Canada travel guide, including map of Canada, top Canadian travel experiences, tips for travel in Canada, plus where to see whales and wildlife in Canada
From St John’s, Newfoundland in the east, Vancouver Island in the west and north, way north to places like Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada covers nearly 10 million square kilometers.
Travel in Canada – there’s enough space to do pretty much whatever you like. Enjoy awesome scenery, see abundant wildlife like moose, polar and grizzly bears, humpback whales and, um, groundhogs, raccoons and beavers, experience world-class outdoor adventure, sample the sophisticated cultural scene in Canada’s cities… the hardest part of travel in Canada is deciding what to do first.
Canada stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean, across ten provinces (from east to west: Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia) and three territories (Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon) – each with their own unique culture and landscape.
Canadians themselves are nice, too. Everywhere you go in Canada, you’ll experience cultural reverberations – whether it is standing beside the Westminster inspired Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, on the Plains of Abraham battlefield in Quebec City, or in the very nearly Irish fishing communities in Newfoundland.
Then turn everything you know about Canada on its head by taking part in the jingly-jangly magnificence of an Native Canadian pow-wow – where visitors from all over the world are invited to participate in the inter-tribal dance.
A ‘touque ‘is a warm, wolly hat – essential fashion item in winter.
‘Eh’ is a colloquial expression Canadians tag onto the end of most sentences and a unavoidable souvenir that will slip into your own speech like a comfortable slipper after a few conversations with the locals.
Canada has four strong seasons and although it may occasionally snow in summer and you may find blooming tulips in January, spring, summer, autumn and winter all have their unique charms.
International airports are dotted around Canada. Toronto is the major hub for international flights. Toronto (YYZ)
Generally, public transportation in Canada is excellent in cities and urban areas.
You drive on the right-hand side of the road in Canada, and whilst roads are excellent, drivers should be prepared to drive in snow if traveling in the winter. In winter, cars are equipped with winter tyres and roads are gritted and salted.
Taxis are readily available in city centres. Via Rail is Canada’s national rail service , which offers journeys between cities and villages, as well as multi-day sleeper journeys, including spectacular, glass-roofed carriage trips through the Rocky Mountains
Long-distance bus companies are prolific and an inexpensive way to travel in Canada. Several consecutive days on a bus remains a rite of passage for travelers and locals alike.
The standard of accommodation in Canada is generally good. Hostels are prolific in cities, B&Bs dot the countryside and roadside motels are something worth try (if only once).
Camping – and all variations of – are national pastimes in Canada. A network of National Parks have created an outdoor playground covering an area bigger than the United Kingdom. Whether you plan to hike-in, portage-to, car, caravan, canoe camp, or just sit on a case of beer beside a tent, Parks Canada will help you get it done.
There isn’t much that can’t be grown, fished, farmed or shot in Canada, so make it part of the journey to eat locally and seasonally. Food in each region is a product of its landscape and history – it's well worth tucking in.
Fast-food giant Tim Hortons specializes in coffee, doughnuts and sandwiches – manage to order ‘an extra-large double-double and a snak-pack of Timbits’ from the drive-thru window and you’re practically a citizen.
Vegetarians are well catered for in Canada.
Beer is popular in Canada and is an essential part of watching hockey (winter) and attending barbeques (summer). Labatt 50 and Molson Export are traditional, old-man beers, while mid-size and microbreweries like Moosehead, Sleemans and Big Rock and Steam Whsitle are producing some truly fine brews.
Canadia is the leading producer of icewine, a sweet dessert wine made from frozen grapes. Vineyards in Ontario’s Niagara region and British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley are producing excellent chardonnay, pinot noir and Riesling wines.
Canada has excellent free national health care services for Canadians – anyone else will have to pay through the nose should they need medical services. Travel health insurance is therefore essential, or you may end up with a shocker of a bill.
Water is generally fine to drink throughout Canada, although drinking directly from lakes or rivers can result in Giardiasis, a parasitic infection from water contaminated with animal feces – known locally as ‘beaver fever’. Giardiasis is easily treated with antibiotics.
