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When travelling, I am always on the look out for picturesque spots and St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador has plenty of them. Part of why we like St. John’s so much is that it mixes city and nature so closely. You can wander downtown past the harbour and colourful houses then jaunt up to amazing viewpoints or head out on a nearby coastal hike. So, here are my favourite St. John’s photo spots (and spoiler – I added in a couple pretty spectacular photo spots from a place nearby as a bonus).
St. John’s Photo Spots Map
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10 Best St. John’s Photo Spots
These 10 best St. John’s photo spots are really in no particular order, and which ones you like best will depend a lot on the weather.
If you want a photo spot overlooking St. John’s, Signal Hill National Historic Site is the place to come. You can drive up or hike up a variety of trails from downtown St. John’s or nearby Quidi Vidi. From the top of Signal Hill you get a stunning view over the entire city, harbour and the Queen’s Battery Barracks just below.
Just be aware that it is almost always very windy up there. The wind actually blew my phone out of my hand at one point, although I claim slippery mitts as a contributing factor. This photo spot is great in either the sun or clouds. Which works well as, let’s face it, the weather in Newfoundland is somewhat variable.
This photo spot is actually on the other side of the harbour from Battery Lookout. And I think it’s the best spot to get a shot of what tourists, of which I am admittedly one, envision when they think about St. John’s. Colourful buildings climbing a rocky hill with water in front.
Just head to the Fort Amherst Harbour Authority south side parking lot. And check out all the heavy duty fishing boats on the way.
Speaking of Fort Amherst, it is next on my list. Just continue another 5 minutes on the Fort Amherst Road from the last photo spot and find a place to park, then walk up the closed off road to Fort Amherst. I think the best spot is before you get to the actual lighthouse where you can get the cliff and ocean in as well.
The lighthouse isn’t as cute as many in Newfoundland such as the candy cane striped Green Point Light House. But that one is over an hour drive away so it doesn’t make this list.
Now most people have heard about the brightly colored Jellybean Row houses in downtown St. John’s. We wandered around at length and came up with what we think is the best set.
Head to Kings Road between Bond Street and Gower Street. But don’t just take my word. Walk around the whole area and find your favourite Jellybean Row photo spot.
One of the most popular sections of the East Coast Trail, the Sugarloaf Path had one of my favourite viewpoints.
And if you don’t want to do the whole 8 km trail, you can just start in Quidi Vidi harbour and hike up about 15-20 minutes.
A bit of a drive away from downtown (15 minutes) but definitely worth it. It is the most eastern spot in Canada with a picturesque, classically white lighthouse.
But, to me, more importantly are the views along the cliffs to the west.
Quidi Vidi Harbour
Quidi Vidi is a very popular photo spot in St. John’s. It has it all, with it’s harbour with fishing boats, colourful fishing shacks against a rock face, hikes to viewpoints, the best brunch place in St. John’s (the Mallard Cottage) and our favourite St. John’s brewery (Quidi Vidi Brewing Company).
So after you get your pics, make sure to wander around and maybe try the Iceberg beer made with icerberg water.
Now I’m not much of a museum person so it makes sense that my favourite part of The Rooms was their huge windows and vantage point perched over downtown.
They even have a café with the same views that is well worth visiting.
A short – but very steep in parts – hike gets you up Cuckold Head where you get a great view over the city, Quidi Vidi harbour and Quidi Vidi lake.
This trail is not very popular compared to the nearby Sugarloaf Path or the Ladies Lookout Trail leading to Signal Hill so that means that you will probably have it to yourself.
Technically not in St. John’s but only a short drive away, Petty Harbour is the epitome of a classic fishing village. Check out the section of dock by the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium for some classic shots of fishing boats, nets and ropes with colourful houses on the other side of the harbour.
And stop at the Tinkers Ice Cream shop for a salted caramel cheesecake freakshake or some other refreshing treat.
Bonus Photo Spots Near St. John’s
I wanted to include these two bonus spots from Bell Island. It is a short ferry trip away from St. John’s and not very well known as a tourist destination. But the geological photo spots are pretty impressive. And who doesn’t like a (short) ferry ride? The island is tiny so you don’t have to spend long there if you don’t have much time.
The Bell on Bell Island
Bell Island was named after this sea stack named, not so surprisingly, The Bell. Supposedly it looks like a bell but I’ve never been good at that game so couldn’t really see the resemblance.
But it is definitely impressive so that’s really all the counts. And only a 15-minute walk along a dirt road from the parking area.
Grebe’s Nest on Bell Island
This beach was well worth visiting for the sea stack, high cliffs and the tunnel you need to walk through to get to the neighbouring beach. There are also caves to explore at low tide.
And that’s my list of best St. John’s photography spots. I love how easy it is to go from city to nature, plus the sheer variety of photo options.
Let us know if there are any that should be added to the list!
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