The wide-open plains are ripe for hiking and discovering traces of the ancient tribal communities that once populated these lands. Here are five L'Anse aux Meadows facts to stir up your excitement before you head off for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
- Where is it?
L'Anse aux Meadows is situated on the far northern tip of Newfoundland, one of North America’s most uninhabited and untouched regions. Perhaps unexpectedly, its location in Canada and its fascinating history present many parallels to Scandinavia. Despite its remote location, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is easily accessible by plane from the rest of Canada, being 32 miles from St. Anthony Airport. It’s also possible to rent a car from the regional airport, Deer Lake, then take a scenic drive along the Viking Trail to reach the archaeological site.
- Hiking in the area
The terrain around L'Anse aux Meadows, with views of both the undulating mountains and the open Atlantic, is blessed with numerous hiking opportunities. Both experienced hikers seeking challenging walks and those who’d prefer something a little more serene are well catered to. Three popular trails in this area of natural beauty are the Little Brehat Trail, the Cape Raven Trail, and John Patey's Trail. Little Brehat is a pleasant 3.4 mile, Cape Raven is a lookout point that’s listed as moderately difficult to climb, while Patey's Trail is a breeze for most as it’s only 550 yards long.
- The history of L'Anse aux Meadows
Norse or Viking travelers are thought to be the first Europeans to set foot on the continent of North America, first arriving in the eleventh century. Visitors can learn a great deal about the lives of these early immigrants from the archaeological remains of the timber-and-sod buildings that pepper the site today. Artifacts suggest that the Norse settlers who lived in L'Anse aux Meadows were proficient in a range of skills including woodworking and ironmongery.
- Nordstead Village
Nordstead Viking Village is an imaginative replica of Norse life in Canada – it aims to illustrate the lives of those who lived in L'Anse aux Meadows more than a thousand years ago. Costumed characters demonstrate many of the skills used by the Vikings in their newly settled port town. You’ll be transported back in time as you explore the four buildings and the large model of a traditional vessel.
- Norseman Restaurant and Art Gallery
This charming spot on the waterfront is one of Newfoundland’s cultural and foodie highlights. The scallops come fresh from the Atlantic, and the drinks are served with ice from nearby icebergs. The restaurant is connected to a quaint gallery lined with local books and crafts.
This isolated enclave in the far reaches of northern Newfoundland defies the norms of modern North America’s past and retells the history you thought you knew well. A trip here gives you the opportunity to experience a side of Canada that’s often overlooked and discover more about the origins of this fascinating country.