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Cape Breton Island
Travel Guide

A rich Celtic heritage blends with First Nation and Acadian cultural influences on this remote and breathtakingly scenic Nova Scotian island.

Cape Breton Island draws visitors from all over the world due to its famous hiking and driving trails and unique local culture. Witness the Celtic influence running through the music and customs of this special island, the only place in North America where Scottish Gaelic is still spoken.

Visit the island to explore traditions preserved since settlers arrived from the Scottish Highlands in the early 19th century. Find signs of the even earlier Acadian settlers in towns such as Chéticamp, where the Acadian French dialect can still be heard. Explore the heritage of the first people to dwell on this land, the First Nation communities who still thrive here.

One of the major attractions of the island is the Cabot Trail. Drive this 186-mile (300-kilometer) trail that winds around oceanfront cliffs for astonishing mountain views. Make time to stop at some of the numerous hiking trails, scenic lookouts and charming towns scattered along the route.

Another popular natural attraction is the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Discover its diverse mountain and forest habitats, home to animals including moose and eagles or head to Bras d’Or Lake to spot a huge array of waterfowl.

To experience Celtic culture at its strongest, time your trip to coincide with one the festivals of Scottish music and dance held throughout the year. Also be sure to visit the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, a museum dedicated to one of Scotland’s most famous sons, the inventor of the telephone. The museum is located in village of Baddeck on the northern shore of Bras d’Or Lake.

The Membertou community is one of the island’s five First Nation communities. Learn about their fascinating history at the Membertou Heritage Park. Explore a different experience of island life at the Fortress of Louisbourg, a detailed recreation of an 18th-century Canadian settlement, complete with actors in period dress.

Fly to Cape Breton Island’s domestic airport, the JA Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport. Although Cape Breton Island is now easily accessible by air, its remote location at the northern point of Nova Scotia has meant that it has historically been hard to get to. That’s why its patchwork of local traditions remains so distinctive.

Top hotels in Cape Breton Island

Cambridge Suites Hotel Sydney
Cambridge Suites Hotel Sydney
3.5 out of 5
380 Esplanade, Sydney, NS
The price is £79 per night from 1 Apr to 2 Apr

Located in the heart of Sydney, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, Centre 200, and Bethel Presbyterian ...

4.2/5Excellent! (991 reviews)

"Overlooking water. Close proximity to downtown- clean rooms, friendly staff."…"

Reviewed on 28 Feb 2021

Cambridge Suites Hotel Sydney
Holiday Inn Sydney - Waterfront
Holiday Inn Sydney - Waterfront
3.5 out of 5
300 Esplanade, Sydney, NS
The price is £69 per night from 11 Mar to 12 Mar

Located in the heart of Sydney, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, World's Largest Fiddle, and Centre ...

4/5Very Good! (881 reviews)

"There was absolutely nothing unique about the property. It did have a nice view of the Harbour."…"

Reviewed on 11 Jan 2021

Holiday Inn Sydney - Waterfront
Travelodge by Wyndham Sydney
Travelodge by Wyndham Sydney
2 out of 5
480 Kings Road, Sydney, NS
The price is £60 per night from 10 Mar to 11 Mar

Situated on the waterfront, this eco-friendly hotel is within 2 miles (3 km) of Membertou Heritage Park, Bethel Presbyterian Church and Cape Breton Centre for ...

3.9/5Good! (632 reviews)

"Very nice stay, was very clean and close to everything. Would stay again."…"

Reviewed on 16 Feb 2021

Travelodge by Wyndham Sydney
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Holiday Rentals in Cape Breton Island

Cape Breton Villas
Cape Breton Villas
4 out of 5
27 Deepdale Rd, Inverness, NS
The price is £217 per night from 2 Apr to 3 Apr

Situated in Inverness, this golf holiday home is 1.5 mi (2.5 km) from Inverness County Centre for the Arts and 1.9 mi (3.1 km) from Cabot Links. Inverness Miners ...

4.9/5Exceptional! (35 reviews)
highly recommend

"Highly recommend! Villa was great, practically brand new! Bathroom was fabulous with soaker tub and very large walk-in shower. Had everything we needed and was a great location for our 3 dogs!"…"

Reviewed on 13 Oct 2020

Cape Breton Villas
Knotty Pine Cottages
Knotty Pine Cottages
3.5 out of 5
39111 Cabot Trail, Ingonish Beach, NS
The price is £64 per night from 8 Mar to 9 Mar

Situated in Ingonish Beach, this beach cottage is 1.4 mi (2.3 km) from Ski Cape Smokey, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Cape Breton Highlands National Park and Highlands ...

4.4/5Excellent! (62 reviews)

"The cottage I stayed in was very basic, but had 2 good size BR & was very cozy. The view was the best, being able to see the water and Ingonish Beach in the distance. My unit was quite close to the road so I would not recommend it specifically for small children. A map of their property"…"

Reviewed on 21 Oct 2020

Knotty Pine Cottages
Sea Parrot Ocean View Resort
Sea Parrot Ocean View Resort
4 out of 5
45227 Cabot Trail, Englishtown, Indian Brook, NS

Nestled on the beach, this Indian Brook cottage is within 20 mi (32 km) of North River Provincial Park, Cape Smokey Provincial Park and Munroe Point Lighthouse. ...

4.1/5Very Good! (21 reviews)

"We felt very home when we stayed there. The staffs are very nice and they tried to do whatever they could to make guests happy."…"

Reviewed on 14 Oct 2019

Sea Parrot Ocean View Resort
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Cape Breton Island

Top things to do in Cape Breton Island

Cities near Cape Breton Island