St. John's

Where San Francisco meets Dublin. Your trip starts here, St. John's, the oldest city in North America.

On the Eco-Culture Experience trip you will spend time in St. John's, Heart's Delight, on the Baccalieu Trail, and Bonavista/Elliston, on the Discovery Trail. Your trip starts in St. John's: a place where the art, culture and live music scenes thrive; the nightlife is hopping; and the heritage is rich—it’s the oldest city in North America, after all. Even with a population of 150,000, St John still feels small, and is a very walkable city—as long as you’re up for a good calf workout on its steepest streets. The colourfully painted wooden row houses—jellybean houses as they’re known here—make for a good distraction, as do the cruise and freight ships coming into harbour, easy to spot, from wherever you are, in this city-on-a-hill.

John Cabot discovered the area in 1497. Next came the Irish, Dutch, Scottish, French and English settlers. Thousands of Irish came to work the summer fishery, making their mark from the mid-seventeenth century onward on everything from the local accent to the style of architecture to the fun-loving way of life. 

St John’s is on the Avalon Peninsula, which National Geographic named the world’s top coastal destination, out of 99 coastal tourism areas in the world, beating out popular seaside spots in Wales, New Zealand, Hawaii, Italy, Australia and the rest of Canada.

Use your custom guidebook, the Traveller's Diary to connect with the community in St John’s. Locals love to hike up Signal Hill to Cabot Tower, where Marconi sent the first transatlantic wireless telegraph message in 1901. They also take the Ladies Lookout walking trail to wind up at a cozy pub, full of character. Expect the stories to flow with the beer. In downtown St John’s there is nary a chain store; instead you’ll find hundreds of independent cafés, boutiques and restaurants. And once the sun goes down, you might want to wander down to George Street, famous for its friendly pubs and the place to discover East Coast music. 

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