How to Get From Halifax to Lunenburg [All Options]

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If you’re wondering how to get from Halifax to Lunenburg, you’re not alone! This beautiful seaside town – also a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is a top place to visit in Canada which makes getting there a popular question!

Luckily, there are lots of ways to get from Halifax to Lunenburg. The answer to “how far is Lunenburg from Halifax” can be “as short as just 1 hour and 15 minutes”, but this also depends on the mode of transport you take.

When we visited, we drove from Halifax to Lunenburg in about that time. However, you might not have a car or might not want to drive.

So, we’ve outlined your travel options below: driving by car, taking a tour, hopping on the bus, and even biking. These transport options differ by method, route taken, budget, and distance so you can make the best choice for you!

Halifax to Lunenburg Options

Halifax to Lunenburg By Car

coastal roadway with bay on the right seen through windshield of car.
Just a peek of our South Shore road trip – all very scenic, though!

The most common way to get from Halifax to Lunenburg is by car. There are two main routes – one is a more efficient, highway route while the other is a more scenic route. 

On our day itinerary from Halifax to Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, and Peggy’s Cove, we drove both routes. The highway is efficient, but the shoreline drive is very pretty – so both have their merit!

If you didn’t drive out to the Canadian East Coast, renting a car is a smart idea if you plan on exploring not only Lunenburg but other parts of Nova Scotia, such as the Cabot Trail or beyond!

Highway Route

The (driving) distance from Halifax to Lunenburg is about 100 km – taking about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Most of that is quick, highway time. 

Traffic getting out of Halifax can be a factor that impacts driving time – but not by too much.

Overall, the drive to Lunenburg from Halifax is pretty simple. From Downtown Halifax, head for NS-103 W. We accessed the 103 close to Long Lake Provincial Park (via Trunk 3). 

Once you drive the 103 for around 50 minutes, you’ll get off at Exit 11 for NS-324 S. Head south on 324 for around 10 minutes and you’ll be brought right into Lunenburg. 

parked cars in lot with sidewalk in front and large white restaurant building on hill behind.
Here’s the parking lot between the waterfront and the town of Lunenburg.

We parked in a neighbourhood within walking distance to the harbour but there is a (popular) paid parking lot right in Lunenburg at the waterfront.

Navigation Location of Lunenburg Waterfront Parking: 44°22’34.0″N 64°18’38.5″W

Scenic Route

green weeds in front of calm bay water with sailboats in distance and shoreline behind.
Boats in Mahone Harbour – you’ll pass through on this scenic route to Lunenburg!

This drive above is the most direct route – but there is another slower, more scenic route you can take. You can simply follow Trunk 3 all the way to Lunenburg instead of hopping on Highway 103. 

This route will take just shy of 2 hours of driving time as you basically hug the coastline for much more scenic views of bays, beaches, small towns, etc.

You’d see St. Margaret’s Bay and small towns like Chester and Mahone Bay. The total distance is only a few kilometres more than the highway (110 km, approximately) but it’s slower due to the lower speed limit and many curves.

Halifax to Lunenburg Tours

colourful yellow wooden inn building with sidewalk beside and cars parked on street in lunenburg.
Lunenburg is popular for tours because it’s a beautiful seaside town!

The other very popular way to get from Halifax to Lunenburg is on a guided tour. Given the popularity of the town, there’s a pretty solid industry built up around getting people to and from Lunenburg.

A Halifax to Lunenburg tour is also a great option if you don’t want to drive yourself there and back and/or you are short on time while visiting Halifax.

With many reputable tour companies driving the same route as you’d drive by car, you’re not missing much by taking a tour. 

Overall, a tour is a great way to sit back, relax, and enjoy the sights without much planning. If you’re staying in/around Downtown Halifax, many tours offer easy pick-up for added convenience. 

You also get the added benefit of having a tour guide/driver when on a tour. They can answer any questions you might have about Lunenburg and the surrounding South Shore sights.

And whether a small group tour or larger group, travelling with others can be fun!

There are a number of tours you can book – many also include stops at nearby attractions like Mahone Bay and Peggy’s Cove. Some even take you up into the beautiful Annapolis Valley (wine region).

