As Nova Scotia’s capital, Halifax offers plenty to see and do no matter how much time you have. From maritime museums to great food and drink and a lively nightlife, Halifax showcases everything that’s great about Canada’s east coast, and it makes the perfect launching point for adventures around the province.
Day 1: Halifax City
The center of Halifax is compact and easily walkable, though you will have to contend with a few hills, particularly for a visit to the old fort of Citadel Hill, a symbol of Halifax’s role as a principal naval station in the British Empire. Tour the period-style rooms of the Citadel, take in the views of the city sprawled out beneath it, and brace yourself for the daily noon firing of the canon.
To earn a better appreciation of Nova Scotia’s history, visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic or the Canadian Immigration Museum at Pier 21. Grab lunch at the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market next door at Pier 20 and then wander down the longest wooden waterfront boardwalk in North America. In the afternoon, stroll the busy sidewalks of Spring Garden, people watching and shopping, and take a walk through the Public Gardens.
Day 2: Iconic Nova Scotia
Make your way 46 kilometers (26 miles) south of Halifax to Peggy’s Cove, a small coastal fishing community that is also home the province’s most iconic lighthouse (and most popular tourist attraction). If you’re feeling adventurous, drive another hour on to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia’s colorful port town. The whole town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there are dozens of charming shops and restaurants to explore.
In the evening, on your return to Halifax, tour the Alexander Keith’s Brewery. One in every three beers sold in Nova Scotia is an Alexander Keith’s. Then stumble on over to the Pogue Fado or Nautical Nelly’s for pub eats and live music.
Day 3: Day trips for any style
If you want some extreme adventure, head an hour north of Halifax to Shubenacadie for a tidal bore rafting trip. You’ll hit the rapids when the world’s highest tides come in, so be prepared to get wet and have fun.
For a more relaxing day trip, head an hour north of the city to the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia’s wine country. There are a dozen wineries in the Valley, producing both white and red wines as well as sparkling and dessert wines. Most of the wineries are open for public tours and tastings and some allow guests to picnic on the grounds. Grand Pré Wines also has an onsite restaurant.
If you’ve worked up an appetite, treat yourself to a lobster dinner back in Halifax, overlooking the harbor.