Newfoundland – known for its rugged natural beauty, charismatic fishing towns and fun, friendly people, it’s a destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. However, given its isolated nature, many would-be travelers are discouraged as they perceive it to be a difficult place to visit, especially given a short time frame. But through our travels here we’ve found this to be a misconception, as multiple travel options and proximity of attractions make travel here surprisingly convenient. For adventure seekers with a time constraint, here is our Ultimate One Week Newfoundland Itinerary.
**Note: Since we chose the ferry system in favor of flying, our journey goes from Port-aux-Basques to Argentia; however, the same itinerary could be followed by flying into Deer Lake, renting a car, and flying out of St John’s.
Our journey began in Halifax, where Friday after work we loaded up the Rav4 and boogeyed on up to Cape Breton where we were scheduled to board the ferry in North Sydney. Marine Atlantic runs a well-orchestrated, comfortable overnight ferry that leaves Friday night at 11:45pm and arrives in Port aux Basques, NL at around 6:45 the next morning. There’s an option to get a double room for around $120 but given the fact that it was such a short ride we opted for the reserved reclining seats at $20 a piece. They were all we needed as we both passed out before the boat left and slept fairly soundly until the captain’s arrival announcement.
Newfoundland Roadtrip Itinerary: Day One
We arrived in Newfoundland early, sprung our clocks forward half an hour and hustled over to Tim’s with a cohort of other coffee-craving ferry passengers. Post-caffeination, we took the Trans Canada two and a half hours up to our first destination,Gros Morne National Park. Feeling a little dreary from our overnight voyage, we opted to take it easy this day, spending most of our time driving to lookout points along the park roads and checking out the quaint town of Rocky Harbour. We found a great campsite right on the water at Green Point campground, where we made dinner and watched one of the most incredible sunsets right on the beach.
Newfoundland Roadtrip Itinerary: Day Two
We woke up with the sun and journeyed up the road half an hour to the gem of Gros Morne, Western Brook Pond. Our whole day was spent exploring this iconic fjord-turned-pond. In the morning we embarked on theSnug Harbor Hike, which – unannounced to us at the time – involves traversing a strongly flowing river. But it turns out that conquering the river is well worth it as on the other side is a beautiful beach, completely secluded from anyone unwilling to risk the crossing.
When planning the trip, we had been hoping to do a day hike up to view the extent of the fjord and the classic sight you see on postcards everywhere. Unfortunately, were dismayed to find that the only option here was a guided tour with a hefty price $250 per person, or a 4 day backcountry tour, which our quick itinerary did not have time for. Instead, in the afternoon we opted to do the Bontours boat tour of Western Brook Pond. With stunning views, entertaining hosts, and fun musical guests on the way back, it’s a must-do while in Gros Morne.
Newfoundland Roadtrip Itinerary: Day Three
After spending the night at a great campsite in Lomond Campground, we spent day 3 exploring the southern part of the park. There are all kinds of worthy hikes around the Tablelands – a unique, Mars-like geological formation resulting from magma reaching the earth’s surface many millennia ago. We went for theLookout Trailhike which gave a mix of everything – Bonne Bay, Tablelands, and even a moose! Late that afternoon we left Gros Morne en route to Twillingate.
Newfoundland Roadtrip Itinerary: Day Four
To avoid any late-night moose encounters on the road we crashed in Lewisporte for the night and thus didn’t arrive in Twillingate until Tuesday morning. However, surrounded by impressive cliffs, full of fishing culture, and with no shortage of exciting hikes and boating excursions, we quickly realized that Twillingate is THE can’t-miss destination of any Newfoundland road trip. We spent the day hiking and flying the drone up and down the coastline, then capped it off with a delightful winery tour at Auk Island Winery. After leaving the winery, we found some fun little cliff hikes that were honestly a 5 minute walk from the car, to gorgeous ocean views. We ended up setting up camp for the night in a little picnic area along the cliffs, just about 5 minutes outside of town.
Newfoundland Roadtrip Itinerary: Day Five
One of the highlights of the trip was whale watching in Twillingate. We went with Iceberg Tours but it seems like all the companies work together and so you really can’t go wrong. From the boat we had great views of the expansive cliffs, saw nesting bald eagles, and puffins. After we’d been coasting for a while and hadn’t spotted any whales, we were starting to give up hope. Finally, our guide spotted something on the horizon and we ended up finding two pairs of humpbacks and finbacks along the coast who we followed around for a while. It. Was. Awesome.
