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Things to see and do in Nova Scotia

Attractions in Nova Scotia

Discover a UNESCO World Heritage site

This German settlement was established in 1753 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town's beautiful waterfront speaks of a rich history of fishing, shipbuilding and other maritime activities.

Drive the Cabot Trail

The Cabot Trail, one of North America's most spectacular ocean drives, is a 298km (185-mile) ribbon of road that loops around Cape Breton Island and passes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Explore Peggy's Cove

Situated in an area known for its rugged and beautiful coastal scenery, Peggy's Cove is famed as the site of Canada's most photographed lighthouse.

Find the sands of the Sunrise Trail

The Sunrise Trail follows the Northumberland Strait past dozens of sandy beaches and the warmest waters north of the Carolinas.

Go kayaking in Kejimkujik National Park

Sailing, kayaking and canoeing are popular pastimes along the coast or on myriad inland kayaking routes, such as in Kejimkujik National Park. Try swimming on Melmerby Beach on the Northumberland Strait and tidal bore rafting on the Shubenacadie River.

Heritage in Halifax

Other Halifax highlights include the Historic Properties, a redeveloped waterfront area of shops and restaurants; Province House, the birthplace of Canadian democracy in 1819; St Paul's, Canada's oldest Protestant church; the Museum of Natural History; the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (featuring Titanic exhibits); Pier 21, an excellent museum of immigration; and the Halifax Public Gardens.

Hunt for rocks and fossils

Eagle-eyed visitors can scavenge for amethyst, agate, quartz and jasper around Parrsboro. Fossil hunting enthusiasts can also sign up for a cliff tour at Joggins.

Learn about Halifax's military history

The Citadel, a star-shaped masonry fortress built in 1856 on the site of a 1749 structure, is one of Canada's most visited National Historic Sites. Dominating Halifax, it is known for its kilted regiment of historical re-enactors, and good views of the city and harbour.

Navigate the shoreline

The Lighthouse Route travels along the South Shore, where seafaring traditions are especially strong. The Evangeline Trail, a rural road that goes through the beautiful Annapolis Valley, is known for its orchards, forts and Victorian mansions.

Pick up the Gaelic accent

More evidence of Nova Scotia's close ties with Scotland: street signs in Pugwash are in English and Gaelic and highland games are held annually in Antigonish.

Revel in landscapes and landmarks

Nature lovers should head for Cape Breton Island. While there, visit Cape Breton Highlands National Park for spectacular scenery; the Fortress of Louisbourg, Canada's largest historical restoration; and Baddeck, which is home to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site and Bell's final resting place.

Splurge in Halifax's shops and bars

You can find excellent shopping, nightlife and restaurants in both the old and new sections of Halifax.

Spot bears and bald eagles

You can spot some of the province's most characteristic wildlife in the Provincial Wildlife Park at Shubenacadie; among other creatures, the park shelters moose, bears, cougars, coyotes and bald eagles (of which it has a particularly high population).

Take a tour of Halifax Harbour

The provincial capital, Halifax, claims to have the second-largest natural harbour in the world (after Sydney in Australia) and has a long and distinguished history as a naval and military base. Harbour tours are available.

Taste the Celtic flavour

The Halifax Highland Games and Scottish Festival celebrates Nova Scotia's Celtic influences. It is held every summer on Dartmouth Common, across the Narrows from Halifax. For another taste of the province's Old World heritage, try the Celtic Colours International Festival on Cape Breton Island in October.

Try deep-sea fishing

Anglers intending to fish in Nova Scotia's 9,000 freshwater lakes require a valid fishing licence, obtainable from any provincial Department of Natural Resources office or from one of almost 700 authorised vendors. Note that a separate licence is required for salmon. Deep-sea fishing is popular, with charter boat trips available from several places, including Halifax.

Watch out for whales

It's easy to catch a glimpse of some dolphins and whales. Tours leave from a string of ports along the coast - those from Westport and villages along the Digby Neck peninsula (multiple daily trips from late May to mid October) are among the best.

Witness the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo

The world's largest annual indoor show features more than 2000 local and international performers and takes place in Halifax Metro Centre during the first week of July.

Tourist offices

Nova Scotia Tourism Agency

Address: Halifax Harbour, 1655 Lower Water Street, Halifax, B3J 1S2
Telephone: +1 902 425 5781.
Opening times:

Mon-Fri 0900-1700.

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