Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Hello hello! Happy Wednesday, friends! I hope this post finds you with a steaming cup of coffee & a hankering for a light bit of armchair travelling. I’m thrilled to bring you the second installment of my Canadian travel posts today: Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia! If you’ve never heard of it before, don’t worry – I myself only really learned of its existence shortly before visiting! Lunenburg is a cutesy little harbour town that’s filled with quirky colorful buildings, beautiful scenery, and, if you’re into seafood, some great eateries. Fiancé & I, along with his parents, crammed in a quick visit to Lunenburg during our recent trip to Canada in August; I’ve been dying to tell you about it ever since! Let’s get into it, shall we?

Also! In case you missed it, my first Canadian post is all about the second city of PEI: Exploring Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

All the details on everything you could possible need to know about visiting Lunenburg are listed below – and then some! Sections include: before you visit / getting there / where we stayed / where we had coffee / where we ate lunch + dinner / where we drank / where we tourist-ed. Unless otherwise stated, all recommendations are things and places we experienced ourselves, so you know you can trust it! Enjoy!

Oh PS: get ready for a photo overload! I didn’t realize how many photos we’d taken until I started putting this guide together. Lunenburg was just too pretty not to photograph!

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia


Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

before you visit & two fun facts

A small handful of things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about visiting Lunenburg!

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• Lunenburg is a real tourist hotspot. It’s exceptionally busy, which we found frustrating at times, but many of the tourists seem to be day-trippers. To avoid the larger crowds, we went out exploring early in the mornings before any tour-buses arrived; this is definitely something I would recommend!

• also, likely as a direct result of the tourists, everywhere in town is rather expensive. Restaurants, drinks, attractions – you name it, it’s expensive. We were actually a little taken aback by the prices, and found it reminiscent of the faux-luxurious pricing in Positano. For example: our lunch in Salt Shaker Deli, described below, consisted of two sandwiches & two beers, and cost us $59CAD/€45. Small-town charm with a big hefty price tag.

• the town itself is quite small, which is great, because it’s easy to walk around. That said, it is hilly! The waterfront is the lowest point, and every street after that goes up a level. It makes for some pretty scenes, and for some good leg workouts.

• this is something that might not bother you, but none of the restaurants in town take table bookings. We found it totally ridiculous, as it resulted in literally every single place having huge queues out the door. On top of this, many places wouldn’t put us on the waitlist because we didn’t have a Canadian phone number – it was infuriating!! We couldn’t plan a thing and twice had to settle for a ‘plan b’ meal option.

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• now for the fun facts! Old Town Lunenburg has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list since 1995 – it is one of only 20 such sites in all of Canada! Pretty cool, no?

• Season 4 of The Sinner was filmed in Lunenburg! They shot it during the pandemic, when the tourist count was at practically zero, so they were able to take over the town for three months. If you’re interested, here’s a list of each filming location featured in the show. Also! It’s funny because, in the show, one family, the Muldoon’s, basically own the town – but it’s kinda the same in real life Lunenburg! Most of the restaurants – SS Fish Shack, The Half Shell, Salt Shaker Deli, Beach Pea Kitchen AND Bar Salvador – are all owned by one family! Wild!

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

getting there

The nearest airport to Lunenburg is Halifax Stanfield Airport, located about 85km away. Despite the fact that Lunenburg is one of the most popular tourist spots in all of Nova Scotia, the public transport options are a bit irregular. Anyways, all the details, including how we personally got to Lunenburg, listed below:

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• we, along with Fiancé’s parents, flew into Halifax Stanfield Airport with WestJet. The direct flight from Dublin to Halifax took 6-hours. It was actually a surprisingly nice flight: we were seated together – me at the window 😉 – and the airplane food wasn’t that bad.

• from Halifax Stanfield Airport, Fiancé’s parents rented a car with Hertz and drove us all directly to Lunenburg. The drive took approximately 1-hour and 30-minutes.

• if you’re looking to get a bus from Halifax to Lunenburg, be sure to plan your journey carefully – there’s often only one bus a day, and on some days there’s none! Click here for schedules from Halifax to Lunenburg, or click here for schedules from Lunenburg to Halifax. The bus journey between the two seems to average out at around 2-hours.

