Basilica of St John the Baptist

St John's

Built in 1855, the soaring twin spires of the basilica pierce the sky and are visible all the way from Signal Hill. Its design marks the revival of classical architecture in North America. Inside, 65 stained-glass windows illuminate the remarkable polychromatic Italianate ceiling and its gold-leaf highlights.

The honor of being named a 'basilica' was bestowed on the church by Pope Pius XII on its centennial anniversary. Free half-hour tours are offered from 10am Monday to Saturday in July and August, according to demand. The convent behind the church holds the 'Veiled Virgin,' a one-of-a-kind marble statue that spiritual types come to view. Ring the buzzer for entry.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby St John's attractions

1. The Rooms

0.11 MILES

Not many museums offer the chance to see a giant squid, hear avant-garde sound sculptures and peruse ancient weaponry all under one roof. But that's The…

3. Bannerman Park

0.28 MILES

The largest municipal park in St John's has a very British feel, with its manicured lawns, shady trees, surrounding brick buildings and general green good…

4. Harbourside Park

0.35 MILES

With iconic statues of a Newfoundland dog and a Labrador Retriever, this park hosts the City of St John’s free Music at Harbourside lunchtime concert…

5. Newman Wine Vaults

0.69 MILES

Dating from the 1780s, these dark, cool wine vaults are where the Newman company aged its port until 1996 (when EU regulations forced the process back to…

6. Royal St John's Regatta Museum

1.04 MILES

Quidi Vidi Lake is the site of the city-stopping St John's Regatta. The Royal St John's Regatta Museum is on the 2nd floor of the boathouse, and gives an…

7. Johnson Geo Centre

1.05 MILES

Nowhere in the world can geo-history, going back to the birth of the earth, be accessed so easily as in Newfoundland. The Geo Centre does a grand job of…

8. Signal Hill Visitor Centre

1.07 MILES

Features interactive displays on the site's history. The last North American battle of the Seven Years' War took place here in 1762, and Britain's victory…