Nova Scotia is home to seaside towns, sandy shores and working fishing villages and a slower pace of life. The gastronomy scene has exploded in Nova Scotia in recent years. The wineries of Wolfville, amazing seafood, the Good Cheer Trail (which features over 50 local wineries, craft breweries, cideries and distilleries) and the Nova Scotia Seafood Trail (restaurants and food experiences including a Chowder Trail!).
It is also the perfect place for a road trip! Here is my Nova Scotia Itinerary for a 5 night, 6 day trip with a road trip thrown in!
Nova Scotia Itinerary – How to Get There and Get Around
Getting to Halifax from Overseas
The main airport for Nova Scotia is Halifax. There are direct flights to Halifax from the UK with West Jet. Halifax Stanfield is 30-40 minutes from downtown Halifax.
Getting to Halifax from Canada or the US.
It is possible to drive the whole way – the Trans Canada highway enters Nova Scotia from New Brunswick at Amherst. Or drive via the ferries from the US or New Brunswick.
Getting around Nova Scotia
You will definitely want to hire a car for this trip. There is public transport in Nova Scotia but it will be tricky to get to some of the more interesting places – and it isn’t much of a road trip when you’re on public transport!
There is little need for a car in Halifax. I suggest either picking your car up at the airport and then parking it at the hotel for the first couple of days or organizing your hire car pick up from Halifax on Day 3.
Top Tip – Car Rentals at Halifax Stanfield Airport are located in the lower level of the airport parkade.
Day 1 – Arrive in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Hopefully, you will arrive in Halifax with some time to explore! What to do when in Halifax can be quite weather dependent. If you arrive to good weather then focus on the best outdoor activities in Halifax and keep the indoor ones for the next day just in case – or vice versa!
Let’s assume you arrive in nice weather. The first place to head is the fantastic Halifax Waterfront. There is so much to do here! Let’s start with Atlantic Canada’s number one tourist attraction the Harbour Hopper!
Do make sure you book your Harbour Hopper tour ahead of time to avoid disappointment.Save Time & Buy Your Harbour Hopper Ticket Here
I have written an entire blog post about the Harbour Hopper Tour – read it here.
After the tour take a stroll along the waterfront. If you haven’t eaten I highly recommend stopping into The Bicycle Thief for some fantastic seafood. They also have a very photogenic bicycle sculpture out the front.
The waterfront is home to many photography friendly sites – from the leaning lamp posts to the city hammocks. Amos Pewter is also a great place to pick up a Nova Scotia souvenir – I still wear my pewter earrings regularly!
Read More – Here is my post on 25 Fun Things to do in Halifax
For dinner head to the North End. This is Halifax’s hip neighbourhood and home to many exciting restaurants.
One of Halifax’s top restaurants, The Kitchen Table is also the only place in Halifax offering a daily eight-course tasting menu. Bar Kismet is known for sophisticated cocktails and a seafood-forward menu. For Japanese head to Kitsune Food Co – it only has 4 seats so you may need to make it takeaway but locals swear by its takeaway.
EDNA (Eat Drink Nourish Always) has received rave reviews since opening in 2013. Delicious food and a no reservations policy means it is important to arrive early to avoid a major queue. Little Oak Bar is a sleek wine bar with a chalkboard menu with tasty small plates.
The Brooklyn Warehouse brought hipster dining to Halifax ten years ago and continues to offer a fantastic local focussed menu that changes with the seasons. Best of all they have a wine program that guarantees no more than a $15 mark up on bottles!
For amazing food as well as stunning interior design head to Agricola Street Brasserie. As much as done in house as possible including the bread. The current focus is on hand-made pasta and of course Atlantic seafood. For classic fish and chips try Willman’s.
Day 2 – Halifax
Spend the morning seeing the North End in daylight – and having a fantastic brunch. Once you’re done visit the amazing Public Library building on Spring Garden Road (the main street of Halifax) in town and have a good coffee and light lunch on the 6th floor at the Pavia Cafe.
Then it is time for the fantastic Atlantic Maritime Museum. The two highlights for me of this museum were the exhibitions on the Titanic and the Halifax Explosion. Do make sure to allow some time for visiting the museum as this is one of the best things to do in Nova Scotia.
For dinner don’t miss The Five Fishermen! There is a great bar on the ground floor for a pre-dinner drink. Then head upstairs for a seafood extravaganza – this place is impressive!!!! Even better, it was the morgue during the time of the Titanic so it is rumoured that there are ghosts in the building! I didn’t see any unfortunately but do let me know if you do!
