World's highest tides; breath-taking scenery and vibrant cities; Vikings; lobsters and a famous red-haired girl named Anne.
Atlantic Canada is home to unique world destinations like Cape Breton Island, The Bay of Fundy, Avalon Peninsula, Gros Morne National Park (a UNESCO world heritage site), and Lucy Maud Montgomery's "Green Gables".The region comprises of four provinces located on the Atlantic coast: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. These people are mainly of European (Scottish, Irish, English, and French) and First Nations descent. There are still communities where Gaelic is a dominant language and the French Acadian culture is thriving.
The climate is strongly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, which produces cooler summers and warmer winters, with temperatures in winter averaging -5ºC and summers averaging 14ºC.
Did you know that the Titanic sank near the Newfoundland coast, after being struck by an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912? Three ships were dispatched from Halifax, Nova Scotia - the closest major port - to assist with recovery operations. Many of the unlucky passengers find their final resting place in the Halifax cemeteries. One hundred years later, Atlantic Canada is marking this event with exhibits, tributes and special ceremonies. Check out the Titanic exhibit at The Maritimes Museum in Halifax.
An ocean playground with 7000km of coastline. Wherever you are in Nova Scotia, you are never further than 56km from the sea.
HALIFAX, the gateway to Atlantic Canada, makes a great first impression with its lively music scene, microbreweries and ocean side parks. See the region's history unfold at the Halifax Citadel, and Canadian Museum of Immigration. Feeling like a day trip? Why not check out the huge waves at Peggy's Cove.
* Stay at HI-Halifax Heritage House - a short stroll along the waterfront boardwalk to all things.
CAPE BRETON ISLAND
- voted best Canadian island destination by Travel and Leisure magazine and known as Nova Scotia's Masterpiece, it never disappoints. Hike local Salt Mountain and Egypt Falls, go sailing in Baddeck or play in the waves of Mabou Beach. Enjoy $10 lobster and snow crab in Pleasant Bay and catch a glimpse of over ten species of whales on a whale watching trip.
* Stay at HI-Cape Breton Island - your first stop sitting high above the Bras d'Or Lakes at the start of the Cabot Trail, or HI-Cabot Trail - situated in the midst of world class hiking of Highlands National Park, with moose in the backyard.
WENTWORTH - a great stop over from the island to New Brunswick. You can hike under the sun or ski the local hills amongst the piles of snow.
* HI-Wentworth - Canada's oldest hostel still in operation - is a great central overnight to break up your trip. Help celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2012!
The bilingual Maritime province of New Brunswick, home to Canada's natural wonders.
FREDERICTON - the provincial capital, hosts a unique art gallery, The Beaverbrook, internationally known for its outstanding collection of British paintings. Visit Kings Landing historical site or Officers Square with free concerts and live bands. Cycle the river front, try an architectural tour or see an outdoor movie in the park.
* Stay at HI-Fredericton, a former monastery, located around the corner from Queens Square Park.
GRAND MANAN ISLAND - located in The Bay of Fundy - known for the highest tides in the world. These waters are populated with whales, dolphins, porpoises, fish, seals, seabirds and more. Try kayaking, hiking, beach combing or bird watching.
* Stay at HI-Grand Manan, recently added to the HI-Canada network. Newly renovated to keep up with the modern traveller's needs, it retains the charm and history of a 100 year old Sea Captains house.
CAMPBELLTON - perfect for fishermen seeking Atlantic salmon. Rent a canoe or kayak and explore the Restigouche River, or hike up Sugarloaf Mountain for a breath-taking view. Mountain bikes are available for rent on the only lift serviced bike trails in Atlantic Canada.
* Stay at HI-Campbellton Lighthouse, HI-Canada's only operating lighthouse
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Canada's smallest province, Prince Edward Island is linked to the mainland by the Confederation Bridge, which at 13km in length it is the world's longest over ice-covered water.
CHARLOTTETOWN - bike the Confederation Trail, swim in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, indulge in a traditional lobster supper or try your hand at cooking mussels before heading out to catch a concert or the nightlife of Charlottetown's Victoria Row.
* Stay at HI-Charlottetown Backpackers Inn, located downtown, which is fully refurbished and offers free breakfast and a kitchen where you can cook your own lobster.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Canada's last frontier, Newfoundland and Labrador offers breath-taking scenery, welcoming locals, iceberg beer and hundreds of whales, dolphins and nesting puffins every summer. Neighboring France's St. Pierre & Miquelon Islands.
ST. JOHN'S - the oldest and most easterly city in North America, known as the 'gateway to Canada', marks the beginning of the TransCanada Highway. Listen to traditional Celtic music in the pubs or get the party started on the infamous George Street, claiming the highest number of bars per square feet on the continent.
* Stay at HI-St. John's, located close to attractions, great shopping, delicious food and drink, and an energized night life all within walking distance.
BONAVISTA - learn about Newfoundland's fishing history at Ryan Premises National Historic site, take a tour on the replica of John Cabot's ship 'The Matthew' or enjoy traditional Newfoundland food, such as toutons, fish cakes, and jiggs dinner, as well as a wide variety of seafood.
* Stay at HI-Bonavista - the only hostel with its own windmill, located just minutes from main attractions, restaurants and pubs.
TRINITY EAST - take on the Atlantic in a tiny kayak, challenging yourself on the beautiful local hikes, or if you'd just like to relax, have a cup of tea and watch icebergs float by.
* Stay at HI-Trinity Newfoundland, located just outside the historic merchant town of Trinity, the abandoned community of British Harbour, and the Rising Tide Theatre.