Important: This destination may have COVID-19 travel restrictions in place, including specific restrictions for lodging. Check any national, local, and health advisories for this destination before you book.


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

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Holiday Inn Sydney - Waterfront
Holiday Inn Sydney - Waterfront
3.5 out of 5
300 Esplanade, Sydney, NS
Free Cancellation
The price is $86 per night

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! (751 reviews)

"Nice clean room, staff super nice. Parking is tight for full size pickups. Stayed during the Covid-19 drama, restaurant was closed but the staff were quick to recommend the best pizza joint in town that delivered."…"

Reviewed on Apr 4, 2020

Holiday Inn Sydney - Waterfront
Cambridge Suites Hotel Sydney
Cambridge Suites Hotel Sydney
3.5 out of 5
380 Esplanade, Sydney, NS
The price is $101 per night

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 ...

4.3/5Excellent! (1,000 reviews)

"The Trio was the highlight of our stay. The room temperature was too hot and we could not change it , made for a sleepless night"…"

Reviewed on Mar 17, 2020

Cambridge Suites Hotel Sydney
Hearthstone Inn Sydney
Hearthstone Inn Sydney
3.5 out of 5
560 Kings Road, Sydney, NS
The price is $66 per night

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

3.6/5Good! (997 reviews)
Excellent Stay

"Beautiful room (I had the opportunity to experience a theme room) and in a convenient location. The staff was super helpful too!"…"

Reviewed on Mar 17, 2020

Hearthstone Inn Sydney

Popular places to visit in Sydney

World's Largest Fiddle
Image for World's Largest Fiddle

World's Largest Fiddle

4.5/5(11 reviews)

You can find out about the history of Sydney when you stop by World's Largest Fiddle. Stroll along the waterfront in this relaxing area, or check out its top-notch restaurants.

Fortress Louisbourg National Historic Site
Image for Fortress Louisbourg National Historic Site

Fortress Louisbourg National Historic Site

4.5/5(22 reviews)

Experience the life of an 18th-century fortress, learn about colonial battles and meet characters from a bygone era at this open-air museum.

Louisbourg Lighthouse
Image for Louisbourg Lighthouse

Louisbourg Lighthouse

4.5/5(11 reviews)

Find out about the history of Louisbourg with a stop at Louisbourg Lighthouse. You can enjoy the restaurants while in the area.

Top things to do in Sydney

Sydney NS Tourist Scavenger Hunt
Image for Sydney NS Tourist Scavenger Hunt

Sydney NS Tourist Scavenger Hunt

Per adult

Reviews of Sydney


Top Destination

5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent 26.470588235294116%
4 - Good
4 - Good 50%
3 - Okay
3 - Okay 20.58823529411765%
2 - Disappointing
2 - Disappointing 2.9411764705882355%
1 - Terrible
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 5, 2020

Great little town to visit. Very friendly.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Oct 21, 2019

Sydney itself is a gritty city and not really an attraction on its own however the rest of Cape Breton Island both in its natural beauty and very friendly residents is exceptional

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Sep 23, 2019

Lovely town, plenty of shopping and dining options; friendly people

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Aug 18, 2019

Everything is within walking distance.