Visitors toCanadaare equally as wowed by the wildlife and wilderness, as they are by the cultural and culinary offerings found in the cities that speckle the sprawling nation. Peruse for polar bears on the open arctic tundra of Churchill or cruise Vancouver’s curvy coastline in a canoe while gawking at the city skyline. Feast on five-star fusion cuisine in Toronto, or take in a street-side jazz jam session in Montreal.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or returning to experience something new, these are the 15 best places to see in Canada. But plan ahead because as the world’s second-largest country, you won’t be able to do it all in one trip.
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1. The Canadian Rockies
Best for mountain views
The sawtooth, white-topped mountains straddling the British Columbia–Alberta border inspire both awe and action. Five national parks – Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Waterton Lakes and Jasper – offer countless opportunities to delve into the lush wilderness, with ribbons of hiking trails, rushing white-water and powdery ski slopes to satisfy travelers looking for mountain thrills.
This is one of the best places to visit in Canada in winter, but there is outdoor adventure aplenty during the summer months too.
Planning tip:For a different perspective, take the train and experience the grandeur from the comfort of your seat: luminous lakes, jumbles of wildflowers and glistening glaciers glide by as the steel cars chug up mountain passes and down river valleys en route to points east or west.
Best for combining city and nature
In Vancouver, sea-to-sky beauty surrounds the laid-back, cocktail-loving metropolis. With skiable mountains on the outskirts, beaches fringing the coast and Stanley Park's thick rainforest just steps from downtown's sparkling skyscrapers, you'll fine a harmonic convergence of city and nature.
For the best of both worlds, pick up provisions and a cold beer and picnic at one of the amazing city parks (during the summer months drinking alcohol is legal at most city parks).
Shop and stroll through the diverse and charming neighborhoods– you may even spot a celebrity along the way. Known as “Hollywood North”, Vancouver is the filming location for many TV and film productions shot throughout the year.
Planning tip:With its mild climate and beautiful beaches, Vancouver is definitely one of the best places in Canada to visit in summer.
3. Manitoulin Island
Best for celebrating Canada'sFirst Nations cultures
The largest freshwater island in the world, floating right in Lake Huron's midst, Manitoulin is a slowpoke place of beaches and summery cottages. Jagged expanses of white quartzite and granite outcroppings edge the shoreline and lead to shimmering vistas.First Nations culture pervades, and the island's eight communities collaborate to offer local foods (wild rice, corn soup) and eco-adventures (canoeing, horseback riding, hiking).Powwows add drumming, dancing and storytelling to the mix for cultural-immersive experiences that connect you with the people and the land of the country that we now know as Canada.
4. Vancouver Island
Best for nature lovers
Picture-postcard Victoria is the heart of Vancouver Island, beating with bohemian shops, wood-floored coffee bars and an English past steeped in tea culture since the 1840s.
British Columbia’s capital city is full of charm, but it’s only the kick-off point to an island that has a bounty of natural wonders to explore.
Brooding Pacific Rim National Park Reserveincludes the West Coast Trail, where the wind-bashed ocean meets a mist-shrouded wilderness, and surfers line up for Tofino's waves. With so many outdoor adventures to try, this is one of the best places in Canada for nature lovers.
Detour:Wandering foodies will want to head to the Cowichan Valley, studded with welcoming small farms and boutique wineries.
Best for skiing in Canada
This alpine village and 2010 Winter Olympics venue is one of the world's largest, best-equipped and most popular ski resorts, and it’s only a 90-minute drive from downtown Vancouver.Featuring over 200 marked runs winding down two towering mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb– this destination is paradise for skiers of all levels.
Skiing may be Whistler’s raison d’être, but summer visitors with their downhill mountain bikes and stand-up paddleboards outnumber their ski-season equivalents, making the resort a year-round hot spot for locals and visitors alike.
Adding more diversity, Whistler has recently developed a thriving arts and culture scene, with highlights like the Audain Art Museum and Squamish Li’lwat Cultural Centre taking the stage as equally appealing attractions to the famed slopes.
