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I plan on visiting Nova Scotia next Spring, I am currently wondering how to get there and especially how to move around. I am starting in Montreal.

  • By plane it's pretty expensive and then it's not easy to move around.

  • By train it's not much cheaper even though I can see the landscapes on the way.

  • By car it seems all right, the bad thing is the time it takes to get there and the price (but we are 2 so it's not so bad). It also allows to visit a lot of places on the way, and explore the area.

  • By bus it allows to see the landscapes, and if we plan it we can stop on the way and explore a minimum of the area. But it's not that cheap, Orleans Express and Acadian Bus have pretty high prices. I was expecting they had a bus pass but they don't seem to offer it.

We are a bit flexible. Does anyone have experience or advice about that? If there is a popular way to travel over there (hitch-hiking, kayaking, riding moose ...)?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I have taken the bus from Fredericton, New Brunswick (NB) to Halifax, NS at least 10 times and take the train Montreal-Halifax three times. If you have a choice I would avoid both of these options.

  • For the most part you won't see too much on either method of transport. The train usually runs straight through the forest. The bus runs along either the highway or some rural roads. Nothing too pretty on either method of transport.

  • The train will be about the same price as flying if you have a single seat (not a berth or cabin). This is comfortable for a day trip but for the ~20 hour trip from Montreal-Halifax this is very uncomfortable. The train is always late as well. On my 3 trips the train has been as little as two hours late to as much as 6 hours late.

  • The bus ride is very long. Halifax-Fredericton is about 7.5hours by bus or 4.5 hours by car. I spoke to someone who did Halifax-Montreal by bus and they mentioned that it was 25+ hours.

If I was going to Nova Scotia I would probably drive. You can be in Halifax in a day of driving (16 hours) or you can do it it two shorter drives. Halifax offers a wealth of things to do in the city but you will undoubtedly want to see some of the smaller touristic areas that are harder to access without a car.

Driving will probably also be cheaper than bus/train but also gives you some other money saving opportunities. Depending on the time you of year you could stay in camp grounds instead of hotels. This can save $75/day.

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Would kindly write out the full name of NB followed by NB in brackets. This is to benefit everyone. –  Simon Mar 27 '13 at 16:37

I think you've fairly well summarized the options and their advantages and disadvantages. Which one you choose is largely going to be personal preference. What's most important to you? If it's money, then drive. If it's time, then fly. If it's time well spent, take the train.

Nova Scotia isn't that easy to get around without a car. There's a decent bus service, but some of the places you will want to go are hard to get to. If you take the plane or train, budget for a car rental. I don't think there is much of a hitch-hiking culture, and moose-riding is really frowned on.

One other possible option is to fly in (or take the train) and then do a bike tour. You'd only be able to cover a small part of Nova Scotia, but if you picked somewhere like the Cabot Trail that would be a great trip.

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thanks, indeed I expect answers like it's hard to use bus to move around as you said, or tricks about bus passes (I figured there used to be one and there is still one in Eastern Quebec). Actually how people there can afford taking the bus is a real mystery to me, while it's way more affordable in the rest of North America –  Vince Sep 24 '12 at 17:46

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