Best Places to Visit in Canada

Last Updated on March 21, 2022 by Aswetravel

Best places to visit in Canada – Canada is a huge country with some of the most varied and beautiful landscapes in the world, something that many people miss out on as they tend to fly from city to city rather than traveling over land. But crossing Canada by car is not only a way of getting from place to place, but also a journey of a lifetime.

The freedom to hire a car and stopping over wherever you like really opens up for some awesome opportunities and experiences. Here are best places to visit in canada and to stop along the way on a road trip from coast to coast in Canada…

Best Places to Visit in Canada

best places to visit in canada
best places to visit in canada
 

Canadian Great Lakes

Lake Huron and Lake Superior are two of five lakes that together are known as “The Great Lakes”, with the other three being Lake Michigan, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Combined, they’re nearly as large as the whole of United Kingdom – in surface area, Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world – rent a canoe and spend the day on one or two of the lakes, exploring the islands and enjoying the calm waters.

Canadian Rockies
Canadian Rockies

Canadian Rockies

With some of North America’s best ski resorts in winter and the finest mountain scenery on Earth, the Canadian Rocky Mountains is a true winter wonderland during the winter months. Summer is a perfect time for exploring the beautiful nature, whether you choose to do so on a horseback, bike or just your own manpower. 

With five national parks that are all declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you can be guaranteed to see some of the most unspoiled nature in the country. With its luxury lodges the Canadian Rockies aren’t exactly known to be cheap, but with a car rental you can easily bring down the costs, just go for a small camper van and stay in the many camping grounds instead!

Vancouver
Vancouver

Vancouver

The cosmopolitan city of Vancouver has so many and large green parks and areas that it has been nicknamed “the city within a park”, and for those looking for “the best of both worlds”, it’s the perfect end to a road trip through Canada. With nature at its doorstep and activities such as kayaking, hiking and skiing, you can also enjoy the good nightlife, shopping and restaurants in the city at the same time.

Vancouver
Vancouver

The list of things to do in Vancouver is endless. Browsing online for tips you’ll find articles listing the 125 best things to do, which in my opinion are a bit overwhelming. Usually when visiting a new city, you don’t have time to visit 125 places, and when there are so many different places to read about it’s hard to know which one of them is actually worth it. 

So to make things a bit easier I’ll go straight to the point, narrow the list down to my favorite 3 things to do in Vancouver that you just can’t miss!

Trip To Vancouver – Getting to Vancouver

Planning a trip to Vancouver in the magnificent city of Vancouver and exploring its treasures on a budget can be a seemingly difficult task. However, you can avoid burning a hole in your pocket by bearing some money-saving tips in mind.

Trip To Vancouver
Trip To Vancouver

There are numerous online travel agencies that present good offers for discounted flights to Vancouver along with all-inclusive package deals. For example, Flightnetwork.com specializes in offering highly discounted prices for domestic and International flights including: Air Canada, WestJet, United Airlines, and British Airways. 

Stick to the Economy Class and schedule your flight during weekdays to acquire better deals. If the available flights do not meet your budget, skip to flights that include stopover to reduce the price further. Alternatively, you can board a flight to Seattle and rent a 2-hour drive to Vancouver.

Trip To Vancouver Hacks
Trip To Vancouver Hacks

From the Vancouver airport to the heart of Vancouver

A taxi ride from the airport to Downtown Vancouver would cost you roughly $25-$35 (CAD). You can also inquire about airport shuttles offered by hotels that are relatively cheaper than taxis. Another budget alternative is to board bus #424 near the domestic terminal.

Getting around the Vancouver

Though the city does not have many freeways, it has an extensive and modern metro network called the “SkyTrain”. This automated train covers most parts of the city. Vancouver also has efficient bus service. The transit fare is applicable for both the SkyTrain and buses. You can also purchase a “DayPass” and gain unlimited access to the train or bus service for a flat charge of $9 (CAD) per day. 

Taxis are comparatively cheaper in Vancouver as compared to other major cities. For short rides in the Downtown area, you would pay a fare of $5 – $10 (CAD). There is a also ferry service called the “SeaBus” that transports passengers from the heart of Vancouver to the North part of the city.

