Labrador tends to attract a more adventurous, outdoorsy type of visitor. Not that you can’t find fine dining or a boutique hotel, but the major attractions of Newfoundland and Labrador are the natural surroundings, which are gorgeous, and the people, who are laid back and not pretentious.
Some of the most popular things to do in Newfoundland and Labrador include scenic drives, whale watching, iceberg viewing, bird watching, kayaking, scuba diving, camping, and enjoying a sundowner with your mates at the end of the day.
Seasons – When to Visit
- Winter: Relatively mild winter in St. John’s but significantly colder in Labrador. Newfoundland and Labrador is popular for snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country and to a lesser extent downhill skiing. Dress for winter.
- Spring: Spring brings warmer weather as well as whales and icebergs. Pack layers and water-resistant wear. Include long and short of shirts and pants.
- Summer: Early summer, though still coolish is a great time to visit to still enjoy icebergs and whale migration and smaller crowds. July and August popular and warm but still bring jackets, long pants, and layers.
- Fall: Summer activities continue through September, like golf, hiking, and camping. But by October it’s chilly. A short fall foliage season at the start of October.
Getting There and Around
- By air – Two international airports, in St. John’s and Gander, and several provincial airports service the province. Newfoundland and Labrador is three hrs from Toronto, four from New York, and five and a half from London.
- Car and ferry – Most car travelers access Newfoundland and Labrador by Marine Atlantic ferries, which operate between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Every day, year-round super ferries carry hundreds of vehicles and passengers to two Newfoundland entry points.
- Train – There is no rail service on the Newfoundland island and limited in Labrador.
- Cruise – Getting the perspective of Newfoundland and Labrador by water is a stunning way to appreciate the province’s natural beauty.