Atlantic Canada is made up of four distinct provinces, each with its own set of charms, getaways and coastal adventures, yet all share the same sea that has shaped the land, history, culture and cuisine of the region.
Together, the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island boast Canada’s most spectacular coastline – more than 43,000 kilometres – and every seaside activity you can imagine, including warm water swimming, long walks on uncrowded beaches and nature viewing on a grand scale. In fact, there’s something for every level of adventurer, from leisurely cycling, sea kayaking and sailing to robust zip-lining and tidal bore rafting.
Atlantic Canada is world-famous for its fresh and abundant seafood, in particular succulent lobster, scallops, mussels, oysters and cod. Dine at a seaside restaurant, take a stroll through a local farmers market, or take in one of the many culinary or cultural festivals throughout the season. It’s truly a foodie’s paradise.
The region may be close to the UK, but it is a world away in terms of rich and diverse marine and wildlife. During summer and autumn, visitors have the opportunity to view a variety of mammals including rare whales, porpoises, seals, moose, deer, beaver, black bears, bobcats, lynx, plus eagles and numerous birds.
Getting to Atlantic Canada is easy too. It’s just a five-hour flight from London to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador or a six-hour flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Atlantic Canada is closer to Europe than any other part of North America. It’s time for an enchanting seacoast holiday.
Day 1 – Halifax: after collecting your car, spend the evening getting to know this wonderful city overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, where a friendly welcome is guaranteed. Make your way to your hotel for your two-night stay.
(Hotel: Delta Halifax or similar)
Day 2 – Halifax: today you’ll enjoy a sightseeing tour of this historic city. The rest of the day is yours to explore at your leisure. Take time to stop at the Fairview Lawn cemetery where the victims of the Titanic disaster are buried and hear stories of the victims that rest in Halifax. You will also enjoy the views from the Citadel National Historic site that overlooks the city.
Day 3 – Halifax/Bridgewater: set off today along the Lighthouse Route to the fishing community of Peggy’s Cove. This picturesque fishing village sits on the shores of the scenic St. Margaret’s Bay, with trails leading to its famous lighthouse. Take time to sample some of the local catch before driving to Bridgewater for one night.
(Hotel: Atlantica Hotel & Marina or similar)
Days 4 & 5 – Bridgewater/Kejumkijik National Park and Digby: today take the scenic cross-country drive to Digby. Relish the amazing views and rugged wilderness of Kejumkijik National Park, maybe stop for a short hike along its forested trails. Arrive in Digby for two nights, where you can either relax for a day at your hotel or take a day out to explore the local area.
(Hotel: Digby Pines Golf Resort & Spa or similar)
Day 6 – Digby/Fredericton: take a ferry ride (booked and paid locally) across the Bay of Fundy, famous for having the world’s largest tides, to Saint John. Follow the coastline taking the opportunity to explore the fishing villages or to look for wildlife along the shoreline at low tide. Continue onto Fredericton for one night.
(Hotel: Delta Fredericton or similar)
Day 7 – Fredericton/Moncton: discover the glorious scenery of Fundy National Park and the highest tides in the world at Hopewell Rocks. Don’t miss Shediac, the lobster capital of the world, where you can taste lobster at its best. Overnight in Moncton
(Hotel: Delta Beausejour or similar)
Days 8 & 9 – cross to Prince Edward Island by the magnificent Confederation Bridge and arrive in the charming city of Charlottetown for a two night stay. Enjoy a day exploring this historic Canadian city.
(Hotel: Delta Prince Edward or similar)
Day 10 – Charlottetown/Halifax: cross the Confederation Bridge back to New Brunswick and head back to Halifax before retuning your car and your flight home.
Explore Newfoundland & Labrador on our 15 day self-drive.
Days 1 & 2 - Halifax: After arriving at Halifax International Airport, collect your car and head to your overnight hotel. After check-in the remainder of your day is at leisure. Spend the next day exploring Halifax, taking in St Paul’s Church or the Victorian Public Gardens.
(Hotel: Atlantica Hotel Halifax or similar)
Day 3 – Halifax/Port-Aux-Basques: today drive the length of Nova Scotia as you head north, passing through the Bras d’Ors basin. Reaching North Sydney take the ferry to Port-Aux-Basques (Newfoundland & Labrador). Keep an eye open for wildlife on the crossing. Overnight in Port-Aux-Basques.
(Hotel: St. Christopher's Hotel or similar)
Day 4 – Port-Aux-Basques/Cow Head: pass through the small communities dotted along the west coast and continue on your journey towards Gros Morne National Park and the town of Cow Head. Along the way stop for a break at Barachois Pond Provincial Park and a take a short hike where you can get close up to the unique landscape.
(Hotel: Shallow Bay Motel or similar)
Days 5 & 6 – Cow Head/St. Anthony: after a night in Cow Head continue north along the Strait of Belle Isle and the Great Northern peninsula of Newfoundland. If you have time perhaps stop at Port au Choix National Historic Site, crossroads of 6000 years of human history. Arrive in the town of St. Anthony and stay for two nights. On your free day you could take an optional cruise out into Iceberg Alley or experience Viking life at the only authenticated Viking settlement in North America, L'Anse aux Meadows.
