The Ultimate Canada Travel Guide

31 Jan 2022

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If you are a first time visitor to Canada, you may be wondering how to explore such a vast country. And asking, where should you go to get a glimpse of all that Canada has to offer? One Ninety Five Holidays has just the perfect itinerary for you!

Canada is a huge country and has it all - incredible natural beauty, delicious food, mountain resorts, unique culture and unbeatable road trips! The climate and weather will differ depending on the region you visit - generally, the best time to visit is during the fall months of August and September. The best times to visit Banff National Park are June to August, for summer and outdoor activities, and December to March, for prime ski conditions.

Language: The two official languages of Canada are English and French, with over 80% of Canadians speaking English

Currency: The Canadian currency is the Canadian Dollar (CAD).

Vancouver [2 days]

Welcome to Vancouver - a famously lovely west coast city, surrounded by mountains and ocean. Surrounded by mountains and ocean, Vancouver is one of the few cities in the world where a typical day might include a relaxing sail, round of golf, and an evening enjoying the nightlife on Granville Street or in Yaletown.

On your first full day in Vancouver, enjoy a full-day sightseeing tour of Vancouver - the best way to visit the main attractions and neighbourhoods of Vancouver in one day. Tour along the scenic harbour and through the historic areas of downtown Vancouver. Visit the totem poles at Stanley Park, browse art galleries and shops at Granville Island, walk along the Capilano Suspension Bridge and learn about the Pacific Salmon at the Capilano Salmon Hatchery.

The next day, drive to Whistler, just North of Vancouver. While there, you can do plenty of sightseeing or just enjoy walking around town and the mountains! The resort town of Whistler offers endless recreation opportunities, with hiking trails, sparkling lakes and towering peaks right at its doorstep. For those inclined to move at a slower pace, spend the afternoon meandering through the compact, chalet-style pedestrian village, visiting the shops and galleries, or relaxing at a day spa are popular options. Drive back to Vancouver whenever you'd like to return.

Jasper [2 days]

All aboard! Today, settle onto The Canadian Train as your train journey towards the Rocky Mountians begins. A small jolt announces you are on your way – a day of spectacular scenery to look forward to. Get up the next morning to see the towering peaks of the Canadian Rockies all around you, including it's highest peak - Mount Robson. After breakfast, you'll arrive in the small town of Jasper, in the heart of Jasper National Park.

Take a cruise on Maligne Lake. Nestled in a ring of towering mountains, Maligne Lake is the largest glacially fed lake in the Canadian Rockies. Here you’ll discover world-famous Spirit Island, the crown jewel of Jasper National Park. The Maligne Lake Cruise is an experience like no other. You’ll be inspired by the beauty of Maligne Lake’s vibrant blue waters and by the lofty peaks as you cruise to Spirit Island, a world-famous destination accessible only by boat.

Lake Louise [2 days]

Today, travel to Lake Louise via one of the most scenic highways in the world, the Icefields Parkway! Enjoy the Columbia Icefield Adventure and Glacier Skywalk at Icefields Parkway. At the heart of the incredible Icefields Parkway is one of the largest non-polar ice fields in the world. Here, you’ll travel on a massive Ice Explorer to a place where you can walk on, feel and drink from the Athabasca Glacier. The Glacier Skywalk experience features waterfalls, wildlife, fossils and more on an exciting 1 kilometer walkway that leads to a platform where glass is all that separates you from a 280 meter drop.

Take the next couple of days to enjoy Lake Louise at leisure. Lake Louise is a hamlet in Alberta, and the highest permanent settlement in Canada. This alpine lake, known for its sparkling blue waters, is situated at the base of impressive glacier-clad peaks that have long been at the heart of Canadian mountaineering. At about 2.5 kilometres (1.55 miles) long and 90 metres (295 feet) deep, the lake offers a surreal paddling experience in the warm summer months.

Banff [2 days]

Today, make the short drive to the more bustling mountain town of Banff. Banff is like Canada’s playground. Visiting during the summer months gives you a chance to enjoy the crisp mountain air during early morning walks, hike through Banff National Park, stroll up and down Banff Avenue for a little shopping, or enjoy five-star spa treatments at your leisure.

Enjoy Banff Gandola - soar to the top of Sulphur Mountain for a bird's-eye view of six incredible mountain ranges. Stroll along the ridge-top boardwalk, explore the interpretive centre, and enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views.

The next day, take the Lake Minnewanka Cruise. This magnificent one-hour boat cruise offers wide open views of the Canadian Rockies, and informative commentary about the rich history of Lake Minnewanka.

Calgary [1 day]

Drive to Calgary today. The rest of the day is yours to explore Alberta's largest city, Calgary. Calgary was born from ranches and oil rigs, and is situated where the prairies end and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains begin. Nicknamed Cowtown, your visit to Calgary wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a AAA Alberta steak dinner at any one of many local steakhouses. As the eastern gateway to the Rocky Mountains, Calgary is an important centre of trade and tourism for the western prairies, and is the major point of access for Banff and Jasper, and a worthwhile destination in its own right. Calgary is the heart of the largest metropolitan area between Toronto and Vancouver, with just over 1.2 million people, making it Canada’s fifth largest city.

Toronto [1 day]

After spending a day in Calgary and recharging your batteries, fly to Toronto! Toronto is Canada’s answer to New York, and – in the opinion of Canadians anyway – is a lot more livable. Like New York, there are great neighbourhoods, wonderful ethnic restaurants and bars, museums, Broadway shows, concerts and galleries. You will want to visit landmarks such as the CN Tower, the Rogers Centre (formerly Skydome) and museums. Then get off the beaten path and walk vibrant, quirky neighbourhoods that reflect the incredible diversity of Canada’s population.

Niagara Falls [1 day]

Discover world-famous Niagara Falls, with the iconic falls stretching from Canada to the United States. Niagara Falls are the most famous waterfalls in North America for good reason; they’re truly spectacular. An unstoppable flow of rushing water surges over the arcing fault in the riverbed with thunderous force. Great plumes of icy mist rise for hundreds of metres as the waters collide, like an ethereal veil concealing the vast rift behind the torrent. Thousands of onlookers delight in the spectacle every day, drawn by the force of the current and the hypnotic mist. To get an up close and personal experience we suggest donning a raincoat and boarding a ‘Hornblower Cruise’ (formerly called ‘Maid of the Mist’) for an exciting cruise below these thundering waters. Stay overnight at Niagara and drive back to Toronto to take your flight out of Canada!

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Canada is an amazing country to explore if you enjoy buzzing cities, delicious food, and some of the most awe-inspiring nature in the world! Plus, Canadians usually offer a very warm welcome.

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