Halifax attractions

Halifax attractions


Ports along the east coast of America and Canada are regularly on the list of cruise ship itineraries. One of the destinations is Halifax, the metropolis of the province of Nova Scotia. The city and its vicinity offer day visitors many sights.

Welcome to the Halifax Seaport

The Halifax Seaport, a state-of-the-art cruise terminal, awaits cruise ship guests. In the terminal building, staff from the Nova Scotia Visitor Information Center provide information and advice and distribute maps of Halifax and its sister city, Dartmouth, across the street. The maps contain useful recommendations for walking around the city. Those who ask for it will also get information about the 25 most important attractions of the peninsula of Nova Scotia.

Halifax Seaport

Halifax Seaport


Places to visit in Halifax

Visitors arriving by cruise ship should prioritize their limited time to see the city's attractions. There's enough to see: one of its most famous attractions is the Halifax Citadel, perched on a hill overlooking the city. Other highlights include the Catholic Cathedral of St. Mary's Basilica and the Anglican St. Paul's Church. We present these and other sights below.

Halifax - the Big Pink sightseeing buses


Halifax - the Big Pink sightseeing buses


Reference to the Halifax Citadel


Reference to the Halifax Citadel 


Halifax Citadel

The city of Halifax was founded in 1749. From the beginning it was one of the most important naval bases of the British Empire. The construction of the citadel began at the same time as the founding of the city. Over the decades, the citadel has undergone constant improvements. Today, the seemingly impregnable fortress overlooking the city has National Historic Site status. The attractions of the Halifax Citadel are impregnable ramparts with deep moats, a huge, central building and the town clock outside.

Halifax Citadel - Casemates
Halifax Citadel - Fortification Walls
Halifax Citadel - Central Building
Halifax Citadel - Clock Tower

Visitors are offered tours of the fortress, soldiers perform in historical uniforms, and military parades also take place on the parade ground located within the citadel. If you like, you can visit the weapon, drum and pipe show.

Halifax Citadel - sentry post


Halifax Citadel - sentry post


Halifax Citadel - in the crew quarters


Halifax Citadel - in the crew quarters 


Two important churches

A highlight of the city tour is the visit to the Catholic cathedral St. Mary's Basilica. The architects used the Anglican church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London's Trafalgar Square as a template. Construction of St. Mary's began in 1820. Since 1950, the largest sacred building in the diocese of Halifax has held the rank of a minor basilica.

Halifax - St Mary's Basilica
St. Mary's Basilica - Nave and Altar
St. Mary's Basilica - aisle and stained glass windows
St. Mary's Basilica - organ loft

The counterpart to the Catholic Church is the Anglican St. Paul's Church. After the Anglican community was established in Halifax in 1749, St. Paul's Church was built the following year in record time. In the 19th century the chancel and two aisles were added. In addition, the church received a higher tower. Inside the church are plaques with the names of people significant to the history of the province and Halifax.

St. Paul's Church


St. Paul's Church


Nave of St. Paul's Church


Nave of St. Paul's Church 


The town hall

The historic City Hall on Grand Parade and opposite St. Paul's Church is also worth a visit. The three-story building was completed in 1890. City Hall is one of the oldest public buildings in Nova Scotia. The elegant façade design is based on Victorian buildings. The seven-story bell tower is the focal point of the town hall.

Halifax - City Hall in the background


Halifax - City Hall in the background


Halifax - City Hall


Halifax - City Hall 


Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk

The Halifax Waterfront is a promenade along the harbor popular with locals and visitors alike. At four kilometers long, it is one of the longest wooden beach promenades in the world. It ranges from the "Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21" to the Casino Nova Scotia. The Immigration Museum, located next to the cruise terminal, depicts the fate of immigrants from the beginning to the present day.

View of the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk
Halifax Waterfront Harbor Walk
Homes on Halifax Harbourwalk
Halifax Harbourwalk - Sailing Ship Mar
 

At the Waterfront, visitors will experience North America's oldest continuously operating Farmer's Market. You will discover attractive shops and choose from many well-established restaurants. The Waterfront is also a venue for events and activities. Ships and boats depart from the Boardwalk for harbor tours, whale watching tours and fishing trips.

Representation of the Halifax Harbourwalk
Halifax Harbourwalk - Tour Packages
Halifax Harbourwalk - Ticket Shop
Amphibious vehicle in front of the Halifax Harbourwalk

Along the way, a number of monuments and sculptures commemorate important events and people in the city's history. Cruise ship passengers will be particularly interested in the larger-than-life sculpture of Sir Samuel Cunard, the founder of the Cunard Line.

