Destinations

10 things to love about Nova Scotia

If you haven’t heard of Nova Scotia, we won’t blame you. But after reading about it, you might regret not visiting… yet.

Nova Scotia is one of eastern Canada’s Maritime provinces on the Atlantic and is made up of a peninsula and offshore islands – plus it’s home to puffins and seals, and popular for water sports like kayaking.

The history:

Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s Maritime Provinces, and both its past and its present are tied closely to fishing, shipbuilding, and transatlantic shipping.

In 1605, the French established a fur-trading post at Port Royal, making the site of the first European settlement north of Florida. As a result, this place place is steeped in history from not only the early explorers, who named the area Acadia, but the native Mi’kmaq people, who had been hunters and gatherers in the area for centuries before.

The province’s present name also means “New Scotland” in Latin. How’s that for a fun fact?

The landscape:

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We all know the Canadian landscape is one of the best around, but in Nova Scotia, it’s at a whole new level.

Experience the great outdoors like almost nowhere else: check out the world’s highest tides, rocky coves, remote lighthouses and rustic fishing villages with the warm hospitality of the locals.

What more could you want in a holiday?

Lunenburg:

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Old Town Lunenburg is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but home to Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador, the Bluenose II, a graceful, replicated ship of the original fishing boat – made famous as a racing schooner.

The town is famed for it’s distinctive waterfront with its colourful buildings, as well as just being super, super quaint.

Halifax:

The capital of Nova Scotia and pub capital of Canada, Halifax is a cosmopolitan city offering some of Canada’s most succulent seafood, mirco breweries and distilleries, as well as unique shops and resuarants to boot – all right beside a stunning waterfront.

This city has more pubs and clubs per capita than almost any city in Canada which makes it even more fitting that the city’s most famous brewmaster, Alexander Keith, was also the mayor. Three times. Which basically makes his original 1820 brewery (which is still open, BTW) a historical site.

Citadel National Historic Site:

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Speaking of historical sites, the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site was set as up by British military in 1749, and is definitely worth a visit in between beers.

The present Citadel, completed in 1856, is officially called Fort George, named after Britain’s King George II, and actually never needed to be used for any wars or invasions.

Cabot Trail:

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This beautiful coastal trail features amazing views, wildlife spotting opportunities and happens to be located on Cape Breton Island, which magazine Travel + Leisure dubbed as one of the world’s must see islands. And boy, do we believe them.

But, besides a stunning road trip, what is there to do? Well, the natural beauty of the highlands provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities like  golfing, kayaking, hiking, cycling, and whale watching. And don’t forget about motorcycling!

You can hike and camp in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, play a round of golf at the famous Highlands Links, check out artisan shops along the trail, or just drive and stare as you experience this 300 kilometre (186 mile) highway. Only stare if you’re on a tour bus, though.

Brier Island:

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This small island is home to whales, seabirds, flora, fauna, shipwrecks, lighthouses, hiking trails and about 200 people, and sits at the entrance to the Bay of Fundy, which has the highest tides in the world.

And whatever you do, don’t go past the whale watching. Picture Finback and Minkes, humpbacks or even the rare North Atlantic right whale!

Bay of Fundy:

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This beautiful formation is one of the seven wonders of North America, and after visiting you’ll see why. It has the highest tides on earth, the rarest whales in the world, semi-precious minerals and dinosaur fossils – all in the one place.

Imagine breathtaking hiking trails, sea kayaking tours along sculpted coastline, cliffs and islands, boat tours and tidal rafting expeditions on the tidal rivers, all in a postcard-worthy location. Yeah, sign us up.

Roadtripping:

Motorcycles travel along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park near Cheticamp

Canada is possibly one of the best locations in the world for self-driving itineraries, and Nova Scotia is no exception. How else are you supposed to stop every five minutes for photo breaks?

You can either rent a car and go your own way or choose from the plethora of company-provided itineraries.

The food:

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Think lobster is an expensive meal? Not in Nova Scotia!

In fact, the seafood here is a force to be reckoned with – in taste, availability and price. And did we mention you can go on seafood trails, to restaurants and retail and fisheries experiences. Just get us here already.

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