Solo Travel Destination: St. John’s, Newfoundland

We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Jenell, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Jenell is from Canada, and submitted the following report about St. John’s. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!

Solo travel rating: (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult. Please see chart below)

Languages spoken: English

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Downtown St. John’s, viewed from Signal Hill.

Reasons to go:  St. John’s is considered by some as the oldest city in North America, founded in 1610 by the British empire. It is populated by just over 200,000 people, who are very friendly and outgoing. The crime rate is very low, with violent crimes almost non-existent. Some people still leave their house doors unlocked!

Sights to visit include:

  • Cabot Tower on Signal Hill provides an amazing view of the city on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, with a chance to see whales and icebergs if you are visiting between April and June. This is the site where, in 1901, Guglielmo Marconi received the first trans-Atlantic wireless message. It has a walking trail which includes 24 sets of stairs and is pretty challenging, but as an alternative, there is a road which you can take to drive up instead.
  • Cape Spear is the easternmost point in continental North America. It has a lighthouse that was built in 1836.
  • George Street is a two-block long street which houses nothing but bars, pubs, restaurant,s and clubs. It is the main center of St. John’s nightlife. The annual George Street Festival is held every summer towards the end of July or first week of August.
  • The Johnson Geo Centre contains a permanent exhibit of The Titanic, which sank just 375 miles southeast of St. John’s.

The main streets downtown are Water Street and Duckworth Street, which have a fair number of shops, restaurants, and cafes. There is a museum called The Rooms which contains most of the history and cultural heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador (including a giant squid!) and another amazing view of the city.

There are also a number of old churches such as the Basilica of St. John’s which may be of interest to some. There is a wide selection of hotels and motels, but it is best to take a room at one of the local family owned bed and breakfasts, which are abundant on Gower Street.

From the airport, it is a $25 flat-fee taxi ride to downtown. The Metrobus system, which might take longer, costs $2.25 per ride. There is no subway system in place.

You must try Jiggs Dinner, traditional Newfoundland food, and Newfoundland Screech (and the ceremony that goes along with it, including kissing a cod fish or a puffin’s behind…)

Overall, a very safe city, rich in history and culture with a very healthy nightlife!

photo, image, row houses, st. john's, newfoundland

Colorful rowhouses in St. John’s.

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View of Signal Hill and Cabot Tower

Solo Travel Destination Rating System

Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)

Language – 1 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)

Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)

Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)

Average Rating – 1 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult)


  • Rusty

    HI all you people who wish to visit Newfoundland its a beautiful island, beautiful people, we speak English, maybe a little fast at times, many dialects, love to meet visitors from other countries, maybe we will even show you around, we are very friendly!! we get lots of cruise ships, whales chasing the cod who are feeding on capelin, Icebergs, Gross Morne Heritage site, Lance au Meadows Viking Settlement, great music we have lots of talent here, watch the tv show Republic of Doyle, spectacular scenery, we are accross the pond from the U.K. we are as far East as you can go in the Western world, YOU can fly in here at anytime except if the FOG is thick, we are now RICH in OIL!! I could go on and on about our Great Island BUT com see for yourself.

  • Pat Freeman

    thanks for that, it is on my list, I have an online scrabble friend who lives there and keeps inviting me :-)
    I will look into it more after a return visit to New Zealand which I went to for six weeks this year and thought I would have done it all but I have more to see and do.

  • Liveyer

    One point on navigation — we have an adequate transit system for in-town, but if you want to get to some of the tourism highpoints (including Cape Spear and Signal Hill if you choose not to hike) you will need access to a car.

  • Liveyer

    No! I live here, and can guarantee you flights in and out every day of the year. Well, except when the weather intervenes :)

  • Pat Freeman

    I understand that you can only fly into St Johns in the summer, is this correct?

  • Come From Away

    Safety: Very safe, friendly people, strangers will engage you in conversation, don’t be alarmed, they are probably not after your wallet! Sadly the economic upturn has brought the usual crime problems with it but generally Townies rob Townies!

    Language: Nefn’ese is the first language and is a mix of English, Irish, all spoken at break neck speed! A unique dialect, difficult to keep track of.

    Navigation: Keep going downhill ’til you reach the water…..local ‘Trolley bus’ (operated by Metrobus), now in operation, $5 for a ticket, hop on/off all day. All the popular tourist locations are served by this. Fairly easy city to navigate, downtown best on foot or bus as there are parking ‘challenges’.

    Culture: Totally unique, dominantly European influence in a North American city. Population is becoming more diverse.

    I have lived here for 16 years and have had some amazing times.

  • hollz

    first one to comment