Halifax – travel guide for students
A short background story – I am an international student and I moved to Canada from Ukraine in September 2021. So, in my first reading week, I decided to go on a trip and start exploring Nova Scotia. My choice was the nearest big city – Halifax. In case you also want to travel there, this guide will be really helpful for you.
NOTE: I am writing what I did in November but be mindful that seasonal conditions, prices and COVID restrictions may vary, so make sure to check everything before you go.
I went from November 8th to 11th. Flights at that point were expensive, so I took a bus. It was approximately CA$85 (taxes included) one way and it took five hours to get to Halifax. Five enjoyable hours with a nice view. There is no bus station in Sydney and the bus comes to the parking lot near Irving Gas Station at 565 George Street. Before reaching Halifax, it makes stops all along the way and also comes to the airport. The final stop is the bus station downtown.
I booked an Airbnb for three nights, totaling CA$255. That was not the cheapest option, but I had my own bedroom, bathroom and a small kitchen. The apartment is located downtown, a three-minute walk from Dalhousie University and about a 15-minute walk from the bus station. I will leave the link to contact the host here.
I had two full days and one half of the day each on the 8th and 11th. During that time, I visited the following places:
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
It gives a wonderful view of the city with a little bit of history. I was literally the only person there, so it is not very crowded. Citadel is in the shape of the star and was never attacked, but rebuilt three times. You can read more about the place here.
You can see it from the Citadel. It is the area near the water where you can go for a walk, eat (when there is no restrictions) and again enjoy the view. If you do not have much time in Halifax – that would be the first place to go. Read more here.
Halifax Central Library
I was curious to see how Canadian public libraries look like. The CBU library in my opinion is pretty modern so I wanted to know if the public ones are the same. It has all the facilities and services to make your reading and studying a pleasing activity. Moreover, the building from the outside looks stylish and contemporary. Read more here.
Halifax Public Gardens
Honestly, I was not planning to visit this place, but it was on my way to Citadel, so I decided to look what is there. As it was November, leaves were still colourful and I did take a couple of good photos. You can see them in the gallery below.
Point Pleasant Park
I went there on the last day and spend about two hours walking across the alleys. The park is relatively big and has wide crosswalks. I would recommend you to go there for the views and to get to know local citizens. A lot of people were walking with their dogs or doing sports and that gives an idea how people in Halifax spend free time on the weekend.
Take a Harbor Cruise
That gives you a totally different perspective on the city. I took a ferry to get to the Fisherman's Cove Heritage Centre and then to get back to the city. On my way back, I was watching the sunset from the water and that was absolutely awesome. If you get back by fairy within a couple of hours – you do not have to buy one more ticket, which is a nice bonus. The schedule is available on the website and also in the ferry stations. To get more information, you can also ask people who work there.
Fisherman's Cove Heritage Centre
It is located in the Eastern Passage, and in order to get there from downtown, you have to take a ferry and a bus 6C or 6B, depending on from where you are coming and how long are you willing to walk. I found this place very sweet because every house is a different color and you can buy some crafts and snacks. There is also a small trail near the coast, so if you like nature, you probably will be interested to see what is there.
Get lost downtown for a couple of hours
I do that in every city I visit. At some point, just do not use the map and let yourself explore the downtown, however keep in mind that there can be parts of town that are not safe for tourists. Getting lost on purpose helps you to actually orient and pay attention to details which you could have missed if you were too focused on using the map. Some places you will never find in the tourists’ guide but can just accidentally walk near them. Asking locals also can be a fun experience, especially if they were born in Halifax.
I spent about CA$500 on transportation, food and housing and had the best four-day trip so far. As I am also doing photography, I enjoy exploring places, walking, trying something new. All my photos are attached to the article so you can see Halifax from my perspective as well. I hope that you find this guide useful if one day you decide to go there!