Whale watching – and Iceberg watching if possible – is a must-have on any Newfoundland itinerary. Make sure it’s on yours!
That afternoon we drove 3.5 hours to Bay Roberts where we picnicked and explored theShoreline Heritage Trail. Next stop, St. John’s!
Newfoundland Roadtrip Itinerary: Day Six
We arrived in St. John’s the next morning and spent the first part of the day puttering around the town checking out the waterfront and all of the fun shops along Water Street. We had some fantastic coffee and baked goods at the Rocket Bakery – one of many great cafes in St. John’s – before making the trip out to the easternmost point of North America,Cape Spear. This very impressive, picturesque spot is best enjoyed in the morning or late afternoon as you’ll avoid the midday crowds and the lighting is better for photographing the cliffs. We spent a couple of hours here before heading back to St. John’s and finding a quaint hotel room at theDuckworth Innboutique hotel.
For dinner, we went to a great little gastropub called Bernard Stanley. With low-key, cozy decor and a fabulous menu, we would highly recommend this place. Specifically, we’d recommend the Shellfish Rockpool – assorted seafood and vegetables in a white wine cream sauce poured over smashed potatoes and a puff pastry on top…mmmm take me back!
Newfoundland isn’t known for its cuisine, so this place is a must-have on your itinerary!
Newfoundland Roadtrip Itinerary: Day Seven
It was a rainy morning in St. John’s so we did a little bit of cafe hopping. We started back at our new go-to spot, the Rocket Cafe, before meandering over to the Battery Cafe, a quieter spot near Signal Hill with just as formidable fare. Once the storm cleared we went over to Quidi Vidi and hiked around the dainty little harbor built into the cliffs.
When hiking here in August you can look forward to a bounty of delicious wild blueberries along the way, yum! And no trip to Quidi Vidi is complete without a post-hike Iceberg Beer at the Quidi Vidi Brewery. Later that afternoon we went up to learn about the history and enjoy the epic views of Signal Hill. There’s really no better spot from which to view St John’s Harbour. Finally, we followed it up with dinner at Ches’s Famous Fish n Chips before starting our journey down toCape St. Mary’s.
Newfoundland Roadtrip Itinerary: Day Eight
A word of caution that the trip down to Cape St. Mary’s is not the most enjoyable as it requires navigating a minefield of manhole sized potholes, but it is definitely worth the journey! There is not much in the way of gas, food, or accommodations between St John’s and the Cape so be sure to come prepared. At the Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve, the main attraction is a 2-mile round-trip hike to Bird Rock – an eroded cliff island that is home to tens of thousands of seabirds. The most accessible seabird colony in North America, the hike ends at the edge of a cliff where you are within 50 feet of Bird Rock with thousands of magnificent birds flying overhead. At first we were very concerned about getting “bombed”, but we hung out there for a couple of hours and only got hit once by some minor shrapnel.
From here we started our journey home. We drove up the picturesque, rugged coastline to Argentia, where we boarded the 16 hour overnight ferry back to Nova Scotia. We’d highly recommend getting a cabin for this journey back, as it’s key to have a comfortable escape to relax and catch some zzz’s. Bon Voyage!!
Tips for visiting Newfoundland:
- Bring cash – many of the campgrounds are not manned and require payment into a cash box
- Avoid driving at dusk and at night as moose become a serious danger at this time
- Watch for potholes! Some of the smaller highways are notoriously bad for potholes which can slow you down
- Come stocked with a good cooler and prepared to cook! Stock up on groceries in the cities as food options in some of the smaller towns can be scarce.
It takes a long time to drive from east to west and north to south. Ideally, you should plan a week at a minimum, but two weeks not only gets you to all the highlights but allows you to enjoy them with a few hikes and tours here and there.How long would it take to drive around Newfoundland? ›
If you want to travel around Newfoundland properly, it will take you at least three weeks. Unfortunately, most people don't have that much time, so you'll have to pick and choose where to go. This travel guide highlights all the best places to visit in Newfoundland so that you can plan a fantastic road trip itinerary.What is the best time of year to visit Newfoundland? ›
While there are cool things to do here at any time of the year, the best time to visit Newfoundland is from early-July to mid-August, when it feels like the province is full of colour and the people most lively. The temperatures finally warm up and we all come out of hibernation.How do I plan a road trip to Newfoundland? ›
- St. John's. ...
