Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
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10 Reasons to Put Nova Scotia on Your Bucket List

From whale watching to white water rafting, scenic drives to hiking trails, Nova Scotia offers all of this along with a unique culture, superb seafood and wonderful wine.

With 13,000 Km of coastline, a holiday in Nova Scotia will most definitely include ocean views and water activities. It is home to some of the world’s best whale watching experiences, some of the world’s best scenic drives and hikes, not to mention over 160 lighthouses! Stunning sea views are a given, but it’s charming towns, along with multicultural experiences and its eclectic music scene may surprise you the most. 

Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia

I have teamed up with Canadian Sky, the award-winning specialist tour operator to show you why you should add Nova Scotia to your bucket list. They offer a wide selection of holidays to Nova Scotia, including escorted tours and self drive itineraries, as well as city breaks and holidays throughout Canada.

Canadian Sky have dedicated Canadian specialists who can tailor make the perfect Nova Scotia holidays to suit your requirements, and can be contacted online, by phone, or you can visit their Customer Lounge in Dublin if you prefer to book your dream holiday in person. 

Canadian Sky offer holidays to Canada from Ireland

And, when you book Canada holidays with Canadian Sky, you can enjoy FREE airport lounge access before flying direct from Dublin to Halifax!

Whether you want a self-drive independent tour – where you choose your day to day activities but have hotels and some excursions booked for you, want to hire a motorhome and go as you please, or book a fully escorted tour with a professional tour director to show you the highlights, Canadian Sky can arrange it for you.

Why choose a holiday to Nova Scotia?

I’ve got 10 great reasons listed here along with some self-drive, motorhome and escorted tour recommendations:

1. Fly Direct from Dublin to Halifax in 6 hours! 

Did you know that Westjet fly direct from Dublin to Halifax 4 times weekly? Nova Scotia has never been so accessible, and the short flight time of just 6 hours and 8 minutes makes it a great option for a short break or summer holiday.

Direct flights commence on the 20th of June and flights operate every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

2. Nova Scotia is one of the Best Places to go Whale Watching

whale watching in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is not only one of the best places in Canada to see whales, its one of the world’s top whale watching destinations – this is mainly due to the fact that you can see up to 12 different types of whales here.

Finbacks and Minkes usually arrive in May, the Humpback whales come in June, and all usually stay along the Nova Scotia coastline throughout the summer and sometimes into October. 

You should see whales ‘spout’ regularly along the coastline but a whale watching trip is the best way to see whales breaching – this is when whales break through the surface of the water and soar into the air before returning to the sea with a loud splash!

The best viewing points tend to be along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton and the Bay of Fundy. There can be as many as 300 whales in the Bay of Fundy between June and October, while August is peak time and sightings are very common. You may even spot an orca, blue whale or pilot whale, as well as dolphins, seals, puffins, turtles, bald eagles and more.

Canadian Sky’s 8-Night Self Drive Tour includes a cruise from Brier Island to see Humpback whales, as well as the opportunity to see much more of Nova Scotia’s wildlife on one trip.

Fly direct from Dublin to Halifax, where you will stay for three nights, before setting off to explore Nova Scotia’s colourful towns and beautiful coastline. Price of €1599 includes flights, 8 nights hotel stays, five days car hire and 4-hour Digby Brier Island Whale & Seabird Cruise.

View offer here

 3. Hike some of the World’s Best Hiking Trails!

hiking trails in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is a hiker’s paradise. All Trails has a staggering 1,204 hiking trails listed, including 579 family-friendly hikes in Nova Scotia, 60 wheelchair-friendly trails, mountain bike routes and 1,077 routes with waterfalls or scenic views! 

It is possible to see lush forests, beautiful beaches, pretty lighthouses and amazing wildlife, all on one hike, and in many cases you don’t have to travel far to see them. 

The Herring Cove Provincial Park Reserve has a short scenic walk just 10 minutes from Halifax and offers stunning views in just 45 minutes, and the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park is an easy 8km loop walk where you can see a variety of wildlife, including moose, bears and bald eagles, as well as breathtaking views of the ocean and headlands – this is also one of best places to watch the sunset in Nova Scotia.

The Balancing Rock Trail is one of the top Instagram locations in Nova Scotia. This short but spectacular trail that leads you up a 235-step staircase to a platform where you will see the famous balancing rock. This is one of the most photographed images as the rock looks like it may topple over at any time – although it has managed to stay in place for thousands of years!

Taylor Head Provincial Park is located on a rugged peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic. There are five hiking trails here, along with secluded beaches and a range of wildlife, and the view from Taylor Head is regarded as one of the best views in Nova Scotia.

