Step Back in Time with a Trip to Battle Harbour

You will find a small island off the shores of Labrador where time has stood still for the past two centuries. Visit Battle Harbour and discover how the island’s first settlers survived on this tiny bit of land. Take a tour of the grounds, hike the trails around the island and step back in time on your trip to Battle Harbour.

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The green hills of Battle Harbour with the Church in the distance
tow abandoned fisherman houses on the coast of Battle Harbour

Where is Battle Harbour

Battle Harbour is a small community on Battle Island, 14 kilometres off the coast of Labrador in Atlantic Canada. It can only be reached by ferry. It is known as the unofficial historic capital of Labrador.

Why visit Battle Harbour

Step back in time on this tiny island and discover how this community thrived and survived in the 1700s and 1800s and how a few families still call it home. The restored original buildings and impressive collection of antiques from another era tell stories that locals proudly share with us. 

A bit of History

Battle Harbour sits on the rugged shore of a tickle (narrow stream between two lands). The opposite shore is Great Caribou Island. There used to be a settlement on Caribou Island, but it was abandoned, and most houses have been torn down. One remains. Most of the buildings on Battle Harbour have been preserved and restored to their original look and feel.

abandoned house on Great Caribou Island across Battle Harbour

The Ferry from Mary’s Harbour to Battle Harbour

While you wait for the ferry in Mary’s Harbour, you can stop at the Great Caribou Studio. They have souvenirs, arts and crafts from local artists, and coffee, tea or hot chocolate with all kinds of pastries. 

The Trinity Pride will take you to the island of Battle Harbour in an hour and a half. It is a small boat that seats maybe a dozen people. You can also step outside on the back deck during the ride for a better look at the surrounding islands. 

Trinity Pride's Ferry to take passengers to Battle Harbour

In no time, you will see the tiny houses and the church come into view on the starboard side. As the boat gets closer, the little community becomes visible, where white and red houses are scattered on the island’s hillside. 

Battle Harbour as seen from the boat with scattered fishermen's houses and the hills in the background
Battle Harbour as seen from the boat with the village's building and church on the grassy hill.

What to expect on your Trip to Battle Harbour

Guided tour of Battle Harbour

The guided tour will take you to the different buildings that were an essential part of survival on the island. The islanders came together and worked hard to provide for their families. 

The guide, a 5th generation resident of Battle Harbour, will bring you to the pork house, the salmon house, the seal house, the salt and flour houses, the church and the ranger station while telling you stories of his childhood and stories from 5 generations back. 

You will have the opportunity to contemplate the extensive collection of antiques and ancient artifacts from another era. 

General Store and registration desk

Initially the General Store, this building is now a souvenir shop with Newfoundland and Labrador products and artifacts. It also doubles as the registration desk for check-ins and check-outs. 

Dining Hall

The Dining Hall is beautifully decorated. There are set times for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food prepared by the on-site chef is excellent, and so is the service.

We had the pleasure of tasting their cod gratiné and the maple curry chicken; both were delicious. You can buy drinks for dinner; wine comes by the glass, or the bottle and beer are also available. 

the dinning table set for dinner with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling
Dining Hall

The Loft

Above the General Store is the loft. It is the only place on the island with wifi. There is no cellular service on Battle Harbour. The loft is where visitors can spend the evening relaxing, reading, having a drink and socializing while sharing adventure and travel stories with other visitors.

The place is a warm and inviting room with couches and lounge chairs, games, and, from time to time, live entertainment.

couches and comfy chairs with a wall bookcase
The Loft

Hiking Trails on Battle Harbour

The Battle Harbour Footpath makes its way all around the island. It is an easy 2-kilometre hike on a rocky trail. The trail features impressive views of the ocean. It also brings hikers to a plane crash memorial site where the accident claimed the lives of three young men in 1976. 

Following the path, hikers come across the ruins of the Marconi radio station. Two high towers have since replaced the station. Two cemeteries circa 1780 and 1900 are also along the trail, with well-preserved headstones telling of the families that have been island residents for generations. 

Hikers can take a break on benches that look out to the ocean. 

Dirt packed hiking trail on Battle Island behind Battle Harbour
View of two abandoned houses from the hiking trail on Battle Island

The trail is a loop and brings hikers back to the small community on the hillside. You can make the loop starting either behind the big white and red church or the white and green Merchant’s Building. 

Hiking the trail in Battle Harbour with the church in the distance surrounded by grassy and rocky hills

Accommodations on Battle Harbour

When making your reservations for Battle Harbour, the package will come with either a room in the Merchant’s Building, in the Battle Harbour Inn or a rustic cottage. The rooms and the cottages have been preserved to feel like the original dwellings of the merchants and fishermen.

We used the Henry Jones room in the Merchant’s Building during our stay at Battle Harbour. It was a large, charming, rustic room with a private entrance on a balcony overlooking the community and the harbour. 

buildings of Battle Harbour on the grassy hill by the shore
View from the Henry Jones room’s balcony

Reservations and Packages for your Trip to Battle Harbour

It is necessary to make reservations to visit Battle Harbour. You will also need to choose how many days/nights to spend on the island. I recommend two nights. Different activities are also available to book upon reserving your stay.

The package will automatically include the ferry to Battle Harbour, the meals and your room. In addition, different packages may include various activities such as fishing, boat tours, and arts and crafts.

Other Information About Your Trip to Battle Harbour

  • The ferry departs Mary’s Harbour at 11 am
  • When you arrive, you will have lunch in Battle Harbour served in the dining hall.
  • After lunch, the guided tour is available to visitors.
  • You will have time for the hike after the guided tour.
  • Dinner is served in the dining hall.
  • Evenings are often spent in the Loft.
  • The return ferry leaves Battle Harbour at 9 am after breakfast.

You can find more information on available packages and pricing online, where you can also book your stay at Battle Harbour.

More Trips like Battle Harbour

Newfoundland and Labrador are full of islands, big and small, not too far off their rugged coastline. If you like visiting charming islands with rich history, you will enjoy Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, south of Newfoundland.

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