Red Bay, Labrador – Red Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador - Atlas Obscura
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Red Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador

Red Bay, Labrador

A forlorn fishing village on the coast of Labrador, full of shipwrecks and Spanish gold. 

Labrador is a place to visit, but only if you like isolation and natural beauty. To get to Red Bay, one must travel up the western coast of Newfoundland, a pleasure in itself, and then travel by ferry to the Quebec/Labrador border.

Once there, an astounding drive through pine trees and jagged rocks will deposit you in a fog-shrouded village called Red Bay.

Red Bay in itself doesn’t boast much, interesting box like houses, few roads, but the town’s mystique comes from its natural beauty and its history. Red Bay is quite literally a sheltered bay, surrounded with rocks and hills. From the coast, icebergs dance by, and in the distance, the lucky can spot the flumes of whale pods. The town has an anachronistic feel to it, with an aura that has stood still for centuries.

It was in this natural bay that the Spanish sought shelter, between 400-500 years ago. The Basques, from Southern France and Northern Spain, sent whalers to this remote location hoping to catch the Right and the Bowhead whales. In 1565, a Spanish whaling ship sank off the coast of Red Bay. A further three “trans-oceanic” ships have been discovered off the coast of Red Bay, and a cemetery nearby holds the remains of 140 whalers. Oh, and don’t forget Captain Kidd’s treasure, buried somewhere near a “pond on a hill.”