Newfoundland Road Trips: Guide to Fogo Island
Fogo Island is a stunning destination located off the northeast coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It is known for its rugged beauty, unique culture, and friendly locals. The island is home to a number of small communities, each with its own distinct character and charm.
One of the main draws of Fogo Island is its natural beauty. The island is surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean and boasts rugged coastline, rolling hills, and stunning vistas. Visitors can explore hiking trails, go fishing, or simply relax and take in the breathtaking scenery.
Fogo Island is also home to a thriving arts community. The Fogo Island Arts program hosts artists from around the world, who come to work and create in the island’s stunning natural setting. The program also sponsors a number of events throughout the year, including exhibitions, concerts, and workshops.
One of the most unique aspects of Fogo Island is its architecture. The island is home to a number of modern, minimalist structures designed by renowned architect Todd Saunders. These structures, known as the Fogo Island Inn and the Fogo Island Studios, are perched on stilts above the rocky coastline, providing guests with stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding landscape.
What is so special about Fogo Island?
Fogo Island is a truly special place that offers visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. Its rugged natural beauty, rich and distinct culture, and innovative architecture make it a must-see destination for anyone interested in exploring Canada’s east coast.
The island is surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean and boasts stunning scenery, including rugged coastline, rolling hills, and breathtaking vistas. Visitors can hike, fish, or simply relax and take in the natural beauty.
Fogo Island is also home to a unique and vibrant culture that has been shaped by its isolation and rugged landscape. Visitors can experience the island’s distinct dialect, traditional music, and delicious local cuisine.
One of the most striking features of Fogo Island is its innovative architecture, which includes the Fogo Island Inn and Fogo Island Studios. These buildings are designed to blend seamlessly with the island’s natural environment and offer visitors a one-of-a-kind experience.
Beyond its natural beauty and innovative design, Fogo Island is also a testament to the resilience of small communities in the face of economic and social challenges. Its social enterprise model, which is focused on creating sustainable economic opportunities for the island’s residents, has become a model for community development around the world.
How to Get to Fogo Island?
Getting to Fogo Island requires taking a combination of land and sea transportation.
First, you’ll need to travel to Newfoundland and Labrador, which is easily accessible by air from many major cities in Canada and the United States. The closest airports to Fogo Island are Gander International Airport and St. John’s International Airport.
From there, you can drive or take a shuttle to the town of Farewell, which is located on the northeastern coast of Newfoundland. Once you reach Farewell, you’ll need to take a ferry to Fogo Island. Once you arrive on the island, you can explore by foot, bike, or car.
You can’t book the ferry in advance so it’s a good idea to get there at least an hour before departure to ensure you get on as it only takes 64 vehicles at a time.
Alternatively, you can book a helicopter or charter plane from Gander International Airport or St. John’s International Airport directly to Fogo Island. This option is more expensive but offers a quicker and more scenic travel experience.
How long is the ferry ride to Fogo Island?
The ferry ride from Farewell to Fogo Island typically takes around 45 minutes. The ferry is operated by the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador and runs several times a day, depending on the season and weather conditions. The ride offers stunning views of the surrounding ocean and coastline and is the most popular way to get to Fogo Island.
Where to Stay in Fogo
Fogo Island offers several options for accommodation, but three stand out in particular:
You can’t talk about Fogo without talking about The Fogo Island Inn. This world renowned property is a stunningly beautiful and luxurious hotel located on the rugged and remote Fogo Island in Newfoundland, Canada. This one-of-a-kind inn features 29 architecturally striking guest suites, all with floor-to-ceiling windows offering breathtaking views of the North Atlantic Ocean. The hotel also features world-class dining options, a rooftop sauna and hot tub, and a variety of cultural programming, including workshops on traditional crafts and cooking. The Fogo Island Inn is the perfect destination for those seeking a truly unique and unforgettable travel experience, with unparalleled opportunities for adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion.
But I’ll give you the head’s up, this exclusive property comes with a hefty price tag. For 2023, accommodations start at $2875 CAD/night with a 3-night minimum.
The Old Salt Box Co. – Mary’s Place
This vacation rental property is located in the scenic town of Tilting on Fogo Island. This cozy and charming house is part of the Old Salt Box Co.’s collection of restored traditional Newfoundland homes, and features all the modern amenities and comforts you need for a comfortable stay. Mary’s Place is conveniently located near Tilting’s picturesque harbor, as well as local shops and attractions, making it the perfect base for exploring this charming town and the rest of Fogo Island. The house is available for rent year-round and can accommodate up to six guests, making it ideal for families or groups of friends looking for a unique and authentic Newfoundland vacation experience.