Vancouver Hacks
Vancouver Hacks

If the weather is favourable, the best option is to hire a cycle. Vancouver is a very cycle-friendly city with an expanding network of cycle lanes.

Where to stay in Vancouver Hotel

There are many budget hotels in Vancouver along the SkyTrain route and outskirts of Downtown Vancouver. However, ensure that the hotel is in close proximity to the nearest station or city attractions to save taxi fare. If you are running on a tight budget, search for budget hostels with shared accommodation that can cost $30 a night.

Saving on Vancouver Attractions

One of the best things to do is to buy the “Entertainment Book for Vancouver” which will help you save on food and admission charges for major city attractions. Buy the book well in advance to receive discounts of almost 75% on the original purchasing price. The book is full of buy-one-get-one coupons that slash entry fees by half for attractions like Vancouver Aquarium and Space Centre. 

You can also use the coupons for getting discounts for casual dining as well as fine dining restaurants. Hope you have a great time in Vancouver – already been? What was your favorite part?

(photo credit: markjms – jmvdarrenstone)

Kitsilano/Granville Island

One of the most popular places in Vancouver is Granville Island, where you can shop at the local market, sit down at one of the many picnic spots or browse the art galleries and boutiques beyond the market. Once a hippie hang-out, Kits now has some of the most expensive properties, and places like Kits Beach is the place to see and be seen. 

Other things to do here is to visit the different museums, and eat at the many restaurants (this area has the highest density of restaurants in Vancouver!)

Ski or Snowshoe

For winter enthusiasts, Vancouver offers some great skiing and snowshoeing in the nearby mountains, making it possible to enjoy both the urban city as well as the nature on a visit. Cypress, Grouse and Seymour are only half an hour out of town, and all provide terrain for skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. 

Thanks to the floodlights, the runs are open until as late as 10pm every day of the week during high season. Another draw to these mountains are the spectacular views you get from the top.

Explore Chinatown

The Chinatown in Vancouver is one of the biggest in North America, and offers some of the best Sushi in the country. It is also one of the oldest parts of Vancouver and the old architecture which still largely remains gives the place a very unique and charming atmosphere compared to the glass and concrete buildings downtown. 

During summer there is a lively night market, and there are plenty of beautiful Chinese gardens that are well worth a visit. These are just a few of many more things to do in Vancouver, but this should be enough for a short weekend break, have fun!

Top Festivals in Toronto
Top Festivals in Toronto

Top Festivals in Toronto

There is so much to indulge yourself in while in Toronto. It’s the city where everything happens, where there is not one weekend without a fun event going on. If you’re planning a trip to Toronto, it’s always fun to plan it around one of the city’s annual events. Here are three of the best…

The Beaches Festival

My most preferred event of the year is the Beaches Jazz Festivals that is held every summer, this year from July 20th – 29th. The festival is huge and attracts a big crowd, with people from all over the world. 

What makes it exceptional is that the performing bands are exceptionally talented, hence the high quality performances. Saturdays and Sundays are completely outstanding with lengthy music held at the gazebo. Bring a blanket, sit down and enjoy the show with some drinks and sandwiches. The best part of this 10 day jazz, blues and Latin street festival is that it’s free!

Winterlicious

This event takes place every year during Toronto’s Winter City Festival. The winter festival has heaps of concerts, theater, street performers, ice-skating parties with famous DJ’s and more, but the highlight of the festival is the culinary event called Winterlicious. 

During this time, fancy restaurants offer discounted prix-fixe menus, themed tastings and cooking workshops. The reservations spaces are limited and you must book early for a specific restaurant.

Stratford Festival

One of the most famous Shakespeare festivals in the world, including at least 5 Shakespeare plays as well as other traditional productions, where famous actors participate. If you’re a fan of Shakespeare this is definitely something for you.

Banff in the Fall, a New Experience

Banff, in Alberta, Canada, is a fantastic place to see the Canadian Rockies and venture out into the Great Outdoors. The town is popular with hikers in the summer and skiers in the winter, leaving autumn as one of the best times to visit the town. 

