Best Places to Visit in Canada

Best Places to Visit in Canada

Discover the Best Places in Canada

Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash
WRITTEN BYBryan Jacinto
PUBLISHED ONNovember 23, 2023

Canada is an unbeatable option if you're looking for an adventure that goes beyond the usual, filled with breathtaking landscapes, profound cultural experiences, and thrilling outdoor activities. Known worldwide for its technicolor cities and dramatic natural beauty, Canada offers a multitude of memorable experiences to be had.

From standing in awe at the thundering Niagara Falls to gazing at polar bears in their natural habitat, as you traverse the multicultural tapestry of the country, every moment is a story waiting to unfold.

Join us as we explore the best destinations that will make your Canadian adventure genuinely remarkable.

With its vast landscapes and vibrant cities, Canada hosts numerous exciting tourist destinations. If you're planning a trip, here are the top must-visit tourist attractions.

Niagara Falls

As you plan your visit to Canada, Niagara Falls should be at the top of your list. This trio of stunning waterfalls straddling the US-Canada border offers an awe-inspiring spectacle that draws millions of tourists annually.

Niagara Falls consists of three different waterfalls: the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the Canadian "Horseshoe" Falls. The combined drop of these falls, at over 50 meters, gives rise to a thunderous roar, clouds of mist, and a unique experience that you won't soon forget.

Whether you view the falls from the numerous observation points, aboard a boat, or even from a helicopter, Niagara Falls guarantees a stunning and unforgettable experience.

Old Quebec

Charming and imbued with a rich history, Old Quebec is a must-see attraction when exploring the heart of Canada. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it beckons with its fortified walls, quaint cobblestone streets, and stunning historical structures.

When strolling through Old Quebec, you'll have the chance to visit some significant landmarks. Let's dive into these must-visit spots:

  • Château Frontenac: As an iconic city symbol, this elevated hotel offers panoramic views of the St Lawrence River. It's truly a sight to behold, both from the inside and outside.
  • Place Royale: Known for its European flair, Place Royale is a picturesque square brimming with historical significance. It's also where you'll find the oldest stone church in North America, Notre-Dame-des-Victoires.
  • Fortifications of Quebec: A walk along these walls will glimpse the city's military past and provide stunning views over Old Quebec.

While in Old Quebec, experience Quebec delicacies at one of the charming cafes or restaurants dotting the area. And remember, only a visit would be complete with exploring the enchanting Petit-Champlain District, known for its magical illumination during winter and its bustling local boutiques.

Banff National Park

This prized location in the Canadian Rockies is renowned for its breathtaking lakes, snowy peaks, and vast ice fields. With diverse wildlife and numerous hiking trails, it offers an unparalleled encounter with nature.

  • Lake Louise: A turquoise wonder that has stood the test of time as one of the most photographed locations in Canada.
  • Moraine Lake: Nestled in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, it displays surreal colors you'd have to see to believe it.
  • Icefields Parkway: One of the most scenic drives in the world. It's a jaw-dropping journey of glaciers, waterfalls, and snow-capped mountains.
  • Johnston Canyon: Follow the winding paths along the edge of a steep canyon with multiple waterfalls culminating in the awe-inspiring Ink Pots, seven brightly-colored mineral springs.

Escape the hustle and bustle, and let your spirit roam freely in Banff National Park. Whether you're an adventure seeker, nature lover, or quiet observer, there's something equally magical waiting for you in every corner.

Stanley Park

This 405-hectare public park is an urban sanctuary set against the beautiful Vancouver Harbour and English Bay. Stanley Park offers a wide variety of attractions and activities for everyone.

The star attraction of Stanley Park is the 8.8-kilometer seawall. Here, you can enjoy the stunning city, harbor, and mountain views, perfect for walking, running or cycling. Beyond the seawall, Stanley Park houses the Vancouver Aquarium, stunning beaches, outdoor pools, and gardens filled with locally grown and exotic plants.

Remember to check out the remarkable totem poles at Brockton Point during your visit. They are an essential part of local culture. If you're looking for a laid-back activity, why not rent a rowboat at the Stanley Park Rowing Club? Alternatively, treat yourself to local cuisine at a park's cozy cafes or restaurants. Stanley Park guarantees memorable moments surrounded by the beauty of nature.

CN Tower

Are you up for a breathtaking experience? Then, visit the CN Tower in Toronto. As the third tallest tower in the world, standing at an impressive 553.33 meters, it's a sight you can't miss.

The tower's glass elevators will whisk you up to the observation decks within seconds. From here, you can enjoy panoramic views of Toronto; on clear days, you might even catch a glimpse of Niagara Falls.

But there's more to the CN Tower than just spectacular views. If you're brave enough, try the EdgeWalk - the world's highest 'walk on the outside of a building' that takes you along a 1.5-meter-wide ledge at the top of the tower.

