If Newfoundland isn’t on your travel bucket list, you may want to reevaluate that list: this under-rated destination is bursting with adventure. As the easternmost province in Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador (usually just called Newfoundland) is full of color. Picture bright blue ocean waves crashing against moss-covered cliffs, colorful red and yellow homes surrounding cobblestone streets, and the deep, rich colors of locally made seafood dishes and decadent desserts.
The reasons to visit Newfoundland are endless, especially if you love beautiful scenery. The unique landscape here creates hundreds of places to visit in Newfoundland, from hiking trails with beautiful ocean views to fjords and marine preserves populated by puffins and massive whales.
Discover some of the top reasons to visit Newfoundland and why it deserves the top spot on your travel list.
1: Newfoundland has some of the best wildlife in the world.
As you might imagine from its extensive coastline, Newfoundland has unparalleled access to marine wildlife. You can whale watch from boats or the shore nearly year-round, but the peak months for spotting these massive creatures are July and August. The water off Newfoundland is the perfect place to spot humpback whales, which can grow up to 52 feet long. Along with humpback whales, 22 species of whales visit Newfoundland at some point during the year, including orca (or killer) whales.
Along with its impressive whale population, Newfoundland boasts incredible opportunities for birdwatching, and your odds are good of seeing eagles, ospreys, and even puffins. Newfoundland is often called the “seabird capital of North America,” so consider a birdwatching tour if you’re obsessed with feathered friends. Lundrigan’s Marsh (near St. Johns) is a great place to spot rare white egrets and bald eagles, though there are dozens of birdwatching tours and sites available in most areas.
2: The food is mouth-watering.
The whales off the coast are amazing, and so are some of the other creatures you’ll find in the sea. That healthy marine ecosystem means that even the most low-key restaurants in Newfoundland have fantastic seafood.
Cod is one of the fish caught locally off the coast, and restaurants prepare it hundreds of ways. You’ll find something to love whether you choose a modern gourmet restaurant or have it in a more traditional dish like fish and brewis (akin to fish and hashbrowns) or cod cakes.
Other local specialties include toutons, or sweet breakfast biscuits; poutine, a Canadian favorite; and moose burgers. And if you love sweets, Newfoundland certainly delivers on those. Try a figgy duff, which is a sweet bread dessert made with raisins, or coconut- and chocolate-covered Newfoundland snowballs, which you can find at almost any bakery.
3: The waterfalls are incredible.
Some of the best places to visit in Newfoundland are its awe-inspiring waterfalls, which rival any of the U.S.’s most famous falls in scale and beauty. At Hopeall Falls, near the southeastern end of Newfoundland, the seven-mile hike to see this waterfall only gains about 450 feet of elevation. You can swim in the large pool around the waterfall, though it may be too cold in any month other than August.
You could also visit Flat Rock Falls, a waterfall on the Big River in Flatrock. It’s a gushing, flowing waterfall that splashes aggressively against huge boulders (so no swimming here) and has a great view of the coasts. The trail to see this fall is much shorter: about a mile and a half with minimal elevation gain. It can be a little tricky to find, so make sure to download a map or directions before heading out. Flatrock has a few lovely hikes if you want to experience a longer walk.
4: Newfoundland’s history goes back millennia.
The province of Newfoundland and Labrador has an extremely long history, especially in the southern region. If you love learning the stories behind the places you travel to, then you probably already have a long list of reasons why you want to visit Newfoundland. Its thousands of years of history is beyond fascinating.
At The Rooms, a cultural center home to several museums, you can learn about Newfoundland’s Innu, Inuit, and Métis people, along with the European settlers. Explore the ancient history museum, with artifacts from the Palaeoeskimo and Beothuk people of more than 6,000 years ago. You could also explore Signal Hill, the site of a historic lighthouse built in the 1600s to keep an eye on ships passing nearby in the Atlantic.
Go back in history at the Johnson Geo Centre, which is fairly close to Signal Hill. The building—which is almost entirely underground—goes back way before the history of modern man, chronicling the formation of the continents and looking at what makes this part of Canada so unique. The hands-on experience is fun if you’re traveling with kids, and adults will enjoy the 3D theater and complimentary lectures on everything from the Gold Rush to the Titanic.
