Set off on a 12-day train journey through Eastern Canada's most iconic cities and natural landscapes. Spend two days exploring Toronto, Ontario's capital, then board your first train to Ottawa for an amphibious bus tour on land and the Ottawa River. In Montréal, go on a walking tour and an evening river cruise before unwinding in Québec City's Strom Nordic Spa. Immerse yourself in nature in Baie-Saint-Paul, ending back in Québec's capital with a visit to the Huron-Wendat Museum.


  • Head to the top of Toronto's CN Tower for a three-course meal overlooking the city
  • Cruise under the Jacques-Cartier Bridge on an evening boat cruise in Montréal
  • Hike through stunning national parks in Québec's lush Charlevoix region
  • Spot whales breach as you glide through the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Toronto (Ontario), Explore & Dinner at CN Tower Toronto
Day 2 Visit Ripley's Aquarium & the Distillery District, Dinner Cruise Toronto
Day 3 Train to Ottawa, Explore Canada's Capital Ottawa
Day 4 Amphibious Bus Tour, Afternoon Day Trip to Parc Oméga Ottawa
Day 5 Train to Montréal (Québec), Old Montréal Walking Tour, Evening River Cruise Montréal
Day 6 Visit Atwater Market & the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts Montréal
Day 7 Train to Québec City, Explore Île d'Orléans, Unwind at Strom Nordic Spa Québec City
Day 8 Old Québec Walking Tour, Train to Baie-Sainte-Paul Baie-Saint-Paul
Day 9 Explore Baie-Sainte-Paul & the Charlevoix Region  Baie-Saint-Paul
Day 10 Train to Québec City, St. Lawrence River Evening Cruise Québec City
Day 11 Full-Day Whale-Watching Excursion  Québec City
Day 12 Visit the Huron-Wendat Museum, Train to Montréal, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Toronto, Explore & Dinner at CN Tower

Explore Toronto's landmarks at your own pace, then enjoy dinner at the top of the CN Tower.

Welcome to the bustling city of Toronto, nestled on the shores of Lake Ontario. Upon arrival, meet your driver outside the airport to transfer to your hotel. After checking in and freshening up, venture out to explore the city independently. A good place to start is Kensington Market, an eclectic neighborhood of narrow streets and quirky stores offering everything from vintage clothing and handmade crafts to global cuisine. Pop in and out of the colorful shops or grab a bite from one of the many restaurants and cafés. Continue exploring (and shopping) in Chinatown, then sit down for some dim sum if there's room.

Those who want to immerse themselves in Canada's history and culture can visit the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) for First Nations artifacts or check out works by famed Canadian artists, like the Group of Seven, at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). End the night at the iconic CN Tower, taking the glass elevator to the 360-degree revolving restaurant for dinner with a view. Watch the transition from day to night as you enjoy a three-course dinner with wine from the world's highest cellar. After dining, head to the observation level for another look at the illuminated Ontarian capital. 

Day 2: Visit Ripley's Aquarium & the Distillery District, Dinner Cruise

Take to the cobblestone streets of the historic Distillery District

Begin your day with a self-guided visit to Ripley's Aquarium for a look at the array of marine life, exploring their habitats, from the vibrant coral reefs of the tropics to the mysterious depths of the open ocean. Don't miss the moving walkway that takes you through a massive glass tank full of sharks, rays, and sea turtles. With the interactive touch tanks and shows, you could easily spend a whole day here, but if you're ready to move on, continue to the Distillery District, a pedestrian-only neighborhood with cobblestone streets and Victorian-era architecture.

Discover the art galleries, boutiques, and cafés housed within the carefully restored redbrick buildings and stop for a beer or saké at one of the distilleries. In the evening, make your way to Queens Quay Terminal at the harborfront for a dinner cruise on Lake Ontario, "Lake of Shining Waters" in the Huron language. Find your reserved seat, then stroll the outer decks to admire the iconic skyline until it's time to grab a plate and browse the buffet. If you're visiting on a Friday or Saturday, end the night with a live DJ onboard. After three hours on the water, you'll return to shore and spend the evening as you like.

Day 3: Train to Ottawa, Explore Canada's Capital

Wander along the Rideau Canal to spot landmarks like Parliament Hill

Trade Ontario's capital for Canada's this morning as you head to Union Station to board a five-hour train east to Ottawa. As you leave the bustling metropolis behind, watch the landscape transform into lush farmland and thick forests. Pass through historic cities like Kingston, home to the Fort Henry National Historic Site. Upon arriving in downtown Ottawa, you'll check into your hotel to drop off your bags before heading back out to get to know the capital.

Start with a stroll along the picturesque Rideau Canal to see landmarks like the Fairmont Château Laurier, Parliament Hill, and ByWard Market, which can be your next stop. Step inside the market and browse the stalls full of local foods, artisanal goods, and handmade crafts. Shop for souvenirs and indulge in a beloved Canadian treat called a beaver tail, a deep-fried pastry topped with cinnamon sugar or other sweet treats like maple butter. End the night along Elgin Street, known for its array of restaurants, bars, and lounges, to grab dinner and a drink.