Whether admiring it from below or exploring its heights, the CN Tower is an incredible display of human creativity and a must-visit in Canada.

Peggy's Cove

If you dream of a charming Canadian coastal town, look no further than Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia. The sight of its lighthouse sitting atop a granite outcrop against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean is breathtakingly beautiful.

This tiny spot bursts with charm and appeal. While closed to public tours, the Peggy's Point Lighthouse still pulls visitors due to its captivating ocean views. It's one of the most snapped spots in all of Canada.

Take advantage of the local fishing village. Its splash of East Coast architecture is delightful to explore. Amongst its rich cultural offerings is the art gallery of William E deGarthe, who sculpted a moving tribute to the region's fishermen. And when it's time to eat, indulge in the mouthwatering local seafood, particularly the famous lobster dishes.

Despite its serene appearance, remember to take care of Peggy's Cove. The Atlantic waves can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous, particularly on rocky shores.


Whistler should be your next stop in Canada. This alpine resort town is loved by outdoor sports fans and locals for its ski slopes and vibrant village vibe.

But there's more to Whistler than its winter attractions. It caters to golfers, hikers, and bird watchers when the weather warms up. Thrill-seekers can enjoy zip-lining and white-water rafting, art enthusiasts can explore local galleries and craft markets, and food enthusiasts can dive into the local gastronomy.

No matter what you decide to do in Whistler, take a moment to treasure the extraordinary natural surroundings of this one-of-a-kind spot.

Basilica of Notre-Dame

The Basilica is renowned for its detailed Gothic Revival style. Prepare to be dazzled as soon as you step inside by the beautiful stained glass windows sharing Montreal's religious legacy. Opting for a guided tour can provide a behind-the-scenes look into this majestic place.

For those who appreciate music, the Basilica's giant organ, featuring 7000 pipes, is sure to impress. Beyond regular services, it hosts 'Aura,' an immersive, must-see light and sound show.

So, if you love history, architecture, or culture, the Basilica of Notre Dame will captivate you with its allure and elegance.

The Butchart Gardens

Nestled in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, this beautiful location is a favorite of over a million visitors annually. It's a breathtaking harmony of nature, making it quite a spectacle.

Immerse yourself in fifty-five acres of remarkable floral beauty. You're in for a sensory treat with Japanese, rose, and Mediterranean gardens. Each season brings a fresh landscape, making it a paradise for plant enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Relish in their fantastic dining options, each offering a great view of the gardens. You might even witness their night illumination or fireworks shows if the timing's right. It provides a fresh, enchanting view of this haven.

Keep in mind that The Butchart Gardens welcomes visitors all year. Plus, they've covered you with wheelchair-accessible paths, ensuring everyone can enjoy this plant wonderland.

Natural Landmarks

Canada is a feast for the eyes with its abundant natural beauty. The country boasts stunning landmarks, from majestic mountains to vast coastlines. In other words, a trip to Canada is a journey through the best that nature has to offer.

  • The Rockies: Stretching across several provinces, the majestic Rocky Mountains provide picturesque landscapes filled with snow-capped peaks, colorful flowers, and blue alpine lakes.
  • Nahanni National Park: Located in the Northwest Territories, it boasts spectacular canyons, waterfalls, impressive Virginia Falls, and a large variety of wildlife.
  • Baffin Islands: They are characterized by dramatic cliff scenes, fjords, and glaciers that collide with the sea to form icebergs.
  • Bay of Fundy: Famous for having the highest tides on the planet and renowned for its impressive rock formations, fossil discoveries, and marine life.
  • The Northern Lights: Also known as the Aurora Borealis, viewing these dancing lights in places like Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories is an unforgettable experience.

These five natural landmarks represent just a taste of what Canada offers. The expansive landscape holds a wealth of natural beauty waiting to be admired and explored.

Cultural Experiences

Canada boasts a vibrant mix of cultures waiting for you to explore. This diverse country offers many opportunities to meet, interact, and enjoy global cultures. Let's dive into some of the best cultural experiences Canada can offer:

  • Attend a Powwow: Experience the vibrancy and significance of Indigenous cultures at a traditional powwow, a social gathering featuring music, dance, and celebration. These events, held across the country, beautifully convey the history and traditions of Canada's Indigenous peoples.
  • Visit the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver: This institution is dedicated to understanding and presenting world arts and cultures. Here, you can take a profound dive into the rich Indigenous history of the region, as well as explore cultures globally.
  • Watch a Hockey Game: Hockey is more than just a sport in Canada; it's an integral part of the nation's cultural fabric. Whether you catch a professional NHL game or a local match, you are participating in a venerable Canadian tradition.
  • Explore Quebec City: This city is the heart of French Canadian culture. With its cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and vibrant art scene, Quebec City offers a European flair amidst Canada's diverse cultural landscape.