6. Baffin Island
Best for Inuit art and incredible landscapes
The forlorn, rugged landscape of Baffin Island is home to cloud-scraping mountains and a third of Nunavut's human population. It’s Canada’s largest island (the fifth biggest in the world), and the ideal place for an arctic safari, where you can spot narwhals, belugas and bears in their natural habitat.
The island's crown jewel is Auyuittuq National Park – its name means "the land that never melts" – and indeed glaciers, fjords and vertiginous cliffs fill the eastern expanse. The park is a siren call for hardcore hikers and climbers, and more than a few polar bears.
Baffin Island is also a center for Inuit art; studios for high-quality carving, printmaking and weaving can be found in many of the small towns that speckle the area.
7. Montréal Jazz Festival
Best for music lovers
As Canada's second-largest city and the country’s cultural heart, Montréal is a marvel for music lovers. Watch the best jazz-influenced musicians in the world amongst over two million, equally-jazzed spectators at the Montréal International Jazz Festival. There are over 500 performances and shows to enjoy (and countless are free).
BB King, Prince and Astor Piazzolla are among those who've performed at the 11-day, late-June music festival. You may even get to join in on the fun with free drumming lessons and street-side jam sessions, as the good times roll day and night.
Local tip:Not into jazz? Montréal has a wide musical palate. You'll find indie, folk, classical and opera performances around the city. Forlive-music venues and events, big and small, throughout the city.
8. Old Québec City
Best place to visit in Canada for couples
Québec's capital is more than 400 years old, and its ancient stone walls, glinting spired cathedrals and jazz-filled corner cafes suffuse it with atmosphere, romance, melancholy, eccentricity and intrigue on par with any European city. The best way to soak it all up is to walk the old town's labyrinth of lanes and get lost amid the street performers and cozy inns, stopping every so often for a café au lait and flaky pastry.
The city is also home to Québec’s scenic highway, Rte 132. Circling the Gaspé Peninsula, this road winds past the sea and the mountains, as well as charming towns; more than 700,000 people drive this tarmac each summer.
Of course, it has yet to approach the romantic popularity of Canada’s "Honeymoon Capital," Niagara Falls, a region that draws more than 14 million annual visitors. But head for the La Gaspésie, instead, young lovers. Because if you’re on your honeymoon, you don’t need 14 million other people hanging around.
Best for multicultural experiences
A hyperactive stew of cultures and neighborhoods, Toronto strikes you with sheer urban awe and cultural diversity. Will you have dinner in Chinatown or Greektown? Five-star fusion or a peameal bacon sandwich?
In Ontario's coolest city, designer shoes from Bloor-Yorkville are accessorized with tattoos in Queen West, while mod-art galleries, theater par excellence, rocking band rooms and hockey mania add to the megalopolis. It is far and away Canada's largest city, as well as its most diverse – about half of the city’s residents were born in another country.Be sure to snap a photo of theCN Tower, considered one of the best places to visit in Toronto, and for an added thrill, check out the Edgewalk, where you can walk around the tower's perimeter while taking in unparalleled city views.
10. Rideau Canal
Best for ice skating
This 185-year-old, 200km-long (124 miles) waterway– consisting of canals, rivers and lakes – connects Ottawa and Kingston via 47 locks.The Rideau Canal is at its finest in wintry Ottawa, where a stretch of its waters become the Rideau Canal Skateway– the world's largest skating rink.
People swoosh by on the 7.8km (4.8 miles) of groomed ice, pausing for hot chocolate and scrumptious slabs of fried dough called beavertails (a quintessentially Canadian treat).February's Winterlude festival kicks it up a notch when townsfolk build massive ice sculptures.
Local tip:Once the canal thaws, it becomes a boater's paradise, meaning you can appreciate it whatever time of year you visit.
11. Niagara Falls
Best for an iconic travel experience
Niagara Falls may be relatively short (it doesn’t even crack the top 500 worldwide for height), but when those great muscular bands of water arc over the precipice like liquid glass, roaring into the void below, and when you sail toward it in a mist-shrouded boat – the falls never fail to impress.
