Long before Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, the Vikings had crossed the Atlantic and beaten him to it. The proof can be found among the timber framed turf buildings excavated on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula in Newfoundland, at a site called L’Anse aux Meadows. Closely resembling Norse dwellings, the site is the first known evidence of European influence in the Americas. Visitors learn about the Viking lifestyle and archeological discovery through various exhibits, and can explore the surrounding area with a number of hiking trails.
Length of Trip : 2-4 hours
Cost : Click here for National Park fees. Parks Canada also offer a Vikings Trail pass, valid for 7 days with entrance to Gros Morne, L’anse Aux Meadows and other parks along the coast.
Best time to go : June to September
Wheelchair friendly : Yes
Family friendly : Yes
Where to eat : Head back to St Anthony for lunch/dinner at the Lightkeeper’s Seafood Restaurant or Cartier’s Galley in the Haven Inn
Official Site : www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/nl/meadows/index.aspx
Where to Stay : Grenfell Heritage Hotel
Getting There : L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site is located on the tip of the Northern Peninsula, 433 km north of Deer Lake along the Viking Trail (Route 430). The Viking Trail begins at the town of Deer Lake on the Trans-Canada Highway (Route 1). 20 km before of St. Anthony, turn onto Route 436 and drive for 30 km to L’Anse aux Meadows.
Note from Robin : I’m struck at people’s reaction to the old Norse houses in L’Anse Aux Meadows. I have to remind them they’re not original, but reconstructions of how the settlement may have looked, complete with costumed interpreters to explain how the Vikings might have lived. The magic of the place comes with its remote location, and the sweeping views of the Newfoundland coast. It’s a pleasant walk to the site from the interpretation centre, and well worth taking a guided tour. L’Anse Aux Meadows also features in Great Canadian Trails 3-day Vikings, Whales and Icebergs package that captures the region’s bucket list highlights!
L'Anse aux Meadows