For a comprehensive guide to making the most of your journey through the vast landscapes, charming cities, stunning coasts, and engaging cultural festivals, read through this list of the best things to do in Canada.

Outdoor Activities

Canada, filled with an abundance of nature's playgrounds, offers you countless opportunities for different outdoor activities. From coast to coast, you'll find thrilling adventures against unique and stunning scenery, all waiting for you to explore.

Here's a quick list of some exciting outdoor activities you might consider:

  • Hiking: Hiking is a popular outdoor activity with numerous national parks and trails. Visit Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador, or try the West Coast Trail in British Columbia for a more challenging hike.
  • Kayaking: For watersport enthusiasts, kayaking in Canada is a must-try. Paddle through stunning fjords and alongside glaciers in places like Banff National Park or Atlantic Canada's Bay of Fundy.
  • Wildlife Watching: Canada boasts a diverse range of wildlife. Whether spotting grizzlies in Alberta, whale watching in Nova Scotia, or bird watching in Ontario, there's always a chance to enjoy Canada's wild wonders.
  • Skiing: Home to world-renowned ski resorts like Whistler Blackcomb, Canada invites all levels of skiers and snowboarders to enjoy its powdery slopes.
  • Mountain Biking: With its diverse topography, Canada has plenty of spots perfect for mountain biking, such as the North Shore in British Columbia or Québec's Mont-Sainte-Anne.

If you're looking to discover the best time to visit Canada and explore its charm and majesty, this guide to the best places to visit in Canada is perfect for you. From coast to coast, Canada's diverse landscapes and vibrant cultures await exploration.

Transportation Options

Regarding getting around in Canada, you'll have various transportation options that ensure flexibility, comfort, and convenience. From coast to coast, transportation systems in this expansive country comprise air travel, trains, buses, ferries, car rentals, and even cycling routes for the more adventurous.

  • Air Travel: With numerous international and domestic airports, air travel is an efficient way to cover longer distances. Carriers such as Air Canada provide regular service to major cities and tourist areas.
  • Train: Train travel, though slower than flying, offers scenic routes. Companies like VIA Rail and the Rocky Mountaineer traverse Canada's diverse landscapes.
  • Buses: Bus service is available nationwide. Greyhound and Megabus are the most popular providers covering multiple cities and smaller towns.
  • Ferries: For coastal areas and islands, ferry services are a great option, offering stunning views of Canada's diverse shoreline.
  • Car Rentals: Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. Numerous rental agencies are found in airports and city centers.
  • Cycling: Home to a plethora of beautiful biking trails, Canada can also be toured on two wheels. Remember always to wear your helmet and safety gear.

Knowing the driving laws is essential for a road trip to Canada. Don't worry; we've got your back. Check out this detailed driving guide for Canada.

Accommodation Options

Canada, known for its vast landscape and diverse cities, offers a multitude of accommodation options to suit various tastes and budgets. Whether you crave the luxury of a five-star hotel, the comfort of a bed and breakfast, the bustling atmosphere of a hostel, or the charm of a mountainside cabin, Canada has got you covered.

  • Hotels: In major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, you'll find an outstanding selection of luxury and boutique hotels offering top-notch amenities, stellar service, and grand views.
  • Bed and Breakfasts: Try one of Canada's charming bed and breakfasts for a more homely feel and personal service. They are popular in small towns and the countryside, offering a great way to meet locals and taste homemade meals.
  • Hostels: A perfect choice for budget or solo travelers. Canada's hostels are clean, social, and often located in the heart of major cities, providing an affordable way to stay in prime locations.
  • Cabins and lodges: You can stay in a cozy mountainside cabin or lodge in areas like Banff or Jasper. It's a perfect way to immerse yourself in nature without forgoing modern comforts.

No matter where you decide to stay, always check reviews and compare prices beforehand to ensure you're making a choice that suits your travel style and budget.

Weather Considerations

When planning your visit to Canada, it's essential to consider the country's varied weather conditions. As one of the largest countries, Canada's weather can be incredibly diverse, ranging from mild coastal climates to harsh northern winters.

Here are some general guidelines to help you prepare for the weather in Canada:

  • Spring (March to May): The weather can still be somewhat cold, especially in early Spring. Pack warm clothing along with some lighter attire. Remember your umbrella, as this is a wet season in many parts of the country.
  • Summer (June to August): This is typically the warmest season, especially in the southern regions. Pack lightweight clothing, sunscreen, and a hat for the sunlight hours. However, nights can still be cool, so a light jacket or sweater is recommended.
  • Fall (September to November): This season presents mild weather but can start getting cold towards the end of fall. You'll need light and warm clothes, and remember that fall foliage is a must-see in many regions.
  • Winter (December to February): Winters in Canada are famously harsh, especially in the northern parts and the prairie provinces. Expect heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures. Warm clothing like thermal layers, hats, gloves, scarves, and weatherproof boots are necessary.

