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Blick auf Halifax, Bild: Russ Heinl / shutterstock

Halifax – romantic port city on the Atlantic Ocean

On the far eastern edge of Canada, directly on the Atlantic Ocean, lies its second smallest province: Nova Scotia. Offshore islands and a peninsula belong to the province, whose capital Halifax is located directly on the Atlantic coast. This means that it can be reached from Frankfurt Airport in barely 7 hours by plane. With less than 400,000 inhabitants, Halifax is not very large compared to other Canadian provincial capitals and has retained the charm known from romantic port towns. In addition, the Canadian city has a lot to offer with its long shipping history. As early as 1758, the construction of the first shipyard began here.

The historic harbour alone is a great attraction. On the harbour promenade, visitors can stroll comfortably along the water and explore the interesting area. A good place to start is the Canadian Immigration Museum, which deals with the history of the very many cultures in one of the largest countries on earth. Located at Pier No. 21, it was once the gateway to the country for more than 1 million people who came here as immigrants between 1928 and 1971 for a variety of reasons in the hope of a better life.

The harbour – the hub of the city

Halifax Waterfront
Halifax waterfront, Image: Darryl Brooks / shutterstock

The harbour is undoubtedly characteristic of the city on the ocean. The harbour district has an old complex of warehouses. The trading offices and small alleys now house shops and restaurants. Small galleries and shops invite you to take a stroll here. There are also many small cafés, restaurants and bars to linger in. Something special is the “Seaport Farmers’ Market”, the oldest farmers’ market on the North American continent, which exists continuously.

Founded in 1750, it now offers over 250 vendors the opportunity to offer their fresh goods such as local wine, fruits, fish and organic vegetables. This also applies to the most extravagant seafood for which the province is world-famous, the lobster. A freshly grilled lobster is an inseparable part of a visit to Halifax. Not far from the market, visitors can expect a replica of the “Bluenose”, a schooner who became a Canadian legend and national shrine. Today, the ship can be found on the 10-cent coin in Canada as an embossing and was also already on sale as a stamp. Another ship has left its mark on the city.

The survivors of the Titanic came here in 1912 after their shipwreck. The “Maritime Museum of the Atlantic” deals with this in its exhibition about the Titanic, which is well worth seeing. Although Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia and a metropolis, it is compact enough to be easily explored on foot. Especially in the evening it is worth a stroll, because this is where there are supposedly the most pubs in North America, converted to the number of inhabitants. Live music is the order of the day here, as the city is also full of students who go to the six local universities and want to be entertained in the evenings.

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Halifax – Strategically located

Halifax is literally the “gateway to Nova Scotia”, as it is located on a headland directly in the Atlantic Ocean. The British recognized the strategically important situation early on. As early as 1749, they built the “Citadel”, a fortification of unimagined proportions, in which the British troops were accommodated. The citadel is located behind the natural harbor on the “Citadel Hill” hill and overlooks the action. This makes the star-shaped complex a popular vantage point, but also the city’s landmark. Tours with knowledgeable guides introduce visitors to the arsenal of ancient weapons. It is always fired at noon as a tradition and is an attraction for tourists. The clock tower in the old town is also an inseparable part of Halifax. The father of the English King Victoria, then commander-in-chief of the British soldiers living in Halifax, was responsible for its construction in 1803. He loved punctuality, so he put clocks on all sides of the tower so that his subordinates were always in the right place at the right time.

History and modernity in perfect combination

Halifax Clock Tower
Halifax Clock Tower, Image: cworthy / shutterstock

If you are in downtown Halifax, you should take a look at the Anglican St. Paul’s Church. It dates back to the 18th century, making it the oldest building in the port city. It is also the oldest Protestant church in the entire country. With its old and new buildings, Halifax is therefore a city between history and modernity. Promising buildings are integrated into the historic cityscape. In 2014, the new library was built as a cubist cube. It is made entirely of glass and steel and stretches like an open atrium with its stairs and bridges over 5 piecework. A special feature is the oversized beam, which was placed across the flat roof. The library roof thus forms the axis of history between the harbour and the star-shaped citadel.

