Hike the trails, paddle a dugout, bike the forest, ski the mountains, fish the rivers and kayak the waterways through a spectacular land of snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, endless icefields and ancient forests, where grizzlies, orcas and polar bears patrol the land and sea and bald eagles soar above. Amazing views, fascinating cultural heritage and legendary hospitality – welcome to Canada.
Outdoor adventurers, wildlife lovers and those interested in First Nations history and culture will love Canada. There is an almost mystical element to the vast expanses of raw beauty found here in the towering mountains, silent lakes, ancient forests and Arctic landscapes. It is a place to reconnect with nature, enjoy the bird, marine and wildlife and indulge in any number of outdoor activities.
In this huge country, we think that the journey is as important as the destination when planning your holiday and you can reach seemingly inaccessible locations with a wide range of transport options. For comfort and luxury, climb aboard the Rocky Mountaineer for a spectacular train ride into the mountainous landscape, or take to the air for a bird’s eye view of the terrain. You can also experience Heli-hiking, access a remote lake in a floatplane, ride an ice truck across a glacier, raft the river rapids or canoe the lakes. And what’s more, the hiking, biking, riding and skiing are in a different league.
Canada is also the only place in the world to see polar bears in their own habitat with a trip to Churchill on Hudson Bay in Arctic Canada, where you can also swim with beluga whales, enjoy a dog sledding ride and see the Northern Lights. Or, why not try skating the world’s longest naturally frozen skating trail in Winnipeg, once a small prairie town at the centre of the fur-trade, which has grown into a wonderful city with a thriving arts and culinary scene.
One of the most scenic Canadian provinces is Alberta, home to two of the country’s oldest and most famous national parks, based around the small towns of Banff and Jasper. Ride the mountainside gondolas for breath-taking views of the mountains, marvel at the impossibly bright blue waters of Lake Louise, paddle the lakes, hike the trails and enjoy spotting the elk, bighorn sheep, coyote, river otters, black and grizzly bears that live here.
We’d also recommend Yoho National Park, based around the artisan community of Field. Located in Kicking Horse River valley, the park is quieter than its two famous neighbours, but just as scenic and a great place to view the spiral railway tunnels carved through the Rockies. To learn more about life as a pioneer, head to Calgary and if you happen to be there in July, do not miss the Calgary Stampede, the 10-day rodeo extravaganza, otherwise known as the Greatest Show on Earth.
But for many, Canada’s most western province, British Columbia, encapsulates the very heart and soul of the country. Spread along the North Pacific coastline, British Columbia is a thrilling expanse of remote forest, lakes, mountains, rivers and innumerable islands. Grizzlies, black and even rare white bears roam the Great Bear Forest, while orcas, dolphins, seals and sea otters swim through the waters around Vancouver Island, the archipelago of Haida Gwaii, as well as the Sunshine Coast and Discovery Islands. Whistler is one of many world-class ski resorts and for wild, windswept romantic scenery and storm watching, we’d recommend the charming coastal towns of Tofino and Ucluelet on Vancouver Island.
This is also a great area for discovering the Indigenous and First Nations history and culture, which dates back over 10,000 years. Learn the significance of the weathered totem poles on Northern Vancouver Island and the islands of Haida Gwaii, by visiting one of the many heritage centres. For more recent history, we recommend taking a trip to Cariboo, located on the interior plateau of British Columbia. This is ranch country and was the site of the Canadian Gold Rush during the 1860s. Visit Barkerville Historic Site to learn all about it.
Once you’ve hiked, biked, paddled and ridden your way around the province, head to Vancouver for some urban sophistication and a great culinary scene. Or take a ferry to Vancouver Island to drop by the state capital, Victoria, a charming Victorian harbour town with a relaxed vibe and picturesque architecture. Wine lovers will also want to visit Okanagan Valley, a favourite holiday spot for Canadians set between two mountain ranges and linked by a chain of stunning lakes. A thriving wine-region, the area has become known as the Tuscany of Canada and can be reached by a short flight or four-hour drive from Vancouver.
We love Canada’s dramatic scenery, outdoor adventures, First Nations cultural heritage, modern cities and abundant wildlife and relish the opportunity use our knowledge and experience to create the perfect trip for you. So, whether you want to see polar bears in Arctic Canada, enjoy the amazing national parks of Alberta or soak up the wilderness of British Columbia, or all three, we can design the Canadian holiday of a lifetime that will stay with you forever.
Watch our video to see the highlights of British Columbia...