• alternatively, if you’re looking to visit Lunenburg without staying overnight, there are a couple of tour groups that offer excursions from Halifax. From the speedy Google search I just now conducted, many of these tours also cover Peggy’s Cove or Mahone Bay, which sounds nice!

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

where we stayed

Sail Inn B&B // a nice little B&B with a great location overlooking the waterfront. There are four spacious rooms in the house; Fiancé & I had the ‘Standard Queen Room with Ocean View Top Floor’. Big bathroom, big bedroom, and a little kitchenette with fridge & kettle etc. A complimentary breakfast was included in the room rate: fried eggs, bacon, toast + juice & coffee, all whipped up by the owner each morning. If I had to give one critique: the doors didn’t do much in terms of soundproofing, and I believe the people beneath us could hear every small move we made on the wooden floors. Despite this, in terms of price & location: would recommend. Address: 99 Montague St, Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

where we had coffee + pastries

I actually had a whole host of coffee shops I’d wanted to visit when I was investigating the town, but many of them appear to have fallen victim to pandemic closures. It’s a pity, because I definitely feel like Lunenburg has space for one or two more great cafés. Anyway, there is one coffee shop in town that a) is still going strong, and b) is mentioned in practically every single Lunenburg guide out there. Spoiler alert: it was so good we visited twice!

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No. 9 Coffee Bar // a fantastic café! The coffees were great, don’t get me wrong, but it was the baked goods that really made this spot for us. On our first visit we shared a warm-from-the-oven lemon & mixed berry scone, and on our second we shared a huge blueberry & chia seed muffin; both were so mouthwateringly delicious that I’m having hunger pangs just writing this. It was easily the best scone I’ve ever tasted, especially when slathered in melted butter, and the muffin was so light, perfect, and just downright wonderful. Also! Look at that moody light pouring right onto our table – how beautiful! Pro tip: go early to grab a seat! Fiancé & I walked through the door a mere 4-minutes after it opened one miserable rainy day, and there was already a queue! A must-visit. Address: 135 Montague St, Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

where we ate

I have to be honest with you here: we didn’t eat anywhere in Lunenburg that we love love loved. Don’t get me wrong, we ate meals that we really enjoyed, but we just didn’t find anywhere spectacular. See, as two non-fish eaters, Fiancé & I were automatically at a disadvantage – Lunenburg is allll about the fish. As a result, we ended up eating meals that, while nice, were far from the specialties of the restaurants.

Details on everywhere we stopped for a bite is listed below. Also, shout-out to The Beach Pea Kitchen & Bar, which is apparently an absolutely wonderful spot for dinner, but we didn’t hear this until we were literally on the way out of town. Sigh.

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

lunch

Salt Shaker Deli & Inn // nice food, but no real ambiance to the place. We stopped in for two sandwiches to share, and two pints of Propeller Brewery’s Pilsner. Sandwich one, a Chicken Club with bacon, mozzarella, tomato + rocket on warmed ciabatta was really good. But! Sandwich two, Colby’s Famous Grilled Cheese with garlic butter, mozzarella, cheddar, and bacon on toasted ciabatta totally stole the show! Who doesn’t love garlic butter? That was rhetorical, duh. Would recommend. Address: 124 Montague St, Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0

Smoke Pitt BBQ // I feel like us and this restaurant got off on the wrong foot. We stopped in for a late lunch here on our first day: a disappointingly tiny, dry, and overpriced half rack of ribs to share, and a Tecate beer each. Perhaps we ordered the wrong thing? Or maybe we’re just used to the exceptionally high standard of the ribs Fiancé makes? Either way, it was a pity this was our first meal in Lunenburg – it was a bust. Address: 152 Bluenose Dr, Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

dinner

The Knot Pub // an adorable woodsy pub that literally looks like it came from a fairytale! We enjoyed dinner here on our first night in town and were rather pleased with the meal. To start, we shared chicken wings tossed in Franks with blue cheese dip, and for mains I had the Char Burger with fries, while Fiancé had the Philly Cheesesteak; both were really very good. We also had a couple pints of Stella Artois, which they had on draught, and spent a lovely few hours relaxing and taking in all the quirky objects hanging on the walls. For all my local peeps: it’s kind of like the Harbour Bar, except in Lunenburg, you know? Would recommend. Address: 4 Dufferin St, Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0

