Norse sod hut at L.#8217;Anse aux Meadows, Newfoun

Getty Images/iStockphoto

L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site

Top choice in Newfoundland & Labrador

Leif Erikson and his Viking friends lived here circa 1000. Visitors can see the remains of their waterside settlement: eight wood-and-sod buildings, now just vague outlines left in the spongy ground, plus three replica buildings inhabited by costumed docents. The latter have names such as 'Thora' and 'Bjorn' and simulate Viking chores such as spinning fleece and forging nails. Allow two or three hours to walk around and absorb the ambience.

The premise may seem dull – visiting a bog in the middle of nowhere and staring at the spot where a couple of old sod houses once stood – but somehow this site, lying in a forlorn sweep of land, turns out to be one of Newfoundland's most stirring attractions.

Be sure to browse the interpretive center and watch the introductory film, which tells the captivating story of Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad and his wife, archaeologist Anne Stine, who rediscovered the site in 1960. Also worthwhile is the 3km trail that winds through the barren terrain and along the coast surrounding the interpretive center.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Newfoundland & Labrador attractions

1. Norstead

0.59 MILES

Can't get enough of the long-bearded Viking lifestyle? Stop by Norstead, just beyond the turnoff to the national historic site. This recreated Viking…

2. Whale Point

3.77 MILES

Phew, that view. This windswept hill overlooks the cold ocean, drifting icebergs and breaching whales. It's located at the end of the road in the 'town'…

3. The Granchain Exhibit

6.71 MILES

Located within Dark Tickle and Cafe Nymphe, you'll find this small exhibition on the history of Newfoundland's Petit Nord – the migratory French fishery…

4. Grenfell Interpretation Centre

16.27 MILES

A number of local sites pertaining to pioneering doctor Sir Wilfred Grenfell are subsumed under Grenfell Historic Properties. The Grenfell Interpretation…

5. Grenfell Museum

16.46 MILES

Admission to the Grenfell Historic Properties includes Grenfell's beautiful mansion, now the Grenfell Museum. It's behind the hospital, about a five…

6. Fishing Point Park

16.6 MILES

The main road through town ends at Fishing Point Park, where a lighthouse and towering headland cliffs overlook the sea. The Iceberg Alley Trail and Whale…