Having been claimed for Britain in 1583 by Sir Humphrey Gilbert under the Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I, St John's is the oldest English colony in North America. The city's name is generally believed to be derived from the feast of John the Baptist, the day when the English explorer John Cabot became the first European to sight the harbour on June 24, 1497. Over the centuries, fishing remained the primary industry, with the town being fortified in the eighteenth century for protection against the Dutch. Today, St John's is the only township on the island of Newfoundland.

Cruise ships dock in St John's Harbour, a short walk to the city centre.

Sights to See

Stroll along the harbour before heading up Signal Hill to appreciate the incredible views over the city and the surrounding countryside. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the trails meandering through the Salmonier Nature Park, the Memorial University's Botanical Garden and Bowring Park. To gain a greater understanding of the local culture head to The Rooms, a cultural centre containing the Newfoundland Museum, Provincial Archives and Art Gallery. Also consider visiting one of St John's oldest buildings – the Newman Wine Vaults.

What's for Lunch

Savour the delicious pan-fried codfish, a delicacy of the island.

If you see only one thing...

The Cape Spear National Historic Site is the most easterly point of North America and can be visited with a short 20-minute drive from St John's and is demarcated appropriately by a lighthouse.

Local speak

According to Newfoundland lingo - if the water is loppy, it's a little choppy.


Perhaps spoil your four legged friend with a souvenir from The Dog House.