Newfoundland and Labrador may look like a mid-sized island on a map, but it's actually a vast place with lots of open country. Approximately 29,000 kilometres of shoreline wrap around our communities, trails, forests, parks, and historic sites. It's a big place, so keep in mind you can't wake up in St. John's and have breakfast in Gros Morne National Park. You'll need to plan your way.
Here's what you need to know about our geography: there are two parts to the province, Newfoundland is an island, and Labrador is connected to mainland Canada and borders the province of Quebec. To connect to the island from Labrador and vice versa, you can either take a coastal boat, or fly via intra-provincial airline.
To give you a better idea, Newfoundland and Labrador is more than three times the total area of the Maritime Provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island) and would rank fourth in size behind Alaska, Texas, and California if it were one of the United States. It's almost one-and-three-quarter times the size of Great Britain.
When planning a trip here, remember: while there are many ways to travel around the province, it takes planning and forethought. Book as much in advance as possible and plan your itinerary; demand is high for car rentals, accommodations and ferry services during peak season.
Newfoundland and Labrador is served by both scheduled airlines and charter services, and can be reached via national and international connections. Our province is home to two international airports – located in St. John's and Gander – as well as domestic airports in Deer Lake, Stephenville, St. Anthony in Newfoundland, and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Churchill Falls and Wabush in Labrador. These airports are destinations for many major airlines, including Air Canada, WestJet, and Porter, as well as the locally-owned and -operated Provincial Airlines.
If you’re visiting western Newfoundland, your most efficient access point would be through Deer Lake. Similarly, St. John’s is the best access point for those visiting the Avalon Peninsula and eastern Newfoundland. Gander would be best for those visiting Central Newfoundland. St. Anthony would be best for those visiting northern Newfoundland. Blanc Sablon, on the Labrador-Quebec border, serves southeastern Labrador, while Happy Valley-Goose Bay is ideal for central Labrador and those taking charters north, and Wabush serves western Labrador. The airport at Churchill Falls serves that community and nearby hunting and fishing lodges.
By Car and Ferry
Located at the most easterly edge of North America, Newfoundland and Labrador makes for a great road-trip destination. Most car travellers access the province by Marine Atlantic ferries, which operate between Nova Scotia and the island of Newfoundland. These superferries carry hundreds of vehicles and passengers to two entry points. There is a year-round, daily service between North Sydney, Nova Scotia and Port aux Basques, in southwestern Newfoundland, and a June to September service between North Sydney and Argentia, Newfoundland (which is a 90-minute drive from the capital city of St. John's).
You can also access the province via Labrador from Quebec. A coastal passenger and freight vessel sails along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence from Natashquan at the end of Quebec Route 138 to Blanc Sablon on the border between Quebec and Labrador. From Blanc Sablon, you can continue your journey through Labrador via the recently constructed Trans-Labrador Highway, or travel south to the Island of Newfoundland, which can be accessed via ferry.
To tour Labrador, travel on Route 510 all the way to Happy Valley–Goose Bay, then continue on Route 500 to Labrador City and Wabush and connect to Quebec Route 389. To visit the Island of Newfoundland take the Strait of Belle Isle ferry from Blanc Sablon to St. Barbe on Newfoundland's west coast.
Labrador Marine Inc.
Tel: 1-866-535-2567 (within the province)
Tel: 1-709-535-0810 (outside the toll-free area)
For information on ferry routes, schedules, rates and services available contact the Department of Transportation and Works.
Taking a cruise is one of the most popular ways to visit Newfoundland and Labrador. Each year, tens of thousands visit ports around the province to see breathtaking sights like Saglek Fjord and Gros Morne National Park from a unique, coastal perspective.
Standing on the deck of a cruise ship is the best way to appreciate the landscape and shoreline, and we do have a lot of it to see: 29,000 kilometres of bays, guts, headlands, harbours and coves. Hundreds of small communities dot the coast, not to mention, whales and seabirds. You can also visit cities where history and modern conveniences offer the best of the old and new.
For information on cruise lines and ports of call, please visit Cruise Newfoundland and Labrador.
By Tour Operator
Making your own way is sometimes exactly what's called for, especially if you're interested in finding – or losing – yourself along the way. But if you'd rather travel here without having to worry about the details, there are many packaged tours available to bring you to Newfoundland and Labrador.