RSS Feed

Related Articles

Related Categories

Be king of the road in Atlantic Canada this summer

28th May 2014 Print
Atlantic Canada

Just under six hours flying time from London, Atlantic Canada with its miles of coastline and open roads is the ideal touring destination for those UK travellers looking to get out on the highway and look for adventure.

A self-drive holiday is the perfect way to explore the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, where the roads are wide and often deserted.

Passing by UNESCO World Heritage Sites, lighthouses, fishing villages and vineyards, the region offers plenty of scenic routes to choose from this summer, but this year's top picks are:

New Brunswick

Fundy coastal drive (390km)

This route takes visitors along the Bay of Fundy coastline, home to the highest tides in the world, and stretches from Aulac to St Stephen. Passing through the cities of Saint John and Moncton as well as the coastal town St Andrews by the Sea, visitors should look out for whales breaching off the coast, discover fossil-filled mudflats, visit the Hopewell Rocks and explore the coastal islands. For a true coastal experience, spend a day island-hopping and whale watching around the Fundy Isles; Grand Manan, Campobello and Deer Islands.

Acadian coastal drive (440km)

Running north to south, along the eastern coast of New Brunswick from Dalhousie to Aulac, this drive passes sandy beaches, fishing villages and coastal towns. The Acadian Coastal route area is known for its excellent beaches and some of Canada's warmest swimming beaches are located on this drive. Along the route travellers will experience the French Acadian culture and the 'joie de vivre' of the Acadian people who share their story, culture and cuisine with visitors at attractions including the Acadian Village, local festivals and Le Pays de la Sagouine; an exciting living museum. There are also plenty of opportunities to dine of delicious fresh seafood.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Irish loop (312km)

The Irish loop starts at St. John's and heads south into the heart of Irish Newfoundland, where  whales, seabirds and caribou can been seen, before circling back to the capital. The area is named after the Irish immigrants that first inhabited this part of Newfoundland, and highlights include Aquaforte, where the harbour resembles a Norwegian fjord and Witless Bay Ecological Reserve; home to millions of seabirds every summer. Visitors should also look out for icebergs which drift down from the Arctic in the summer and stop at beaches and hunt for 'bergies' (mini chunks of iceberg).

UNESCO World Heritage Trail (1,050km)

There are only 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada and this route takes in three of them; Red Bay National Historic Site, Gros Morne National Park and the Viking site at L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. Drivable in four days, travellers will also visit beautiful beaches, glacier-carved fjords and mountainscapes.

Nova Scotia

Wines, whales and whiskey (distance 867km) – a route for the passengers!

Discover the northern edge of the province on the wines, whales and whisky tour. The route takes visitors through Nova Scotia's wine region, the Annapolis Valley, which boasts a number of wineries, including Luckett Vineyard with its signature red phone box in the middle of the grape vines. The route also passes along the Bay of Fundy, home to the world's highest tides, ideal for whale watching. Visitors can also try North America's first single malt whisky at Glenora Inn & Distillery. Other highlights along the route include Northumberland Shore and Cape Breton.

Cabot trail (300km)

Known as one of the world's most scenic drives, The Cabot Trail on the Island of Cape Breton, northeast of Nova Scotia, is home to a 185-mile trail which passes through small fishing villages and a mountainous interior with dense forest, and along shores lapped by the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean. The trail also passes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, home to moose, black bear and bald eagles. The town of Baddeck, on Bras d'Or Lake, is a good starting point for the drive. From here, visitors can complete the Cabot Trail loop in either direction. Visitors can dine on fresh seafood plucked straight from the Atlantic, overnight in a traditional inn and hike some of the national park's 25 trails along the way. The most recommended one would be the Skyline Tail which is just 15 minutes' drive from the park entrance.

Prince Edward Island

Central coastal drive (198km)

Travel through Anne of Green Gables land on Prince Edward Island's central coastal drive. Highlights include the coastal resort town of Cavendish and PEI National Park, which has excellent walking routes so travellers can stretch their legs. The route also passes through the quaint town of Victoria-by-the-Sea which has changed very little since the 1950s and visitors can also explore the vibrant capital of Charlottetown at the end.

Points east coastal drive (411km)

Ideal for outdoor aficionados, the points east coastal drive passes through parks and trails, as well as six lighthouses which are open to the public during the summer. Other highlights include Greenwich Dunes and the floating boardwalk and cycle the Confederation Trail through Morell and St Peters. Visitors should also head to the beach at Basin Head Provincial Park where the sand 'sings' when walked upon.

For more information, visit

Getting there: Return Economy flights from London Heathrow to Halifax start from £755.45 including taxes.

Avis offers weekly car hire from £148 picking up from Halifax Airport, Nova Scotia. To book, visit

More Photos - Click to Enlarge

Atlantic Canada