With strong Celtic roots and breathtaking scenery, Cape Breton is a region that is truly distinct from the rest of the province of Nova Scotia. Its capital, the harbor port of Sydney, makes a great launching pad for visits to the rest of the island.
At the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion, snap a selfie in front of the world’s largest fiddle, a 60-foot statue that welcomes visitors to the port. Stroll along the boardwalk of the Sydney Waterfront District toward downtown Sydney, where, in the evenings, you can tap your toes to real live fiddling upstairs at Governor’s Pub and Eatery. To explore Indigenous history and culture in Sydney, visit the expansive Membertou Heritage Park, a museum and event space where you can learn the history of the Mi’kmaq, and shop for authentic Aboriginal art.

Sydney is a great base for visiting smaller, nearby towns. In Glace Bay, the Miners Museum pays tribute to Cape Breton’s coal-mining backbone, while in the village of Baddeck, you can visit the fascinating Alexander Graham Bell Museum. Finally, the fortress of Louisbourg is a must-visit – an entire 18th-century French settlement, recreated. Sydney is also a starting point for your journey along the Cabot Trail, a lush scenic road through the Cape Breton Highlands, considered one of the world’s most iconic road trips.