Quaint villages and a bustling capital city complement the lush valley, rolling mountains and hundreds of kilometres of coastline. The journey from Quebec City to Nova Scotia is almost as beautiful and intriguing as the destination.
The distance between Quebec City and Nova Scotia is only 200 km longer than Quebec City to Toronto. In other words, travelling to Nova Scotia for a mini getaway or long vacation is a wonderful idea!
Let’s chat about getting from Quebec City to Nova Scotia
On a recent trip to New Glasgow, Nova Scotia I contemplated all of the routes and modes of transport from Quebec City. Fly, take the train, drive… they’re all great options.
Road Trip from Quebec City to Nova Scotia
Road trips, in my opinion, are always a good idea. Especially from Quebec City to Nova Scotia. You don’t need to own a car, you can rent or look for a rideshare.
renting a car
Renting a car in Quebec City is fairly straightforward, as long as you’re at least 21 (or 18 in Quebec) and have a valid driver’s license. It is important to know that if you’re under 25 years old, some rental companies will charge a “younger driver” fee, which is usually around 25 CAD per day.
In Quebec City, renting a car from locations within the city will be slightly cheaper than renting at Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB). Security deposits at the airport are usually 100 CAD more than the city locations.
I go to Enterprise at the Delta Hotel, but there is a Hertz and Thrifty car rental beside Hôtel Manoir Victoria in Old Quebec as well. There is a Budget and Avis car rental at the Hilton, and the only National car rental is at the airport.
Renting a car in Quebec can be expensive, especially in summer. To save money**, consider joining a car-sharing program.
In Quebec, the most popular is Communauto. It’s a Montreal-based company that began in 1994. They have two options available, round-trip rentals (which must be reserved in advance) and one-way flex rentals. The cars range in size from compact to compact SUVs.
Turo is another car-sharing option. To book a car with Turo you’ll need to be 23 years old. While Communauto has its own branded cars, with Turo you’ll be driving someone else’s vehicle. Some will include mileage, others will not. Think of it as an Airbnb for cars (Ha!).
**It’s important to point out that carsharing programs generally charge a daily rate + km driven, so on a long road trip you may not save money.
The best way to save money on a journey from Quebec City to Nova Scotia is by ridesharing. It’s also the most sustainable travel option.
There are a couple of rideshare companies worth checking out. Poparide is the best option as they have drivers posting trips throughout Canada. It’s possible to book a seat in a car driving from Quebec City to Halifax for as low as 70 CAD.
Before booking a ride, read the driver profiles and ratings. Verified drivers are always the better option, even though they may be more expensive. You’re basically handing your life over to a driver, so make sure you feel comfortable with your choice.
If you’re on a tight budget or don’t want to rideshare all the way to Nova Scotia, you could book a seat with Poparide to Edmundston, New Brunswick, then travel with Maritime Bus to Nova Scotia. Keep in mind, this option will stretch out your travel time.
Driving Routes from Quebec City to Nova Scotia
There are a couple of driving routes from Quebec City to Nova Scotia, all quite beautiful in terms of landscape.
The fastest route is the Trans-Canada Highway, which travels through Edmundston, Fredericton, and Moncton in New Brunswick. I also passed the Covered Bridge potato chip company, which has a shop and tours and is totally worth stopping for. The air itself made me gain 5 lbs.
The scenic route is the longest, but completely worth it. Drive Route 132 along the Saint-Lawrence River to Mont Joli. Instead of continuing straight, turn right and follow the 132 toward Matapédia. Then take HWY 11 through New Brunswick to Nova Scotia. You’ll drive through rugged landscapes and coastal towns. There’s at least one janky bridge, and Shediac is basically a lobster eater’s paradise.
Flying from Quebec City to Halifax
The fastest way to get from Quebec City to Nova Scotia is on a plane. It’s not always the most economical, but if you want to spend more time in the destination, flying is a good option.
Flair Air is usually the most affordable choice and one of the few airlines offering direct Quebec City to Halifax flights.
Air Canada has its fair share of challenges, but they operate several flights per day to Halifax. The downside is that you’ll have a stopover in Montreal (YUL), and sometimes Ottawa (YOW) as well.
Porter Airlines offers a couple of flights per day from Sunday to Friday. One flight has a stopover in Montreal, and the other stops in Toronto. It’s a two-steps-back for one-step forward kind of situation, but often cheaper than Air Canada.
Taking the Train from Quebec City to Nova Scotia
VIA Rail is one of the best ways to see Canada, after road-tripping, of course. Its network of trains spans from Halifax to Vancouver, and all the way up to Abitibi-Témiscamague in Quebec and Churchill in Manitoba.
The Ocean is VIA’s Atlantic Canada line, which travels from Montreal to Halifax. The complete journey is 1,346 km and takes 1 night/day. The train operates twice a week, on Sundays and Wednesdays.
Stops on this route include Quebec City (Sainte-Foy), Rivière-du-Loup, Rimouski, Mont-Joli Matapédia, Campbellton, Bathurst, Miramichi, Moncton, Amherst, Truro, and Halifax.
There are two train classes on this route: Economy and Sleeper Plus. Economy seats are quite comfortable, and recline a little as well. There are outlets for devices and food for sale (I suggest bringing your own snacks and drinks to save money).
Sleeper Plus passengers have a choice between a cabin with a shower or without. Meals are included for Sleeper Plus passengers and served in the dining car. On the journey to Halifax, you’ll be served breakfast and lunch. On the journey to Quebec City, it’ll be dinner. All drinks are included in your fare as well.
Everyone on the train has free wifi access, but there will be times when it cuts out, so be patient.
saving money with via rail
Travelling by train does not have to be expensive. Sometimes it’s cheaper than flying, and definitely more scenic! There are a couple of ways to save money with VIA Rail.
Book on a Tuesday – it doesn’t matter what day of the week you are travelling, book your tickets on a Tuesday. This is VIA’s discount day and they have pretty good deals from time to time.
Have a flexible travel schedule – if your dates are flexible, then check the Sleeper Plus class deals here. At times you can snag a cabin with a shower for 330 CAD, one way. That’s half of the regular fare.