Stay informed about the current and upcoming weather conditions in your destination before and during your trip. It will ensure you pack appropriately and are prepared for all weather scenarios.

Safety Precautions

When traveling to any new place, including Canada, keeping your safety in mind is vital. Although Canada is one of the safest countries to visit, you'll still want to take general precautionary measures to ensure a hassle-free trip.

  • Healthcare: Canada has an excellent healthcare system, but it may not be accessible to visitors. Consider getting travel insurance that includes health coverage.
  • Weather: Canadian weather can be somewhat unpredictable. Ensure you're dressed appropriately for the weather, especially in winter when conditions can become extremely cold.
  • Wildlife: If you're exploring Canada's vast wilderness areas, it's important to remember that they are home to various wildlife. Always maintain a respectful distance from wild animals.
  • Emergencies: For any troubles, the number to call in Canada is 911. Having this number saved in your phone before your visit is a good idea.

Before you embark on your Canadian adventure, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with these safety precautions. Doing so will ensure that your trip is not only enjoyable but safe as well.

Visa Requirements

There are various visa types, each having unique needs. Get a glimpse into these requirements here. But remember, our info is general; always look at the Canadian government's official site for accurate details.

  • Visitor Visa (Temporary Resident Visa): For this type of visa, you'll need to provide proof of your home country's residency, evidence that you'll return home after your visit (for instance, a job, home, or family), proof of funds for your stay, an invitation letter from a Canadian host (if applicable), and your travel history.
  • Student Visa: If you're coming to Canada to study, you'll need your acceptance letter from a recognized educational institution, proof that you can finance your tuition fees and living expenses, and evidence that you'll leave Canada once you've completed your studies.
  • Work Visa: A job offer from a Canadian employer is the primary requirement. Besides, you'll need proof of qualifications or work experience and evidence that you intend to return home after your work term.
  • Permanent Resident Visa: These are issued for those planning to live in Canada beyond a temporary stay. Depending on the sub-type you're applying for (e.g., Express Entry, Business Immigration, Family Class Sponsorship, etc.), you must meet specific selection and eligibility criteria.

The above information is based on general requirements. It may only apply to some cases, and rules can change quickly. Your specific situation could mean you require less or more documentation. Always use the official Canadian Government website to verify the most up-to-date visa requirements.

Local Customs or Etiquette

Understanding Canada's local customs and etiquette is integral to making the most of your visit and respecting the local culture. Canadians value politeness and courteousness in their interactions. They are typically reserved, and the social atmosphere tends to be quite relaxed. Here are some essential points to keep in mind:

  • Politeness: Saying 'please,' 'thank you,' and 'excuse me' is common courtesy. Refusing an offer should be done politely.
  • Punctuality: Canadians value punctuality. It's considered impolite to be late for appointments or meetings.
  • Tipping: Tipping for services is customary. Tipping 15-20% in restaurants, taxis, and other services is typical.
  • Personal Space: Respect for personal space is essential. Keep a polite distance in social settings and avoid physical contact unless it's a close relationship or a formal setting, like a business meeting.

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do," the saying goes. So, when in Canada, do as the Canadians do to make the most of your visit and ensure a respectful and enjoyable experience.

International Driving Permit for Canada

If you plan to discover the diverse terrains of Canada by car, securing an IDP for Canada is crucial. This permit acts as a multilingual translation of your native driver's license, and over 150 countries, Canada included, recognize its validity. Remember to always carry it alongside your original driver's license.

An IDP is vital because it's a legal requirement for foreign drivers in Canada. This permit is not just for driving – it can also serve as an additional identity proof. Importantly, if the Canadian police pull you over, an IDP helps overcome language barriers, making the procedure more efficient.

Getting your IDP before departure is essential because you can't apply for it after reaching Canada. Usually, your home country's automotive clubs or government-approved associations handle the issuance. Apply for your IDP a few weeks before your trip to Canada to account for potential delays.

Remember, your IDP alone isn't enough to let you drive in Canada - you also need your domestic driving license. Canada's scenic highways make for a memorable road trip, so prepare adequately, and you're in for a fantastic ride!

Closing Thoughts

Canada offers a multitude of breathtaking destinations that are sure to captivate any traveler. From the stunning Rocky Mountains in Alberta to the vibrant city life of Toronto, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you are seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or want to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, Canada has it all.

Get your International Driving Permit in 8 minutes

Instant approval

Valid for 1-3 years

Worldwide express shipping

Back to Top