Intermediate and experienced hikers will love the 13km Cape Split Trail, which offers spectacular views of the Bay of Fundy as well as opportunities to see wildlife in the Cape Split Provincial Park Reserve, while the Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail is one of the world’s best hikes, but this is over 50km in length and takes three to four days to complete! 

These are just some of the best hikes in Nova Scotia, you can see lots more information here:

See more here

4. Explore 13,000 KM of Coastline & over 40 beaches

kayaking in Nova Scotia

You are never far from the coast in Nova Scotia so Atlantic Ocean views, rugged cliffs and sandy beaches are guaranteed. As you might expect, there is an abundance of water sports in Nova Scotia, with everything from surfing to stand up paddle boarding, tidal bore rafting to sailing, so if you are looking for water based activities, you won’t be left wanting.

There are over 40 beaches in Nova Scotia. Melmerby Beach boasts the warmest sea temperatures in Nova Scotia, while Martinique beach is Nova Scotia’s longest beach – it stretches for almost 5km. Inverness Beach is fully accessible, lifeguarded, and has a boardwalk which is ideal to take in the views.

Don’t miss the Bay of Fundy, home to the highest tides on Earth, where 100 billion tons of water rise and fall twice each day. You will find an abundance of marine life, deserted beaches and cliffs that are home to the world’s most complete fossil record of life from 300 million years ago! A visit to the Bay of Fundy is one of the top things to do in Nova Scotia.

Canadian Sky’s super 12-night Atlantic Maritimes Escorted Tour includes two whale-watching tours, a lobster dinner cruise, a winery tour with tasting, as well as walking tours of Lunenburg and Charlottetown, and museum visits to Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site and Anne of Green Gables Heritage Site.

If you prefer to go it alone, check out the 16 night self-drive motorhome itinerary which Canadian Sky have curated to ensure you see the highlights of Nova Scotia. It is priced at just €1999 for 16 nights! 

View Tour here View Motorhome

5. Visit Nova Scotia’s Colourful Towns and Villages

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Halifax is one of Canada’s oldest cities and its seaside location, marvellous museums and beautiful architecture make it a must visit in Nova Scotia. Take time to catch some live music in its lively bars, and enjoy fresh seafood in its many restaurants.

However, Nova Scotia’s colourful towns and coastal villages should not be overlooked. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg is one of Canada’s most beautiful towns with colourful wooden houses that date back to the 18th and 19th-century – this is one of the top towns to visit in Nova Scotia.

Mahone Bay is another charming town with three historic wooden churches located along its beautiful harbour. There are upmarket boutiques and galleries here, making it a pleasure to explore.

Sydney is known for its Gaelic origins so you can expect to find plenty of lively pubs with live music here. It is also famous for its fresh lobster and for being the gateway to Cape Breton Island from nearby Newfoundland and Labrador.

The fishing village of Peggy’s Cove is home to one of Canada’s most famous lighthouses and is a must see in Nova Scotia, while the village of Chester resembles one of the upmarket towns of New England and boasts art galleries, craft shops and a great food scene. 

6. Nova Scotia is home to one of the World’s Best Scenic Drives

scenic drive in Nova Scotia

If a Canada road trip is is on your bucket list, then you need to check out The Cabot Trail. This 298km loop drive around the tip of Cape Breton Island and through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, is ranked as one of the world’s best scenic drives. As well as stunning Atlantic views, 26 hiking trails, 24 look out points and 6 beaches, there are plenty of pretty fishing villages serving delicious seafood that you simply have to stop in!

This 13-night self-drive itinerary from Canadian Sky takes in the Cabot Trail as well as Digby, Prince Edward Island, Halifax, the Bay of Fundy, the seaside resort of Western Shore and lots more. Price of €2649 includes flights, 13 nights hotel accommodation, fully-inclusive car rental, a Harbour Hopper Tour, admission to Fortress of Louisburg National Historic Site and return ferry travel from Caribou to Wood Islands. 

Alternatively choose a 16 night self-drive motorhome itinerary which Canadian Sky have curated to ensure you see the highlights of Nova Scotia. It is priced at just €1999 for 16 nights! 

You can also choose to journey on the Cabot Trail on a 10 day Enchanting Maritimes Escorted Tour. Price of €4499  includes fights, hotels, 9 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners, tours as per itinerary and a professional Tour Director throughout.  

