Canada Travel Guide
This is a country where you can skate on the world's longest naturally frozen skating rink, witness the magical spectacle of the Northern Lights, and experience the cosmopolitan charm of its multicultural cities.
Canada's landscapes are as varied as they are vast, ranging from majestic mountain ranges and sprawling prairies to stunning seascapes and lush rainforests. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a city explorer, our comprehensive guide aims to help you plan the perfect Canadian adventure.
Capital city: Ottawa
Currency: Canadian Dollar (CAD) – 1 USD = 1.33 CAD.
Electricity: Power voltage is 120 Volts. Power sockets type A and B.
Languages: English and French are the two official languages. Other languages are spoken by migrant communities, such as Chinese.
Fun fact: Canada is the second-largest country in the world by land area, spanning from the Atlantic to the Pacific and north into the Arctic Ocean. It also has more lakes than the rest of the world combined!
10 Handpicked Highlights of Canada
Banff National Park
Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest national park, located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. It boasts stunning mountain landscapes, crystal-clear lakes, and abundant wildlife.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it offers numerous activities year-round. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast keen on hiking, canoeing, and skiing, or just a lover of breathtaking landscapes, Banff National Park is a must-visit destination.
Perhaps Canada’s most recognized landmark, Niagara Falls, is a group of three waterfalls straddling the international border between the province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York. It’s known for its immense power and beauty.
The Canadian side, Horseshoe Falls, is a sight to behold, especially from the Journey Behind the Falls experience or a boat ride on the iconic Hornblower. Beyond the falls, the region offers a host of attractions like the Butterfly Conservatory, Clifton Hill, and wineries.
Vancouver is a bustling west coast seaport in British Columbia, recognized for its scenic beauty, cultural diversity, and vibrant art scene. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Coastal Mountains, it offers the best of both natural beauty and urban convenience.
Don’t miss a visit to Stanley Park, explore the diverse neighborhoods like Gastown and Granville Island, and take a scenic drive up to the nearby Grouse Mountain for panoramic city views. In winter, the mountains surrounding Vancouver are perfect for skiing and snowboarding.
Old Québec, a historic neighborhood of Quebec City, is a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with cobblestone streets, 17th and 18th-century architecture, and European charm. It’s the only walled city north of Mexico in North America.
A visit to Old Québec feels like stepping back in time. Explore its fortifications, Chateau Frontenac, Petit-Champlain district, and Place Royale. Don’t miss the annual Winter Carnival, one of the world’s largest winter carnivals, featuring parades, snow sculptures, and ice canoe races.
Rocky Mountaineer Rail Journey
The Rocky Mountaineer Rail Journey provides an unparalleled experience of exploring the Canadian Rockies’ grandeur. This luxurious train ride takes passengers through remote landscapes, including rushing rivers, towering peaks, and deep canyons.
Offering two-day journeys between Alberta and British Columbia, the Rocky Mountaineer offers an opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy Canada’s awe-inspiring landscapes from the comfort of a glass-dome coach, with gourmet meals and commentary included.
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island (PEI) is Canada’s smallest province, known for its red-sand beaches, lighthouses, fertile farmland, and seafood like mussels and lobsters. It’s also famous as the setting of L.M. Montgomery’s novel “Anne of Green Gables.”
Visit the Green Gables Heritage Place, enjoy a seafood feast, explore the historic Charlottetown, or relax on one of the many stunning beaches. The island’s scenic beauty and relaxed pace make it a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle.
Churchill, Manitoba, is known as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” where these magnificent creatures can be seen in the wild. This remote town on Hudson Bay also offers the chance to see beluga whales and the magical northern lights.
Take a guided tundra vehicle tour to see polar bears in their natural habitat, kayak with beluga whales in the summer, or visit in autumn for a chance to witness the spectacular aurora borealis. Remember, Churchill is only accessible by plane or train, adding to its remote appeal.
Whistler is an alpine resort town located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia. Known for Whistler Blackcomb, one of North America’s largest ski resorts, it’s a haven for winter sports enthusiasts.
Apart from world-class skiing and snowboarding, Whistler offers snowshoeing, tobogganing, and snowmobile tours. In summer, it’s popular for mountain biking, golfing, and hiking. Don’t miss a ride on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola for stunning mountain vistas.
The Cabot Trail is one of Canada’s most scenic drives, located in Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island. This 298-kilometer loop offers stunning coastal views, highland scenery, and local Celtic and Acadian cultures.