Day 4: Amphibious Bus Tour, Afternoon Day Trip to Parc Oméga

Cruise down the Ottawa River on an amphibious bus

Explore the city in a unique way today aboard an amphibious bus that can take you down bustling streets and along the Ottawa River. Starting in the downtown core, you'll drive past landmarks like Lake Dow, Landsdowne Park, and ByWard Market. After 40 minutes on land, the driver will take you into the water. Watch the bus transform into a boat as you glide past Parliament Hill on one side and the Québécois city of Gatineau on the other. Along the way, your bilingual guide will share stories and historical anecdotes about the city and its sites.

Following the one-hour tour, the rest of the day is yours to spend as you like. If you want to immerse yourself in nature, leave the city and province behind as you drive an hour to Parc Oméga in Montebello. Explore the 2,200-acre (890 ha) nature park, home to an array of Canadian wildlife roaming freely in their natural habitats. From majestic elk and curious deer to elusive black bears and playful wolves, the park offers ample opportunities to observe these magnificent creatures up close. When darkness falls, end your visit with a walk down the 0.93-mile (1.5 km) illuminated trail.

Day 5: Train to Montréal (Québec), Old Montréal Walking Tour, Evening River Cruise

Cruise under the illuminated Jacques Cartier Bridge on a 3.5-hour boat cruise

Say goodbye to Ottawa this morning as you return to the station for a two-hour train journey to Montréal, Québec's largest city. When you arrive, meet your guide for a tour of Old Montréal, the city's historic district. Wander down the cobblestone streets lined with historic buildings and learn about the city's evolution, from its early days as a fur trading post to today's metropolis. Stop in Place d'Armes to see the imposing Notre-Dame Basilica. Admire the basilica's twin towers, elaborate carvings, and stained-glass windows before exploring the tranquil interior.

Then, walk along the Old Port to admire the picturesque waterfront and board a boat as darkness falls. Glide past landmarks like the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, Notre-Dame Basilica, and the 1976 Olympic Stadium, all illuminated in a soft glow. Learn about the significance of each landmark with the informative commentary. After 3.5 hours on the water, return to the port and stroll down the waterfront to find somewhere for dinner. Some restaurants within walking distance are Garde Manger, which focuses on fresh seafood and locally sourced ingredients, or Olive et Gourmando for classic Québécois fare.

Day 6: Visit Atwater Market & Montréal Museum of Fine Arts

Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal
Art lovers will want to tuck inside the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts

Enjoy a free day to explore Montréal at your own pace. A good place to start is Atwater Market to grab breakfast. Wander through the bustling aisles of fresh produce, baked goods, and Québec specialties like maple syrup and smoked meats. Indulge in a Montreal-style bagel, which is typically chewier and sweeter than its New York counterpart, then continue to the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (Montréal Museum of Fine Arts). Visit the different pavilions dedicated to different artistic genres and eras to discover the range of exhibits, from classical paintings and sculptures to contemporary installations and multimedia displays.

Your next stop can be Mount Royal Park to hike or cycle along the network of trails winding through forest. The park's hilltop location also offers panoramic views of the city skyline and the tranquil St. Lawrence River. End the night back at the Old Port with a ride on La Grande Roue de Montréal, the largest observation wheel in Canada. On the 20-minute ride, enjoy panoramic views of the cityscape below from your climate-controlled gondola, taking in views of the historic buildings, Mount Royal, and the calm water.

Plan your trip to Canada
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 7: Train to Québec City, Free Afternoon, Unwind at Strom Nordic Spa

Rent a bicycle to discover the lush countryside of Île d'Orléans

Bid adieu to Montréal this morning as you ride 3.5 hours on your third train to Québec's bustling capital, Québec City. Check into your hotel upon reaching the city and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. As tomorrow you'll join a walking tour of the historic city, consider driving to nearby Île d'Orléans, an island of picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and bountiful farmland. Head to Sainte-Pétronille, one of the island's six villages, for a stroll along the waterfront and a visit to artisanal shops and cafés. Then, rent a bike and cycle through the countryside past lush orchards, vineyards, and farm stands selling fresh produce and artisanal goods. 

End the night at Strøm Nordic Spa, a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation inspired by Scandinavian wellness traditions. The spa is open year-round, but the warmth of the hot springs is particularly inviting in the winter. Step inside the tranquil oasis and explore the array of hydrotherapy facilities, from soothing hot baths to saunas and steam rooms. Indulge in a blissful massage or holistic treatment to melt away tension and restore balance. When you're done relaxing, visit the on-site restaurant overlooking the river for a delicious Scandinavian-inspired meal. 

