Towering snow-capped mountains, crystal blue glacial lakes, and wildlife photography rivalling National Geographic are what many people dream up when planning a trip to Canada.
They’re not wrong either. Jasper National Park, Banff and Canmore all offer stunning landscapes that’s ideal for anything from a short scenic hike to longer backpacking adventures. At night, treat yourself to epic views of the Northern Lights and stargazing.
But honestly, there’s a lot more to see, even if those are some of the most compelling locations in the country. There’s also a vast coastline (the largest in the world) with incredible whale watching, fishing, and fossil hunting (more on that later).
And then there are cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, which have nightlife and cuisine that rank up there with the best.
Ready to delve into my Canada travel tips? Buckle up. This will be an adventure of a lifetime.
The open spaces, cafes, and laid-back demeanour, combined with similarities to Paris, make Montreal a perfect place to spend a weekend. Stay at Le Mount Stephen for luxury accommodation steps from Bell Centre and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Banff manages to strike the perfect balance between adventure and luxury. On the same day, you can hike, ski, shop, and have a high-end dinner (try Saltlik). Banff Springs Hotel is a legendary resort towering above the valley, mirroring Sulphur Mountain behind it.
Many visitors fly into Calgary when planning a trip to the Canadian Rockies for convenience. But stay awhile for exciting landmarks like Peace Bridge and the Calgary Tower and luxury accommodation like the Hotel Le Germain.
World-class attractions like the Royal Ontario Museum, a vibrant international dining scene, and beautiful green spaces make Toronto the perfect location when you travel Canada. The boutique 5-star gem, The Hazelton Hotel, offers opulent accommodations in a central location.
Another unique experience when you travel to Canada that starts in Banff is driving the Icefields Parkway.
Begin the long drive through frozen tundra at Lake Louise where you’ll need to stop to see the blue-green Peyto Lake and to see the Athabasca Glacier from the Toe of the Glacier Trail.
Spend a Long Weekend in Vancouver
Deciding how to plan a trip to Canada? Vancouver is a popular starting point for adventure trips to Whistler and Victoria. But there is so much to do in the city, too.
Hang out at Kits Beach, stroll through Stanley Park, and check out the hedge maze at VanDusen Botanical Garden before indulging in some excellent food and drink.
Eating Your Way Through Montreal
Exploring the cobbled streets of Montreal over an afternoon is one of my favourite ideas when travelling to Canada. When you start getting hungry, you’re in for a treat.
Choose from Portuguese chicken at Restaurant Jano, the best bagels this side of the border at St-Viateur (or Fairmount), or dinner at the laid-back neighbourhood joint Le Pégase. I’m already getting hungry.
Tap Into Outdoor Adventure in Jasper
The Canadian Rockies are so spectacular they earned a spot as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jasper National Park is among the most famous, and when you take a guided tour to see Maligne Lake and Canyon and wildlife like bears and moose, it’s no surprise.
Visit Niagara Falls
If you’re travelling to Canada from the East Coast USA, Niagara Falls is a wonderful introduction to the incredible nature this country offers.
Looking for the best museums, restaurants, and architecture in your travel guide Canada? Toronto is the place to be. Stop by Brookfield Place for shopping, dining, and the Hockey Hall of Fame, take a river cruise for epic views of the CN Tower, and tour the Gothic Revival masterpiece, Casa Loma.
Take a Stroll on the Capilano Suspension Bridge
What’s a travel guide to Canada without a bit of adrenaline-inducing fun in the great outdoors?
No longer a well-kept secret, this very photo-friendly landmark near Vancouver is perfect for testing your fear of heights. Trek the long and towering bridge over the Capilano River for a memorable time.
Suggested Canada Itineraries
Calgary to Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks
Calgary – Canmore – Banff Town – Banff National Park – Lake Louise – Jasper – Yoho
If you find yourself near the dramatic coastal landscape and lighthouses in New Brunswick, head to the Bay of Fundy. Head to Joggins Fossil Cliffs at low tide, where you can explore the fabled shores for evidence of dinosaurs. Book a guided tour here.
Take the Columbia Icefield Skywalk
Driving along the Icefields Parkway, make a stop at Columbia Icefield Skywalk in Jasper to walk across the glass-bottomed glacial lookout towering almost 300 metres off the frozen floor.
Hiking in Canmore
Many Canada travel guides overlook Canmore when mentioning where to go in the Canadian Rockies. Don’t make that mistake. Hiking near Grassi Lakes, Ha Ling Peak, and Heart Mountain Horseshoe are some of my favourite places to experience the Rockies. Read more about the best hikes in Canmore here.
Head to Nova Scotia, Canada, where you can sample wines from the historic Domaine de Grand Pré, check out Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, and head to the Bay of Fundy to see the famous high tides.
How to See the Best of Canada for Free
Taking a walk or bike ride at Stanley Park in Vancouver, exploring Indigenous art at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, and walking the aisles of the bustling St. Lawrence Market in Toronto are all great things to do for free.