Newfoundland may not be the obvious choice for a vacation destination, but this Canadian province offers spectacular and unspoiled landscapes, historic towns, wildlife and the chance to see the Northern Lights, one of the world’s unforgettable sights. Newfoundland tourism has become increasingly popular in recent years, although the sheer size of the island means that you can often enjoy complete solitude.
One of the most popular and historically important sites is L’Anse aux Meadows, a Viking settlement which pre dates the arrival of Columbus in the New World by several centuries. Just down the road from this World Heritage site is a recreation of a typical Viking trading settlement, which features traditional Norse crafts, food and games as well as a theater festival held during the summer months.
Newfoundland’s Codroy Valley is arguably one of the most scenic areas on an island that isn’t short of great scenery. The dozen or so small towns and villages tucked away in the valleys and hills attract nature lovers, walkers, bird watchers and those who simply enjoy the great outdoors. Several hundred acres have been set aside as a designated internationally important bird area, and the reserve attracts many species of migrating birds. A good place to start any visit is at the Interpretation Centre, and the nearby wildlife museum and art gallery allows you to have your picture taken with Newfoundland’s largest mounted moose.
Another spectacular scenic area is Gros Morne National Park, the second largest in eastern Canada. The 1,800 square km park features valleys, woods, lakes and mountains as well as the unusual flat topped hills of the tablelands. As well as marked and unmarked hiking trails, the region offers the chance to relax on sandy beaches during the summer, and skiing and snowshoeing during the winter. Many visitors also explore the area by taking a tour boat under and around the towering waterfalls that can be found throughout the park.
Many people think of whales and icebergs when they think of northeastern Canada, and one of the best places to see both is at the small town of Twillingate, located along so called Iceberg Alley. during the winter, huge icebergs can be seen out to sea, and the town is also a popular place to see whales, seals, dolphins and seabirds. The cliffs surrounding the town offer some of the area’s most scenic walks, and the town’s museum offers an overview of the area’s often fascinating history. If you visit during the last weekend of July, don’t miss the Fish, Folk and Fun festival.
Although Newfoundland is known for its wide open spaces, it does offer the amenities of the big city. St. John’s is the most easterly city in North America as well as one of the oldest, and is known for its colourful row houses, picturesque waterfront and lively George Street with its bars and restaurants. Any first time visitor should see the distinctive Cabot Tower, from where the first transatlantic radio message was received over a hundred years ago.