Travel Tips for Sydney, Nova Scotia

Sydney is fairly small (population 26,000) and is the largest city on Cape Breton Island.  The closure of the steel industry in 1990 and the coal mines in 2001 had a hard economic impact on the area, but Sydney is attempting to rebound in several different areas, including using its port facilities for cruise ships. 

This is an interesting seaside town, but unfortunately there is not much to see or do here.  Keep in mind that for years, the town has been just a place for local people to live, work, and raise their families. 

Cruise Tips

  1. Some ships will dock in downtown Sydney, while others will dock across the bay.  If you are fortunate enough to dock downtown, you can (and should) just walk off the ship and visit the downtown area.  The dock across the bay is a 30 minute bus ride from the ship to the downtown area.  If you are not taking a tour, use the cruise line's shuttle to downtown.

Shore Excursions

  1. Sydney Highlights -- this is a yawner.  Don't waste your money.  On our tour, we drove quickly through downtown with virtually no narration from our tour guide, then to a World War II shore battery, and finally to a local museum, where our bus broke down.  On our return trip in a replacement bus, we got lost.  Overall value = 1
  2. Fortress of Louisbourg -- we didn't visit this, but it was highly recommended by one of the visitors to this site.  After viewing the information at we're inclined to agree.  The Canadian government spent $25 million to restore the fort and it looks like an excellent side trip from Sydney (about 30 minutes away).  If this isn't offered by your cruise ship as one of their tours, you can negotiate a round trip fare with one of the local taxis.








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