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Cycling Nova Scotia: Peggy’s Cove – Lunenburg

On the way to Blue Rocks
On the way to Blue Rocks
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One of the best ways to explore the south shore of Nova Scotia is the slow way – on the back of a bicycle. But as you’ll see from the photos, it’s worth a drive if you don’t like to bike. You can do the trip on your own or you can try a self-guided bike trip where a company moves your bags every day and provides you with a route description. The other option is a full guided tour.

I did the self-guided option of the south shore of Nova Scotia. I’d picked up a bike compliments of Freewheeling Adventures at their headquarters just outside of Hubbards.

My plan was to cycle as much as I could of the south shore between Hubbards and Lunenburg. But if you haven’t been to Peggy’s Cove then you must absolutely include that as part of your bike tour.

Can you fit a rental bike in your car?

What I hadn’t thought through when I organized my bike rental was how I was going to fit the bike into my rental car as I moved around. I had rented a Fiat Mini. And trust me, it is one small car. But when I took both tires off I could carefully maneuver the bike into the trunk and the back seat.

All my other gear had to go in the front seat and there wasn’t room for another soul.

It's a squeeze getting my bike into the back of a Fiat Mini
It was a tough squeeze getting my bike into the back of a Fiat Mini

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Cycling Nova Scotia – Peggy’s Cove Area

Peggy’s Cove, even with busloads of tourists is an amazing sightin all types of weather. And Highway 333, the road that takes you though Peggy’s Cove, is beautiful – filled with outcrop that begs to be explored. Take the time to visit the Swiss Air Flight 111 Memorial just a few kilometers away from Peggy’s Cove too.

The road to Peggy’s Cove is hilly and the shoulders, if there are any, aren’t very big. The good news though is that drivers are extremely courteous. 

Cycling Nova Scotia past the colourful harbour in Peggy's Cove
The colourful harbour in Peggy’s Cove
Beautiful sunset in Peggy's Cove
Beautiful sunset in Peggy’s Cove
Lovely peaceful evening and nice light in Peggy's Cove
Lovely peaceful evening and nice light in Peggy’s Cove
Beautiful rocks and vegetation around Peggy's Cove
Beautiful rocks and vegetation around Peggy’s Cove on the south shore of Nova Scotia

Stop at the Swiss Air Flight 111 Memorial 

Two communities, Peggy’s Cove and Blandford were crucial to the recovery operation following the crash of Swiss Air Flight 111 on September 2nd, 1998.

The sites for the memorials – Whalesback and Bayswater Beach were chosen because of the proximity to the communities and because the view lines are tied in together along with the crash site to form a triangle. That is reflected in the design of the memorial for Swiss Air Flight 111.

Swiss Air Memorial for Flight 111 at Whalesback near Peggy's Cove
Swiss Air Memorial for Flight 111 at Whalesback near Peggy’s Cove

Cycling between Peggy’s Cove and Hubbards

The one way distance between Peggy’s Cove and Hubbards is 47 km. Other points of interest include white sand beaches and small coves that offer photo opportunities. 

A family at a small beach near Hubbards
A family at a small beach near Hubbards

A 78 km bike ride around the Aspotogan Peninsula near Hubbards

This is a quieter road than the one to Peggy’s Cove but still very scenic. You pass through a number of small fishing villages including Northwest Cove, Aspotogan and Blandford.

You may want to get off your bike at Bayswater Beach for a stroll. Nearby is the second memorial for the Swiss Air flight.

Don’t miss a bowl of chowder at The Deck Restaurant, a few kilometres north of Blandford.

Where to stay in Hubbards

In Hubbards the Tuna Blue Inn is rated as very good and the Surfside Inn as fabulous.

