Thinking about visiting Canada? Canada is a vast country (the second largest in the world), offering a diverse places to see: forests, mountains, waterfalls, prairies, lakes, glaciers… But there are also charming cities to discover in the country. What to do in Canada? I listed the most beautiful cities in Canada. Then I’ll share Canada travel tips to visit the country!
Table of Contents
Places to visit in Canada
Vancouver is one of the prettiest cities in Canada. The landscapes from the country are wonderful: mountains in the north, the Pacific ocean to the west and Stanley Park downtown. Those who like art and culture won’t be disappointed. Visit the Vancouver Museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Science World Vancouver.
If you want to stay active, head to Pacific Spirit Park where you can go biking, hiking, canoeing or zip-lining. Go to Main Street of Gastown to find the best restaurants in town. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Quebec City is unmissable! It’s a city full of history and culture, with a distinctly European atmosphere. The old town can be explored by foot. It’s fortified and features nice cobblestone streets. There are even horse-drawn carriages there! It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Head to the Chateau Frontenac, standing tall over the Saint Lawrence River. You also have to visit the National Museum of Beaux-Arts, Montmorency Falls, the Civilisation Museum, the Jacques Cartier National Park and and the Sainte Anne-de-Beaupre Shrine. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Ottawa is the capital of Canada. You have to see the Parliament on Parliament Hill, a wonderful building! Ottawa is also home to interesting museums: the war museum, the National Gallery, the Canadian museum of history, the Canadian aviation and space museum, the Science and Technology Museum… Let’s not forget the great festivals such as Winterlude in February. You can go kayaking or rafting on the Ottawa River, or ice skating on the Rideau Canal in the winter. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Halifax is in Nova-Scotia. It can easily be explored by foot. Head to Halifax Peninsula, a boardwalk along the waterfront, very lively in the summer. You also have to see Pier 21. This is where one million immigrants first arrived on Canadian soil. To relax, spend some time at the Halifax Public Gardens.
To learn more about the history of the city, go to the Halifax Citadel. You can also visit the Canadian Museum of Immigration and the Atlantic’s Maritime Museum. FYI, Halifax has more pubs per capita than just any other city in Canada! Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Montreal is the second largest city in Canada. It’s known for its architecture, its art and cuisine. You’ll find there skyscrapers and at the same time very old buildings. You have to see the charming Old Montreal and its cobblestone streets. Have a walk at the old port, marvel in front of the Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal and relax at the plateau Mont Royal. You have a nice view of the city from there. I wrote a detailed article about my visit to Montreal. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Toronto is the largest city of Canada. We call it the cultural capital of Canada. Indeed it’s a cosmopolitan city with diverse neighborhoods such as Little Italy, Chinatown or Danforth, home to a large Greek community. You cannot miss the impressive CN Tower
Head to the distillery historic district to have a drink, to St. Lawrence market to get something to eat, and to the Toronto islands to relax. I wrote a detailed article about my visit to Toronto. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Calgary is in Alberta. Calgary experiences 333 sunny days per year, more than anywhere else in the country. It’s mostly known for Calgary Stampede, a ten-day festival featuring concerts and rodeos. There’s more than that in Calgary. Visit the Heritage Park Historical Village to learn about the history of the region, or head to Prince’s Island Park and have a walk along the Bow river.
You have to enjoy a meal at the SKY 360, a revolving restaurant atop the Calgary Tower. If you have some time, head to Banff, about 80 miles (120km) away, to see the Banff National Park. Moreover, Banff is one of the most beautiful towns in Canada. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Niagara Falls is a city allowing you to see… the Niagara Falls! You can see them from afar, on a boat or on a helicopter ride! But there is more in the city. There’s the Guinness World Records Museum, mini-golf courses, a Ferris wheel, a winery, etc. I wrote a detailed article about my visit to the Niagara Falls. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Saskatoon is located in Saskatchewan province. It boasts the highest number of restaurants per capita of any city in the country. Check out Wanuskewin Heritage Park to learn about Northern Plains Indian culture. The Western Development Museum is also interesting. For those who like outdoor activities, head to the Beaver Creek Conservation Area or the Meewasin Valley Trail to go hiking, trekking or even fishing. And admire the beautiful Saskatchewan river. Click here to find your accommodation.
Located in Manitoba, Winnipeg offers many indoor and outdoor activities. You have to visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. There’s also the Manitoba Museum, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Canadian Royal Mint and the St Boniface Cathedral. Winnipeg is full of history and culture, with great cuisine and a beautiful architecture. Click here to find your accommodation.
