Canada Travel Guide

Your ultimate Canada travel guide, with tips, ideas on things to do, and best things to see in Canada. Great for first-time and returning travelers.

Why Canada? Full of natural beauty and plenty of activities for fans of the outdoors, Canada is a great vacation spot.

From skiing and snowboarding to kayaking and canoeing, to spotting grizzly bears and the Northern Lights, there are many things to see and do in Canada.

Add in metropolitan cities like Montreal with its shops and exciting nightlife, and Canada has something for everyone.

This Canada travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.

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Fast Facts about Canada

  • Currency: The official currency is the Canadian Dollar and 1 Canadian Dollar is equal to 0.79 USD. American dollars are accepted in Canada, though change will be in Canadian Dollars.
  • Power: Power voltage is 120V at 60 Hz.
  • Entry: To enter, you will need a U.S. passport valid for at least 6 months after your departure date.
  • Getting Around: The best way to get around is by public transport or renting a car but beware, Italians are hairy drivers!
  • Sales tax: The provincial sales tax for goods and services is set at 7 – 8%, plus GST which is set at 5% which can bring the tax up to 15% depending on the provinces. For more information click here
  • The Capital City of Canada is Ottawa – See the Best Things to do in Ottawa.

Things to See and Do in Canada

  1. Whistler, BC – Largest Ski Resort in the World, Hiking and Downhill Mountain biking, Bobsleddingsnowmobiling, outdoor fun.
  2. Our particular favourite is snowboarding in Whistler or Lake Louise  
  3. Walking with Polar Bears in Manitoba.
  4. Kayaking the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia.
  5. Quebec City is Canada’s most European destination and one of the oldest cities in North America established way back in 1608
  6. Aboriginal Experience – Canada’s First Nations People are welcoming and are a fascinating culture to visit. There are many chances to immerse in aboriginal culture in Canada.
  7. Niagara Falls – The Canadian side of Niagara Falls is an amazing destination with magnificent views, nightlife and lots of things to do.
  8. Icefields Parkway – One of the world’s most beautiful drives is from Banff to Jasper and not to be missed.
  9. Cabot Trail – Incredible scenic drive on the East Coast with whale watching, lobster fishing and awesome views.

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Budgeting

Accommodation

Budget: You can find a number of budget hotels and hostels for around 20-65 Canadian Dollars. Enjoy dorm-styled or private rooms, common areas, shared kitchens, free Wi-Fi, and easy access to city or scenic locations. 

Mid Range: For mid-range hotels, expect to pay 100 to 200 Canadian Dollars per night. Stay in hotels with private rooms, free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, complimentary breakfast, and a restaurant and bar.

High End: Upscale hotels will range from 230 to 500 Canadian Dollars, with the top hotels going up to over 1,000 Canadian Dollars per night. Take in the best with top-of-the-line hospitality and room service, upscale private guest rooms, spa services, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness centers, fine dining, and more. Certain hotels near the water also provide kayak services.

Food

The food in Canada has a wide variety of influences, including French, English, Scottish, and First Nations cuisine.

Poutine (fries, gravy, and cheese curds) is a popular dish here, while Nova Scotian lobster rolls are another. If you’re looking for some snacks or desserts, try a Montreal bagel (a sweeter version of a New York bagel, usually topped with sesame or poppy seeds) or a butter tart (eggs, butter, and sugar baked in a pastry shell).

Canada has many great restaurants and cafes where you can try some Canadian food. Expect to pay around 65 Canadian Dollars for a day of food.

Canada’s national drink is the Bloody Caesar, it’s like a Bloody Mary but it is made with Clamato juice. Give it a try, you’ll love it.


The Best Ways to Get Around Canada

Getting to Canada:

The Toronto Pearson International Airport is the busiest airport in Canada and is just a 30-minute taxi ride to downtown or you can take the UpExpress leaving the airport every 15 minutes to downtown.

The Vancouver International Airport and the Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airports are two alternative options, especially when traveling to those cities.

You can check for the best flights to Canada on Skyscanner.

Transportation:

Canada is a massive country and if you want to get around from Province to Province, the best bet is to fly.

Trains are a fast way to get around, especially in larger cities but trains are more expensive in Canada compared to places like Europe and Asia.

If you want to go from Toronto to Vancouver at a more leisurely pace, take The Canadian, an 86-hour trip where you can enjoy beautiful scenic vies, dine and sleep in a bed in your private cabin, and enjoy stops at Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Jasper.