- Cape Spear. ...
- Bay Bulls & Witless Bay Ecological Reserve Whale Watch. ...
- Signal Hill National Historic Site. ...
- The Rooms Museum & Art Gallery. ...
- Quidi Vidi Brewery & Plantation. ...
- Brigus Tunnel. ...
The most precipitation in St. Johns is received from October through January. Based on temperatures and precipitation, the best time to visit St. John's is during the months of June and July.What popular tours occur in Newfoundland? ›
- Greenland & Wild Labrador. ...
- The Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland. ...
- Newfoundland Circumnavigation. ...
- Newfoundland Circumnavigation. ...
- Fabled Lands Of The North: Greenland To Newfoundland. ...
- Sable Island, Cape Breton, Newfoundland, and the Magdalen Islands: Atlantic Island Odyssey.
If you wish to explore Newfoundland from west to east (to end your trip in St. John's and catch a plane home), it's suggested to hop on board the ferry taking you to Port-aux-Basques on the west coast. If you fly into Newfoundland, be aware that in high season it can be challenging to score a rental car.Is Newfoundland expensive to visit? ›
The average price of a 7-day trip to Newfoundland is $1,127 for a solo traveler, $1,696 for a couple, and $1,936 for a family of 4. Newfoundland hotels range from $53 to $222 per night with an average of $93, while most vacation rentals will cost $200 to $480 per night for the entire home.Do you need a car in Newfoundland? ›
For many years, travel by boat was the only way to move around Newfoundland and Labrador. Even now there are many places in the province that are only accessible by the province's intra-provincial ferry system. Communities on islands along Newfoundland's coast are accessible by automobile via passenger ferries.What is the best month to see icebergs in Newfoundland? ›
The prime season for iceberg viewing is mid May to mid July each year. See more Boat Tour information. You never know where you'll see them next. Often a giant iceberg waits around the corner in a cove or bay when you least expect it.
The beginning of winter provides the highest probability of a Northern Lights show, though it is possible to spot the lights anytime from August to April. Like Churchill, visiting in winter is best as the nights are long and dark with clear skies. The lights appear brighter when there is a dark sky.What language do they speak in Newfoundland? ›
The overwhelming majority of its residents (some 98%) speak English as their sole mother tongue. The province nevertheless has a rich linguistic history. Its Indigenous languages, not all of which continue to be spoken, represent the Algonquian (Beothuk, Mi'Kmaq and Innu) and Eskimo-Aleut (Inuktitut) language families.What is the famous road in Newfoundland? ›
One of the most striking ways to drive Newfoundland and Labrador is the Irish Loop, circling the south-eastern section of the Avalon Peninsula, named for its 400-year-old Irish heritage. Spanning 312 kilometres one way (more with a side journey to Cape St.Do you need cash in Newfoundland? ›
It is always important to carry cash on you when traveling in general, but especially in Newfoundland where the winds are often strong enough to cause power outages, which in turn causes the inability to use debit and credit card machines.Can you drive to Newfoundland from the US? ›
Making the journey from the United States will usually involve driving up the East Coast, following the interstate north of Boston and crossing the Canada border at Calais. Over the border, continue north to North Sydney, where you will find the ferry port to Newfoundland.What is the wettest month in Newfoundland? ›
|Quick Climate Info|
|Hottest Month||August (61 °F avg)|
|Coldest Month||February (24 °F avg)|
|Wettest Month||December (4.74" avg)|
|Windiest Month||January (16 mph avg)|
The best time to go whale watching in Newfoundland are from mid-May to September, with the peak season being from mid-July to mid-August.How long is the ferry ride to St John's Newfoundland? ›
Most days have two sailings – morning and evening – and the crossing takes six to eight hours, depending on weather. From June to September there is also service between North Sydney, Nova Scotia and Argentia, on the Avalon Peninsula, a 90-minute drive from the capital city of St. John's.What is unique to Newfoundland? ›
Newfoundland, Canada is known for its colourful homes on rocky shores, unique dialect of English, and friendly folk. Find out what else “The Rock” and “The Big Land” are known for with these fascinating and fun facts about Newfoundland and Labrador province, Canada!Where did Anthony Bourdain visit in Newfoundland? ›
ANTHONY BOURDAIN NEWFOUNDLAND NOTES
Raymonds Restaurant in St. John's is one of the best known and most celebrated restaurants in Newfoundland. It offers local and creative menus that change with the availability of ingredients.
