Almost entirely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Nova Scotia is a nautical playground. A Nova Scotia holiday is the perfect way to discover this charming maritime province, adorned with picturesque lighthouses upon rocky cliffs, quaint and colourful towns, some of Canada’s most scenic roads, all stitched together with a rich Scottish heritage.
Let yourself be embraced by the hospitable warmth of Nova Scotia’s capital Halifax, a city with beauty and culture in equal measures. Immerse yourself in its museums, be it the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, or the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
Explore the stunning victorian-era Halifax Public Gardens, or simply wander the waterfront and enchanting streets.
Leave the city behind and head towards a slower pace of life in one of Nova Scotia’s quaint fishing towns. Nearby, Peggy’s Point Lighthouse stands in the charming village of Peggy’s Cove, keeping watch over the Atlantic Ocean, while a little further on, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lunenburg, with over 400 years of history is ready to be discovered among its colourful, wooden-fronted buildings.
Nova Scotia’s nautical nature
On the province’s west side, the Bay of Fundy is home to over 12 different species of whales, making it the perfect place to hop aboard a whale-watching tour. Glide across the water and gaze in awe as whales breach and splash back into the water with a thunderous clap.
Back on land, wander sandy beaches, explore rocky coves and head to Burntcoat Head Park to walk on the ocean floor at low tide before marveling at the powerful ocean engulfing the land you walked upon earlier at high tide.
Nova Scotia is a playground of outdoor adventure and picturesque fishing towns, but it’s just one of Canada’s incredible Maritime provinces. Why not discover Nova Scotia’s many gems before heading to Prince Edward Island to explore its capital city of Charlottetown on our Maritime Magic Treasures self drive tour?
Great sample itineraries
With a bounty of nature and rich culture, Nova Scotia holidays offer you the chance to explore this charming province, as well as its other neighbouring Maritime provinces. Get inspired by some of our sample itineraries below, then give us a call and let us plan a trip that’s tailor made for you.
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Multi Centre
Explore Nova Scotia
Almost completely surrounded by ocean, with some of the best hiking trails and steeped in history, you will never be left wondering how to spend your days. You can spend your mornings on the water and your afternoons in the hills witnessing whales breaching in the ocean. No matter how active you want to be, there is something for everyone in Nova Scotia.
Discover the Cabot Trail, one of Canada's most beautiful drives - with rolling fields, rocky cliffs and highland scenery to be explored. Stop at Cheticamp located on the Cabot Trail, you'll be taken back by its beauty. For the more active hike the trails or take a guided nature tour.
Nova Scotia holds the more lighthouses than any other province and its not hard to see why, with it's dramatic coastlines. Often said to be the most photographed lighthouse in Canada, Peggy's Cove Lighthouse is located in the quaint fishing village of Peggy's Cove. We recommend you book a lighthouse tour, one of the best ways to visit and learn their history. This is a great place for enjoying the stunning coastline and breathing in the sea air.
Kejimkujik National Park
With verdant forests, crystal clear lakes and winding rivers; mix with the locals as you immerse themselves in the nature. Canoe, Kayak and hike through many waterways and trails that have been there for thousands of years. Located an easy hour and half drive from Lunenburg, this is a National Park not to be missed.
Cape Breton Island
Cape Breton Island is truly breathtaking, and one of the most scenic destinations in the world. Head to The Fortress at Louisbourg, learn about the significance of this fortress and the history behind it. Hear the boom of the cannon if you are visiting in summer. Pack a picnic and hike the lighthouse trail from the Old Town in Louisbourg, this trail winds along the coast. Take a guided kayak tour, float alongside seals and watch seabirds pass you by. You will not want to leave this Island.
Take to the ocean for the most spectacular whale watching Canada has to offer. Whale watching tours start as early as April and finish in October, the best whale watching can be found off of Cape Breton Island and around the Bay of Fundy. You'll see the playful humpback whales breaching and putting on a show for visitors, a sight not to be missed.
Nova Scotia has many outdoor pursuits for all ages and abilities. From whitewater rafting to gentle sailing tours, there is plenty to do on the water or take to the hills hiking or maybe cycling the Cabot Trail. If there is only one thing you do in Nova Scotia make sure it's the Tidal Bore Rafting this is an experience like no other, one moment you are floating on a peaceful river next you riding the rolling coaster of rapids.
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
The star-shaped naval station is a living history museum in the heart of downtown Halifax. Once a military fortification watching over the city, the building today acts a a window into Halifax's history. Take the guided tour of the musket galleries, garrison cells and Army Museum; catch the 78th Highland Regiment practicing drills and the 3rd Brigade of the Royal Artillery firing the canyon at noon each day.
The capital Halifax, is a small city with a big town feel with a thriving arts and culinary scene as well as more pubs and clubs per capita than anywhere else in Canada - perfect for getting to know the friendly locals.
“If you want to catch a glimpse of the whale migration around Brier Island, the best time to visit is between June and September.”
“For an unforgettable experience, suit up and head to the tidal bore. One minute you're floating on a calm peaceful river and the next it's transformed into raging rapids.”
Events & Festivals
Festivals and events are wonderful to include during your Nova Scotia holiday, offering a glimpse into the country’s authentic culture and traditions.
Celtic Colours International Festival
Spread over nine days during the month of October, the Celtic Colours International Festival sees a whole variety of events and activities unfolding across Breton Island. The festival celebrates the island’s traditional Scottish heritage and culture through events centred around food, music, dance, the outdoors and art. It’s a great way to experience this vibrant culture.
Antigonish Highland Games
The Antigonish Highland Games have been running since 1863, an event that helps to uphold the Scottish way of life. Each July, the festival kicks off with Scottish heritage workshops, before the games themselves start, with the Concert Under the Stars and traditional Scottish athletic competitions, including the classic caber toss and other heavyweight events.
Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo
Between June and July, Nova Scotia’s capital of Halifax plays host to the impressive Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. Enjoy a spectacularly choreographed show of performers from across the world, with pipers, drummers, dancers, acrobats, singers and military bands.
Being one of Canada’s Maritime provinces, it makes sense that much of its cuisine and its culture is centred around seafood. From scallops to lobster, you’ll find plenty of local delicacies picked right from the sea in Nova Scotia.
All across the province, talented chefs take Nova Scotia’s fresh seafood and turn it into delectable chowders. Follow the official Chowder Trail to sample some of the province’s best takes on this beloved dish.
Nova Scotia’s lobster is famously fresh and delicious. You’ll find lobster on menus across the province, in the form of lobster rolls, chowder, tacos, and even combined with poutine, another of Canada’s iconic dishes.
Digby is famous for its large and delicious scallops brought in by the Digby fishery. Despite the name, this delicious seafood is freshly distributed across the province and can actually be found on several restaurant menus across Nova Scotia.
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