Connected to the rest of Canada by the 24km-wide Isthmus of Chignecto, Nova Scotia juts into the North Atlantic like an upside-down anvil, its weathered coastline a whopping 7500km long and littered with gorgeous villages, beaches, rocky inlets and windblown headlands. Originally the home of the Mi’kmaq people, the French established the first permanent European settlement at Port Royal in 1605, laying the foundations for what would become French-speaking Acadia. The British established control over the region in the eighteenth century, and today the province displays mixed English, Scottish and French heritage.
Visits usually begin at the lively capital, Halifax, which sits beside a splendid harbour on the south coast. From here, the most beguiling parts of the province fall into three regions: the South Shore, with Lunenburg the most alluring target; the Annapolis Valley, stretching 110km northeast from Annapolis Royal to Wolfville, noted for whale-watching, fruit growing and wine-making; and rugged Cape Breton Island, best appreciated by driving the jaw-dropping Cabot Trail.