While you’re there, extend your stay and head beyond the falls with a two-wheel biking adventure along the Greater Niagara Circle Route, or take a go at the Wildplay Zipline to the Falls, a pulse-pounding rush of a ride that offers unparalleled views of the falls below as you zoom through the sky.
12. The Prairies
Best for road trips
Solitude reigns in Canada's middle ground. Driving through the flatlands of Manitoba and Saskatchewan turns up uninterrupted fields of golden wheat that stretch to the horizon, eventually melting into the sunshine. When the wind blows, the wheat sways like waves on the ocean, punctuated by the occasional grain elevator rising up like a tall ship.
Big skies mean big storms that drop like an anvil, visible on the skyline for miles. Far-flung towns include arty Winnipeg, boozy Moose Jaw and Mountie-filled Regina, interspersed with Ukrainian and Scandinavian villages.
13. Bay of Fundy
Best place to spot whales
Not your average Canadian bay, though lighthouses, boats and trawlers, fishing villages and other maritime scenery surround it, with frequent landward sightings of deer and moose.The unique geography of Fundy results in the most extreme tides in the world, reaching 16m (56ft), about the height of a five-story building.
They stir up serious whale food, with krill and other plankton attracting fin, humpback and blue whales here to feast, as well as endangered North Atlantic right whales, making a whale watch here an extraordinary must-do.
Best for dinosaur enthusiasts
Dinosaur lovers get weak-kneed in dust-blown Drumheller, where paleontological civic pride runs high thanks to the Royal Tyrrell Museum, one of the planet's pre-eminent fossil collections. The area’s focus on dinosaur fossils definitely makes this one of the most unique places to visit in Canada.
The world's largest dinosaur is here, too – a giant fiberglass T-rex that visitors can climb and peer out of (through its mouth). Beyond the dino-hoopla, the area offers classic Badlands scenery and eerie, mushroom-like rock columns called hoodoos.
Planning tip: Follow the scenic driving loops, these take you past all the good stuff.
Best for polar bear encounters
The first polar bear you see up close will take your breath away, and there’s no better place for an encounter than the open arctic tundra of Churchill, Manitoba, which happens to be right on the bears' migration path.From late September to early November, tundra vehicles head out in search of the razor-clawed beasts, sometimes getting you close enough to lock eyes with the beautiful bears. Summer lets you kayak or stand-up paddleboard with beluga whales.
What is the number 1 tourist destination in Canada? ›
1. Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is Canada's most famous natural attraction, bringing in millions of visitors each year.What is the prettiest place to visit in Canada? ›
- Vancouver's scenic bays. ...
- The rugged coast of Tofino. ...
- Island worlds in Nova Scotia. ...
- Picturesque parks in Toronto. ...
- The breathtaking landscape of the wild west coast. ...
- Unbelievable beauty in Banff. ...
- Dramatic bike trails in British Columbia. ...
- Soothing sands on Prince Edward Island.
In the heart of the country is Toronto, Canada's biggest city and the highlight of Canada's arts and cultural scene. Nearby, Niagara Falls is a must-see attraction for visitors to Canada that never disappoints. In the neighboring French-speaking province of Québec, Montreal is known for fashion, culture, and history.What is the number 1 vacation spot? ›
|World's Best Places to Visit||Best Places to Visit in the USA|
|1. South Island, New Zealand||1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona|
|2. Paris||2. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming|
|3. Maui, Hawaii||3. Yosemite National Park, California|
|4. Bora Bora, French Polynesia||4. Maui, Hawaii|
What are the safest Canadian cities? According to Numbeo, the safest cities in Canada are Quebec City (Quebec), Markham (Ontario), Coquitlam (British Columbia), Oakville (Ontario), and Ottawa (Ontario).What is the prettiest town in Canada? ›
Nicknamed “the prettiest town in Canada,” Goderich charms visitors with its natural beauty and striking urban design. Set on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, in an area known as Ontario's West Coast, the town's location blesses its beaches with wonderful sunset views.What city in Canada is the nicest? ›
Vancouver is easily the most beautiful city in Canada. With mountains to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the enormous Stanley Park right downtown, the city's landscapes are jaw-droppingly gorgeous.What should you not miss in Canada? ›
- Niagara Falls—Ontario. ...
