Your adventure begins in Tadoussac (215 km/135 mi. from Québec City, 475 km/295 mi. northwest of Montréal), a great place to observe whales either during a cruise on the St. Lawrence or from the shore.
Route 138 will take you to Baie-Comeau. From there, take Route 389 north to Manic-5 to admire the largest multiple-arch-and-buttress dam in the world.
Continue north to Fermont, where you will immediately notice the town’s 1.3-kilometre (1-mile) windscreen complex, the only one of its kind in North America, which was designed to shield residents from subarctic winds. While you are here, go visit one of the largest open-pit iron ore mines in the world.
Just north of Fermont, Route 389 becomes Route 500 (the Trans-Labrador Highway). Be sure to stop and see the following:
- Labrador City, where you can visit an iron ore mine and the Gateway Labrador museum
- Churchill Falls, home to one of the largest underground hydroelectric powerhouses in the world
- North West River, to discover the Innu and Inuit cultures
Head south on Route 510 and visit the following communities:
- Port Hope Simpson, a small fishing community
- Red Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to several historic Basque whaling stations
- L’Anse-Amour, where you can visit the tallest lighthouse in Atlantic Canada (33 metres/108 feet high)
In Blanc-Sablon, take the ferry to St. Barbe, on the island of Newfoundland.
Once in Newfoundland, head south on Route 430 to Port au Choix, where you can visit a burial site that is about 4000 years old, then continue on to Gros Morne to visit the fjord in Gros Morne National Park.
ALTERNATE ROUTE: Instead of heading south from St. Barbe, head north on Route 430 to L’Anse aux Meadows to visit a Viking settlement that dates back to the year 1000.
From Gros Morne National Park, continue south and take Highway 1 East to La Scie.
Along Highway 1, you can visit any of the following:
- Twillingate, nicknamed the Iceberg Capital of the World
- Fogo Island, an artist haven and traditional fishing community
- Bonavista, where you can admire spectacular landscapes
- Cape Spear, the easternmost point in North America
- Cape St. Mary’s, home to about 70,000 seabirds, including northern gannets
This trip ends in St. John’s, one of the oldest cities in North America. If you want, you can continue your journey by taking a ferry to Sydney, Nova Scotia. From there, you can visit the other Atlantic provinces.
For more information about the Newfoundland and Labrador portion of this itinerary, visit the Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism website.
Other scenic drives:
- Heading for the Gulf of St. Lawrence
- Trans-Québec–Labrador Loop