St John's is a bustling port city just a six hour flight from London. From the unique Cabot Tower where guides dressed in period costumes transport you back in time, to a wealth of hikes with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, visitors of all ages will enjoy a holiday in St John’s.
The most easterly point in North America, the city is home to a picturesque waterfront, historic buildings, hundreds of kilometres of scenic trails and vibrant nightlife. It is also a gateway to the whole of Newfoundland and Labrador which boasts stunning landscapes and dramatic seascapes, allowing visitors to enjoy the best of the surrounding province all in one holiday.
Upon arriving in St John’s, a walk up Signal Hill must be one of the first things you do to enjoy panoramic views of the Atlantic before wandering the historic streets of Quidi Vidi, home to the oldest cottage in North America. Recognised as a national historic site, Mallard Cottage has been converted into a restaurant showcasing the vast array of delicious local delicacies.
Cape Spear Lighthouse, perched high up on a rugged clifftop, is another must-see historical site. Stand with your back to this iconic symbol of Newfoundland and Labrador's maritime history and take in the spectacular scenery, including magnificent icebergs in every shape and size in the spring and early summer.
For wildlife enthusiasts, Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the most spectacular whale watching places in the world, home to over 22 species of these majestic creatures including the world's largest population of humpbacks. Choose from several boat tours or alternatively embark on your own kayaking adventure or hike a seaside trail while spotting whales breaching the surface of the Atlantic.
After a day spent exploring the city and surrounding province, choose from over 250 restaurants before heading out to enjoy the popular night-time entertainment. George Street in downtown St. John's offers the most bars and pubs per square foot of any street in North America! From fine-dining restaurants offering freshly caught lobster to traditional bars serving drinks made with water from harvested iceberg ice, there is something to suit everyone’s taste.
If you’d like more information about booking your St John’s holiday call one of our dedicated team of experts who will help you plan the trip of a lifetime!
Things to do
Popular things to do in St John's
This is a great orientation of St. John's, as well as the most Easterly point in North America. You will be driven to the National Historic site of Cape Spear; where you may walk to thru a World War II gun battery, look for whales at the most Easterly point in North America, while having a chance to visit to oldest standing light house in North America. Then we will head back into the city to see the beautiful view on top of Signal Hill while hearing the historic tales of North America's oldest colony. Other stops include Quidi Vidi Village, Government House, the Roman Catholic Cathedral and an orientation of the shops and restaurants of downtown St. John's.
Departures: May 1 - Oct 31
This two-hour narrated tour will enlighten and entertain passengers as they sail in search of icebergs and whales on a true Newfoundland cultural adventure. Depart from downtown St. John’s aboard the M.V. Cetacean Quest and sail through “The Narrows” and past Cabot Tower en route to Cape Spear. Journey through pristine waters that are home to the world’s largest concentration of humpback whales, and sail past 12,000 year old icebergs and watch as Atlantic puffins frolic along the coastlines. Experience Cape Spear from the sea, North America’s most easterly point, and discover a place where the Atlantic Ocean meets the edge of the earth. This excursion is a Signature Experience with Destination Canada.
Departures: Jun 1 - Sep 30
Top tips for visiting St John's
Top Tip 1
• The best way to explore St John’s is by foot as you wander through the criss-crossing streets created by horse and carriage over 100 years ago. As you make your way down to the working harbour of the waterfront, be sure to photograph the colourful houses that line the sides of hills and hidden alleyways.
Top Tip 2
• After this leisurely start to the day, hike up Signal Hill, where small wooden homes cling to the cliff-sides. Upon reaching the top, you will see the iconic Cabot Tower, where military men guarded the shores throughout the 1700s and Guglielmo Marconi received his first transatlantic wireless signal in 1901. Be transported back to 1812 as guides dressed in period costumes provide tours.
Top Tip 3
• Not many museums offer the chance to see a giant squid, but The Rooms is the all-in-one historical museum, art gallery and archives for St John’s at the top of Signal Hill. A short walk away sits the picturesque village of Quidi Vidi, home to the oldest cottage in North America - Mallard Cottage. Whilst here, sip a pint at Quidi Vidi Brewery - we recommend trying the ‘Iceberg’, made with water from harvested iceberg ice.
Top Tip 4
• Constructed in 1836, Cape Spear Lighthouse is another must-see historical site as it represents the unique architecture of lighthouse construction during this era. Stand with your back to the sea and North America is to the west – turn around and the next stop east is Ireland. Whilst here, walk in the footsteps of Canadian and American soldiers as they guarded St. John's during World War II.
Top Tip 5
• For wildlife enthusiasts, embark on a 90 minute catamaran cruise from Bay Bulls to Witless Bay. Spot humpback whales in their natural habitat and in the right season (late May - early July), you will also have the opportunity to photograph spectacular icebergs.
Top Tip 6
• Pippy Park offers an oasis of tranquillity and spectacular views of St John’s and the Atlantic Ocean. Located in the north of the city, the Park’s hundreds of kilometres of scenic trails offer walks through forests, wetlands, rivers, up hills and across parklands to suit all abilities.
Top Tip 7
• With so much to see and do, don’t forget to take a moment to look out over the city’s picturesque harbour or to enjoy some of St John’s local delicacies. Seafood lover or not, we recommend eating at Blue On Water with its inventive dishes including cod tongues and maple salmon.
Top Tip 8
• The days do not end after a delicious meal. Head to George Street and experience the city’s vibrant nightlife with numerous clubs, pubs and bars to choose from which are all ablaze with energy. Be sure to look at http://www.georgestreetlive.ca/ which is updated with upcoming events such as the iconic George Street Festival – five days and nights of dynamic musical entertainment (30th July – 4th August 2015).
Top Tip 9
• It is worth remembering that St John’s is a gateway to the surrounding Newfoundland and Labrador province, opening up a new world of opportunities. Take a day to visit the Terra Nova National Park and kayak along pristine lakes and rivers. Spend the night there and camp under the stars before returning to St John’s the following day.
Top Tip 10
• The East Coast Trail is a coastal hike that takes you past towering cliffs and headlands and deep fjords providing opportunities to see ecological reserves, seabird colonies, whales, icebergs, a 50-metre suspension bridge and many more attractions. There are plenty of places to stop along the way so don’t forget to visit Lighthouse Picnics first to collect your delicious sandwiches and freshly baked scones.
If you’d like more information about booking your holiday to St John’s call one of our dedicated team of experts who will help you plan the trip of a lifetime!