St. John’s & Avalon Peninsula

St. John’s, located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland is the perfect combination of big-city luxury and small-town charm. As the oldest and most easterly city in North America, this is where heritage lives.

Wander down the narrow, criss-crossing streets carved by horse and carriage over 100 years ago. Pass the colourful jellybean row houses wedged together in every space lining the sides of steep hills and hidden alleyways. Once you’ve meandered down to the working harbour of the waterfront, look towards the Narrows and imagine a time when the waters were brimming full with fishing schooners.

 

Visit Quidi Vidi, the charming village-within-a-city, which still embodies the spirit of an old fishing outport. Then, hike up nearby Signal Hill through the famous Battery, where tiny wooden homes still cling valiantly to cliff sides ravaged by ocean waves. Look out over the cliffs and watch the city’s harbour and captivating skyline spread out before you.

As you explore the history of this place, shop at the many fine boutiques, shops, cafés, restaurants, pubs, and art galleries lining the streets. In the evening, sit back, relax, and enjoy live music or head to the famous George Street where you will finda vast choice of restaurants, clubs and bars.

St John's must do's

Wildlife & Mother Nature – There are few things more thrilling that an up close and personal encounter with humpback whales and 10,000 year old towering icebergs. Thousands of humpbacks and a variety of other species of whale call the waters that crash against the cliffs of St. John’s their home between May and September every year and icebergs travel down a stretch of water called Iceberg Alley.

Hiking – If you enjoy hiking, there is no better place than St. John’s. The famous East Coast Trail unites wilderness hiking with richly historic communities and winds right past St. John’s, along ocean paths that make up 300km of developed trails. Hike from Downtown St. John’s to Cape Spear along the 13mile ocean-side path with some of the most dramatic vistas you might ever get to see. This is one of the most breathtaking hikes in the world.

History & Culture – Cape Spear National Historic Site is just a 10 minute drive from downtown St. John’s and is the most easterly point in North America – where you can see the sun rise before anyone else and be the first on the continent to ring in the New Year. Once at Cape Spear, meander round the World War II gun battery and visit the oldest standing lighthouse in North America. Have your picture taken at North America’s most easterly point and keep a look out for whales and icebergs. Head back towards the city and the next stop is Signal Hill National Historic Site for incredible views over the city of St. John’s and over the Atlantic Ocean. Other stops include the picture-perfect fishing village of Quidi Vidi Village, Quidi Vidi Plantation, the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, and the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Commissariat House Provincial Historic Site, Government House, Memorial University Botanical Garden and an orientation of the shops and restaurants in downtown St. John’s.

Wine & Dine – Dine at a local restaurant and sample cod tongues, mussels, lobster, fish and brewis and other native culinary delights and then venture over to George Street, just steps away from your hotel, and enjoy some unique, welcoming and warm Newfoundland hospitality and live music over a beer or two in one of the many pubs and cocktail bars.

Avalon Peninsula

The Avalon Peninsula is where Newfoundland and North America begin, where the sun shines first, at Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site, just a few kilometres outside the 500-year-old capital city of St. John’s.

The Avalon Peninsula is not only scenically stunning, it’s also a place full of natural wonders: icebergs drifting along the coasts, whales frolicking, migratory seabirds nesting on cliffs, and caribou roaming.

As the first region of the province to be settled, the Avalon is full of the legends, lore, and history of the early adventurers who first laid claim to the New World. Home to the urban bustle of St. John’s, a vibrant culinary scene, and charming outports surrounded by beauty and steeped in history – the Avalon has something to offer every traveller.

The Avalon bears a fitting name, reminiscent of the legend and romanticism of its misty, Arthurian island counterpart. It is also home to the East Coast Trail, with more than 500 kilometres of scenic hikes, perfect for exploring our stunning coastline. This is a place full of beauty, culture, and the rugged drama of a seafaring peninsula that has weathered trials, triumphs, and everything in between.

Known as the Seabird Capital of North America, you’ll have plenty of chances to get up close and personal with over 35 million seabirds.

Witness more than 500,000 Atlantic puffins at the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, the largest breeding colony of Atlantic puffin in North America. Or, stand a mere 20 metres from birds nesting atop a sea stack at the Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve, one of the most accessible seabird nesting sites in the world.

Thousands of whales – humpbacks, orcas, minke, and more – return here on their annual migration. There are plenty of opportunities for whale watching on the Avalon, and dozens of operators to help guide you. Watch from shore as they play among the waves, or take a boat tour to see these gentle giants leap into the air. Paddle out in a sea kayak to see them up close, or go diving and immerse yourself in their world.

Tours regularly head out from St. John’s harbour, or you can make your way to Witless Bay, Cape Spear, St. Vincent’s Beach, or any of the popular whale-watching sites.

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