- Old Montreal—Quebec. ...
- Banff National Park—Alberta. ...
- Canadian Museum for Human Rights—Manitoba. ...
- Cape Spear National Historic Site—Newfoundland. ...
- Capilano Suspension Bridge—British Columbia. ...
- Bay of Fundy—New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, you must have been physically present in Canada for at least 1,095 days in the five years immediately before the date of your application.Which part of Canada is the cheapest? ›
The most affordable city in Canada is found in Quebec and the region is generally the cheapest province to live in Canada. Many of the cheapest cities to live in Canada have a very affordable housing market and fantastic rental rates.
What is the cheapest place to vacation? ›
- Thailand. There's a reason why Thailand remains so popular with backpackers – it's got idyllic islands, a rich culture, beach-huts aplenty, tantalising cuisine and adventures galore, and all available at often staggeringly low prices. ...
- South Africa. ...
- Vietnam. ...
- Uruguay. ...
- Cuba. ...
- Prague, Czech Republic. ...
- Greece. ...
According to the study, the most beautiful place in the world is Peyto Lake in Canada. This natural wonder is known for its neon blue water surrounded by dazzling mountains.Is Canada safe for Americans? ›
Most areas travelers will visit are safe as houses. Violent crime in Canada is low and almost non-existent in popular holiday spots and ski resorts. However, while the threat to your person is minimal, Canada has its fair share of sticky fingers.Is Canada safer than the US? ›
In 2021, Canada ranked as the 4th safest country in the world by U.S. News. Canada's high position on the index sits alongside Switzerland, Denmark, and Norway. Canada's ranking is 14 spots before the United Kingdom, and 34 spots ahead of the United States.Is Canada a cheap place to visit? ›
Canada is a relatively expensive travel destination mostly due to its size (a lot of travel between places) and its taxes: even more reason to carefully plan your trip and its budget.What is the best small town in Canada? ›
- Golden, British Columbia. Phakjira Bradley/Getty Images. ...
- Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec. ...
- Churchill, Manitoba. ...
- Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. ...
- Elora, Ontario. ...
- Victoria-by-the-Sea, Prince Edward Island. ...
- Banff, Alberta.
- Montreal, Quebec: best for food and drink.
- Boucherville, Quebec: best for rural escapes.
- Edmonton, Alberta: best for families.
- Halifax, Nova Scotia: best for affordable property.
- Quebec City, Quebec: best for culture.
- Burlington, Ontario: best for climate.
Capital City: Toronto, Ontario
Ontario is the number one destination for newcomers in Canada. Toronto, Ontario is the largest city in Canada. It's also one of the most expensive places to live in the country. With easy and efficient public transportation, owning a car in Toronto is not necessary.
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Lake Louise, Alberta. This iconic world-class Canadian resort is located in one of the most stunning places in all of Canada - Lake Louise, Alberta - and is a popular honeymoon destination not only for the wealthiest of Canadians but also British Royalty, and A-list Hollywood celebrities.What is the most peaceful town in Canada? ›
- Campbell River, British Columbia.
- Canmore, Alberta.
- Edmonton, Alberta.
- Halifax, Nova Scotia.
- Kamloops, British Columbia.
- Ottawa, Ontario.
- Toronto, Ontario.
- Vancouver, British Columbia.
What city in Canada is like Paris? ›
Quebec City, Quebec
Actually, Quebec City is probably the closest thing you can get to Paris. If you've never been to Quebec City, picture this: cobblestone roads, carefully preserved French architecture, cute little boutiques and cafes, French cuisine and more.
- Wasaga Beach - Ontario.
- Sombrio Beach - British Columbia.
