UNESCO Sites in Nova Scotia

Check out Nova Scotia’s three internationally UNESCO recognized world heritage sites.

Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve

The Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve, protecting a spectacular expanse of over 1.5 million hectares of picturesque coastal and inland terrains along with rare wildlife and cultural treasures, offers an exciting range of hands-on activities to fire the imagination and provide stimulating learning opportunities. Led by dedicated and skilled locals, each adventure offers an authentic experience like kayaking age-old native canoe routes, preparing a feast of dulse collected at low tide along the Bay of Fundy, seeing a massive whale breach within meters of your boat, discovering rare petroglyphs in Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site.

Nestled in Weymouth Mills on the Sissiboo River is Hinterland Adventures. Tour the Tobeatic Wilderness Area of the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve by canoe, where you can paddle for days without seeing another soul. Observe nature on all tours especially Bald Eagles when kayaking on the Sissiboo River. With customized tours, Hinterland’s guides will teach you everything you need to know, from how to paddle to how to build and cook over an open fire. You never know what you’ll encounter on these tranquil tours as you travel the way the Mi’kmaq people once did. You might even see a petroglyph etched into the rocks or if you are lucky, an arrowhead lying on a lake bed.

Landscape of Grand Pré

For culture lovers, the Landscape of Grand Pré is Southwest Nova’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site in the picturesque Annapolis Valley. Acres of immaculately tended farmland pay homage to the dyke system first built by 17th century Acadian settlers on land reclaimed from the sea. Today this landscape is bordered by prolific vineyards producing award-winning wines.  Wine tours and tastings provide a delicious opportunity to combine a fascinating cultural and culinary experience.

Town of Lunenburg

In the Town of Lunenburg, this UNESCO World Heritage Site weaves its own special spell taking visitors back to the 18th and 19th centuries when this fishing port bristled with tall ships. Vividly colored historic homes line streets banked sharply up from the harbor which is home to Bluenose II Nova Scotia’s famous sailing ambassador. Tour on foot or via horse-drawn carriage throughout the town, chat with local residents, taste some Lunenburg pudding, and hear some tall seafaring tales. Plan to stop by the blacksmith’s shop, now a micro-distillery, where you can sample some fine spirits.

Old Town Lunenburg is one of only two urban communities in North America designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Considered to be the best surviving planned British colonial town in North America, you can still see the tall ships moored off the port and hear the smith’s hammer, while guided tours tell tales of lives lost on the ocean, and the spirits that return to haunt the living.

Lunenburg’s harbor-side streets are lined with unique shops and restaurants that blend with the well-preserved and colorfully painted historic homes, much of it like a living museum from the 18th century. Strong European influences are evident in the historic buildings and heritage homes, the steep streets and shop-lined harbourfront make a walking tour an outstanding visitor experience.

While on a tour discover Nova Scotia’s maritime heritage when you visit the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic to explore wharf-side vessels and their extraordinary aquarium, and the famous Bluenose II, a replica of the original world-famous racing schooner, now moored in Lunenburg’s harbor. It has been rebuilt by Lunenburg Shipyard and awaits rigging.


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