Nova Scotia © paul bica
Nova Scotia is a 350-mile (560km) peninsula on the east of Canada, connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. Its rugged coastline, numerous rivers and slew of lakes make for a watery wonderland of delicious seafood, scenic routes, waterside wilderness trails, and dolphin and whale-watching opportunities.
The semi-island has a strong mixed history with influences from French, Scottish and English colonisations, as well as from the local Mi'kmaq Nation, clearly visible. But it's the Scots who had the biggest impact on Nova Scotia's culture, the first clue of which is in the name, which means 'New Scotland' in Latin. Indeed, there is a certain Scottish flavour that permeates its bars and restaurants, and even the famous Scottish wit is alive and well in Nova Scotia locals.
Nova Scotia, together with its neighbouring provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, are known as the Maritime Provinces of Canada. Nowhere in Nova Scotia is further than 35 miles (56km) from the ocean, and the busy port of Halifax attracts more than 200,000 cruise-ship passengers every year.
The relatively small spit of land also supports a vibrant musical culture, which includes the only symphony orchestra in Atlantic Canada, and a rich tradition of Scottish and Irish music.
The warm summers in Nova Scotia make it ideal for a range of outdoor activities, such as golf, sailing, zip lining, hiking, cycling, fishing, swimming and horseback riding. The winters are undeniably cold, but offer other pastimes such as cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Nova Scotia is ultimately a great destination for those interested in the great outdoors. While it is primarily celebrated as one of Canada's maritime capitals, there is certainly enough fun to be had on dry land if exploring the waves isn't your thing.