Whitehorse is in the Yukon province. It’s a small town home to 25,000 inhabitants only. You can see northern lights there. It’s also the starting point to explore the Northern territories. Go to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve to see the local wildlife. And don’t miss the Takhini Hot Springs! Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
St. John’s (Newfoundland)
St. John’s is the easternmost city in North America, and it’s very different from the rest of the country (the local accent, the colorful houses…). It’s the oldest city in North America. Go to Signal Hill and also the very beautiful museum The Rooms. You’ll learn about St. John’s importance in Canada’s historic wars and battles. You can enjoy a whale watching tour if you want to. Click here to find your accommodation.
Charlottetown is the largest city in Prince Edward Island. A charming city you can explore by foot. Check out the Confederation Centre of the Arts which features a theater, an art gallery, a gift boutique, an amphitheater, and even a restaurant. Charlottetown is known for its seafood and potatoes, you have to try! Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Victoria is in British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. It’s a city with many green spaces and its pleasant warm climate. There’s a British feel there with the double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages, and the afternoon tea. Head to Inner Harbour and try one of the numerous restaurants there. Victoria is a nice city, with beautiful views of the sea and the mountains. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
These were the best cities to visit in Canada! Now here are a few Canada travel tips!
Canada travel budget
- Accommodation in Canada is a bit cheaper than our Western standards. One night in a hostel dorm costs around 40 CAD ($31.50). One night in a mid-range hotel costs about 100 CAD ($79). Prices start at 200 CAD ($160) per night to stay in a luxury hotel. FYI prices are higher in big cities (Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa…). Click here to find your accommodation.
- Food is also a bit cheaper than our Western standards. A snack costs around 10 CAD ($8). Asian food costs about 10-15 CAD ($8-12). A meal in a mid-range restaurant costs between 20 and 40 CAD ($16-31.50). A beer costs around 7 CAD ($5.50).
- Regarding transportation, in big cities there’s public transportation. One ticket costs around 3 CAD ($2.50). The price changes depending on the city. To get around in the country, there’s the bus. A ride costs between 50 and 150 CAD ($40-119). Same for the train rides. Since it’s a vast country, you can take domestic flights. Prices start at 200 CAD ($160) to cross the country. You can also rent a car. Prices start at 40 CAD ($31.50) per day.
- Regarding activities, museums entrance fees cost around 15 CAD ($12). For outdoor activities (kayaking, canoeing…), it costs around 30-40 CAD ($24-31.50).
Basically, if you’re traveling on a budget, you can get by with $55 per day. Otherwise you’ll spend about $125+ per day. Usually everything is more expensive in big cities.
How to get around in Canada
In big cities there’s public transportation. To get around in Canada, there are buses, trains and domestic flights. You can also rent a car. Finally, you can hitchhike.
Best time to visit Canada
Since it’s a vast country, there’s no best time to visit Canada. To limit the risks, head there in July or August. But it’s also the busiest time of year. Winters are long and cold in Northern Territories and in Newfoundland. But it’s the best time to go skiing in British Columbia or Alberta. Spring and autumn are good seasons to go to Canada. The autumn foliage is wonderful in Quebec.
Visa policy of Canada
If you’re an European citizen or coming from a Western country, you don’t need a visa to get to Canada. You can stay up to six months. However, you’ll have to ask for an ETA here, except if you’re a US citizen. All the details here.
Safety in Canada
Canada is a safe country, even for solo travelers and solo female travelers. It’s one of the best places to solo travel. Problems arise in areas with gangs and drug traffic. Otherwise there are little scams, like pickpockets in touristy areas, but it’s like in other countries. If it gets cold, dress warmly. Freezing to death is not rare in Canada. Before traveling, don’t forget to get travel insurance. It will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations. Click here to get one.
Packing list for Canada
I’m not gonna list all the things to pack for Canada. I don’t know how long you’re gonna stay there, where you’re going in Canada, what you’re going to do and when you’ll visit. Take all the necessary clothes, toiletries, and also:
- hand sanitizer
- combination locks
- a money belt
- a security cable lock
- a travel plug adapter
- a stainless steel water bottle
- a lifestraw (a water bottle with a purifier)
- a menstrual cup (for the ladies)
Here’s a full list of travel accessories, which can be useful!
What to eat in Canada
Canada isn’t really known for its gastronomy… Seafood is very popular on the coasts. The prairies are more into meat and potatoes. Try a poutine. It’s a dish that includes french fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy. Taste beaver tails, a fried dough with maple syrup.
That’s it! You know everything to visit Canada now!
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