With its welcoming atmosphere, vibrant cities and awe-inspiring scenery, Canada is truly an exciting and beautiful country that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. As the largest nation in North America, “The Great White North” is a vast land blessed with virgin forests, spacious prairies, spectacular coastlines and Arctic plains. Though much of Canada is of French and British decent, it is home to a mosaic of multicultural communities. And trust me, there is no shortage of gorgeous and fascinating bucket-list worthy places to visit in Canada.
Headed to Canada, and don’t know where to start? Here’s an overview of the best and most striking places to visit in Canada.
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1. Quebec City
Looking for a cheaper alternative to Europe? Quebec City may be the political capital of the Canadian province of Quebec, but its French architecture, language and heritage make it appear a lot more like a historic charming European village. One of the most nostalgic places to visit in Canada, this Canadian city enthralls it visitors with its horse-drawn carriages and lovely historic buildings that were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Giving you a taste of Paris, the city’s gas lamp-lit cobblestone streets are also filled with aromas of brewing espresso and freshly baked bread, making your visit even more wistful and delightful.
The sound of French pleasantries and historic feel of oldest city in Canada, however, aren’t the only things you can enjoy in Quebec. Although it is lauded for its history and culture, the city has some zest and a youthful side too. There are reinvigorated neighborhoods in the city brimming with funky restaurants, sexy nightclubs, and a laissez-faire French ambiance.
Vancouver, with miles of gorgeous coastline and an awe-inspiring mountain landscape, is a slice of heaven for thrill-seekers and travelers who want to embrace the great outdoors. Praised for its laid-back charm, extensive parks and urban beaches, this Canadian city has chock-full of leisure activities that promise to bring you bliss as well as give you a heavy dose of adventure and fun. Known as one of the popular places to visit in Canada, Vancouver has scenic landscapes that offer a natural playground wherein travelers can snow ski in the mountains, swim in the ocean, and rollerblade through lush parks – all in one day.
But, make no mistake about it – there’s so much more to Vancouver than its alluring natural beauty. In fact, it is a gleaming modern city with a dynamic cultural life and a wide variety of festivals and attractions.
Wondering what to do in Vancouver, the third largest metropolitan area in Canada? The undisputed star of Vancouver is Stanley Park, which covers a vast area of green spaces, gardens and woodlands, making it one of the top places to visit in Canada for nature lovers. Some of the Vancouver’s top sites, including the energetic array of shops in Chinatown and the remarkable food market in Granville.
There are a number of good reasons to travel to Calgary, and the most obvious one is to hit the slopes. Perched majestically in foothills of the internationally renowned Canadian Rockies, the city has literally become a base for winter sports connoisseurs. Swing by the Canada Olympic Park to catch sight of world-class athletes train, or try out some of its amazing facilities for yourself. And keep in mind that there’s so much more to this Canadian than its hiking trails and ski slopes. You can indulge in a little shopping therapy along the glitzy Stephen Avenue Walk, cheer on a local sports team at the Saddledome, or relive the glory days of the Wild West at the Heritage Park.
4. Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island – the smallest province and one of the top places to visit in Canada – gained global limelight, a few years after the publication of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novella “Anne of Green Gables” in 1908. More than a century later, Prince Edward Island remains as glorious and stunning as ever filled with historic architecture, fresh seafood, beautiful beaches and those red rocky cliffs that were immortalized by “Anne”.
5. Niagara Falls
From romantic trips to family, the world-famous Niagara region has an assortment of entertainment options for all ages. Famous for its incredible sights and alluring falls, Niagara also offers a plethora of other activities, such as camping, golfing, shopping, cruises, museums, theatre and live music. Deemed as one of the most popular places to visit in Canada, Niagara Falls indeed offers a ton of pleasures and delights to its visitors, no matter the season.
Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is a city designed for tourists. There is plenty to do and see, and everything is basically a short walk away. As an added plus, Ottawa is also home to a handful of the world’s cultures as thousands of immigrants from all corners of the world now call Canada’s capital home.
There are, as far as I’m concerned, a couple of experiences that you really can’t afford to miss during your visit to Ottawa – a stroll along the Rideau Canal and a tour at Parliament Hill. Not only are they worthy entries to your bucket list, but they also can be enjoyed for everyone’s favorite price of zero dollars. If you love museums, then make sure to check out the first-rate exhibits displayed in world-class establishments, such as the Canadian Museum of Civilization and National Gallery of Canada.
Want to take a thrilling walk at Canada’s wild side? Then, take the Edge Walk adventure at the tallest attraction and landmark in Toronto – the CN Tower. Here, you’ll get to test your limits as well as experience the thrill of a lifetime by talking a walk around the circumference of the roof of this steep 553.33-meter high tower. In addition to the obvious adrenaline rush, this Canadian icon has an observation deck that will give you breath-snatching panoramas of the city. Aptly nicknamed as “Canada’s Wonder of the World”, CN Tower also has a revolving restaurant that offers tasty treats as well as unobstructed views of Toronto.
Besides its highly celebrated tower, there are a lot of other awesome places to visit and things to do in Toronto. After all, it is a big buzzing metropolis with all kinds of attractions you could think of. From shopping and dining to sports, arts, theater and galleries, Toronto has it all. Composed of a number of cultural pockets (like Koreatown, Little India and Greektown), Toronto transports you and its other visitors across the world. With such diversity to indulge in, you can practically label yourself as a world-traveler after visiting Toronto – one of the best cities and places to visit in Canada.
