Canada Itineraries

The following itineraries span the entire length of this incredibly diverse country, from the historic cities of the east, to the plains and jaw-dropping mountains of the west and the Arctic wilderness of the north. Given the vast distances involved, you won’t be able to cover everything, but even picking a few highlights will give you a deeper insight into Canada’s natural and historic wonders.

If you are planning your travel to Canada yourself, use these itineraries created by our travel writers as a starting point for inspiration.

Map of Canada Itinerary Routes

Canada Itinerary 1 - Classic Canada

This three-week tour gives a taster of Canada’s main highlights from coast to coast, travelling by train, bus and plane.

  1. Québec City - Savour the baguettes, cobbled streets, café au lait and rich French heritage of Canada’s oldest settlement.
  2. Montréal - Head south to this hip and cosmopolitan city to enjoy the street artists, museums, smoked meats, bagels and North America’s largest jazz festival.
  3. Ottawa - The Canadian capital is worth a day or two for its outstanding museums and galleries, with a side trip to the distinctive geography of Gatineau Park.
  4. Toronto - Canada’s biggest city and commercial capital is best known for the cloud-scraping CN Tower, art from the Group of Seven and pulsing nightlife.
  5. Niagara Falls - Canada’s major show-stopper is just a short ride from Toronto.
  6. Take the train to Jasper - Fly from Toronto to Edmonton and take the VIA Rail service to Jasper, home to gorgeous Maligne Lake and Canada’s highest cable car.
  7. The Icefields Parkway - Spend a few days immersed in the grandeur of the Rockies on the road to Banff, via the Columbia Icefield and Lake Louise.
  8. Banff - The capital of the Canadian Rockies is surrounded by mesmerizing scenery, mountain trails and soothing hot springs.
  9. Vancouver - After stops in Yoho and Revelstoke national parks, end your trip at the Pacific Ocean with a scenic stay at Canada’s dynamic western capital.
Bennett Lake, in the Yukon Territory, Canada is the terminus of the Chilkoot Trail © Pam Joy/Shutterstock

Bennett Lake, in the Yukon Territory © Pam Joy/Shutterstock

Canada Itinerary 2 - Best of the Maritimes

Maritime Canada – especially Newfoundland – is a land apart, with a distinct culture, stunning scenery and invariably empty roads. This two-to-three week tour is best experienced by car.

  1. Halifax - The hip capital of Nova Scotia offers great museums, the notorious “donair” kebab, hundreds of pubs and the best live music in the east.
  2. Lunenburg and the south shore - Take a day or two to see the best of Nova Scotia’s rugged coastline south of Halifax, ending at the charming fishing port of Lunenburg.
  3. Bay of Fundy - Drive to the New Brunswick side of the Bay of Fundy, where Hopewell’s flowerpot rocks and the misty forests of the Fundy National Park await.
  4. Prince Edward Island - Cross over the Confederation Bridge for the bucolic charms and fresh lobsters of Anne of Green Gables country.
  5. Cape Breton - Back in Nova Scotia, drive north to Cape Breton Island, where the jaw-dropping Cabot Trail takes in the best scenery, and Acadian and Gaelic culture.
  6. Gros Morne National Park - Catch the ferry from Cape Breton to Newfoundland and drive up to this sensational national park.
  7. L’Anse aux Meadows - Continue north to St Anthony and this remarkable historic site, home to Vikings some 500 years before Columbus.
  8. Fogo Island - Cut across the vast wilderness of central Newfoundland to this untouched slice of traditional port life.
  9. St John’s - End up at Newfoundland’s boisterous capital, where you can whale-watch, picnic at a lighthouse and get “screeched in”.

Canada Itinerary 3 - The Great North

Only when you travel in Canada’s immense northern wilderness will you begin to grasp just how big – and rich in wildlife – this nation is. Come in summer to enjoy the sunshine and take three to four weeks to complete this trip.

  1. Winnipeg - Fly into the underrated capital of Manitoba and gateway to the prairies, home to the world’s largest Inuit art collection.
  2. Churchill - Take the train to this Hudson Bay outpost to see hordes of beluga whales and – while you can – polar bears up close.
  3. Alaska Highway - Fly or drive to Edmonton and then Dawson Creek before following the epic stretch of Alaska Highway up to the lively capital of the Yukon, Whitehorse.
  4. Klondike Highway - Continue north from Whitehorse through the wilderness on the Klondike Highway, enjoying the toasty pools at Takhini Hot Springs.
  5. Dawson City - Take a break from the road at this iconic northern frontier town, centre of the Klondike gold rush.
  6. Prince Rupert - This port town is the stepping off point for the Grizzly Bear Sanctuary and whale-watching tours.
  7. Haida Gwaii - Take the ferry across to this magical island archipelago in the Pacific, rich in First Nations culture, flora and fauna.
Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 12.05.2021

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