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SydneyCanada

Tour a reconstruction of an 18th-century fortress town, drive along a scenic highway and hike through forests at this seaside town.  

Sydney is a port town on the east coast of Cape Breton Island and a gateway to the rugged beauty of its highlands. Gorgeous scenery is only one of the draws. There is also a rich musical heritage and hundreds of years of history to uncover.

The Port of Sydney is the entry point for many visitors, but it’s more than a transport hub. Meander along the waterfront up to the huge fiddle and bow. The sculpture lays claim to being the largest fiddle in the world and is a tribute to the island's Celtic music tradition. Behind it is the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion where you can watch concerts. Other performance venues in Sydney include the Highland Arts Theatre, located in the former St. Andrews Church.

Sydney was founded shortly after the American Revolution and for history lovers there’s much to get excited about. Tour the 18th-century Cossit House, believed to be the oldest residence in Sydney. In Josh Heritage House, find a collection of Victorian artifacts. A 40-minute drive away is the Fortress of Louisbourg, a reconstruction of an 18th-century French fortress town.

Devote some time to discovering Sydney’s natural charms. Meet the animals at Two Rivers Wildlife Park and at Twin Lighthouse Farm. See puffins, seabirds, seals and eagles at Bird Island, then unwind on the sandy shores of Dominion Beach Provincial Park or Mira Gut Beach.

Nearby is Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Take your pick of 26 trails that encompass cliffs, forests, rivers and lakes. Kayak on the ocean and spot humpback and minke whales. Running through the park is part of the Cabot Trail, a 185-mile (297-kilometer) scenic highway.

When you are back in Sydney, relax with a round of golf at Alderdale Greens or Juniper Hollow Golf. On Saturdays, stock up on local produce at Cape Breton Farmers’ Market and picnic at Open Hearth Park.

To get to Sydney and its scenic, historic and cultural attractions, take the ferry from Newfoundland or fly into JA Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport. You can also arrive by car and bus from Halifax on mainland Nova Scotia.

Top Hotels in Sydney

Cambridge Suites Hotel Sydney
Cambridge Suites Hotel Sydney
3.5 out of 5
380 Esplanade, Sydney, NS
The price is CA $84 per night from Nov 28 to Nov 29

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! (968 reviews)

"Floor mat had a red stain on it . One of the towel had same red stains."…"

Reviewed on Nov. 21, 2020

Cambridge Suites Hotel Sydney
Holiday Inn Sydney - Waterfront
Holiday Inn Sydney - Waterfront
3.5 out of 5
300 Esplanade, Sydney, NS
The price is CA $84 per night from Dec 3 to Dec 4

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! (852 reviews)

"Great location, and cleanest hotel visually in the city and closest to the waterfront. The only downside was that there were a lot of cars the night I stayed and parking was very limited."…"

Reviewed on Oct. 18, 2020

Holiday Inn Sydney - Waterfront
Hearthstone Inn Sydney
Hearthstone Inn Sydney
3.5 out of 5
560 Kings Road, Sydney, NS
The price is CA $70 per night from Dec 18 to Dec 19

Located in the heart of Sydney, this hotel is within 2 miles (3 km) of Membertou Heritage Park, Bethel Presbyterian Church and Cape Breton Centre for Craft and ...

3.6/5Good! (989 reviews)

"The hotel was inviting. The pictures on the wall were unique. There was a sitting room in the front of the property and in the food service area there were two antique harmoniums that were repurposed as desks. Everything was inviting."…"

Reviewed on Nov. 20, 2020

Hearthstone Inn 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.

Vacation Rentals in Sydney

Central Sydney Location
Central Sydney Location
1515 Kings Rd, Sydney, NS

Situated in a rural location, this historic holiday home is 2.6 mi (4.1 km) from Membertou Heritage Park and within 6 miles (10 km) of Cape Breton Centre for ...

3.5/5Good! (4 reviews)
No water

"Water would shut off and was black at times, lucky to have water for a 2 minute shower, pull out bed uncomfortable"…"

Reviewed on Oct. 16, 2019

Central Sydney Location
Spectacular Beach House on the Ocean- New and Secluded
Spectacular Beach House on the Ocean- New and Secluded
1866 New Campbellton Rd, Cape Dauphin, NS

Situated on the beach, this cottage is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from Bras d'Or Lake and within 16 miles (25 km) of Dalem Lake Provincial Park and Gaelic College of Celtic ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (10 reviews)
Lovely Quiet Beach House

"Property was exactly like described. A very cute beach house with a beautiful view."…"

Reviewed on Sep. 24, 2019

Spectacular Beach House on the Ocean- New and Secluded
Eddie James Harbour Cottage
Eddie James Harbour Cottage
4 out of 5
74 Queen Street, North Sydney, NS

Situated in North Sydney, this cottage is 0.9 mi (1.5 km) from North Sydney Historical Society and within 3 miles (5 km) of Marine Atlantic Ferry Terminal and ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (40 reviews)
Great cottage.

"This was a very clean, comfortable, and spacious unit - no complaints whatsoever."…"

Reviewed on Oct. 4, 2019

Eddie James Harbour Cottage
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 Sydney

Top things to do in Sydney

Reviews of Sydney

4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
89
5 - Excellent 26.409495548961424%
4 - Good
181
4 - Good 53.70919881305638%
3 - Okay
56
3 - Okay 16.617210682492583%
2 - Disappointing
11
2 - Disappointing 3.264094955489614%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Mar 16, 2020

We like Sydney as we live 2 hrs away from it and it is our only option for a shopping mall, dentist etc that my husband had appts for. It has some great resturants, pizza places put we werent there to socialize after driving 2 hrs to get there.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Mar 16, 2020

Very warm,helpful & friendly people ,excellent dining and lots of great sights & lots to see & do..

2/5 - Disappointing

Verified traveller

Feb 17, 2020

I’m disappointed with the room not done. Checked in and the beds were not made.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 6, 2020

Very nice place.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Feb 4, 2020

Sydney was a beautiful area and I would definitely visit longer, but my accommodations will definitely be elsewhere.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Dec 2, 2019

Great selection of stores, went to a concert at the Heritage Arts Theater which is a great venue and we had a very nice dinner at the Governor's Pub. Well worth a visit.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Sydney

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9 Must-Stops on a Maritimes and NL Road Trip

9 Must-Stops on a Maritimes and NL Road Trip