The Old Salt Box Co. – Aunt Glady’s
This restored traditional Newfoundland home has been converted into a vacation rental property on Fogo Island. This cozy and charming house is located in the town of Joe Batt’s Arm and features all the modern amenities and comforts you need for a comfortable stay. Aunt Glady’s is conveniently located near local shops, attractions, and hiking trails, making it the perfect base for exploring the natural beauty and culture of Fogo Island. The house is available for rent year-round and can accommodate up to six guests, making it ideal for families or groups of friends looking for a unique and authentic Newfoundland vacation experience.
Fogo Island has several vacation rental options, including traditional saltbox houses and modern cottages. These accommodations offer a more affordable option than the Fogo Island Inn and give visitors the opportunity to experience life on the island like a local. Vacation rentals are available in several towns on the island, including Tilting, Joe Batt’s Arm, and Shoal Bay.
No matter where you stay on Fogo Island, you can expect to be surrounded by stunning natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality from the island’s residents.
Where to Eat in Fogo
The Inn Kitchen at Fogo Island Inn
The Fogo Island Inn’s restaurant offers a fine dining experience with a focus on local and seasonal ingredients. The menu changes frequently and features creative dishes inspired by the island’s culture and natural surroundings. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and reservations are recommended.
Bangbelly is a popular restaurant located in the town of Joe Batt’s Arm on Fogo Island. It is known for its creative and delicious cuisine, which features fresh and local ingredients that highlight the flavors of Newfoundland. The menu at Bangbelly changes frequently to reflect the seasons and availability of local ingredients, but visitors can expect to find a range of innovative dishes inspired by the island’s culture and natural surroundings.
In addition to its food, Bangbelly is also known for its cozy and welcoming atmosphere, with a rustic yet modern decor that reflects the island’s unique character. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating options, as well as a selection of wines and cocktails to complement the menu.
Growlers Ice Cream
Growlers Ice Cream is a popular ice cream shop in Joe Batt’s Arm. It’s known for its delicious, homemade ice cream, which is made using high-quality ingredients and locally sourced dairy.
Some popular flavors at Growlers Ice Cream include the Newfoundland Blueberry, which features wild blueberries picked from the island’s fields, as well as the Salted Caramel and the Chocolate Chunk. The shop also offers vegan and dairy-free options, such as the coconut-based Chocolate Coconut and the sorbet-like Strawberry Basil.
In addition to its ice cream, Growlers also offers a range of other treats, such as homemade waffle cones, fresh-baked cookies, and espresso-based drinks. The shop has a cozy and inviting atmosphere, with indoor and outdoor seating options that offer views of the ocean and the island’s stunning landscape.
The Cod Jigger Diner
The Cod Jigger Diner is a popular restaurant in Joe Batt’s Arm that’s known for its hearty and traditional Newfoundland cuisine, which includes dishes such as fish and chips, fisherman’s brewis, cod tongues, and moose stew.
The restaurant has a cozy and rustic atmosphere, with wooden tables and chairs and a fireplace that adds to the warmth and charm of the space. Visitors can enjoy their meal while taking in views of the ocean and the island’s rugged landscape.
In addition to its main menu, the Cod Jigger Diner also offers daily specials that showcase the freshest and most seasonal ingredients available. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and also offers take-out options for visitors who want to enjoy their meal on the go.
Beaches Bar & Grill
Beaches Bar & Grill is a popular restaurant in Joe Batt’s Arm that’s known for its casual and relaxed atmosphere, with indoor and outdoor seating options that offer stunning views of the ocean and the island’s rugged landscape.
The menu at Beaches Bar & Grill features a range of delicious and creative dishes, with a focus on fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients. Visitors can enjoy classic Newfoundland dishes such as fish and chips, as well as more modern and inventive dishes like the lobster poutine and the seafood risotto.
In addition to its food, Beaches Bar & Grill also offers a selection of beer, wine, and cocktails, as well as live music and other entertainment throughout the week. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and also offers take-out options for visitors who want to enjoy their meal on the go.