Day 3 – Drive to Wolfville and the Bay of Fundy
Top Tip: Try to arrive into Halifax on a Thursday. This will give you Friday to explore the city. Then have an early start Saturday morning and head to Halifax Farmers Market (it is open every day but has the most vendors on a Saturday). If you time it correctly you will also be in time for the Wolfville Farmers Market which is extremely cute and authentic.
Depart Halifax for the Annapolis Valley. Follow Barrington Street to the MacKay Bridge. Take exit 2W (Burnside Industrial Park) toward NS-7 Bedford/Lower Sackville. Keep right to continue on Bedford Bypass and follow signs for Lower Sackville/Windsor Hwy 101. Merge onto Hwy 101. Take exit 10 to Grand Pre/Wolfville/Route 1 (Travel Time Halifax to Wolfville – 1 hour 15 minutes)
Then it is time for some wine! There are several different options for enjoying the wineries of this area – read all about them in my post on Wolfville Wineries.
Top Tip – book lunch at Le Caveau at the Grande Pre Winery. The Grand Pre winery was the first winery in Nova Scotia and is still at the top of its game. Its restaurant Le Caveau has an excellent reputation and the location is stunning. Plus pop into the Tangled Garden next door for some nice photos and delicious souvenirs.
After lunch, it is time for some sipping! If you want to leave the car at the hotel check out these options for exploring the wineries:
This double-decker hop on hop off bus has three departure times a day (1030, 1130 and 1230 every Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun late May to mid-October). The bus travels on a loop to Lightfoot and Wolfville, Domaine de Grand Pre, Luckett Vineyards, L’Acadie Vineyards and Gaspereau.
They also do fantastic sounding food and wine day tour that starts and ends in Halifax if you’re not able to get to Wolfville for an overnight stay.
Wine Tours Nova Scotia run a mix of private and public tours that leave from Metro, Wolfville or Windsor. Their routes also cover micro-breweries, food stops a distillery and cider.
Offer a mix of public and private tours. They have a range of different daily tour options that run between May and October. They also have some other tour options that run during the off-peak season. Pick up points are Halifax and Wolfville.
Wolfville based, Wild Grape Tours run 4 regular tours on set days of the week. They also offer private tours. Most tours run between 1130 and 430pm. Pick up can be at your place of accommodation if near Wolfville or meet at a central point in Wolfville.
Have dinner at the lovely Blomidon Inn.
Day 4 – Explore the Annapolis Valley and eat scallops in Digby
The Bay of Fundy is home to the world’s highest tides and some rather dramatic cliffs and caves. Once you leave Wolfville head north initially rather than west on the 341 – drive through the cute but tiny Port Williams. Don’t miss visiting Fox Hill Farm and having some of their chocolate milk!
Head to the Lookoff for a great view. Then begin the drive west. Turn off number one is for Hall’s Harbour. Then continue on the 221 west and drive down to Canada Creek for its lighthouse or Victoria Harbour.
Join either Highway 101 or take Route 1 through Annapolis to Digby and enjoy the countryside!
Digby is the scallop capital of the world and home to the world’s largest inshore scallop fleet. And your lunch stop!
If lobster is your preference then head to the Lightkeepers Kitchen. The Lightkeepers is also known for its Lighthouse Lobster Feast. It pairs lobster delicacies like lobster dumplings with Nova Scotia wines.
Then it is back in the car for a return to Annapolis Royal. This is a beautiful country town. Park the car and explore on foot. There are some cute shops and restaurants. Walk through Canada’s oldest National Historic Site at Fort Anne National Historic Site.
Hop back in the car and pop into the stunning Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens.
Then Take Route 8 cross-country towards Liverpool. At the beginning of your journey stop in at the Lequille Country Store. This quirky store has been around for years and stocks everything you could possibly need.
Across the road from the general store is Still Fired Distilleries, a small batch craft distillery who make high-quality spirits from local ingredients. Pop in for a taste!
If you have time, explore Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site. Route 8 takes you through some of the park. It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Annapolis Royal to Keji.
Or keep moving on to White Point. Keji to White Point will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Head to the lovely White Point Beach. This unique resort is home for the night. Have dinner at its fantastic restaurant featuring great local seafood. Or check the calendar and see if some of its special events are taking place when you stay. This includes events like The Stellar Beach Feast at White Point. This is a progressive dinner featuring local seafood and award-winning Nova Scotia wines plus a guided beach walk where guests will learn about the stars.
Day 5 – White Point to Lunenburg
In the morning enjoy the excellent breakfast buffet at White Point Beach Resort and then take a walk along the mile-long white sandy beach.