Check out these day tours from Halifax that include stops in Lunenburg and at other famous sights like Peggy’s Cove:

Halifax to Lunenburg by Bus

Another possible way to get from Halifax to Lunenburg is by bus. For this option, you’ve got the Maritime Bus

We say possible because while the Halifax to Lunenburg bus is an option, it’s not a great option if you’re planning on a day trip to Lunenburg. 

This is because the bus from Halifax to Lunenburg only runs once a day (and sometimes seasonally less than that).

It leaves from close to Downtown Halifax beside the Westin Hotel at the Via Rail Station – so this is a convenient station to get to if you’re in Halifax. 

Navigation Address of Halifax Bus Terminal: 1161 Hollis St, Halifax, NS B3H 2P6 (same as ViaRail Station)

The bus from Halifax to Lunenburg takes 1 hour and 50 minutes and leaves at 3:55 pm getting in at 5:45 pm (this can change – so make sure you check beforehand!).

The bus stop in Lunenburg is an Esso Gas Station just a short walk to the main waterfront (less than 10 minutes).

Navigation Address of Lunenburg Esso Gas Station: 1 Falkland St, Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0

Just so you know, the return bus from Lunenburg to Halifax also takes 1 hour 50 minutes (it’s the exact same route above, in reverse).

It leaves at 8:30 am (from the Esso Station bus stop) and gets in at 10:20 am (to the ViaRail station stop downtown Halifax). Once again, this can change so make sure to check the times!

Given the bus schedule, you could actually make a nice overnight stop in Lunenburg possible.

You’d leave Halifax in the afternoon, stay overnight to get time to explore Lunenburg, and then leave the next morning – or two mornings – later. 

If this Lunenburg overnight idea appeals to you, then have a look at accommodations in Lunenburg (bed and breakfasts are popular).

Halifax to Lunenburg by Bike

Perhaps surprisingly, you can travel from Halifax to Lunenburg by bike! The famous “Rum Runners Trail” is a multi-use pathway that runs along old railway tracks. These days, this hard-packed trail is good for mountain/hybrid bikes. 

Named after the famed rum runners who would use the numerous coves and railway lines for smuggling alcohol in the Prohibition Days, this Halifax to Lunenburg bike trail is actually made up of many smaller trail sections. 

Of course, the catch is the length. The total bike trail distance is approx 120 kilometres between Halifax and Lunenburg (taking 6.5+ hours without breaks). So, if you’re visiting Lunenburg as part of a day trip from Halifax, it’s not practical. 

The mostly flat trail is better suited for a multi-day adventure where you stay in Chester or overnight in Lunenburg before heading back to Halifax. There are even stops along the way like cafes/bakeries (Bean and Bean, is one such example!)

But, it’s a way to get from Halifax to Lunenburg so we had to include it so you know all the options! You can learn more about the individual trail sections and how to plan for this adventure on the Halifax Trails Website.

Our local friend has biked a large portion of this route – but hasn’t gone all the way to Lunenburg. We’ll have to do that with him soon!

Other Travel Options

There are a handful of other – but far less recommended – options to get to Lunenburg from Halifax. 

A taxi is theoretically possible but isn’t a great option because the cost would be very high.

You’d likely be far better spending the money on a day tour with a reputable company that takes you there (and back) with other stops and useful information along the way.

There are some private car/shuttle services in Halifax. Interestingly, many specialize in taking you from Halifax Stanfield International Airport to Lunenburg and back.

We suspect this type of service was born out of a need for those travellers who had a short layover in Halifax and wanted to get down to see Lunenburg (about 1 hour and 20 minutes driving time). Check out Premier Car Service as one such example.

Read More: Our Packing List for Canada to get you ready!

Related Articles

If you’re planning on exploring Nova Scotia, here are some other posts that you might find helpful:

And there you have it – basically all of the ways to get from Halifax to Lunenburg. Given the options, there’s bound to be a mode of transport that works for your timelines, interest, and budget.

Enjoy Lunenburg, and take in a big deep breath of sea air when you get there!

As always, Happy Waddlin’,

– L&E