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Coastal scene on Fogo IslanCoastal scene on Fogo Island

What to Do on Fogo Island, Newfoundland

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Fogo Island is Newfoundland’s largest offshore island, located in the central part of the province, approximately 120 kilometres north of Gander. The island sits at one of the four corners of the earth so if you aren’t careful, especially if you hike the Brimstone Trail, you may fall off. Fortunately no one has been lost yet.Fogo Island is a must-do detour if you have a few extra days on route to the Twillingate area. You could also visit the Change Islands as they are on the same ferry route.

Read my post about kayaking with icebergs out of Twillingate.

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Fishing nets on the island
Fishing nets on Fogo Island

Getting to Fogo Island

The island is accessed via a ferry service leaving from Farewell. Many of the ferries stop at the Change Islands on the way to Fogo Island.

Interestingly, some of the vehicles on the Change Islands, including one pulling a U-Haul, had to BACK onto the ferry. I’d only seen this happen once before – on the ferry between Newfoundland and Labrador.

 Scenery at the ferry dock
Scenery at the ferry dock

On the ferry you can pick up an excellent map of Fogo Island. It lists all the businesses as well as suggestions of things to do.

Fogo Island is 25 kilometres long by 14 kilometres wide so you can easily drive the whole island in a day. It seemed that many people on the ferry were only heading over for a day.

They’d go to the five-star Fogo Island Inn for a tour and lunch and then head back. Do that, but give the island more than a day – especially if you’re into hiking or photography.

If you can afford it, a stay at the Fogo Island Inn sounds positively divine. A friend recently celebrated her 35th anniversary at the inn – and had this to say – “Every morning coffee and a baked good – bread, scones, muffins or granola was in a box outside your door. A pre-breakfast treat. Unbelievable that place is. The staff and I cried when we left.”

You won't have a hard time picking out the Fogo Island Inn
You won’t have a hard time picking out the Fogo Island Inn

The communities on Fogo Island

On Fogo Island, population 2,157 in 2022, there are a few small towns and communities – Little Seldom and Seldom, Fogo, Joe Batt’s Arm, Sandy Cove and Tilting. Many are fishing villages and very pretty but not all offer services.

Colourful fishing villages on the drive to Tilting
Colourful fishing villages on Fogo Island seen on the drive to Tilting
Wildflowers brighten an otherwise dreary day
Wildflowers brighten an otherwise dreary day

What to do on Fogo Island

For starters, drive every road you can. The houses on Fogo Island are colourful and full of character and the maritime scenes are pretty even in the rain. And it rains a lot on the island.

What to do on a Trip to Fogo Island, Newfoundland
A die hard Maple leaf’s fan by the looks of the flag
What a treat to see icebergs as you're driving around on Fogo Island
What a treat to see icebergs as you’re driving around on the island
A cannon leftover from the days when the island needed protection
A cannon leftover from the days when the island needed protection
Getting socked in by the weather
Getting socked in
Yellow house seen through the raindrops
Yellow house seen through the raindrops
Houses on the island have a lot of character
Houses on the island have a lot of character
The one cemetery I saw on the island
The one cemetery I saw on the island

Book a tour of the Fogo Island Inn before you show up on the island

The Fogo Island Inn is a remarkable structure. It’s the brainchild of Zita Cobb, a local who went away to study and earn a living, and who came back several decades later a multi-millionaire with a desire to turn the economic fortunes of Fogo Island around.

The emphasis has been on making Fogo Island a cultural destination. To that end, she and a younger brother came up with the idea of the Shorefast Foundation. Artist residency programs and a loan program for under-funded people with creative ideas are just two of the four principles of the foundation.

Looking across the bay to the Fogo Island Inn
Looking across the bay to the Fogo Island Inn
The back view of Fogo Island Inn
The back view of Fogo Island Inn
There's a distinct lack of soil on the island
There’s a distinct lack of soil on Fogo Island

Where to eat on the island

For a meal, check out Bangbelly Café, open seasonally from Mother’s Day until Thanksgiving. Take out is also available. In summer, head to Growlers in Joe Batt’s Arm for ice cream.

The Outpost Café and Roastery, home to the Flat Earth Coffee Company – and the best coffee I had in two weeks in Newfoundland – is also worth a visit. Look for home baked goods as well as soups. You’ll find it on the north side of Highway 334 on the way to Joe Batt’s Arm.