The shoulder season offers the peace and quiet that comes with less crowds. From mountain biking to international film festivals, there is plenty to explore in Banff in the fall.

Banff Natural Wonders

Banff National Park and many of the other parks that border the Rockies are designated UNESCO sites — with glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, forests, canyons, and caves, it’s easy to see why. The landscape here is stunning, and you don’t have to venture far out of the historic town to appreciate it.

Banff in the Fall, a New Experience
Banff in the Fall, a New Experience

Lake Louise is breathtaking any time of the year, as are the mountain peaks towering beyond. If you’re looking for a quick day trip, you can hike or take a gondola up to aptly-named Sulfur Mountain, and relax in the Upper Hot Springs upon your return.

Banff Prehistoric Times

Visitors interested in the prehistoric history of the region can take a day trip out to the Burgess Shale Fossil Site until mid-to-late September. Here you can see some of the amazingly preserved fossils from the Cambrian period, some are as old as 505 million years!

Burgess Shale Fossil Site
Burgess Shale Fossil Site

Canadian Outdoor Adventures

Mountain biking is popular and there are more than 118 miles (190 km) of trails in the national park alone. If the weather cooperates, biking is a fantastic way to take in the scenery and see some wildlife.

wildlife safari
wildlife safari

An evening wildlife safari with a tour guide all but guarantees sightings. You can also take a horseback ride along the surrounding rivers and valleys, which will transport you back to the early days of Banff. You can also opt for an overnight trip in the backcountry.

Banff Mountain Film Feastival

If the weather gets cold and damp, don’t despair! In late October to early November, Banff hosts the Banff Mountain Film Festival, featuring films from around the world that focus on the outdoors and mountaineering.

Banff Mountain Film Festival
Banff Mountain Film Festival

If you’re feeling particularly inspired, you can also take a trip to an indoor climbing gym. The Banff Park Museum, the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum, and the Cave and Basin National Historic Site are all great rainy day attractions and provide insight on the natural history of the area and its original inhabitants.

Cave and Basin National Historic Site
Cave and Basin National Historic Site

Take a Train Ride Through the Canada

Despite being frequently compared to its southern neighbor, it’s true to say that Canada has kept a few of their best bits for locals and tourists only. Why visit Canada? Because it’s the only place in the world you can do this…

Canadian Rookies

You can’t visit the beautiful country of Canada without journeying through the Rockies. Canada Train trip take wannabe adventurers on a train journey like no other. After passing Hell’s Gate, the Rocky Mountaineer excursion takes passengers to some of the highest peaks in the Rockies so you are literally riding through the clouds from the comfort of your first-class seat.

Eat a Sweet Marie bar

For the native Brit or American, your trip to Canada may be the first time you’ve come across a chocolate bar of this kind. But despite being produced by our beloved Cadbury, a Sweet Marie can only be tracked down on the other side of the water. 

Widely known for providing sustenance during long, frost-bitten winters, the confectionery is an energy-fueled combination of chocolate and peanuts masking a slab of chewy nougat in the center! It is sweet, satisfying and hunger-sating all in one bar; the ideal snack for when you’re exploring the harsh terrain in the wilds or nipping through Ottawa in search of the capital’s sites.

Catch the best ice hockey in the world

As the country’s national sport, ice hockey (or “hockey” in North America and Canada), is a big deal –  and a must-see no matter how long you’re visiting for. The National Hockey League (NHL) consists of multiple Canadian teams, plus many from the USA as well. If you are fortunate enough to visit this fine country during April, May or June, try to catch a piece of the Stanley Cup action. 

This prestigious accolade is as sought-after now as it was back in 1893 when the Cup was first organized. Teams from Canadian and American cities compete in the playoffs, sending the crowds into a frenzy with every pass of the puck.

Things To Do in Canada
Things To Do in Canada

Things To Do in Canada Meet a Moose

Canada is the native homeland of a vast number of weird and wonderful creatures, including the Arctic hare, flying squirrel, wolverine and caribou. View all Canadian animals and make a tick-list to challenge yourself to see them all! Perhaps the most famous animal symbolising Canada is the moose, the largest member of the deer family. 

