Image credit: Discover Halifax
One of Canada’s four Maritime provinces, Nova Scotia is almost entirely surrounded by water and is home to over 13,000km of coastline, thousands of lakes, lush valleys, four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the world’s highest tides and whales!
We could go on as these are just some of the reasons so many people visit the province during their Canada holidays, but there are lots of things that Nova Scotia is famous for and in this article we take a look at some of its iconic traits and features.
Helen, a photographer and the travel writer behind Not Without My Passport, talks about why she loved visiting Nova Scotia: “I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: don’t visit Nova Scotia for Halifax alone. This underrated province in Eastern Canada begs to be explored: the Bay of Fundy for whale watching; celebrated wineries; an old town UNESCO World Heritage Site; and an iconic lighthouse on the Atlantic Ocean that conjures up images of a seafaring past. All this plus magnificent scallops like you’ve never had before.”
Read on to find out what Nova Scotia is famous for and what you should add to your bucket list of things to see.
Given the province’s thousands of kilometres of coastline, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Nova Scotia is home to the most lighthouses of any province in Canada.
There are more than 160 historic lighthouses dotted along the Nova Scotian coastline and they not only highlight the picturesque coastal landscape but give you a great insight into the province’s rich maritime history.
The Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse in Nova Scotia, also known as Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, is the most famous lighthouse in Canada and is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world. It is located in the vibrant fishing village of Peggy’s Cove on the Bluenose Coast, and not only can you explore the lighthouse, which was built in 1915, but you can explore the rocky coastline and watch the crashing waves.
Madi, the founder of the lifestyle and travel blog The Restless Worker, went to Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse during a holiday in Nova Scotia and she highly recommends you visit. She said: “You can hardly visit Halifax without taking a day trip to Peggy’s Cove, you’d be doing yourself an incredible disservice. This little piece of heaven on the East coast of Canada is a must-see for anyone in the area. The best part is it’s really easy to get to so you basically have no excuse.”
READ MORE: This road trip takes you to Atlantic Canada’s best lighthouses
A visit to Nova Scotia wouldn’t be complete without trying its world-renowned Atlantic lobster. They are so proud of their lobster that it has become a part of the province’s culture with restaurants now specialising in lobster dishes.
Lobster fishing is something that happens off the coast of Nova Scotia year-round, and the largest lobster ever recorded was caught in the waters around the province back in 1977 and weighed a staggering 44 pounds and 6 ounces!
With lobsters being caught all year round, there is no best time to visit Nova Scotia for lobster as you can enjoy it fresh throughout the year.
There is even a dedicated Nova Scotia Trail and this consists of over 20 restaurants where you can experience traditional lobster dinners, lobster rolls and everything in between. If you are looking for places to visit to try lobster, then Barrington is a must-visit as it is regarded as the lobster capital of Nova Scotia.
Christy Woodrow, the writer behind The Ordinary Traveler blog, said that the lobster was delicious: “I had heard wonderful things about Nova Scotia’s lobster and it definitely didn’t disappoint!”
READ MORE: 8 reasons why you should visit Atlantic Canada
The highest tides in the world
The Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia is also home to the highest tides in the world. Burncoat Head, located in the extreme North-Eastern edge of the Bay of Fundy, has the highest recorded tides in the world at 42 feet. The world record tidal change was also recorded here during the Saxby Gale, a tropical cyclone, where tidal changes reached 21.6 metres (71 feet).
Each day, twice a day, around 160 billion tonnes of seawater flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy, but if you visit at low tide there are lots of activities you can do, from exploring the rock pools to dining on the ocean floor!
The beaches and cliffs at the Bay of Fundy are home to fossils that date back more than 300 million years and you can go on guided tours from the Fundy Geological Museum to search for Canada’s oldest fossils and to learn more about the animals that once lived here.
Joggins Cliffs is home to the most complete fossils of the ‘Coal Age’, which were formed 100 million years before the dinosaurs, and the area is the biggest and most popular place to go fossil-hunting as every rock holds the possibility of discovery. Burntcoat Head Park in the Bay of Fundy isn’t just home to the world’s highest tides, but it is also a great place to search for fossils.
With the cliffs and beaches home to dinosaur fossils, the Bay of Fundy is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and a UNESCO Global Geopark.
With 12 species of whales visiting Nova Scotia each year, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the province is famed for its whale watching in Canada.
The best times to go whale watching in Nova Scotia is during the summer and autumn and the Bay of Fundy is one of the best places to head to as there are many species of whales visiting the area during the summer months. The Cabot Trail is another top location where you can see the North Atlantic’s gentle giants.
The waters around Nova Scotia act as a feeding ground, nursey and a play area with the different species of whales feeding on krill, squid and schools of pollock, herring and mackerel.
Some of the whales in Nova Scotia that you can see
•North Atlantic Right Whales
READ MORE: Everything you want to know about whale watching in Canada
If you are looking at destinations for a fly drive Canada holiday, then Nova Scotia should be amongst the leading contenders. Its natural beauty means that there are lots of scenic routes that you can enjoy driving in the province.
A route that is ranked amongst the most scenic drives in the world is the iconic Cabot Trail. This route takes you through the stunning Cape Breton Highlands National Park and offers you some spectacular coastal views. Along the route, you can stop off and walk lots of hiking trails or visit picturesque villages and towns.
Travel blogger Christy Woodrow told us that she loved driving around the province: “I loved the ease of travelling around Nova Scotia. It’s the perfect road trip destination. There were so many unexpected stops due to the never-ending photo opportunities. Not to mention, all of the adorable lighthouses all over the province!”
READ MORE: What are the top stops along the Cabot Trail?
Nova Scotia’s Wines
Novia Scotia has a rich history in growing grapes for wine that dates back to the 1600s and it was one of the first places in North America to produce wine.
There are more than 18 wineries and vineyards in the province and what makes the wine country in Nova Scotia extra special is the fact it is the only place in the world that produces Tidal Bay wines. As well as this signature wine you can sample wines from roses and reds to sparkling and icewine.
Nova Scotia wineries you can visit
•Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards
Kejimkujik National Park
The Kejimkujik National Park is the only Parks Canada site that has been designated both a national park and a national historic site. The park boasts lakes, forests and roaring rivers and is the perfect place for you to get away from the hustle and bustle of normal life.
The park is not only naturally beautiful, but it has a rich ancestral history. For centuries, the national park was once a place of encampments, fish weirs, burial grounds and hunting territories of the Mi’kmaq people, the first inhabitants or First Nations people.
READ MORE: What is Canada famous for?
From its lighthouses and lobsters to its whales and wines, Nova Scotia is famous for a lot of things. To recap, this is what Nova Scotia is famous for:
•The highest tides in the world
•Nova Scotia’s Wines
•Kejimkujik National Park
If you want to experience some of what this amazing province has to offer, speak to our Canada travel experts and we can put together a holiday that is perfect for you.
For more tips, guides, and advice, make sure to visit our blog.