Take a hike on Fogo Island

The only hike we had time for on Fogo Island was the one to Brimstone Head – one of the four corners of the world according to the Flat Earth Society.

But there are numerous trails including the 8.5 km Turpin’s Trail in Tilting that takes you by the first ground radar station in North America, and the 5.7 km Waterman Brook’s Trail that ends at a waterfall. At certain times of the year you might get lucky and see some of the 600 caribou that call the island home. 

Most of the trails are rocky, so good footwear is important. And don’t forget your rain gear.

What to do on a Trip to Fogo Island, Newfoundland
The Fogo Head trailhead offers island and iceberg views
Brimstone Head Trailhead - takes you to one of the four corners of the world
Brimstone Head Trailhead – takes you to one of the four corners of the earth
Hiking to the edge of the Flat Earth, Fogo Island
Hiking to the edge of the Flat Earth
What to do on a Trip to Fogo Island, Newfoundland
It’s a quick and easy climb to Brimstone Head
Looking down the cliffs through the fog on Fogo Island, Newfoundland
Looking down the cliffs through the fog
My friend Judy and I are captivated by the place even in the fog
My friend Judy and I are captivated by the place even in the fog
A sign meant for the Fort McMurray working folks
A sign meant for the Fort McMurray working folks
The summit of Brimstone Head; it's only a 20 minute walk to the top
The summit of Brimstone Head; it’s only a 20 minute walk to the top
What a difference a little sunshine makes to the landscape
What a difference a little sunshine makes to the landscape

A few other things to do if you have time

In chatting with guests at our B&B, I understand that the Fogo Island Marine Interpretation Center in Seldom is also well worth the visit, though they had some difficulty locating the building. The cod liver oil your mother made you take as a kid might have come from here.

There are galleries to visit too, so pull out the map and plan your time. You’ll soon understand why you need to spend more than a day on the island.

Where to stay on Fogo Island

For accommodation choose from B&B’s as well as the Fogo Island Inn. I can highly recommend a stay at Peg’s Place in Fogo. It’s not fancy but it’s very comfortable and clean, breakfasts are great and include a giant fresh fruit salad. Eileen, the co-owner can give you loads of ideas on what to do as well.

If you’re looking for a holiday home and you want to see what it’s like to live in a salt box then check out The Old Salt Box Co. – Aunt Gladys.

Fogo Island over-delivered on scenery but under-delivered on weather. I shouldn’t complain because the day on Fogo Island was the only full day of rain in two weeks in Newfoundland. The morning we left was glorious and I wish I could have stayed and hiked a few more of the trails.

Fogo Island Location map


Further reading on things to do in Newfoundland

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

What to do and where to stay on Fogo Island - Newfoundland's largest offshore island

Thank you to Adventure Central Newfoundland for help with my visit to the island.


    1. @Jess I was disappointed that the afternoon when we actually had some time, the weather was too nasty too hike – or at least to see anything but I loved the short hike to Brimstone Head.

  1. I was immediately intrigued (very much so) by the Fogo Island Inn, Leigh! I see they have one of the best new restaurants in Canada. Wow, it is definitely 5 star gorgeous inside! It looks like it was quite blustery there that day you were there? I love that pic of the cannon. The hike to Brimstone Head sounds interesting and now you have me looking up the Flat Earth Society! Good post and we hope you guys are doing great! 🙂

    1. @Mike The Inn is receiving a lot of positive press about the food for sure and in many bays I wish we’d made more of an effort to do the tour and have lunch but time was short and I was pretty darned happy just to get to the island.

      I think you can join the Flat Earth Society for only $3.

      We’re doing well – in Saskatchewan for a week doing some long hikes and then another out there paddle via a float plane drop-off on the Churchill River.

    1. @Lisa It’s worth the visit to Fogo Island for sure but I think I’d just opt for a meal and a tour rather than forking out some serious money for a room at the Inn – at least in high season.

  2. What an awesome island with such an unusual and quaint name “Fogo” … I’m going to be rolling that over my tongue all day. Loved your pic of the path on the Brimstone walk, like something from Lord of the Rings, and the diminutive houses beneath that huge hotel. But oh my, bet it sports some amazing views 😉

  3. The fishing villages are so pretty. As is the scenery. Great photos. Love the names of Seldom and Little Seldom.

    1. @Jackie The inn does dwarf the homes of the locals but from what I understand the design of the inn is in keeping with the fishing life. I too think the scale seems way off but it has put Fogo Island on the map and probably improved the lives of a great many people. No doubt there is still a lot of controversy about the inn.