Day 8: Old Québec Walking Tour, Train to Baie-Sainte-Paul

Discover the charming Petit Champlain neighborhood on your tour of Old Québec

Start your day with a guided tour of the UNESCO-listed Old Québec, the historic district. Learn about the city's colonial roots as a French settlement as you wander down the cobblestone streets lined with centuries-old stone buildings. Stroll along Dufferin Terrace to admire the Fairmont Château Frontenac, a grand hotel that stands as a testament to the city's storied past, and the tranquil St. Lawrence River. Continue to Petit Champlain, a picturesque neighborhood with boutique shops and cozy cafés, before ending the tour at Place Royale, where Samuel de Champlain founded New France.

After the tour, it's time to catch your next train, this one bound for Baie-Sainte-Paul, a picturesque town in the Charlevoix region. After two hours, you'll arrive in Baie-Sainte-Paul and have the afternoon for yourself. Outdoor enthusiasts may want to head to Grands-Jardins National Park, just 30 minutes outside the city, for a hike down one of the many trails. Those who want to stay in town can head to the Museum of Contemporary Art, which showcases work from local and international artists.

Day 9: Explore Baie-Sainte-Paul & the Charlevoix Region

Go on a scenic hike in Hautes‑Gorges-de-la-Rivière‑Malbaie National Park

Explore more of Baie-Saint Paul and the Charlevoix region on your own today. If you want to go on another hike, head to the Hautes‑Gorges-de-la-Rivière‑Malbaie National Park to discover the towering cliffs, deep gorges, and dense forests. Choose from the trails that lead to cascading waterfalls and the tranquil waters of the Malbaie River. You may spot black bears, moose, and red foxes as you walk, so keep your eyes peeled. You can also kayak, canoe, or rock climb within the park. 

Those who don't like hiking can rent a car for the day and go on a scenic drive along the Route du Fleuve instead, a 48-mile (78 km) journey between La Malbaie and Baie-Saint-Paul. Along the way, enjoy views of the St. Lawrence River, surrounded by rolling hills, until you reach La Malbaie. Enjoy a stroll along the waterfront or, if you're feeling lucky, step inside the Casino de Charlevoix, where slot machines, table games, and poker tournaments await. Back in town, end the night along Rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste, where you can sit for dinner at one of the upscale eateries.

Day 10: Train to Québec City, St. Lawrence River Evening Cruise

Join a guided tour of the Citadelle of Québec to learn about the province's military history

After immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the Charlevoix region, it's time to return to Québec City on a two-hour train ride. The route follows the St. Lawrence River, so you're sure to have picturesque views the entire way. When you arrive, you have some free time to visit more of the city's landmarks, such as the Citadelle of Québec, a star-shaped fortress and the official residence of the Governor General of Canada. Join a guided tour to discover the interior and expansive grounds offering panoramic views of the city and winding river.

Visit the Royal 22nd Regiment Museum and browse the artifacts, uniforms, and exhibits detailing the province's military past. Try to time your visit for the Changing of the Guard ceremony to see the soldiers adorned in scarlet uniforms and bearskin hats. Then, in the evening, you'll board a boat to cruise along the St. Lawrence River, passing illuminated landmarks like the city walls surrounding Old Québec and Fairmont Le Château Frontenac. After 3.5 hours on the water, return to shore and wander to a nearby restaurant overlooking the water for dinner.

Day 11: Full-Day Whale-Watching Excursion 

Keep your cameras ready in case you spot a humpback whale breaching

Get ready for what's sure to be a memorable activity: whale watching. Start with a 2.5-hour transfer to Baie-Sainte-Catherine, where you'll step into a boat and cruise to Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park. The park is often referred to as one of the best places in the world to see whales, as 13 species frequent these waters. Depending on the time of year you visit, you may spot species like beluga, minke, fin, humpback, or blue whales.

As you glide across the water, your guide will share insights into these incredible creatures and their behaviors. When you finally spot them, get your cameras ready in the hopes that they breach. The cruise will also take you past landmarks like Phare du Haut-Fond-Prince, an iconic red-and-white lighthouse, and the Saguenay Fjord, so there's plenty to see. After a few hours on the water, return to the shore for your transfer back to Québec City.

Day 12: Visit the Huron-Wendat Museum, Train to Montréal, Depart

Visit the Huron-Wendat Museum
Explore the Huron-Wendat Museum before your flight home
Start your final day in Canada with a visit to the Huron-Wendat Museum, just 25 minutes outside Québec City. Step inside and browse the exhibits showcasing ancient artifacts, traditional crafts, and insightful displays that unveil the customs, beliefs, and achievements of this community. Explore the museum solo or join a guided tour to deepen your understanding of Wendat traditions, values, and contemporary life. Then, when it's time, you'll board your final train to return to Montréal (3.5 hours), where you can catch your flight home. Safe travels!

More Great Canada Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Canada? Check out these other Canada itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 


Map of Explore Canada's Eastern Cities by Train: From Toronto to Baie-Saint-Paul - 12 Days
Map of Explore Canada's Eastern Cities by Train: From Toronto to Baie-Saint-Paul - 12 Days