The South Shore Fish Shack // our bedroom window overlooked this, and there was pretty much ALWAYS a queue to get in! By some miracle – or perhaps it was just the torrential rain – we, along with Fiancé’s parents, waltzed in one evening and nabbed a table straight away. Fiancé & I both had a cheeseburger with fries and a glass of a local NS beer, Toller; everything was surprisingly great! The burger was moist & juicy – stealing the show from one above – and the fries were addictively salty. The downside: the indoor seating area is rather disappointing, but the outdoor one has a nice view overlooking the harbour-front; I would suggest only eating here if the weather is nice enough to sit out. Would recommend. Address: 108 Montague St, Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

where we drank

I find it so funny that a town as small as Lunenburg has not one, but two, breweries! We were only able to try out one during our time in town – but not for lack of trying! The second brewery, Shipwright Brewing Co., is in this incredibly tiny space, and every time we passed by it was totally packed. Next time! 😉

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Lightship Brewing Co. // a little further out of town, but lovely. We stopped by on one extremely rainy day for a couple of their Bluenose 100, a tasty lager-style beer that went down extremely easy. The space itself is modern and spacious, and they have loads of different crafty options if lager isn’t your thing! Pro tip: Lightship is en route to the viewpoint, listed below, so tie in a pint on your way there or back – or both! Would recommend. Address: 93 Tannery Rd, Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

where we tourist-ed

You guessed it: we didn’t do any paid attractions in Lunenburg. Instead, we let our feet do the work & wandered all over town, clocking up an average of 14,000 steps each day. The only touristy thing that we didn’t get to cross off my list was seeing Lunenburg’s own Berlin Wall Segment. Another thing that would’ve been nice if we’d had our own wheels would’ve been a visit to Blue Rocks, a nearby fishing village advertised as Peggy’s Cove without the crowds. If we ever return, I know what we’ll be hitting up!

If you’re looking to do a paid attraction: Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic / Ironworks Distillery Tour + Tasting / Lunenburg Walking Tours.

All of the tourist-ing we got up to is listed below!

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Old Town Lunenburg // let’s not forget, Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! It is “the best surviving example of planned British colonialism in North America”, so basically everywhere you wander is a protected area. And it’s pretty! A must-visit.

Lunenburg Waterfront // home port to the famous Bluenose II schooner! You might recognize the Bluenose II from the back of the Canadian 10c coin – it is one of the most iconic symbols of Canada worldwide! If you’re lucky, like we were, it’ll be docked at the harbour; we didn’t actually pay to go aboard, but it’s still quite a sight to behold. Aside from the Bluenose II, the waterfront itself is a beautiful spot for a stroll! A must visit. Address: 146 Bluenose Dr, Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0

Lunenburg Viewpoint // for those iconic views of the harbour-front across the water! Typically, it started lashing rain on our walk out to the viewpoint. Despite the plentiful fog and mist, it was still exceptionally pretty. A must-visit. Address: where Tannery Road meets Cove Road, here is a link to the location on Google Maps.

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

St. John’s Anglican Church // a church with a few titles to its name; the first ever church established in Lunenburg, the second Church of England built in all of NS, and the second oldest protestant church in the whole of Canada. From the outside I would argue that it’s nothing special to look at, but it’s so beautiful inside! An impressive wooden structure, with intricate stars painted onto the apse ceiling. Fun fact: the stars are painted in the position as they would have appeared at the time of Christ’s birth; wild! A must-visit. Address: 64 Townsend St, Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0

Quirky Stores // not necessarily a tourist attraction, but something fun nevertheless. Lunenburg is home to some totally adorable one-of-a-kind quirky stores. Home stores, jewelry stores, non-tacky souvenir stores, and three bookstores – which is crazy for such a small town! Our fave was Lunenburg Bound, which has a fun ‘Emergency Book’, but we also perused the titles at Lexicon Books; the third, Elizabeth Books, was closed the entirety of our visit, except once when it was strangely open at like 9:30pm, despite being closed all day. Lunenburg is a quirky place!

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

And there we have it: Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia! Have you visited the little town of Lunenburg before? I’m so glad we were able to fit it into our Canadian itinerary! As usual, I’d love to hear from you; hit me up using the comment box below if you have any thoughts or recommendations I didn’t mention.

Until next time!

Vicki & Rob xo

PS, Halifax guide coming later this month!

Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Two Days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

related posts:

Exploring Summerside, Prince Edward Island



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