Canada’s most easterly province of Newfoundland and Labrador is like something straight out of Instagram heaven. With its haunting, lonely lighthouses, rugged cliffs, colourful towns, and giant icebergs, the challenge is to tear your eyes away from the incredible scenery long enough to take a photo!
Don’t miss these stunning Instagram hot spots:
L’Anse aux Meadows
The people of Newfoundland and Labrador are storytellers and so is the landscape. Take the National Historic Site of L’Anse aux Meadows, for example. It’s at this site where the first Europeans settled more than 1,000 years ago. Head to the Viking landing, the only official Norse site in North America, littered with historical sites and Viking ruins, each with a tale to tell in words and pictures.
In the friendly city of St John’s, the streets are as colourful as the people. Known as ‘Jellybean Row Houses,’ these distinctive homes are not confined to a single street. In fact, you’ll find them everywhere throughout the province. Stroll the steep streets of St John’s where the houses descend to the water like a meandering, whimsical rainbow. The vibrant buildings hark back to a time when sailors and fishermen used the bright facades to find their way home during foggy nights or storms.
While in St John’s, hike to the top of historic Signal Hill, where a weather-worn stone tower looks out over the Atlantic coastline where epic battles between the French and British once took place. Check out the Cabot Tower and learn about Guglielmo Marconi, the first person in the world to receive a transatlantic wireless signal, back in 1901. Got the camera ready? Don’t forget to capture the outstanding view of colourful St John’s sprawled below.
Solitary Fogo Island emanates an air of mystery, with its misty coastal trails and rich outport history. Get to know the locals, fish for cod, and if you’re lucky, stay at the magnificent Fogo Island Inn, a world-famous example of innovative architecture. Perched on crooked stilts, this dramatic property captures the spirit of the island, using furniture and textiles hand-made by local artisans whose families have lived here for generations. Its floor-to-ceiling windows serve up an Instagram-worthy view of coastline, whales, seabirds, and even the occasional giant iceberg.
Torngat Mountains National Park
In Torngat Mountains National Park in Northern Labrador you’ll stop caring about your Instagram feed as you marvel at the wonder of nature. We’re talking sparkling turquoise lakes, towering fjords, and tundra blanketed in wildflowers. As you hike the solitary trails, home to the majestic caribou, wolves, and even polar bears, do yourself a favour and take some photographs. The English language has no words to describe the beauty of the Torngats, it has to be seen to be believed.
Quidi Vidi Village is the quintessential Newfoundland fishing village, just 15 minutes’ walk from the heart of St John’s. Stroll the shore, speckled with colourful houses and fishing boats, explore the antique shop, and stop for lunch at charming Mallard Cottage. This picture-perfect village even has one of the best breweries in the province, Quidi Vidi Brewery, home to crisp lager brewed using ancient ice from harvested icebergs.
Seabirds make for wonderful photo subjects and Newfoundland has 35 million of them. The seabird capital of North America houses some 25,000 gannets, seven million storm-petrels, hawks, falcons, and over 800 bald eagles. It’s a wonder there’s room on the cliffs and in the sky for them all. For the ultimate Instagram frenzy post a selfie with the Arctic puffins at Bird Rock at the Cape St Mary’s Ecological Reserve, one of the most accessible puffin nesting sites on the planet.
Icebergs in Twillingate
Join the ranks of committed iceberg chasers in Twillingate who hunt down these monolithic frozen mountains during the peak ‘berg-spotting season from May to August. There’s more than one way to capture these 100,000-year-old glacial giants on camera. Paddle up close in a sea kayak, join a boat tour, or take a hike along 29,000 kilometres of coastline to witness aquamarine icebergs parade down Iceberg Alley against a soundtrack of boreal songbirds.
Rose Blanche Lighthouse
The southwest coast of Newfoundland is littered with shipwrecks, each with its own disastrous tale. The Rose Blanche Lighthouse, near the town of Isle aux Morts, was created more than 140 years ago to prevent these frequent tragedies. The stone heritage structure, originally built in 1871, is steeped in a history that speaks of unspeakable sadness and unbreakable resilience. Sadly, the shipwrecks continued to occur sporadically even after Rose Blanche Lighthouse was erected, including the tragedy of 1914 that saw 78 sealers lose their lives.
Gros Morne National Park
Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in western Newfoundland, is like a scene out of Lord of the Rings, resplendent with geological wonders, landlocked fjords, forests, and striking cliffs. For a stunning image to get your Instagram feed buzzing, make a beeline for the unique flat-topped red rocks of the Tablelands, once found deep in the earth’s mantle.
Trinity is a hidden gem roughly 2.5 hours from St John’s, an authentic Newfoundland town dotted with colourful saltbox houses, beautifully restored fishing rooms, and street signage marked in calligraphy. Capture these picturesque downtown scenes and then take a boat tour for the ultimate ocean wildlife experience. Get ready to snap whales, sea stacks, seabirds, ancient caves, and even icebergs.
Welcome to Happy Valley
Newfoundlanders are famous for having their own quirky vocabulary and hilarious village monikers, many of which originated from English and Irish seafaring terms. For attention-grabbing social media posts, take a photo of the welcome signs at Blow Me Down, Virgin Cove, Dildo, Come by Chance, and Deadman’s Pond. In case you’re wondering, dildoe was an Irish term that referred to part of a rowboat in the 1700s.
Capture sunrise on the most easterly point in North America. Stand next to the stark white Cape Spear Lighthouse, set against rocky cliffs overlooking the seemingly endless Atlantic. The oldest surviving lighthouse in Newfoundland, this National Historic Site is an iconic landmark and a stunning example of 1800s lighthouse architecture. Located just 12 kilometres southeast of St John’s, Cape Spear is a living postcard, complete with crashing waves, clifftops adorned with wildflowers, and breeching whales in the distance.
East Coast Trail
Stroll the shores of the beautiful Avalon Peninsula along the East Coast Trail. Take your pick from hundreds of snap-happy moments along 26 wilderness paths that wind through 30 friendly coastal communities, including Portugal Cove, Cape St. Francis, and Cappahayden, each with its own unique history. North America’s easternmost coastline is a feast for the senses, with towering cliffs, huge fjords, caribou, whales, seabirds, and the frequently photographed geyser, known as the ‘Spout’.
Keep your foodie fans happy on Instagram as you forage for the freshest, most flavoursome fruit you’ll ever taste. When it comes to food foraging, it’s all about timing. In July, you’ll find the orange ‘bakeapples’ on the East Coast Trail. Blackhead Path and Deadmans Bay Path are abundant with wild blueberries during August and September, while raspberries are found along Biscan Cove Path during the same period. Bring a bucket for your edible treasures!