(Hotel: Greenfell Heritage Hotel & Suites or similar)
Days 7 & 8 – St. Anthony/L’Anse-Au-Clair: depart St. Anthony for the ferry departure point at St. Barbe. On your drive watch out for moose as the population here is amongst the densest in the world. After your ferry crossing drive to the small village of L’Anse-Au-Clair for a two night stay. The following day, discover the rich history of the area and visit Red Bay UNESCO World Heritage Site which tells the story of Basque whaling in Labrador.
(Hotel: Northern Light Inn or similar)
Day 9 – L’Anse-Au-Clair/Rocky Harbour: from Blanc Sablon, take the ferry back to the shores of Newfoundland and travel back down the coast. Visit Gros Morne National Park and learn about the unique geology that led to this park's designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take time to hike along one of the park's many trails or enjoy a spectacular boat cruise on the landlocked fjord of Western Brook Pond. While in the park, watch out for wildlife such as Arctic Hare, Lynx and Caribou. Arrive in Rocky Harbour for a one night stay.
(Hotel: Oceanview Hotel or similar)
Days 10 & 11 – Rocky Harbour/Gander: leaving your hotel head east through the wooded landscape. Arriving in Gander, a main staging area for aircraft during World War 2, check in to your hotel for two nights. You might also want to visit North Atlantic Aviation Museum. The following day follow the 'Road to the Isles' which is an excellent viewing point for passing icebergs. En route, visit the Beothuk Intrpretation Centre at Boyd's Cove and learn about a now-extinct people with a unique language and culture who thrived on the resources of the land and sea.
(Hotel: Sindbad's Hotel & Suites or similar)
Days 12 & 13 - Gander/St. John's: begin your journey east along the Trans-Canada Highway towards St. John's. Pass through Terra Nova National Park before reaching the shores of Conception Bay. Arrive for a two night stay in the provincial capital St. John's with it's colourful houses that rise up from the edge of a sheltered harbour. On your free day you may want to watch the sun rise at North America's most easterly point at Cape Spear - and explore local legends and lore during a city tour of the oldest city in North America.
(Hotel: Delta St. John's Hotel or similar)
Day 14 – St. John's/Argentia: leaving St. John's behind head to the ferry departure point at Argentina. Here you will board the overnight ferry to North Sydney. Two berth cabins are available upon request and are subject to availability.
(Overnight: Marine Atlantic Ferry)
Day 15 – North Sydney/Halifax: arrive in North Sydney this morning and disembark. Take a leisurely drive back to Halifax where you will drop off your car before your flight home.
There are eight cities in New Brunswick, the main ones being Moncton, Fredericton & Saint John. Bilingual Moncton has its own World Wine & Food Expo and is also only a short drive from the coastlines of both the Bay of Fundy & the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Fredericton is the provincial capital and is full of history of culture. You will also find over 88km riverside walking and hiking trails. Saint John is the only city on the Bay of Fundy and has a great choice of shops, galleries and restaurants. Here you will also be able to see the ‘Reversing Rapids’ where the tidal changes in the Bay of Fundy force the water at the mouth of St. John River to reverse its flow.
There are many places to stay in this province, which is not surprising giving its size (nearly one and three quarters the size of the United Kingdom). St. John's, the provincial capital is the oldest and most easterly city in North America. It is very recognisable in pictures with its colourful streets. The Fogo and Change islands are located just off the coast and famous for attracting artists. The Fogo Island Inn is quickly gaining a world-wide reputation based on its use of local staff and products. And across the remainder of the province there are many town and outposts where you can just stop and in the raw unspoilt nature.
Nova Scotia's capital city of Halifax boasts more pubs than any other city in Canada - so you can be sure that the nightlife is something to be experienced! Halifax also has some great history. More than 1 million immigrants entered Canada via Halifax and the city also has very close links to the Titanic tragedy. Cape Breton Island is full of breathtaking scenery which can be viewed just as easily on one of the many hiking trails throughout the Cape Breton Highlands National Park as it can by car along the Cabot Trail - one of the world's most scenic drives. Antigonish on the province's North Shore is home to the longest running Highland Games outside of Scotland, held each year in July, it has been running for over 150 years. The North Shore is also home to more warm-water beaches than anywhere else in Atlantic Canada.
Charlottetown is the provincial capital and its population is just slightly less than half of the whole province. It is also home to the Province House National Historic Site, the birthplace of the Canadian Confederation and during the Charlottetown Festival is headlined by Canada’s longest running musical, Anne of Green Gables – The Musical. Away from the city the North Cape Coastal Drive area is full of culture and history with all kinds of theatres and museums. And is also a great spot to try Oysters and PEI potatoes. On the other side of the island you will find the Points East Coastal Drive is home to 50 beaches and has six lighthouses which are open to the public during summer.