Cycle past scenes of laundry drying in the breeze
Cycle past scenes of laundry drying in the breeze
Empty beaches on the Aspotogan Peninsula
Empty beaches on the Aspotogan Peninsula
Another Swiss Air Flight 111 Memorial near Blandford
Another Swiss Air Flight 111 Memorial near Blandford
Scenic views even on a dull day
Scenic views even on a dull day
Colourful lobster traps
Colourful lobster traps
Fishing boats don't lack for colour either
Fishing boats don’t lack for colour either
Wild flowers growing along the edge of the road
Wild flowers growing along the edge of the road
It was dandelion season when I was there
It was dandelion season when I was there
"Have you had Solomon Gundy?"
Have you had Solomon Gundy?
"Seafood chowder for lunch"
Seafood chowder for lunch
Cycle past scenes like this on the south shore of Nova Scotia
Cycle past scenes like this on the south shore of Nova Scotia

Cycle about 40 km round-trip from Mahone Bay to Blue Rocks and into Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Chester area itself is pretty but I don’t think the road between Chester and Mahone Bay is anything special. It’s mostly wooded with little in the way of views. I opted to drive to Mahone Bay and do a day trip out of there.

Chester though warrants a visit. It feels a bit like Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario if you’ve ever been there – all manicured lawns and gardens and plenty of old money around. Stay at the Mecklenburgh Inn where you’ll be well taken care of by Suzi, the owner and gourmet cook extraordinaire.

Don’t miss the best lobster roll I had in Nova Scotia at The Rope Loft, down on the water. It was memorable.

The three churches in Mahone Bay
The three churches in Mahone Bay
South shore Nova Scotia and beautiful Mahone Bay
Beautiful Mahone Bay
South shore Nova Scotia colourful scenes along the water
South shore Nova Scotia colourful scenes along the water
South shore Nova Scotia on the way to Blue Rocks
On the way to Blue Rocks

Blue Rocks is a must see fishing village on the south shore Nova Scotia

A side trip to Blue Rocks is a must. It’s charming, beautiful and it feels like you’ve stepped back in time. It ranks as one of my favourite small villages in Nova Scotia and the subject of a previous post.

South shore Nova Scotia and loving the palette of colours in Blue Rocks
Love the palette of colours in Blue Rocks

Lunenburg

You could easily spend a day in Lunenburg wandering around the neighbourhoods with a camera in your hand. It received UNESCO Site status because it is the best surviving example of a planned British Colonial Settlement in North America.

There has been a real effort on the part of the locals to preserve the heritage of the town and in fact some of the houses date back to the 18th century.

Where to stay in Lunenburg and Mahone Bay

In Lunenburg, check out the highly rated Lunenburg Arms Hotel or the Rum Runner Inn.

In Mahone Bay, try Fairmont House Bed & Breakfast or Red Mahone B&B

South shore Nova Scotia and the blindingly bright colours of Lunenburg houses
The blindingly bright colours of Lunenburg houses
South shore Nova Scotia with exceptional architectural details in the Lunenburg houses
The architectural details in the Lunenburg houses are exceptional

On the way back to Mahone Bay I took whatever backroads I came across. Scenes like the one below were common.

South shore Nova Scotia and a pretty scene of Mahone Bay
Pretty scene of Mahone Bay

If you enjoy kayaking, don’t miss a trip out of Mahone Bay in protected waters.

Quilt shop in Mahone Bay
Quilt shop in Mahone Bay

More day trips along the south shore Nova Scotia 

A bike ride out to Ovens Natural Park where you can explore sea caves is worthwhile. I remember visiting as a kid and loving it.

Take the cable ferry to West La Have and cycle the coastal road down to Liverpool.

Companies running bike tours

There are a number of companies that offer bike tours in the area. Freewheeling Adventures and Pedal and Sea Adventures are two locally run and operated companies.

I highly recommend exploring this wonderful, scenic section of Nova Scotia. It’s sure to capture your heart.

Have you been to the south shore of Nova Scotia?

Colourful Blue Rocks
Colourful Blue Rocks

Further reading on things to do in Nova Scotia

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Discovering the South Shore of Nova Scotia by bike

 

 

 

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