Drive the Cabot Trail to experience its scenic overlooks, hiking trails, and charming communities. Highlights include the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Skyline Trail, and Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site.
The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, is a breathtaking natural light display that occurs in the dark winter nights in Canada’s northern regions. Few experiences can match the beauty of this celestial spectacle.
Although the Northern Lights are visible from several locations, the best spots include Yukon, Northern Manitoba (Churchill), and the Northwest Territories. For the best viewing experience, you’ll need clear, dark skies away from city lights, typically between October and March.
Canada's Geography & Landscapes
Canada is the second-largest country in the world and features diverse landscapes that vary dramatically from coast to coast. Here’s a brief overview of the country’s geographic regions:
- The Atlantic Provinces: This region includes Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Known for its rugged coastlines, maritime culture, and historical sites.
- Quebec and Ontario: These provinces make up the bulk of Canada’s population. Quebec is renowned for its unique French-Canadian culture, while Ontario is home to the bustling metropolis of Toronto and the iconic Niagara Falls.
- The Prairie Provinces: Comprising Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, this region is known for its vast farmlands, grasslands, and rich resources.
- The West Coast: The province of British Columbia is marked by mountain ranges, Pacific coastline, and the cosmopolitan city of Vancouver.
- The North: The territories of Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut feature some of Canada’s most remote and wild landscapes, including tundra, mountain ranges, and Arctic landscapes.
Best Time To Go To Canada
Canada experiences four distinct seasons, each offering its unique attractions. When to visit depends largely on what you want to do:
- Winter (December to February): Winter in Canada is excellent for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, especially in British Columbia and Alberta. The Northern regions offer spectacular views of the Northern Lights.
- Spring (March to May): This season sees warming temperatures and the blooming of flowers. It’s a good time for city tours and outdoor activities in most provinces.
- Summer (June to August): This is the peak tourist season, with warm temperatures perfect for hiking, wildlife viewing, and enjoying city attractions. It’s also a great time to visit the Atlantic provinces.
- Autumn (September to November): The fall season is famous for its vibrant foliage, especially in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. It’s also a perfect time for hiking and enjoying the crisp autumn air.
Traveling in Canada
Canada is generally considered a safe country to visit, but as with any travel, it’s important to take precautions. Here are some safety tips:
- Be aware of the weather: Canadian winters can be harsh and driving conditions can become dangerous due to ice and snow. Always check the weather forecast before travelling.
- Familiarize yourself with local wildlife: In remote areas, encounters with wildlife such as bears and moose can occur. Educate yourself on how to avoid attracting wildlife and how to respond in case of an encounter.
- Stay informed about local laws and customs: This includes everything from speed limits to alcohol consumption. Remember, what’s legal in your home country might not be legal in Canada.
- Be careful in outdoor activities: Canada’s natural beauty is breathtaking, but it can also be hazardous. When hiking or camping, stay on marked trails and be aware of your surroundings.
- Protect against mosquitoes and ticks: In some parts of Canada, these insects can carry diseases such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease.
- Use caution in urban areas: As in any city, be aware of your surroundings, especially at night, and keep your belongings close.
- Get travel insurance: It’s always a good idea to have insurance that covers medical expenses in case of illness or injury.
- Keep emergency numbers handy: The emergency number in Canada is 911.
- Stay connected: Keep your mobile device charged and consider getting a local SIM card for easy communication.
- Respect nature: Whether it’s observing wildlife from a distance or not leaving trash behind, it’s important to respect Canada’s natural spaces.
Getting to & Around Canada
Canada is well served by international and domestic flights, with major airports located in cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, and Ottawa.
For domestic flights, Air Canada and WestJet are the primary carriers.
Train travel, via VIA Rail, is a scenic way to see the country, especially the route between Vancouver and Toronto.
For city travel, public transit systems are reliable and extensive, and renting a car is a viable option for more flexibility.
For long-distance travel, Greyhound Canada and Megabus provide bus services to many Canadian cities.
Accommodations in Canada cater to every budget, from luxury hotels and resorts in major cities and tourist hotspots, to more budget-friendly options like motels and hostels.
For nature lovers, camping and cabins are available in national parks and other natural areas. Airbnb is also a popular option, offering a variety of accommodations to suit different needs.
Prices vary depending on the location and time of year, with prices in major cities and during peak tourist season (summer and winter holidays) being the highest. Always book in advance for the best options and prices.