Set off on a journey of a life time through the soaring mountain ranges, melting-pot cities and along wave-shaped coastlines on an epic Canada holiday
If ever a place seemed like it was created exclusively for adventure, it’s Canada. This vast country is nature’s playground. It doesn’t matter where you happen to find yourself between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, the great outdoors is king. Spine tingling wildlife encounters are a way of life here. One minute you’re wandering along a beach and the next, a whale breaches just off shore; later, a bear and her cubs cause a traffic jam as they amble across the road. Holidays in Canada are made up of many remarkable moments like these. Even in the cities, the natural world is never too far away. Vancouver is surrounded on three sides by water and the North Shore Mountains provide a year-round place to play, while Calgary sits in the shadow of the Front Range of the iconic Rocky Mountains; Toronto overlooks the vast Ontario Lake and to the north there’s the network of lakes and water ways that make up the Muskoka region; and Montréal and Québec City both sit on the bank of the St Lawrence River. However, these cities don’t just rely on their landscapes to draw in the crowds. Hardly a day goes by without some kind of festival taking place, from Calgary’s thrilling world-famous Stampede to a celebration of all things snow and ice at Winterlude in the nation’s capital, Ottawa. Canada is a favourite with our Personal Travel Experts and we’ve travelled from coast to coast in search of the best hotels, lodges, rail journeys and road trips. Our Canada experts can help create a bespoke itinerary; visit your local store and enjoy a glass of Champagne as we plan your next adventure together.
With a country as vast as Canada it’s really no surprise that there are large differences in regional climates. Most of the population lives within a hundred miles of the USA-Canada border and along these latitudes there are distinct seasons with extremes of temperature; it can get incredibly cold in winter and they have very warm and humid summers. Spring and autumn are much like they are at home with beautiful blossoms and colourful leaves respectively and pleasant temperatures. These ‘shoulder’ seasons are a good time to visit. In the Rockies, the first snow of the year can fall as early as September or October and the snow may not completely melt until mid-June or even July. Much of the northern expanse of the country – which includes the town of Churchill, Manitoba – has a subarctic climate which means they have long, incredibly cold winters and cool summers that only last a couple of months.
Canada holiday highlightsCanada is the second largest country on Earth, has the world’s longest coastline, has coastlines on three different oceans, and its largest island - Baffin Island - is almost twice the size of the UK. Most visitors head to the western provinces of British Columbia and Alberta or the eastern provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
CitiesThe country’s western-most province, British Columbia, is everything you have imagined Canada would be. It has untamed coastlines and islands, snow-capped mountains, iconic wildlife species and cosmopolitan cities. Beautiful Vancouver is the gateway to BC’s natural wonders but also a fantastic place to visit in its own right. It has a creative side and a bit of a hipster vibe as well as everything you would expect a world-class city to have – museums, galleries and many restaurants, bars and big brand shops.
The neighbouring provinces of Ontario and Québec are the cultural heart of Canada. Four of the country’s major cities sit within 500 miles of one another – perhaps a great distance in the UK but a relatively short hop, skip and a jump in Canadian terms. The country’s largest city, Toronto, and its capital Ottawa are in Ontario while the more French-influenced settlements of Montréal and Québec City are in Québec. The provinces’ rural areas range from riverside hills and forest-covered mountains to a vast network of lakes that are surrounded by charming cottages.
Islands and mountainsJust across the Strait of Georgia is Vancouver Island, a land mass not far off the size of Switzerland. There are few other places in the world where you can hike through ancient rainforests, seek marine giants out on the water and kayak around islands and into deep inlets before settling down for a Relais & Château dining experience all within the space of a day.
Europe has the Alps, Asia has the Himalayas, South America has the Andes and North America has the Rockies. Canada’s section of this iconic mountain range stretches for approximately 900 miles from the border with the states of Idaho and Montana to the north of British Columbia. They also span the provincial line between BC and Alberta. The Rockies are the poster child of the west, if not the whole of Canada. The serrated peaks and turquoise lakes are constantly gracing the covers of travel magazines and once you see them for yourself, you’ll understand why; at times the landscapes almost seem unreal. There are five national parks within the mountain range, three in BC and two in Alberta. The twin parks of Banff and Jasper are the most famous, however, the smaller parks of Revelstoke, Glacier and Yoho should definitely be added to your itinerary, even if it’s just a short stop en route to your next destination.
Maritime CanadaIf you want to find Canada’s most charming side you need to head east to the maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island (or PEI to the locals). Celtic traditions are really evident in this corner of the country thanks to the thousands of Irish and Scottish immigrants who settled here in the 18th Century. You can enjoy lively ceilidhs, listen to live fiddle music at a cosy pub and, if you visit Cape Breton Island at the beginning of July, experience the show of strength at the Antigonish Highland Games. This is the most easily accessible region of Canada for us in the UK; St John’s in Newfoundland can be reached in just under six hours from London while Halifax, Nova Scotia is a seven hour flight away.