- Grand Beach - Manitoba.
- Magdalen Islands - Quebec.
- Basin Head Beach - Prince Edward Island.
- Parlee Beach - New Brunswick.
- Clam Harbour Beach Provincial Park - Nova Scotia.
- Sylvan Lake Provincial Park - Alberta.
- It is illegal to create, possess, and sell crime comics. ...
- It is against the law to use a dog sled on a sidewalk. ...
- It is against the law to paint a wooden ladder. ...
- It is against the law to climb a tree in Oshawa. ...
- It is illegal to pretend to practice witchcraft.
- DUI (including DWI, DWAI, reckless driving, etc.)
- drug trafficking.
- drug possession.
- weapons violations.
- probation violations.
- domestic violence.
The most popular time to visit Canada is generally between June and October, when the weather is either warm or pleasant. Spring and winter can all be good times to visit, but it depends upon the activities you want to do and where you want to go.How much money do I need to bring to Canada? ›
There are no restrictions on the amount of money you can bring into or take out of Canada, nor is it illegal to do so. However, any time you cross the border, you must declare any currency or monetary instruments you have in your possession that are valued at CAN$10,000 or more.How much money do I need to travel to Canada? ›
How much money you'll need.
|Number of family members||Funds required (in Canadian dollars)|
How long you can stay. Most visitors can stay for up to 6 months in Canada. At the port of entry, the border services officer may allow you to stay for less or more than 6 months. If so, they'll put the date you need to leave by in your passport.What is the cheapest month to go to Canada? ›
High season is considered to be April and May. The cheapest month to fly to Canada is January.Is Canada cheaper than the US? ›
Overall, both Canada and the US are fairly expensive to live in. Canada has much higher housing costs but healthcare costs are much more expensive in the US. While US salaries are slightly higher, Canadians have a much easier time making a higher salary with less education.
How much money do I need for 1 week in Canada? ›
The average price of a 7-day trip to Canada is $1,079 for a solo traveler, $1,633 for a couple, and $2,081 for a family of 4. Canada hotels range from $54 to $245 per night with an average of $87, while most vacation rentals will cost $170 to $490 per night for the entire home.What is the warmest place in Canada? ›
1) Victoria, BC
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, and has the distinct honour of being Canada's warmest city. Their average daily temperature is 7.6 degrees Celsius even in January, which is the peak of the Canadian winter.
Moving to Canada doesn't mean you need to give up your U.S. citizenship. You can receive Social Security benefits while living in another country, but you will also likely still be subject to U.S. taxes if you earn supplemental income.How much is the rent in Canada? ›
|City||Total Cost of Living||Monthly Housing Costs 2 Bedroom Apartment (Rent + Utilities)|
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The capital of Ontario, the largest city in Canada, and the city that attracts the most visitors in the entire country – there's a lot to be said for Toronto, a bustling city of almost three million people, which is why it earned the top spot on this list. First, there are the infamous Toronto landmarks.
What is the number 1 city in Canada? ›
Niagara Falls. This famous attraction serves as the border between the U.S. and Canada. On the Ontario side, we recommend that you view Horseshoe Falls, the largest of the three waterfalls. On the New York side, you should take the Maid of the Mist boat tour on the Niagara River.
For more information, visit the Tourism Industry Association of Canada's website. The United States is Canada's biggest tourism market, which we welcome more than all international travellers combined.What is the nicest town in Canada? ›
- Churchill, Manitoba. Churchill, Manitoba probably isn't what you picture when you think of Canada's natural beauty. ...
- Quebec City, Quebec. ...
- Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. ...
- Goderich, Ontario. ...
- Banff Town, Alberta. ...
- St. ...
- Niagara Falls. ...
- Baie St-Paul, Quebec.
- Ottawa, Ontario.
- Toronto, Ontario.
- Halifax, Nova Scotia.
- Vancouver British Columbia.
- Quebec City, Quebec.
- Saint John New Brunswick.
- Niagara Falls, Ontario.
- Winnipeg, Manitoba.