Shoes on hop back in the car. Continue along Highway 103 towards Halifax and take Exit 11 to Lunenburg. Follow Route 324 into Lunenburg.
Read my post on The Top 16 Things to do in Lunenburg and around Lunenburg.
Top Tip – for the best photos of Lunenburg waterfront head to The Bluenose Golf Course.
There are many fantastic restaurant options in Lunenburg.
Fleur de Sel was perhaps the most famous restaurant in Lunenburg. Its French menu is designed and cooked by Martin Ruiz Salvador. Alas, it has recently closed but the owners have a new restaurant Beach Pea Kitchen & Bar that is getting rave reviews. Unfortunately, you can’t book so arrive early!
Grand Banker is located on the harbour and has great seafood to go with some stunning views. They are famous for the Lunenburger – six ounces of local ground beef, smoked mozzarella, smoked bacon, baby spinach, a lot of Nova Scotia lobster and tarragon butter sauce. All on a local artisan bun. And a bacon wrapped scallop because why not!
I must confess, I could not face the Lunenburger. But wow did I have a delicious meal at the Grand Banker! I went super soupy with amazing seafood chowder and then a full-on seafood stew. Gosh was I full but wow was it good and the quality of the seafood just outstanding.
The Knot Pub is popular with locals – order the pan fried haddock and a Caesar salad
The Salt Shaker Deli has award-winning seafood chowder. It is owned by the same people as Fleur de Sel. They also own the South Shore Fish Shack which is well rated for all things seafood. And they own the Half Shell which is an oyster bar.
The Savvy Sailor is also well regarded. I had a delicious breakfast there. Check out their eggs benedict which is served with crispy tasty bacon rather than ham. The Old Fish Factory is another good option – especially for scallops topped with bacon jam.
Day 6 – Return to Halifax Airport via Peggys Cove and Mahone Bay
After a good breakfast in Lunenburg, it is just a 6-minute drive to Blue Rocks (I would recommend doing this the evening prior if you have good weather for the best photos). This tiny fishing village is ridiculously photogenic. It continues to be a working fishing village despite the many photographers!
From here it is a 15-minute drive to Mahone Bay. Take the Lighthouse route (Route 3) for maximum scenery. Mahone Bay is famed for its three churches which make for a great photo opportunity if you are able to line them up correctly!
It is a cute town with lots of shops and restaurants and makes for a perfect lunch stop. Check out Haskapa Berry Products. A super berry that is originally from Japan grows in this area and are used in some tasty jams etc.
After Mahone Bay the next stop is the iconic Peggy’s Cove – home of Peggy’s Point Lighthouse. This is one of Canada’s most famous Lighthouses and a beautiful area.
From Peggy’s Cove it is about a one hour drive to Halifax International Airport and the end of your road trip!
Nova Scotia Boutique Hotels to Stay In
Halifax is a little light on the ground when it comes to the full-on boutique hotel movement. But that’s ok as my gosh it is a town with a lot to offer in terms of food, wine, views and things to do. And there are quite a few very nice hotels with good thread counts available!
I stayed at the Delta Halifax (thanks for sponsoring my stay guys!). I had a lovely stay. The staff are super friendly and the location is great. And the food!!! I must confess I was a little snobby going in when it came to the food and boy did I get it wrong! I had a fantastic seafood dinner there (and thanks to George for the introduction to Digby scallops!) and they have a great local wine list. The breakfast is also sensational – a choice of a la carte or a fantastic buffet breakfast menu.
If you want another option then you will be looking at B and Bs – here are a few that sounded decent:
The Haliburton Hotel is known as one of Halifax’s most romantic places to stay. It also has a lovely restaurant called Stories with seating on hidden patio.
The best place to stay in Wolfville is the lovely Blomidon Inn. It has a fantastic location on the main street making it easy to get everywhere. This gorgeous old Inn has 31 different bedrooms and it truly does feel like staying in someone’s lovely home. The restaurant is fantastic as pointed out above.
The lovely White Point Resort first opened in 1928. I enjoyed staying at one of their beach cabins which was just a stone’s throw from the 1km beach. There are many different accommodation options here as well as activities.
The Salt Shaker restaurant is also an Inn with rooms for rent.Click here for the Top Lunenburg Hotels
Who Paid for What in this Post
My trip to Nova Scotia was hosted by the tourism board. This means they covered the costs of my accommodation, most meals, tours and hire car. I paid for my own flights and bits and pieces. As always, my opinions are my own. Also, if you click through on the links in this post and make purchases I will make a small commission. Just wanted to make sure you knew!
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