Getting aroundLike its neighbour the USA, Canada is a joy to drive in, particularly in the west and the Atlantic provinces. The roads are wide and open and there are plenty of attractions en route to break up longer journeys. You can hire a car and travel from hotel to hotel or enjoy the freedom of travelling in a motorhome and stopping where the mood takes you. We have chosen a selection of self-drives to inspire you. These can be booked as they are or tailored to fit in to your plans. Canada’s rail network is run by VIA Rail, and travelling across country by train is a better option than covering vast miles by road. Train travel is also the best option if you’re hopping from city to city in eastern Canada. The stations tend to be right at the heart of town and within very easy reach of most of our featured hotels. The Rocky Mountaineer is one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys and a great way to travel between Vancouver and Banff or Jasper.
Food and drinkCan you even say you’ve been to Canada without trying poutine? In this Québécois staple, fries are covered with a rich gravy and cheese curds to create a rather sinful but incredibly delicious dish. Trust us, you need to try it to fully appreciate it. Across the country in British Columbia, seafood – and in particular salmon and Dungeness Crab – is the food of choice. Thanks to Vancouver’s multiculturalism, you can sample some of the finest dishes from around the world at the city’s many, many restaurants. Over on the Atlantic coast, it’s also the fruits of the sea that grace the plates of many visitors. Fish and chips is something of an institution here so you’ll definitely feel at home, and locally-caught lobster is especially mouth-watering.
The Complete Oman Tour Planned by Experts
- Canada is a wildlife watching paradise with whale, bears, wolves, moose and many other species a common sight
- Cosmopolitan and culturally diverse cities with beautiful natural surroundings
- Breathaking islands and coastlines from Vancouver Island in the west to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in the east
- A calendar full of festivals and events throughout the year and across the country
- Rich Inuit, First Nations and Métis cultures, traditions and heritage
Our Cananda hotels
Hotels in Canada are as varied as its landscapes with hidden-away lodges and grand city railway hotels On just one trip to Canada you can stay in a historic hotel in the heart of the city, a cosy lodge perched at the edge of the ocean and a log cabin retreat in the shadow of the mountains. If a contemporary style is more your thing, there are gleaming skyscrapers, boutique hotels oozing with style and iconic buildings that have had a 21st-Century makeover. We've hand-picked the best hotels in Canada including big names like Fairmont, Ritz Carlton and Relais & Chateau. There’s also a selection of independently-owned hotels, inns and lodges such as Vancouver Island’s Wickaninnish Inn and the Deerhurst Lodge which is located close to the entrance of Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park. Our recommended hotels, lodges and resorts in Canada
If you want to witness the beauty of Canada, must visit Niagara Falls. It takes around an hour from Toronto to reach Niagara Falls. Every year people from around the globe visit here to the witness this natural attraction. It offers a lot of entertainment and other activities that we will surely enjoy. For example, you can explore the Corning Glass Factory, Museum, or show – Oh Canada Eh? Also, you can discover Marine Land, where people from all age group can get up close with sea animals of all kinds.
Canada’s Wonderland is well-known amusement and Water Park. Here you can enjoy more than 75 rides from Taxi Jam for kids to Soaring Timbers for adventure lovers. Also, you will enjoy here splash park attraction. Take out a day to enjoy this amazing wonderland and there are also numerous shows and events that you can explore.
CN Tower is the iconic and most famous landmark located on the coast of Lake Ontario. It offers a lot of stuff and things to explore like dining in its revolving restaurant, where you can enjoy a meal while gazing over the city and lake. And the Glass Floor, allow you to embrace the beautiful views out over the city. It is one of the tallest structure in the world which stands 553 meters high. At night, you will find lightning of the tower in different colours.
Banff National Park
Banff National Park is famous as the first national park in Canada. It is most popular for its outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy mountain biking, hiking, and even can explore mountain villages, and photograph the park’s plentiful birds and wildlife.
English and French
An Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) is now required for British citizens travelling to Canada, please speak to a Personal Travel Expert for details
February: Family Day
May: Victoria Day
01 July: Canada Day
September: Labour Day
• January to February: Quebec Winter Carnival, Quebec City, Quebec – The world's largest winter carnival with events such as night parades, snow and ice sculptures and, most importantly ice slides
• February: Winterlude, Ottawa, Ontario – Much like Quebec's Winter Carnival but with the added excitement of being able to skate on the Rideau Canal which is the world's largest skating rink when conditions lead to it the water freezing.
• June/July: International Jazz Festival, Montreal, Quebec – A famous event with many free outdoor concerts over a period of ten days
• July 01: Canada Day, nationwide: Canada's birthday is celebrated with parties and fireworks throughout Canada
• July: Celebration of Light, Vancouver, British Columbia – This huge firework display competition lights up the skies of Vancouver and can be seen best from a variety of view points.
• July: Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta – A traditional annual event not to be missed. Experience true western Canada cowboy culture with chuckwagon races, rodeos and live music.
• November to January: Winter Festival of Lights, Niagara Falls, Ontario: See the falls and city beautifully illuminated
Most goods are available slightly cheaper than the cost at home. Canadian arts and crafts fashioned from pewter, wood, silver and pottery (as well as Native Canadian art like soapstone-carvings, totem poles and weavings) are best found in the regions where they are produced.
Many Canadians in the service industry rely on tips to supplement their income. Tips or tax are not usually automatically added to a bill in Canada, but you should always check. Taxi drivers, hairdressers and waiters are generally given 10-15%. Bellhops, porters and doormen are generally paid Can$1 per item of luggage. It may be advisable to carry small change for this purpose. These figures are for guidance only and assume that service has been good.