Festivals – celebrating life on the Atlantic

In the warm season, Halifax is a city of festivals. In July, there is a jazz festival, which is very popular. The homosexual movement also likes to celebrate with the “Pride Festival” with about 120,000 visitors in the port city. Underground art forms will be showcased at the Fringe Festival in August. Performances at various locations in the city surprise with wit and unusual ideas. There is even a festival for the popular lobster, the “Lobster Carnival”, which is celebrated in the Halifax area in July.

Popular Restaurants in Halifax

  1. The Press Gang Restaurant & Oyster Bar: Located in the historic downtown, this fine restaurant offers a mix of fresh seafood and local ingredients. Specialties include raw or baked oysters and dishes such as lobster thermidor.
  2. 2 Doors Down: This casual downtown restaurant is known for classic comfort dishes with a modern twist, such as mac and cheese with lobster and fish and chips.
  3. The Old Triangle: A lively pub in the heart of Halifax offering traditional Irish dishes such as Irish stew and fish and chips, accompanied by a selection of beers and whiskeys.
  4. The Auction House: A popular downtown gastropub that serves an eclectic mix of dishes with international influences, including Korean fried chicken and fish tacos.
  5. The Wooden Monkey: A restaurant that specializes in healthy and sustainable food, with a variety of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, as well as sustainably sourced meats and seafood.
  6. La Frasca Cibi & Vini: An Italian restaurant in Halifax’s North End that offers traditional Italian dishes with a modern twist, including bucatini all’amatriciana and beef tenderloin carpaccio.
  7. The Five Fishermen: A top-notch seafood-focused restaurant known for its fresh oysters, daily ceviche, and extra succulent scallops.
  8. The Kitchen Table: An intimate restaurant behind Ratinaud’s Charcuterie in the hip North End that offers an 8-course meal with a strong French influence.
  9. The Bicycle Thief: A popular waterfront restaurant serving Italian-inspired gourmet cuisine with an impressive selection of champagnes and fine wines.
  10. Little Oak: An intimate wine and snack bar in Bishop’s Landing on the Halifax Waterfront, serving high-quality, locally sourced snack dishes and shared platters of rare wines and incredible craft cocktails.
  11. The Brooklyn Warehouse: A popular local restaurant in Halifax’s West End known for its fresh, local ingredients and part of Taste Nova Scotia and the Slow Food movement.
  12. Studio East: A trendy West End restaurant that combines Asian flavors with Nova Scotia flavors, offering a wide range of dishes including oysters, sushi, ramen, burgers, and curries.
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Hotel recommendations for Halifax

  1. The Halliburton: A cozy, upscale inn located very close to downtown. It offers a lovely restaurant and a charming atmosphere, ideal for guests looking for quiet and elegant accommodation.
  2. Cambridge Suites Hotel Halifax: This stylish and reliable hotel is located on the edge of the city centre and offers great views of the historic Citadel. It has nice breakfast options, rooms with kitchenettes, and a rooftop terrace.
  3. The Prince George Hotel: A clean, upscale hotel in the heart of downtown that’s known for its excellent location and service. It offers a variety of amenities, including an award-winning restaurant and an indoor pool.
  4. DoubleTree By Hilton Halifax Dartmouth: Located in Dartmouth overlooking downtown Halifax, this hotel offers modern amenities and comfortable rooms. It is a great choice for guests who want to enjoy a view of the city.
  5. Hampton Inn By Hilton Downtown Halifax: An updated, functional hotel located in the northern part of downtown, just steps from the historic Citadel and waterfront. The hotel offers breakfast, a fitness centre and a swimming pool.

The climate in Halifax

Month Average maximum temperature (°C) Average low temperature (°C) Average rainfall (mm) Average amount of snowfall (cm)
January -1 -9 144 49
February -1 -9 107 37
March 2 -5 116 24
April 8 1 115 6
May 14 6 114 0
June 19 11 108 0
July 23 15 102 0
August 23 15 107 0
September 19 11 99 0
October 13 6 124 0
November 7 1 135 6
December 2 -4 149 30