From its colorful fishing villages to its windswept scenery, Nova Scotia evokes Scotland in more ways than one: Here, the phone book is filled with MacDonalds and MacLeods. There are links-style golf courses and whisky distilleries, and the lilt of fiddles and pipes wafts from the doorways of local pubs. Even its name means “New Scotland.”
With its perch on the eastern shore of Canada, Nova Scotia was a welcome landing spot for 18th- and 19th-century immigrants from the Scottish Highlands and islands. In parts of Nova Scotia, you can learn a few words of the Canadian Gaelic dialect, which is still spoken here (though not widely).
Halifax, Nova Scotia’s largest city, is the gateway to the province’s stunning landscapes, including famous Peggy’s Cove, with its granite cliffs and solitary lighthouse. On a trip to Canada’s Cape Breton Island, follow the road signs—in English and Gaelic—to the Cabot Trail, considered one of the world’s prettiest drives. Curving around mountains blanketed in firs, revealing clifftop vistas over the Atlantic Ocean, this winding ribbon of roadway speaks to those of any native tongue.