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It may have been a trip to the see nature's floating giants in Newfoundland, but the charms of the Canadian coast proved irresistible in a very different way More
Northern Canada's wilderness is one of the best places to see bears frolicking in their own pristine, snow-drizzled habitat More
Some cities shine when it comes to activities that appeal to, and cater for, both grown-ups and kids, making a trip that’s fun for all the family easy More
Mark Carwardine embarks on a mission to spot the near-white spirit bears in Canada's Great Bear Rainforest in Victoria, British Columbia More
Where are the best places for a young family to watch whales? William Gray has the answers, and the memories More
Bowhead whales in Canada, commercial whaling in Iceland and great white sharks off Mexico get Mark Carwardine all animated More
10 island hops to help you join those dots More
The road from Quebec to the coast offers French-Canadian history, fog-draped forests and a glimpse of beluga whales More
To help you get higher in life we take a look at some classic and some not-so-well-known mountain hotspots More
From the Pacific to the Atlantic, Canada is one of the best countries in the world for whale watching. Lyn Hughes looks at some of the top locations More
Lyn Hughes travelled to Hudson Bay in Canada for an encounter with some of nature's strangest creatures, the beluga whale More
Search for your very own polar bear story in Canada's Polar Bear Capital More
Geoffrey Roy goes whalewatching in the realm of the orca, better-known as the Johnstone Strait, Canada More
Wanderlust subscribers now receive a free £50 voucher valid on trips from a great selection of top tour operators
And the best bit is, this isn't a one-off offer, you get one every time you renew as well!
The £50 discount can be redeemed against one trip booking with one of our tour operator partners, by the expiry date printed on the voucher. The £50 can even be redeemed on top of any discounts our partners are already offering, ensuring Wanderlust subscribers get the best deal possible.
Simply quote your unique voucher code when booking to claim the discount. This offer is only available to Wanderlust subscribers.
UK subscribers automatically receive the voucher each year. Overseas subscribers receive it upon request.
Perfect for... Couples or families wishing to experience Canada’s incredible wildlife and natural beauty in style.
KE Adventure Travel
Fun-filled multi activity family holiday on the West Coast of Canada
Hailed as the toughest sled dog race on earth, the Yukon Quest traverses the huge wilderness of The Yukon and Alaska.
Overlanding is a fantastic way to experience the traveller's paradise of the Americas! Dragoman have been the world's leading overland operator for decades, so take advantage of our years of experi...
From: £Contact us
This has to be THE most popular route for a fly drive holiday in Canada.
Take flight from Ottawa and journey back in time on an exploration of the High Arctic. As a modern day adventurer on this new 17-day exploration, trace the route of Sir John Franklin’s fateful mid-...
15 day Rocky Mountaineer rail and Alaska cruise from £2,699 per person including flights, rail, cruise and mixed meal plan. Highlights: Inside Passage, Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau Icefields, Banff
From: £Contact us
This fly drive holiday enables you to experience the real Atlantic Canada - towns, countryside, mountain retreats, seascapes and lands where colourful cultures are reminiscent of bygone years.
From: £Contact us
To see the polar bears in the wild is an experience never to be forgotten and should be on your list of things to do before you die!
Perfect for... Outdoorsy couples or families wanting to get up close and personal with nature.
Beginning in Canada, travel not only into the High Arctic, but also back in time, tracing the route of Sir John Franklin’s fateful mid-19th century expedition to find the fabled Northwest Passage....
Windows On The Wild
A winter time opportunity to explore the edge of the largest forest region in Canada.
Explore the Canadian Maritimes as you travel through the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.Taste remarkable seafood, discover a unique Acadian culture and dr...
Windows On The Wild
Retrace the Stampeders route one-way over the Chilkoot Pass on this enlightening adventure.
Cox & Kings Travel
Experience Alberta’s changing landscapes on this 12-day self-drive itinerary. Travel through flat prairies, rugged badlands and the spectacular Canadian Rocky Mountains, passing turquoise lakes, gl...
Cox & Kings Travel
This classic round trip from Vancouver cruises through the Inside Passage, travelling up to Skagway in Alaska before returning to Canada, past a backdrop of snowy peaks and visiting historic ports ...