The USA's northern neighbour is a vast country. Thousands of miles of prairies and forests are sprinkled with only a few cities but they are among some of the best in the world. Vancouver, on the West Coast, is one of the most beautiful cities, with a stunning harbour front and large, green public open spaces. On the other side of the country, Toronto offers stunning views over Lake Ontario from the vantage point of the CN Tower. Or, you could head for Montreal and soak up some of the French influence that is still strong in French-speaking Quebec. Discover Canada and travel with our Canada travel guide offering information about places to visit, things to do, tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants, culture, history and travel tips.
With the fall of the Soviet Union, Canada became the world's biggest country, and it's almost impossible to encapsulate the whole country, all ten million square kilometers of it, into anything but a mammoth tome. From Canada's friendly down-home Maritimes on the East Coast to its mountainous and gorgeous laidback West Coast, the country is simply giant. Filled with gargantuan mountains in the Yukon, Alberta, and British Columbia, glaciers in the north, thousands of miles of prairies, and the beautifully rocky lake country of the Canadian Shield, Canada is an outdoor lover's haven. For wildlife lovers there are moose, polar bears, grizzly bears, elk, whales and much more. For urbanites, there are the world class exciting cities of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. For seekers of old world culture there's the four hundred year old Quebec City, and even older than that, St John's, Newfoundland, the oldest city in all of North America, first inhabited by the Vikings.
So where to begin to travel through Canada? It depends on where your point of entry is. If you arrive in Vancouver, you'll want to explore everything British Columbia has to offer, such as Vancouver Island and the fascinating hippie life of the Gulf Islands between Vancouver and the mainland. Vancouver Island itself is likewise scattered with quirky and eccentric settlements, most of them originally originating from fishing or logging days. The locals are incredibly friendly and outdoorsy and there are places to stay all over the island, ranging from gorgeous hotels in Victoria to hostels, to a permanent campground settlement in the hippie town of Tofino in northern Vancouver Island.
Moving further west, Banff and Jasper National Parks are a mecca for nature enthusiasts and adventurists with their simply otherworldly and spectacular scenery of blue sapphire mountain lakes cradled inside some of the highest snowcapped peaks in North America. Hiking here is superb as you pass by sweet smelling conifers, blue glaciers flowing down peaks, and alpine meadows rich with wildflowers. For those coming to Canada for the first time, this is an area not to be missed.
Quebec City is also beloved by visitors and no wonder. This vivacious city so steeped in history delights everyone who passes through. Meander down narrow cobblestone streets of the Old Town as you listen to old time Quebecois fiddle music on the streets, or take part in the Nouveau France festival which happens every summer. Here, revelers dress up in costumes of New France four hundred years ago and party in the streets for two weeks. The restaurants of Quebec City are world class, offering everything from traditional Quebecois cuisine to Swiss fondue to every delicious ethic feast you could imagine. It gets crowded here in the summer months so book ahead.
Canada is a big country to travel and you can't see it all in one visit. Choose a region and stay there long enough to enjoy it, then come back another time for another part of the country. It will be waiting for you happily.