Best Things to Do on Fogo Island
Fogo Island is a unique and stunning destination, offering a range of activities and attractions for visitors to explore. Here are a few of the best things to do on Fogo Island:
Visit the Fogo Island Arts Studios
The Fogo Island Arts Studios are a collection of six artist studios scattered throughout the island’s various communities. The studios host artists from around the world and offer a chance to see their work and learn about their creative process.
Hike the Brimstone Head Trail
Brimstone Head is often referred to as one of the four corners of the flat earth, and the hike to the summit offers stunning views of the island’s rugged coastline and rolling hills. The trail is well-marked and takes approximately 2 hours to complete round-trip.
Other Hiking Trails
- Lion’s Den Hiking Trail
- Joe Batt’s Point Trail
- Fogo Head Trail
- Turpin’s Hiking Trail
Take a boat tour
Boat tours are a great way to explore Fogo Island’s surrounding waters and see the island from a different perspective. You can spot whales, seabirds, and other marine life, and learn about the island’s fishing history and culture.
Offering boat tours and charters from Joe Batt’s Arm on Fogo Island. Fogo Island Boat Tours will take you to Little Fogo Islands for all passengers to enjoy a stroll back in time with the friendly crew of the MV Island Explorer. With breathtaking scenery and a little piece of history, this boat tour is one of a kind! Call to book your trip today!
Visit the Fogo Island Museums
Fogo Island has several museums that offer visitors a glimpse into the island’s rich history and culture, including the Fogo Island Marine Interpretation Centre, which focuses on the island’s fishing industry, the Brett House Museum, a restored fisherman’s home that provides a glimpse into the daily lives of Fogo Island’s early settlers., and the Bleak House Museum, a restored 19th-century merchant’s home that offers a glimpse into life on Fogo Island in the past.
- Bleak House Museum
- Brett House Museum
- Lane House Museum
- Dwyer Premises
- Fogo Island Marine Interpretation Centre
- Old Post Office
- School House Museum
- Marconi Wireless Interpretation Centre
- Experience Fogo Site
Attend a local festival
Fogo Island is known for its vibrant community and lively festivals, including the Brimstone Head Folk Festival in Joe Batt’s Arm and the Great Fogo Island Punt Race. These events offer a chance to experience the island’s culture and hospitality firsthand.
The Great Fogo Island Punt Race: This annual event is held in the summer and features traditional wooden punts racing through the waters around Fogo Island.
The Fogo Island Partridgeberry Harvest Festival: This festival takes place in the fall and celebrates Fogo Island’s famous partridgeberries with a variety of culinary events, including cooking demonstrations, tastings, and a community supper.
Brimstone Head Folk Festival: This annual music festival held in Fogo Island that features a diverse lineup of traditional and contemporary folk, country, and bluegrass musicians from Newfoundland and beyond.
Fogo Island Bus Tour
Experience Fogo Island with a personalized tour and local guide. Reduce the worry of lineups and long waits when heading to the island by walking on the ferry and taking a customizable driving tour of Fogo that meets your vacation goals. Explore historical museums, visit artist studios, dine at culinary hot spots and meet locals! With timely pick up and drop off at the ferry dock in Stag Harbour and space for 7 passengers, Fogo Island Bus Tour is the perfect way to experience Fogo for the day.
Take a Walking Tour of Tilting with Al
AL’s walking tour includes stops along points of interest in scenic Tilting, such as a traditional fishing stage and heritage site. This two hour tour will take you along the scenic Oliver’s Cove Trail where next to the ocean, you will view picket fences that enclose traditional gardens, notable landmarks such as the Devil’s Rocking Chair, and an ancient graveyard shrouded in mystery and rich folklore. The tour ends in Al’s shed where you enjoy a song or two.
Is Fogo Island Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! Fogo Island is a truly unique and special place, offering visitors a chance to experience the rugged beauty of Newfoundland’s coastal landscape, as well as the island’s rich culture and hospitality. With its stunning scenery, world-class accommodations, and a range of activities and attractions to suit any interest, Fogo Island is a destination that should not be missed. Whether you are interested in hiking, fishing, exploring the arts, or simply enjoying the island’s natural beauty and warm hospitality, Fogo Island is a place that is sure to capture your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories.
Overall, Fogo Island is a unique and unforgettable destination that offers visitors a chance to experience the rugged beauty and rich culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, the arts, or simply relaxing in a stunning natural setting, Fogo Island has something to offer.