Statue of Samuel Cunard

Statue of Samuel Cunard


Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

Located on Halifax's historic waterfront, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic tells the story of Nova Scotia's maritime heritage. It houses an extensive collection of ships, tools and works of art documenting the maritime history of the region. Interactive exhibitions and guided tours allow visitors to immerse themselves in the history of seafaring. A part of the exhibition is dedicated to the chapter "Unsinkable Titanic". The ship collided with an iceberg about a thousand miles from Halifax in April 1912. Those who died on the Titanic were buried in Halifax cemeteries.

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic


Maritime Museum of the Atlantic


Maritime Museum of the Atlantic


Maritime Museum of the Atlantic 


Two historical ships

In front of the Maritime Museum lies the corvette HMCS Sackville. The small Flower-class warship belonged to the Royal Canadian Navy. It was launched in 1941. HMCS Sackville served as a warship until the end of World War II. In 1946 she was decommissioned and assigned to the reserve. Between 1952 and 1982 she was used as a research ship. The corvette has belonged to the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust since 1983.

HMCS Sackville


HMCS Sackville


HMCS Sackville - The Last Corvette


HMCS Sackville - The Last Corvette 


The CSS Acadia is also within sight of the museum. The ship served as a hydrographic and oceanographic research vessel for over 50 years. During World War I and World War II it was attached to the Royal Canadian Navy.

Museum ship Acadia

Museum ship Acadia


Halifax Public Gardens

The city of Halifax boasts its Public Gardens as one of the finest Victorian gardens in North America. The Nova Scotia Horticultural Society laid the foundation stone in 1936

In the Halifax Public Gardens
Cafe in the Halifax Public Gardens
Halifax Public Gardens - Kings College Coat of Arms
Bandstand in the Halifax Public Gardens

The Public Gardens take up an entire block of Lower Town. The main entrance is on the corner of Spring Garden Road and South Park Street. The park is open to visitors between late March and early November. The "Friends of the Public Gardens" offer free guided tours and "historical tours" throughout the year.

Halifax Public Gardens - Main portal


Halifax Public Gardens - Main portal


Halifax Public Gardens - Visitor Group


Halifax Public Gardens - Visitor Group 


Destinations outside of Halifax

Nova Scotia ranks second to last among the ten Canadian provinces and the three additional territories with "only" 55.300 square kilometers. By Canadian standards, the province is tiny. Which doesn't mean that you can get to know Nova Scotia in a short time. Attractive destinations near Halifax are the two towns of Lunenburg and Peggy's Cove.

Lunenburg

Founded in 1753, the picturesque town of Lunenburg is located approximately 100 kilometers south of Halifax. It is one of the oldest and best-preserved cities in Canada. It has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. The name Lunenburg suggests that Protestants from Germany, Switzerland and parts of France were lured to the region as settlers with generous promises by the governors of the British crown. What is striking is the town center, which is characterized by colorful wooden houses and old captain's houses.

Wooden houses on Lunenburg's King Street

Wooden houses on Lunenburg's King Street


A landmark of the city is St. John's Anglican Church. It was built in 1754 and is considered an example of the typical architecture of the region. The Lunenburg Academy Museum documents the history of the city and its region.

St John's Anglican Church

St John's Anglican Church


The town's historic buildings are occupied by shops, restaurants and galleries. A walk along the harbor and through the narrow streets of the old town offers ample opportunity to discover the city's beauty and history. However, the distance between Halifax and Lunenburg suggests visiting the city only as part of organized cruise ship excursions.

Peggy's Cove

You could visit the fishing town of Peggy's Cove, 45 kilometers away, on your own. The town has only a few inhabitants and is nevertheless one of the most frequently visited tourist destinations in Nova Scotia. The influx of new citizens into the town is strictly regulated by the provincial government and the municipality. This does not apply to day guests. They come to Peggy's Cove to see the breathtaking scenery and the red and white painted Peggy's Point Lighthouse. The active beacon is one of the most photographed objects on Canada's Atlantic coast.

Peggy's Point Lighthouse

Peggy's Point Lighthouse


Shops and restaurants in Peggy's Cove offer authentic maritime cuisine and crafts. In order to avoid the crowds, it is advisable to visit the place as early as possible in the day.

Nova Scotia's wineries

The region has a coastline of approximately 7.400 kilometers. Thousands of bays form the shoreline and more than 3.800 islands lie off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. In eastern Nova Scotia, long, white sandy beaches line the sea. The climate is very pleasant, especially in the summer and autumn months. No wonder: Nova Scotia is on the level of the Bay of Biscay. It is therefore not surprising that wine is grown on the peninsula. Several regional wineries invite you to visit.

Wine and harder drinks from the Nova Scotia region

Wine and harder drinks from the Nova Scotia region


Under A day in Halifax and Three iconic destinations in Nova Scotia we describe the impressions we gained during our stay.

Update November 2023

 

My Shore Excursions Halifax


Activities & Excursions Halifax - GetYourguide