Frontier is a historical TV drama is set in the 18th-century fur trade of the Canadian north. Filmed partly in Newfoundland and Labrador, the series showcases both the history and unspoiled wilderness of the province.Is it easy to drive around Newfoundland? ›
Driving in Newfoundland is not difficult, but there are a few points to keep in mind as you explore this island province including laws, weather, and what to do if you see a moose.Is Bell Island worth a visit? ›
Located in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Bell Island is home to an impressive selection of attractions and experiences, making it well worth a visit. Located in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Bell Island is home to an impressive selection of attractions and experiences, making it well worth a visit.Where and when to see puffins in Newfoundland? ›
Puffins live for the majority of the year at sea, but come to land to breed and burrow on the Bonavista Peninsula between late May and late August. Puffins normally keep the same mate and burrow from year to year and, on average, live for up to 20 years.Is food expensive in Newfoundland? ›
Food is more expensive but not so much so that you will have to get a bank loan. Just expect to pay more for food in grocery stores, especially fruits and veggies and milk, and don't expect for find really cheap meals in restaurants.Is Newfoundland walkable? ›
There's something about Newfoundland and Labrador that nurtures your mind, body, and soul. Here you'll find 29,000 kilometres of pristine coastline, dotted with beaches, sea stacks, and close to 300 hiking and walking trails.Can you drink the water in Newfoundland? ›
Our water is regularly tested and meets or exceeds provincial and national guidelines. Every day, we collect a number of water samples from over 70 dedicated water sample ports throughout the distribution system to ensure your water is safe to drink.Do you need a passport to go to Newfoundland? ›
Entry into Canada: Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry proof of citizenship and identity. A valid U.S. passport, passport card, or NEXUS card satisfies these requirements for U.S. citizens. Children under 16 only need proof of U.S. citizenship.Do you need a license to drive a side by side in Newfoundland? ›
It is illegal to operate an ATV on a highway except to cross from one side of the road to another, and in that case the operator must have a valid drivers licence, insurance and registration to do so and 100 yards of visibility. All occupants of an ATV must be wearing an approved helmet.Can a US citizen move to Newfoundland? ›
To immigrate through the Atlantic Immigration Program, you must prove your English or French language ability and submit with your endorsement application. You must take one of the language tests we approve. It will show you can communicate in English or French well enough to live and work in Canada.
Puffins arrive early May and can be viewed in large numbers through till mid September with a few staying till the 3rd week of September. Timing for the other seabirds (murres, guillemots, gannets, kittiwakes, fulmars & more) varies by species.
The ocean over the continental shelf is cold. On an annual basis water temperatures are 7-10°C lower than at corresponding latitudes on the west coasts of North America and Europe.Where is the best place to see whales in Newfoundland? ›
Whales can be seen in all bays along the coastline. Some spectacular viewing sites are Signal Hill, Cape Spear, Trinity, Cape Bonavista, Twillingate, White Bay, Strait of Belle Isle, St. Vincent's, Cape St. Mary's, Cape Race, Witless Bay, and St.What months do the northern lights appear? ›
The winter season in the Arctic lasts from late September to late March/ early April. During this time, the Arctic sky is dark enough for the Northern Lights to be visible in the right conditions. The aurora is at its most active around the equinoxes in March and September.What months are the northern lights most visible? ›
November through to February offer the darkest skies and longer evenings for maximum sky-gazing. The strongest lights tend to appear between 9pm and 2am, though the best sightings often occur between 11pm and midnight.What does Ducky mean in Newfoundland? ›
Ducky: female friend or relative, used affectionately. This is commonly used in the English Midlands but is used for both genders. My love: female friend or relative.What kind of food do they eat in Newfoundland? ›
Some of these famous Newfoundland items include colcannon, doughboys, pea soup, salt fish and brewis, toutons, and cod tongues. Many Newfoundlanders enjoy dishes including delicious Jigg's dinner which is made up of beef stew, cabbage, turnip and potatoes followed by Figgy Duff pudding as a desert.How do you say hello in Newfoundland? ›
Some words and phrases are often very specific to a certain place, for example the term “slue,” which around Gander can mean hello or goodbye.What is the colorful town in Newfoundland? ›
John's, Newfoundland- probably the most colourful city in the world.What is Newfoundland best known for? ›
Hidden Gem. Canada's east coast is known for its seafood, and Newfoundland and Labrador for its fusion of food and culture.