5: Its modern-day culture is unique.
Perhaps because Newfoundland has such a blend of cultures and has for so long, citizens get along quite well. In fact, travel websites consistently rate it as one of the world’s friendliest places. And because the province has a healthy blend of people of French, Indigenous, Irish, and English descent, among others, there’s a unique culture there that you won’t experience elsewhere in Canada.
In Newfoundland, stories, crafts, and dance are a big part of the heritage, and there are performances throughout the summer, especially near the capital of St. Johns. George Street is particularly well-known for great live music and cultural festivals in the summer.
Dozens of tours on modern history and culture are available, from tours on the history of beer-making in the region to walking tours through colorful fishing villages. Other options include storytelling tours, food-tasting walks, and craft-making classes with local artisans.
6: Newfoundland is gorgeous.
Canada is known for its abundance of beautiful places, and Newfoundland certainly lives up to the country’s reputation. There are so many beautiful sights within an hour’s drive of the capital that it’d be impossible to see them all in one trip.
One of the best places to visit in Newfoundland is Butter Pot Provincial Park, the perfect spot for a morning or afternoon outdoors. The park has an extensive trail system, so you can stand under a lush, dense canopy or take a walk through a valley surrounded by sweeping mountains.
For a look at the beauty of Newfoundland’s coastline, head to any section of the East Coast Trail. There are 25 segments of the trail that meander past natural wonders like massive cliffs, fjords, icebergs, caribou herds, geysers, and natural arches, and one section even crosses a suspension bridge.
Some of the best sites are near trailheads, which means you don’t need to walk very far to see stunning scenery. Be sure to explore the best viewpoints and attractions along the route before your trip so you know what section to visit.
7: The water-based adventures are endless.
One of the best reasons to visit Newfoundland is to get up close to the giant icebergs that float down from the Arctic Circle each year. Even from far away, their sheer size is unbelievable.
Along with marveling at the region’s icebergs, the area is a haven for scuba divers. There are more than 8,000 shipwrecks in Newfoundland and Labrador, and dozens of them are in Conception Bay, near the capital. Lucky divers may even be able to see a whale swimming underwater.
If you prefer to stay on the water, book a white-water rafting tour, embark on a fishing expedition with a local expert, or go on a coastal photography tour. There are hundreds of tours and activities available on the waters of Newfoundland.
8: You can visit one of the world’s most stunning fishing villages.
The charming and colorful fishing village of Quidi Vidi sits in a small inlet of Quidi Vidi Lake, surrounded by lush green hills, bright blue water, and tall cliffs. The town is an excellent spot for a day trip from St. Johns. Grab a beer made with iceberg water at the Quidi Vidi Brewery, or spend time strolling between the small artisan craft studios and galleries.
In Quidi Vidi (pronounced “kiddy vidi,” more or less), you’ll also find a few locally-owned restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops, plus a small museum and quaint gift shops. For a great view of Quidi Vidi, consider walking up to the Bawdens Highlands, which looks down on the small town. Quidi Vidi is a beautiful village and one of the primary reasons many people choose to visit Newfoundland.
9: You can stand on the edge of a continent.
Newfoundland and Labrador is Canada’s easternmost province, and it stretches far into the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, if you were to draw a line directly south from the easternmost tip of Newfoundland, you’d hit French Guiana, on the northeastern end of South America. That makes Newfoundland’s Cape Spear the easternmost point in North America and one of the best places to visit in Newfoundland.
Cape Spear Lighthouse, perched on the easternmost point of Cape Spear, is a Canadian National Historic Site that was built in 1836. If you come first thing in the morning, you’ll be among the first to see the sunrise in North America, which is not something too many people can claim. Even if you don’t catch a sunrise, it’s an incredible experience to stand on the edge of a continent.
Newfoundland is a stunning destination, and while it’s underrated by people who haven’t been there, it’s simply beloved by people who have. Discover this incredible destination on a luxury cruise to St. John’s with Celebrity Cruises. Browse itineraries on our website and book your next unforgettable vacation today.