Remote and sparsely populated, Yukon is by far one of the most underrated places to visit in Canada. While Yukon isn’t as well-known as Toronto or Vancouver, it still gets quite a few visitors, especially in winter. As you visit Yukon during wintertime, you’ll get a chance to see the mesmerizing nocturnal rainbows of the natural phenomena that we all know as the Northern Lights, which is a worthy entry to your bucket list. Plus, a visit here lets you go on a one-of-a-kind wintry trip – the dog sled ride.
Montreal’s nightclubs, shopping districts, historic sites and museums provide a world of entertainment and fun for its visitors. To get taste of the city’s historic side, spend the whole day exploring the eye-catching 18th century architectures of Vieux-Montréal, which is now housing small souvenir shops and museums. For those who are traveling with a bunch of kids, the city is one of the most family-friendly places to visit in Canada as well, with attractions like the La Ronde Amusement Park and Montreal Biodôme.
If you’re visiting Montreal in winter, and you want to escape the cold, head down to the museums and shopping malls of the Underground City. Another can’t-miss site in Montreal, for all kinds of travelers, is the Notre Dame Basilica, which was labeled as one of the 20 most beautiful places to visit in Canada by CNN.
10. Nahanni National Park
Inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, this national park located in the Northwest Territories is made up of over 4,000 square kilometers of deep river canyons that cut through complex cave systems, huge waterfalls and mountain ranges.
Whistler – the official venue of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2010 – is definitely one of the most sought-after ski resorts on earth. Nestled perfectly in the shade of the mighty Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains, this wintertime village has a dazzling frosted look that would remind you of quintessential Christmas cards during your childhood. Though it has firmly established itself as one of the top places to visit in Canada in winter, it has become a pretty popular summer destination as well, with visitors and Vancouverites lured to natural charms of region by everything from heart-pumping zipline rungs to mountain biking.
12. Churchill, Manitoba
Churchill, dubbed as the polar bear capital of the world, is one of the very few towns in the world where you can get an up close look of the white bears in the wild. Every fall, these beautiful white giants gather along Hudson Bay’s shores, as they commence their move from the tundra back (their summer habitat) to the seal-hunting territory.
13. Victoria and Vancouver Island
Even though it’s just a short 90-minute ferry boat ride from the bustling city of Vancouver, the capital city of British Columbia may feel like a world away. Taking a completely different approach to its exuberant neighbor, Victoria exudes a more serene feel. Resting on the Vancouver Island’s southern tip, this small Canadian hub remains rooted deeply in its colonial past, distinctively relishing British traditions, such as pint at the pub and an afternoon tea at the Empress.
But, that does not mean this city is reserved strictly for Anglophiles. In spite of its irresistible nostalgic tendencies, this destination beckons a variety of tourists, thanks to its fabulous harbor views, charming architecture and top-notch museums.
Fernie, for more than a hundred years, has been admired for its incredible beauty and setting. With a gorgeous downtown area and a colorful history, Fernie has something special in store history buffs and nature lovers alike. One of the most popular places to visit in Canada for skiers since the 1940s, Fenie is also now an attractive destination for snowmobile adventurists.
Banff, lodged right in heart of the Canadian Rockies, is one of the places to visit Canada that should be on everybody’s bucket list. A haven for luxury-seekers and nature enthusiasts, this tiny mountain town will wow its visitors with its extraordinary thermal hot springs and dramatic views of its pristine landscapes. And with more than a thousand miles of trekking trails in summer, superb skiing opportunities in winter and unspoiled lakes to kayak, Banff is indeed a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
16. Jasper National Park
Up for a memorable adventure? Whether you’re a seasoned hiker, an intrepid biker or a fishing enthusiast, a trip to Jasper National Park will appease your sense for adventure as well as put you into a state of euphoria. What’s more, this mountain getaway is surrounded with turquoise lakes, untouched wilderness and towering peaks that make postcard-worthy images.
Take a pleasant drive or train ride through Quebec’s beautiful landscape to reach Charlevoix, a lovely small town and one of the most undervalued places to visit in Canada. With plenty of year-round activities (like skiing, dog-sledding, hiking, fishing, cruises and whale-watching), Charlevoix is a great Canadian getaway for families, singles or couples. Likewise, the town features the striking Fairmont Le Manoir Richeliu Hotel as well as laid-back bed and breakfasts.
Nova Scotia's capital is a dream destination, and one of the can’t-miss places to visit in Canada for historians. This gorgeous harbor town has been pirate haven and a British stronghold. What’s more, the city servers as the final resting place for the hundreds of people who died at the sea, when the so-called unsinkable Titanic submerged in the frigid Atlantic. And with most of the city’s top attractions devoted to preserving its rich history, you and other travelers might think that it is frozen in time.
19. Peggy’s Cove
Famous for its working fishing village, sumptuous seafood and awe-inspiring scenery, Peggy’s Cove is a picturesque haven best known for its historic lighthouse, which was built in 1915. Although it’s small, more than half a million of tourists come to Peggy’s Cover every year, just to snap photos of its famed lighthouse.
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