Residing on the cusp of lakes, muskegs and streams as well as in dense wood forests, this mostly gentle creature is known to occupy vast expanses of Tundra, often seeking-out forests with low snow levels in winter. Whatever you do while in Canada, make sure you take time-out to enjoy a few “only in Canada” experiences; they are well worth the journey and will provide you with epic tales of ‘living like a local’.

Typical Foods To Try In Canada

Every country in the world will have its own particular style of food that’s typical for the country and its culture. Food tell a lot about the people, their culture and their history, and is a great way to get to know it better as a tourist. Canada is no different, and there are some foods which are particularly Canadian in flavor and presentation. Since the country is populated with people from all over the world, one can expect to find some eccentric but delicious dishes. Here are 3 popular typical Canadian dishes you must try when visiting Canada…

Poutine French Canadian Dish

Poutine is a French Canadian dish of French fries, topped with cheese curds and brown gravy. It’s originally from Quebec, but today you can find it everywhere in Canada, usually in fast food chains (even McDonalds sells them in Canada, but we recommend you try them from a more authentic place for better taste), cheap diners and pubs, as well as by roadside chip wagons.

Rappie Pie of Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, try some Rappie Pie. This dish is made from grated potatoes which have had all the moisture removed. Chicken or pork broth is added to wet the potato again and a casserole dish is layered with this reconstituted potato, fried meat with onions and then topped off with cubed pork rinds and baked in the oven until golden brown.

Tarte au Sucre

In Quebec, as one would expect, French cuisine is high on the list of foods to be experienced. However, this is surely not the place for those who want to eat a healthy and low calorie diet. Maple syrup is used in sweet treats like Tarte au Sucre, a traditional sugar and maple syrup pie, which is a dieter’s disaster for sure. Literally translated into Sugar Pie, this single crust pie has a filling made from flour, butter, salt, vanilla, and cream and maple syrup as additional filler. 

Maple Syrup is a local Canadian ingredient which you will see used in many dishes in Canada, and whether you choose to use it on your pancakes or indulge in cakes with maple syrup as the main ingredient, make sure you try it. Because there is nothing more Canadian than maple syrup!

Traveling By Train In Canada
Traveling By Train In Canada

Traveling By Train In Canada

Canada is one of those vast and amazing countries that can be explored by many forms of transport. However, exploring the country by train makes it possible for the visitor to sit back in comfort and watch a whole array of vistas as he moves across some magnificent landscapes. Also, you have the flexibility to stop on the way and stay in hotels for the time you desire. 

But Canada is a big country, and there are many great destinations and routes to travel by train, so which ones should you choose? One of the best train vacation companies in Canada is the Rocky Mountaineer, which offers scenic train journeys in Alberta and British Columbia.

Best Places to Visit in Canada by Train

Train Trips in Canada ’s vast territory makes it an especially great place to take a train journey. When you fly, it’s hard to take in the grandeur of the mountains and plains, and when driving across country we’re often focusing on traffic and navigation rather than enjoying the scenery. When you travel by train, you can fully appreciate the beautiful vistas of the Canadian countryside.

There are many options to choose from. For some of the longer trips you can sleep on the train, while others are best for day jaunts based on the destinations at either end of your route. If you want to avoid renting a car, a great tip is to try to find hotel deals near the train station. Check out some of the available train trips available in Canada:

First Passage To The West

They cover 4 principal routes in the Canadian Rockies, the First Passage to the West being the most scenic and historically important one. You’ll pass Castle Mountain, a small pretty station by a lake, Stoney Creek Bridge (awesome photo opportunity) and the Thompson and Fraser river canyons. 

Apart from the wildlife that is seen en route, the visitor gets served up gourmet food in the double deck Goldleaf dome coach. Indeed, most people will use a train to get from A to B, but with this kind of scenery and service (all the food is included in most packages) the visitor can make the train trip the highlight of the vacation. There are plenty of different packages to be found and all of them have something unique to offer.