Buses: Buses are a good way to get around. You can take the Greyhound or the Megabus and it is a cheap option to get from city to city.

Major cities have rapid transit and light rail systems to get you where you need to go quickly. A typical fare is 3.64 Canadian Dollars.

Taxis:  Taxis are an alternative way to get around. Prices typically start at 3.50- 4 Canadian Dollars and increase 2 Canadian Dollars per kilometer traveled. Uber and Lyft are widely used in major Canadian cities.

Car Rental:  To rent a car, you must be at least 21 years old and have a valid driver’s license. Check for prices and availability here.


When to go To Canada

  • Canada has four seasons and there is no bad time to visit Canada if you are prepared for the weather.
  • Summer (June to August) is a good time for road trips, canoeing, hiking, and exploring cities.
  • Winter (November to February) is great for skiing, ice skating, and winter carnivals.
  • Spring (late March to May) can be unpredictable with a mix of snow, rain and warm sunshine and the same can be said for Autumn (September/October) although Autumn is usually dry.
  • September through November is considered the best time to go to Canada, as peak tourism has ended (meaning fewer crowds and lower hotel prices) and there are many beautiful autumn leaves to see. However, for those going to Canada for winter sports, January to March is when the snow conditions are at their peak and is a great time for skiing or snowboarding. 

Where to Stay in Canada

Fairmont Lake Louise: Fairmont Lake Louise. I don’t know if there is another hotel in the world with a view like this. It’s worth the spurge to spend a night here when visiting Banff.

Ritz Carlton Toronto: The Ritz Carlton Toronto is in the heart of it all near the Entertainment District, Harborfront and CN Tower. Pure Luxury in Canada’s Largest City

Prince George Hotel Halifax: Located in the heart of Halifax this grand hotel is pure luxury and walking distance to everything.

Check out our favorite booking platforms Booking.com, Tripadvisor and VRBO for the best deals on accommodation.

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What to Pack for Canada

If you travel to cities like Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal in the summer, it’s hot and you can dress as you would in any major metropolis around the world. For winter travel in Canada, expect extremely cold weather. Canada has winter, period.

If you are going to the Rocky Mountains, the North or East Coasts, it can be cool any time of year so pack in layers. Nights can get cool even in the middle of summer in all provinces.

  • Hiking Boots: Keep your feet comfortable with a sturdy pair of hiking boots.
  • Layers: Be prepared no matter the weather by bringing clothes with layers.
  • Waterproof Coat: As it can rain, a waterproof coat is a good item to bring.
  • For winter travel to Canada, check out our tips for how to survive the winter deep freeze.
  • Dress in layers and be prepared for cool nights, (even in the summer and especially in the mountains.
  • How to Pack for a winter vacation read – Travel Tips for Winter Packing

Canada Travel Guide: Best Booking Resources

Whenever we travel to we make sure to start with these companies. We have tried a lot of different ones over the years and all of these have consistently proven to be the best when it comes to offering great prices.

We have used every one of these personally and continue to do so.

  • Booking.com: This is our go site to when comparing prices for accommodation. It usually has the cheapest prices, especially in Europe and we love their interface. Not to mention you get free cancellation and you are guaranteed the best price.
  • Trip Advisor: What we like about Trip Advisor is that we can look at all the reviews and then book our accommodation. TripAdvisor is where we go when we want to compare prices with multiple accommodation providers.
  • VRBO: is the main search engine we use when we are looking for a home or apartment rental. It can sometimes be cheaper than hotels and it is the best way to stay in areas that offer a more local feel.
  • Hostelworld: With one of the largest databases of hostels in the world, Hostelworld is the go-to site when you are looking for budget accommodation.
  • Skyscanner: This is the first place we check for flights. It consistently comes back with the cheapest and best options. It allows us to compare a lot of airlines to get the best price.
  • Rome 2 Rio: If you want to see how to get somewhere by plane, train, bus, ferry or car Rome2Rio lays it all out for you as well as related costs.I love how they show it all to you on a Google Map and it works offline.
  • Get Your Guide: For all your day trip and city guide needs, we use Get Your Guide. It has the world’s largest collection of things to do with more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations.
  • World Nomads Insurance: When traveling to Italy you should always have travel insurance. We have found the best bang for your buck is by far World Nomads.

Canada Travel Guide: Related Articles

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