View Self Drive View Motorhome Escorted Tour

7. The Seafood is Superb!

Lobster Feast in Nova Scotia

Having fresh seafood in Nova Scotia is like having pasta in Italy, its practically a given! And I’m not just talking about fresh cod, Nova Scotian lobster is world famous, foodies travel from all over the world to try it, and you will find it served everywhere!

The Lobster Trail has over 40 Nova Scotian restaurants serving up everything from traditional lobster to lobster rolls, and even lobster pizza!  

Scallops are another must eat in Nova Scotia and there is nowhere better than the town of Digby to try them. This is home to the largest inshore scallop fleet in the world, and you will find them in all the pubs and restaurants. Make sure to try its famous Lobster and Digby Chicks (salted and smoked herring fillets) too!

There are many seafood trails in Nova Scotia too – the most popular are the Lobster and Chowder Trails – you can see more about them here.

This 9-Night Enchanting Canadian Maritimes Tour includes a lobster experience with a local specialist where you will learn about lobstering, followed by a meal of fresh lobster on board a boat. 

View Tour

8. Nova Scotia is home to over 20 Wineries & 40 Breweries!

vineyard in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has been growing grapes for wine since the 1600s, and it is the only place on earth that produces its very own appellation wine aptly named, Tidal Bay. You will find unique grape varieties here across one of its 20+ wineries and vineyards, with numerous award-winning white and sparkling wines available. 

Nova Scotia is also famous for its craft beer scene. Halifax boasts the most pubs per capita in Canada and there are over 40 breweries in the province. If you want to sample Nova Scotia’s beer and wine, the Good Cheer Trail is a great way to experience as many as possible. This route connects over 50 producers of beer, wine and spirits from Sydney, Cape Breton Island to Yarmouth. 

Canadian Sky’s Atlantic Maritimes Tour includes a winery tour and tasting, a lobster dinner cruise, and breakfast in the picturesque Peggy’s Cove.

View Tour here

9. Nova Scotia has a Remarkable History

Fortress_Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has such an interesting history. There is evidence that the Mi’kmaq, the First Nations people, lived here from the 5th century BC. 1000 years later explorer John Cabot landed in Nova Scotia, and this was followed by the 1000’s of British, Irish and Scotland settlers. The Gaelic culture and language can still be seen in many villages, pubs and festivals in Nova Scotia.

All of these nationalities have made Nova Scotia into the multicultural province that it is today.

There are many sights and attractions that showcase the Mi’kmaq, as well as the Baile nan Gàidheal | Highland Village, a cultural centre and living history museum which focuses on Gaelic culture and language.

Another must visit museum in Nova Scotia is the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, where you can learn about his many inventions including Canada’s first powered flight, the world’s fastest watercraft, as well as the telephone.

Canadian Sky’s Atlantic Maritimes Tour includes walking tours of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lunenburg and museum visits at Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site and Anne of Green Gables Heritage Site.

View Tour here

10. Nova Scotia has a Great Live Music Scene

Nova Scotia concert

To coincide this Nova Scotia’s multicultural past, you can expect to find an eclectic music scene here too. Kitchen parties, ceilidhs, live music venues and music festivals are part of life and it is possible to find music sessions seven days a week. 

Cape Breton is known for its Gaelic origins, so you can expect plenty of lively pubs with traditional music, as well as the world’s largest fiddle in Sydney, which was constructed here to honour the island’s musical talent. The Celtic Colours International Festival is hosted throughout Cape Breton Island every year in early to mid-October, as well as a Celtic Music Interpretive Centre that has its own Ceilidh Pub.

The best way to experience Nova Scotia’s music scene is with a self-drive tour. Canadian Sky have curated this 13-night self-drive itinerary which takes in the Cabot Trail as well as Digby, Prince Edward Island, Halifax, the Bay of Fundy, the seaside resort of Western Shore and lots more. Price of €2649 includes flights, 13 nights hotel accommodation, fully-inclusive car rental, a Harbour Hopper Tour, admission to Fortress of Louisburg National Historic Site and return ferry travel from Caribou to Wood Islands. 

Alternatively check out the 16 night self-drive motorhome itinerary, which is priced at just €1999 for 16 nights.

View Tour here View Motorhome

I hope this post on Canada holidays in Nova Scotia will inspire you to plan a trip there soon. This is just a small sample of the many holidays to Canada from Ireland that Canadian Sky offer. They can tailor make the perfect trip to suit your requirements, and can be contacted online, by phone, or you can visit their Customer Lounge in Dublin if you prefer to book your dream holiday in person. 

holidays to Nova Scotia from Ireland

While every effort was made to ensure accuracy, prices, attractions and activities are subject to change. This post was sponsored by Canadian Sky.

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