In 2016, non-resident visitors spent $562 million in Newfoundland and Labrador. Residents made nearly four million trips within the province and spent more than $560 million. As a result, total tourism spending was over $1.13 billion.Will my US debit card work in Canada? ›
Yes. Cards issued by U.S. Bank can be used in most foreign countries for transactions.Why can't you bring potatoes from Newfoundland? ›
Potato wart is present in Newfoundland and Labrador and specific areas of Prince Edward Island. Strict quarantine measures are in place to prevent the potential spread of these pests to other areas of Canada.Can I use my US credit card in Canada? ›
Yes, you can use your credit card in Canada, but you'll have better luck with some types of cards than others. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted networks, and you should be able to use their cards at any merchants that take credit cards in Canada.How many days should I spend in Newfoundland? ›
It takes a long time to drive from east to west and north to south. Ideally, you should plan a week at a minimum, but two weeks not only gets you to all the highlights but allows you to enjoy them with a few hikes and tours here and there.Can you sleep in your car on the Newfoundland ferry? ›
Can you sleep in your car on the ferry to Newfoundland? Sleeping on floors, decks, and in vehicles is not permitted. In the event of a sailing delay or vessel switch, accommodations are not guaranteed. Once you leave your vehicle, you cannot return.Do I need a Covid test to go to Newfoundland? ›
All travellers are permitted to enter Newfoundland and Labrador. Effective February 28, 2022, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador does not require you to self-isolate or get tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, or complete the Travel Form.How many days do you need in St. Johns? ›
If you plan to visit St. Thomas and St. John, I recommend spending one week in the US Virgin Islands. With 7 days, you have 2 days for travel time plus 5 days on the islands, which is plenty of time to visit the beaches, go snorkeling or take a boat cruise, and do a little hiking.Do you need a car to get around St. Johns Newfoundland? ›
While most of Newfoundland is rural and pretty inaccessible without a car, St. John's is urban and you can still have an amazing vacation even without your own vehicle.How far is it to drive around Newfoundland? ›
The Trans-Canada Highway (Route 1) spans the island of Newfoundland from Port aux Basques to St. John's – 905 kilometres. All highways off Route 1 are paved.
To answer quickly, St John is best if you're looking for a romantic or luxurious beach vacation! St Thomas is better for families and travelers on a budget looking for excitement, lively nightlife, and excursions.Is St John's worth it? ›
St. John is the most beautiful and natural US Virgin Island and well worth visiting. If you're making a trip to the Caribbean or nearby Puerto Rico, we highly recommend making your way to St. John to explore the Virgin Islands National Park and other parts of the pristine island.What is the cheapest month to visit St John? ›
July through November (Peak Hurricane Season)
Airfare and hotel rates plummet making this the cheapest time to visit. St. John's Carnival Festival occurs from late June to early July.
Uber Canada is gearing up to bring the rideshare service to Newfoundland and Labrador, but regulatory changes are needed to make it happen, according to the company.Is Newfoundland expensive to travel? ›
The average price of a 7-day trip to Newfoundland is $1,127 for a solo traveler, $1,696 for a couple, and $1,936 for a family of 4. Newfoundland hotels range from $53 to $222 per night with an average of $93, while most vacation rentals will cost $200 to $480 per night for the entire home.What is the loop in Newfoundland? ›
The Loop is an outdoor ice-skating trail located in Bannerman Park.Do you need insurance to drive in Newfoundland? ›
All vehicles driven in Newfoundland and Labrador are required to be insured for a minimum of $200,000 Section A Third Party Liability (leased vehicles may require $1,000,000 limits or more) and Section D Uninsured Automobile Coverage.