  4. Sounds like a treat to stay in the Fogo Island Inn after a day of touring this island, but Peg’s B&B sounds nice, too. Love the colorful houses.

  5. Great photos! Looks wild and beautiful in spite of the weather. Newfoundland is the only province I haven’t had a chance to visit yet but Fogo island looks like a great spot.

  6. I would love to take a ferry out of a place named “Farewell.” How romantic! And I love how, despite what could be gloomy weather, you captured the color – in the flora, the houses, even the fishing nets! About the only thing that jarred was the Fogo Island Inn. It just doesn’t seem to fit, looming over everything. Kinda creepy, as in what were they thinking?

    1. @Betsy Thanks for your comment. The scale of the inn seems all wrong to me as well but the inn itself gets rave reviews and the owner built it as her way of giving back to the community. I have no idea how the community really feels about the place – but it had provided some much needed jobs. I’d seen loads of pictures of the inn before but never in relation to the smaller homes – and that threw me when I first saw it.

  7. We didn’t make it to Fogo Island, but we absolutely fell in love with Newfoundland last summer when we visited. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. @The Gypsynesters Newfoundland offers a lot of diversity so it’s hard to see everything you want to in even a couple of weeks. I do recommend a trip to Fogo Is if you ever get the chance.

  8. I’ve been wanting to visit Fogo ever since the Inn opened and it’s been getting so much press, although I’m not sure my budget will allow that! Great overview and photos. I especially love the one of ropes in the baskets. Sometime the weather you had can be so beautiful, and allows you to have a different perspective. I think i might be disappointed if I didn’t have at least a little for there.

    1. @Alison The Inn is crazy expensive so many people end up going over to Fogo Island just for the day. They book a tour and have lunch and catch a ferry back to “mainland” Newfoundland.

  9. No I’ve never been to Fogo Island, but almost feel like I have been after your virtual tour. It’s so rustic and quaint (in my opinion). I would love to spend a few days exploring this area. The photo of the inn overlooking the local homes is amazing!

  10. Your pictures were terrific and I loved the names of the various places: Fogo Island, Gander, Farewell, Change Islands, etc…

  11. Been there twice, each time for a week. Awesome. I still have many things to see. Will be back again in a few months.Like what you write except for the weather…. Just had a half day of rain, all the time sunny (march 2014 and october 2014)

  12. Love the pictures. Hoping to go to Newfoundland next spring, so I’m very interested in your trip. Will definitely take your advice and plan for some time on the island. Are there hostels at all?

    1. @Shirley I don’t actually know if there are hostels but you could sens a tweet to Newfoundland Tourism who should be able to help you. Some of the B&B’s are very reasonably priced. You’ll be very happy you went. If you have time you could also include the Change Islands.

  13. I just left Fogo Island a couple of weeks ago, and absolutely fell in love with it. I had the good fortune to be touring in my RV so didn’t have to pay the crazy price for the Inn, but I did do the tour. I posted some photos of the inside on my blog, if you are interested. Just search on Fogo. I agree with you about Nicole’s, but enjoyed Growler’s Ice Cream even more!

    I am so enamored with outdoor options in Canada after my time in Newfoundland. I am going to check out your book for more remote options for outdoor experiences in Canada.

    Thanks, Suzanne

    1. @Suzanne Something you might really enjoy is the East Coast Trail – hiking from B&B to B&B. I hope you made it to Twillingate and Gros Morne National Park is a wonderful place to visit. Fogo Island is a very special place.

  14. Spent 10 days in Newfoundland in July 2017, 3 Nights, 4 days on Fogo Island. We had planned to make it a day trip but never wanted to leave once we arrived. Toured the whole Island and spent our nights tenting at Brimstone Head RV Park. You can stay there for $15 dollars a night no electricity and $30 with. Lots of Icebergs were in the Cove while we were there and listening to them break apart while relaxing, was close to unimaginable. People there are also just as great. Very special place indeed. Going back 2018.

  15. Did you meet no people? Or are they all hiding under the beds till the tourists leave in the evening? LOL! I was a French teacher/history teacher/school librarian on Fogo in 1975-1976! Here’s a great song from the Change Islands. I’ve never even seen the Change Islands from a ferry because when i was there, the ferry in from Carmenville to Seldom Come By! A little closer to St John’s than where the ferry docks now. And, of course, here’s Dick Nolan’s Aunt Martha’s Sheep

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