Planning Your Trip to Canada
As the world's second-largest country, it's best to give yourself enough time to properly focus on a region or two of a province. The more time and flexibility you have will determine how many areas you can cover. With 10-14 days, you can explore at a relaxed pace, venturing on a coastal road trip of British Columbia, stopping to trek any of the numerous trails, or seeking out wildlife via an island hopping excursion. To see more of Canada, consider boarding a few domestic flights from Nova Scotia to Toronto to Alberta, taking you across the country.
If you're short on time, focus on one or two major cities. Take five days and explore Ottawa (Canada's capital city) and Montréal or Toronto, and Niagara Falls. And in a week, you can take to the Maritime Provinces of Eastern Canada, visiting at least two of the four. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island are close to one another and perfect for discovering idyllic seaside towns and picturesque coastal landscapes.
Canada in 5 days
Five days may not seem like a lot, but if you focus on one or two regions within a province, you can easily cover several attractions and sights.
A visit to Canada's capital, Ottawa, sees you visiting Parliament Hill and strolling along the Rideau Canal. A short flight takes you to Toronto Island, a quick jaunt away from downtown for shopping, dining, sightseeing, and nightlife. Spend your penultimate day in Niagara Falls, a quick 37-mile (60 km) drive away to view the Horseshoe and Bridal Veil falls as well as venture along the Niagara Parkway into charming Old Town Niagara-on-the-Lake for the rich history and a taste of the region's finest wines.
This scenic five-day road trip gives you a feel for the Canadian Rockies. Arriving in Calgary, Alberta, it's a two-hour drive to Banff National Park. Take a dip in hot springs and ride a gondola to seek out black bears, continuing the next day to stunning Lake Louise, fitting in at least one hike en route to Jasper. Explore Jasper National Park the following day, enjoying a walk to Maligne Canyon and the cable car up Whistlers Mountain. You'll drive the Icefields Parkway working your way to Canmore for your onward journey.
Balance the best of British Columbia's west coast in this packed sea-to-sky five-day tour from city life in Vancouver to nature's wonderland Whistler and Squamish. Discover First Nations culture and totem poles at the Museum of Anthropology by day and catch inspiring sunsets in Stanley Park's Siwash Rock and Third Beach by night. Heading north from the city, you'll see snow-capped peaks, waterfalls, and canyons, and even take a full-day trek around the icy-blue waters of Garibaldi Lake in Whistler.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Canada in 7-10 days
Seven to 10 days is a good amount of time to experience a province a little more intimately beyond its capital—depending on its size—or span over two or three provinces, like Eastern Canada, in one trip.
See three of the Atlantic provinces on this weeklong vacation. Start in Halifax and enjoy the eclectic downtown pier, rent a bike for further exploration of the hilly streets and visit Halifax Citadel National Site. Travel south to snap pics of Peggy's Cove and its famous lighthouse, and add on a visit to Prince Edward Island. Head north across Nova Scotia to reach New Brunswick and the quiet town of Moncton. Kayak the Bay of Fundy and dine on lobster. Then head farther east to Charlottetown on Canada's smallest province, Prince Edward Island. Enjoy the charm of this small town and take to the Confederation Trail on two wheels.
This seven-day Pacific Rim road trip covers Whistler, Tofino, and Victoria. Walk or cycle the sea wall in Vancouver, then head to popular Whistler for the Peak 2 Peak gondola ride to access mountainous biking and hiking trails. Catch a ferry ride into Nanaimo to follow the Pacific Rim Highway on Vancouver Island, taking you through some of the oldest rainforests and bringing you to the popular surf towns of Ucluelet and Tofino. This itinerary has everything from storm-swept beaches and First Nations sites to city spirit in Vancouver and Victoria, the capital of British Columbia.
If it's the arctic you crave, check out this eight-day winter road trip to view the northern lights, explore off the beaten path, and enjoy the culture and dramatic scenery of Canada's far north. Beginning in the "Wilderness City," Whitehorse, you'll uncover the city's gold rush history at the MacBride Museum and pioneering days at the SS Klondike National Historic Site. Go off the grid as you drive through the heart of the Yukon to Dawson City and follow the northern Klondike Highway up to the Arctic Ocean. Cross into the Arctic Circle, and warm up with welcoming visits to northern communities in Fort McPherson and Inuvik.
This 10-day itinerary combines two provinces in one, Québec and Ontario. Begin in Montréal, enjoying the arts, cuisine, and nightlife for a few evenings making a point to visit Mont Tremblant. Next, stop in Québec City for old European charm and culture. Then, cross the border and balance your trip by exploring some of Ontario. Find adventure, nature, and wildlife hiking Algonquin Park's many scenic trails or kayaking the turquoise waters and rocky shorelines of Georgian Bay in Bruce Peninsula National Park.
Canada in 12-14 days
Twelve to 14 days in Canada is ample time to see popular spots and find the hidden gems in one, two, and even three provinces. Whether you spread your time over multiple regions or sink into one area, 12-14 days lends more time to explore off the beaten path.
This two-week road trip begins in Moncton, New Brunswick, driving into Hopewell Rocks to kayak, hike, and explore the world's highest and lowest tides in the Bay of Fundy. Drive four hours the next day into Halifax, where you can visit the Citadel National Historic Site or walk the city exploring antique shops and pubs along cobblestone paths. The piers boardwalk is lined with boats and vendors, highlighting the seaside charm. Then venture off the beaten path along the south coast of Nova Scotia to Peggy's Cove and farther to colorful Lunenberg, Liverpool, and Yarmouth and still have time to include the Cabot Trail.
On this hot springs circle trip, take 13 days to explore dramatic mountain landscapes, lakeside communities, and hot springs through the entire Kootenay Rockies. From Calgary to the small mountain town of Banff and heading into Yoho National Park, you'll discover stunning glacial-fed lakes like Lake Louise and the more rugged Moraine Lake. With endless nature trails, stunning waterfalls, and outdoor activities like white-water rafting the famous Kicking Horse River in Golden. Traveling through Glacier National Park into Revelstoke and on to Nelson's artsy, eclectic lakeside town.
More Great Canada Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Canada? Check out these other Canada itineraries, with outdoor adventures, northern light trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.