Newfoundland and Labrador are one of Canada's maritime provinces. It is made up of two parts, the more populated island of Newfoundland, and the arctic and the sparsely populated mainland region of Labrador. Visiting Labrador is a life-changing activity where one can really enjoy the stunning remote natural beauty of this remote land.

It is a wild and untamed land that is harsh and foreboding but majestic at the same time. A place where one can see polar bears, the Northern Lights, and many many icebergs. It is here that it is believed that the Norsemen or Vikings "discovered" America around 1000 AD.

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About Labrador And Its History

While it is thought that this is where the Norsemen landed in America, no Norse remains have been found anywhere in the region. To the Vikings living in Greenland, they knew this area as Markland and the people living here were called "Skræling".

  • Vikings: The Site Of The Fable Norse Landings In The Americas

It has long been inhabited by the local Innu and Inuit and they have been largely tied to the sea, depending on the sea for food and sustenance. Labrador has been inhabited by Innu and Inuit for thousands of years and they boast a deep and spiritual relationship with the environment. In fact, the history of the indigenous people can be traced back almost 9,000 years.

The first Europeans to arrive here in modern times were the Portuguese in 1499 and 1500. The name Labrador is thought to come from this early Portuguese explorer João Fernandes Lavrador.

  • Province: About 71% of the Land And Only 6% Population Of The Province Of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Native Peoples: Northern Inuit of Nunatsiavut, the Southern Inuit-Metis of NuntauKavut, and the Innu of Nitassinan
  • Size: 113,600 Sq Miles or 294,300 Sq Kilometers
  • Population: 27,000 (About Half Native Populations And The Other Half Are White)
  • Largest Settlements: Happy Valley - Goose Bay Pop. 8,100; Labrador City Pop. 7,200

Activities And Attractions In Labrador

Labrador is an angler's paradise as it is home to some of the best brook trout fishing of anywhere and the tour can be massive. One can expect some trophy-sized catches. Other fish here waiting to be caught are northern pike, whitefish, Atlantic salmon, and large Arctic char.

Related: Visiting Nordkapp: The Frozen Northernmost Point Of Norway Deep In The Arctic

In the not-so-distant past, the southeast part of the coast was filled with whaling and fishing industries - now they are filled with many popular tourist destinations. The 16th-century Basque whaling center in Red Red is now UNESCO World Heritage-listed site.

In the winter months, the Northern Lights dance and flicker in the night's sky, and many tourists come and enjoy the thrill of thundering under the Northern Lights on their snowmobiles. Other activities in the winter include skiing and ice fishing.

For accommodation in Labrador and Newfoundland, see here.

Some of the top sites in Labrador are:

  • Torngat Mountains National Park
  • Red Bay National Historic Site
  • Battle Harbour
  • Forteau and L'Anse-Amour

Labrador is connected to mainland Canada with highway 500 called the Trans-Labrador Highway. So unlike many other arctic regions, it is actually possible to drive here. It is connected to the island of Newfoundland by a ferry. There is a coastal road for some of its coastline and ferries for other parts.

  • Access To Labrador: By The Trans-Labrador Highway, Flight, Or Ferry From Newfoundland

Tours Of Labrador

One of the tour companies operating in this inhospitable but dramatic region is Tour Labrador. They offer a range of tour packages, fishing tours, lighthouse dinners, and specialty tours.

  • Battle Harbour: A Trip Back in Time Tour

This is one of their more exciting all-inclusive tours and is great for those who would like to get a sense of living in Labrador over the last 7,500 years. This package includes one night's accommodation at the stunning Point Amour Lighthouse and two nights at Battle Harbour. The tour includes a visit to the must-see Red Bay World UNESCO Heritage Site and delicious culinary and hiking experiences.

  • Duration: 4 Days and 3 Nights
  • Season: Tours Are From June 15th to September 15th
  • Price: From $2,295 Canadian Dollars Plus Tax Or $1,820 USD (Based on Double Occupancy)

Related: Traditional Greenlandic Cuisine Is A Celebration Of Local Seafood

Arctic Cruises

One of the best ways to explore Labrador is with an arctic expedition cruise. These tours will often explore more than just Labrador, and often include more of the Canadian and Alaskan High Arctic and Greenland. Here is one example of an expedition.

  • Duration: 15 Day Expedition
  • Where: Western Coast of Greenland (including Nuuk), Greenland Fjords, Torngat Mountains National Park In Labrador, KakKauak-Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve, Newfoundland Ending At St. John's
  • Wildlife: Spot Polar Bears, Eagles, And Many Other Types Of Marine Life
  • Vikings: See Viking History Wandering On The Fabled Wonderstrands
  • Hike: In Northern Labrador With Daily Zodiac Expeditions
  • Cost: Starting From $6,995

For more information, see Adventure Life.

Next: How To Explore Stunning Greenland And What To Expect