Western Explorer

For example, the Western Explorer takes the visitor on a tour through the mountains, over the ice field parkway and Jasper, and on through Yoho and Banff. There is even a helicopter ride on offer here to get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding countryside.

Rainforest to Goldruch Route

If you want to venture off the beaten track, then Rainfores to Goldruch route (Whistler-Quesnel-Jasper) is a good option. You get off the beaten track into gold-rush and timber country, through wonderful scenery where you may even see bald eagles, bears and ospreys. The cool thing about this kind of vacation is that there are different levels of service for those who are on a tighter budget. 

There is the Goldleaf, Silverleaf and Redleaf level with a difference of around fifteen hundred dollars between the most expensive and the more economic of the three. (photo credit:  1)

The Rocky Mountaineer

Though often referred to as one train ride, the Rocky Mountaineer departs from Vancouver and actually offers a few train routes through stunningly gorgeous scenery.

Riding the Rails Great Train Trips in Canada
Riding the Rails Great Train Trips in Canada

A fun but quick train ride in British Columbia, the Rocky Mountaineer to Whistler passes through dramatic mountain scenery from Vancouver to ski- and mountain-bike paradise Whistler. You’ll pass over canyons, rivers and through lush rainforest before arriving at your destination. The trip takes about three-and-a-half hours, including the time it takes to get there, a little time to have a look around Whistler, and then head back to sea level.

Whistler
Whistler

If you prefer a longer trip through amazing scenery, take the Rocky Mountaineer to Jasper in Alberta. You’ll travel two days through the Rockies, past mountain peaks and secluded lakes. The rails take you places you’d never see if you travel by car. You’ll dip down into the Thompson Valley and stop for the night in Kamloops before enjoying more mountain passes on the way to Jasper.

Kettle Valley Steam Railway

If you prefer to take a trip back in time rather than over great distances, hop aboard the Kettle Valley Steam Railway. This steam train only travels 10 kilometers in the Okanagan Valley, B.C., but passengers will travel 100 years back in time, to when the railway was used to transport fruit and passengers in this farming region.

Kettle Valley Steam Railway
Kettle Valley Steam Railway

You’ll see some of the region’s famous wineries and orchards as the train travels along its 90-minute course. If a ride on steam train sounds like fun, be sure to schedule your trip to the Okanagan Valley during the summer, as the Kettle Valley railway only operates from May to September.

Royal Canadian Pacific Train Trips in Canada

For luxury on the tracks, the Royal Canadian Pacific train’s two routes in the Canadian Rockies provide options for high-class travel through world-class mountain scenery from Calgary.

Royal Canadian Pacific Train
Royal Canadian Pacific Train

Choose between a loop that takes in the best of the Rocky Mountains — north to Golden and south to Elko — or one that highlights fly-fishing opportunities in roughly the same terrain. Accommodations are five-star, and the train stops at night so the movement of the train doesn’t disturb your rest. Royal Canadian boasts that the excursions include some of Canada’s “most elite tourism experiences.”

Winnipeg to Churchill

If you prefer adventure to luxury, take Canada’s national train service, the VIA, on its Manitoban routes from Winnipeg to Churchill.

Polar Bear Express
Polar Bear Express

On this route you’ll travel 1,700 kilometres through subarctic terrain over the course of two days. While this train is used for commuting to rural communities, it’s also a highlight of many travelers’ itineraries because it brings them to polar bear and beluga whale territory. In the summer, when belugas congregate in the thousands in Hudson Bay near Churchill, visitors can sign up for kayaking excursions when off train. In winter and autumn, travelers can go on polar bear safaris and marvel at the Northern Lights.

The Polar Bear Express

The Polar Bear Express operates on weekdays between Cochrane and Moosonee, Ontario, on the edge of James Bay. Canoeists and other outdoor sports enthusiasts can bring their equipment along in the cargo cars and use Moosonee as a base to explore the area. Must Sees in Canada That Seasoned Travelers Love

best places to visit in canada national train service
best places to visit in canada national train service

Strangely, despite the train line’s great name, polar bears are not often seen near Moosonee.