Newfoundland Travel - Bell Island

Imagine traveling to a location where you will feel as if you have taken a giant step back in time and escaped the rushed lifestyle of today's world. This is exactly what you awaits on Bell Island, an island of 34 square kilometers with an estimated 2500 residents. Bell Island is accessible through a 15 minute ferry ride from Portugal Cove, St. John's, Newfoundland and a great place to include in your Newfoundland travel itinerary. #bellisland #newfoundland #explorenl #tourism #tourismnl



This is The Legionnaire, one of the two ferries providing travel between St. John's and Bell Island, Newfoundland
The Legionnaire commuting from Bell Island to St. John's, Newfoundland

Rugged cliffs at the ocean's edge in Bell Island, Newfoundland
Rugged cliffs at the ocean's edge in Bell Island, Newfoundland

One of the first things that impress me about Bell Island is its majestic, pure, landscape. Massive cliffs sit at the ocean's edge as sea birds flitter along their mountainous peaks and glide through the tunnels at their base. #cliff #mountain #seabirds #ocean #sea #landscape #newfoundland #bellisland

Harry Hibbs memorial lookout deck on the coast of Bell Island
Harry Hibbs memorial lookout deck on the coast of Bell Island

Ascending the sloping road that leads from the ferry terminal to the community, you will notice "Harry's lookout", a memorial to the late Harry Hibbs, a Newfoundland singer / songwriter who was born on Bell Island but later moved to the mainland at age 20. #bellisland #harryhibbs #harryhibbsmemorial #wharf #culture

Concrete mural depicting Bell Island culture and heritage
Concrete mural depicting Bell Island culture and heritage

A short distance from the memorial, you will notice a rest area with engraved benches and handcrafted murals, a testament that family, culture, and community are strong values held by the residents of Bell Island. #memorial #historyandculture #culture #bellisland #tourismnl #newfoundland

As tribute to the once vibrant mining industry, a rusty cart next to the miner's memorial site on Bell Island
As tribute to the once vibrant mining industry, a rusty cart next to the miner's memorial site on Bell Island

Many landmarks throughout the community highlight the historical importance of the iron ore mining industry. For 71 years, iron ore mining had seen the island thrive economically, something that remains strong and proud in the hearts of these amazing Islanders. #bellisland #islander #ironoremining #mining #canada #bellislandeconomy #history

Painted murals commemorating the mining industry adorn the faces of many public buildings on Bell Island
Painted murals commemorating the mining industry adorn the faces of many public buildings on Bell Island

Weathered, painted murals on many public buildings commemorate the once vibrant iron ore mining industry. Today, the island has a strong tourism focus. #bellisland #tourism #mural

Underground in number 2 mine, Bell Island, Newfoundland
Underground in number 2 mine, Bell Island, Newfoundland

For me, one of the highlights of a trip to Bell Island is the Number 2 mine tour. #number2minetour #bellislandmine #bellisland #minetour #tourismnl #newfoundland

Since its abrupt closure in 1966, the negative economic impact has been quite evident.

This abandoned pink house in an overgrown field on Bell Island has its windows and doors boarded up
Boarded up pink house in an overgrown field on Bell Island

This are a couple of examples of the many boarded up houses that can be seen in some districts throughout the community. #bellisland #abandonedhome #oldhouse #overgrown #field

Abandoned building with an attached crumbling concrete structure on Bell Island
Abandoned building with an attached crumbling concrete structure on Bell Island

Despite the many losses the island has suffered, many residents remain friendly and optimistic. From my experience, many residents are seniors and quite willing to share their memories and life stories. #friendlypeople #community #bellisland #rural #memories

The Seaman's Memorial is located ocean-front on Lance Cove, Bell Island
The Seaman's Memorial is located ocean-front on Lance Cove, Bell Island

One man told me of how his ocean-side family home received crew from the ill-fated SS Rose Castle after it was torpedoed by German U-boat in 1942. He then gave me directions to the Seaman's Memorial site which, when I visited, found quite moving. #seamansmemorial #rosecastle #memorial #shipwreckmemorial #bellisland #tourismnl

Grassy field along the coast of Bell Island offering a panoramic view of Conception Bay across the ocean
Grassy field along the coast of Bell Island offering a panoramic view of Conception Bay across the ocean

He also gave me directions to a lookout point that offered amazing coastal views and a panoramic view of Conception Bay across the ocean. What a wonderful place to stand and contemplate life as the warm ocean breeze sweeps your face! #conceptionbay #coastal #panoramic #nature

Fishing dory in an open field overlooking Bell Island's Lighthouse Cafe and the Atlantic ocean
Fishing dory in an open field overlooking Bell Island's Lighthouse Cafe and the Atlantic ocean

On my journey back to the ferry terminal, I stopped at the Bell Island lighthouse hoping to take a tour. However, I was told that the lighthouse tower was not open to the public and that the lighthouse cafe (which offers ocean and lighthouse themed decor). #bellisland #dory #lighthouse #lighthousecafe #tourismnl

Grebe's Nest, a landscape marker and popular tourist attraction, on Bell Island, Newfoundland.
Grebe's Nest, a landscape marker and popular tourist attraction, on Bell Island, Newfoundland.

The lighthouse tower, operated by the Newfoundland coastguard, was manned by a very friendly worker who provided me with even more detail about the island of Bell Island, informing me of a place called Grebe's Nest. Naturally, I just had to visit! You can see now why I recommend a full day to explore Bell Island. #bellisland #grebesnest #naturallandscape #touristattraction #placestovisit #tourismnl

Fisherman's tunnel at Grebe's Nest on Bell Island, Newfoundland.
Fisherman's tunnel at Grebe's Nest on Bell Island, Newfoundland.

Interesting tunnels were seen throughout the oceanic landscape at Grebe's Nest, Bell Island. I later learned that these were entrances through the underground mining tunnels, something that I found completely amazing! #undergroundmine #abandonedmine #bellisland #tourismnl #newfoundland



Dick's fish and chips restaurant on Bell Island, Newfoundland
Dick's fish and chips restaurant on Bell Island, Newfoundland

I did not have time to visit Dick's fish and chips, a popular stop over for many visiting the island but will be sure to do so on my next visit to Bell Island. #restaurant #dicksfishandchips #fishandchips #placestovisit #bellisland

Moose lawn display on a private lawn in a grassy field on Bell Island, Newfoundland
Moose lawn display on a private lawn in a grassy field on Bell Island, Newfoundland

Be prepared to enjoy the simple, personal, touches through the community on your visit to Bell Island. However, a word of advice, travelers should check with the ferry service to determine arrival and departure times and to ensure that both ferries are operational. It is not uncommon for one of the ferries to be pulled from service and lead to more extensive transit times. However, on the many occasions that I have travelled to Bell Island, thankfully, there were no transportation issues. #bellisland #personaltouch #lawndecor #tourismnl

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