14 Best Places & Cities to Visit in Canada

Canada is a beautiful country. Canada was chosen by the community of Lonely Planet traveling experts as the best destination to travel a few years back. The Niagara Falls, the stately city of Quebec, the cosmopolitan Vancouver and the elegant Toronto offer the cultural offer and a lively nightlife.

There’s a sense of calm and serenity as you sit back, relax and take in the ever changing views, on a rail journey through Canada’s epic landscapes. Knowledgeable and friendly train hosts, good company and culinary delights, this really is a fun way to travel. Through the Canadian Maritimes or the magnificent Rockies, or between some of Eastern Canada's stunning cities the choice is yours.

Want to make your Canadian adventure even more memorable? Add a cruise along the Inside Passage to Alaska and sail in comfort through icy fjords, watching the wildlife and admiring the snowy peaks.

Get behind the wheel and explore Canada at a pace that suits you. From Calgary to Vancouver in the west, encounter all of the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies region including the iconic highlights of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper national parks. Or perhaps head east from Quebec and experience city sights in Montreal and Old Quebec City, before venturing to some of the province’s most wild and remote regions.

There are many misconceptions about Canada. Looking at the country on the map is one thing, but being there is another. First, Canada’s size becomes apparent once a visitor drives (or takes a bus) between Vancouver and Calgary, or Toronto and Thunder Bay.

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While there are several great cities in the country, if you are thinking about which city should I visit in Canada, here are the best cities to visit in Canada.

1. Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls comprises three falls, the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls (Niagara Falls). The Horseshoe Falls straddle the border and are often referred to as the Canadian Falls, while the other two are in the US. The Bridal Veil Falls and the American Falls are only separated by Goat Island (New York) so they are often thought of collectively as the American Falls.

Enjoy a thrilling boat ride close to the rim of Niagara Falls and feel the mist on your face. Along almost one kilometre, the waters of the Niagara River, which connects Lake Erie and Ontario, rush down 50 meters, creating a breathtaking spectacle. The Niagara falls in eastern coast make up, between Canada and the United States, one of the most impressive border lines in the world. Stay after dark for the light show and the fireworks.

Your car will be pretty much useless. Parking near the Falls themselves is pretty much non-existent and expensive. If you do drive in, take the McLeod Road exit (not the 420) and follow the directions to Rapidsview Parking Lot off Portage Rd. Don’t eat anywhere near the Falls. The food will be overpriced, even if you’re eating at Burger King.

For cheap eats, head to the top of Clifton Hill, turn left, and go a little bit down Victoria Avenue. Food is more reasonably priced down there. One of the reasons McCleod is a better choice than the 420 is that there are places to eat in McCleod. Crowds will be directly proportionate to the weather. Most visitors are day trippers from the surrounding area (as far as Toronto and Rochester) and if the weather is bad they will just stay home.

You can be there on the same day of the year and on a nice day it will be packed and on a rainy overcast day it will be nearly empty. Crowds are critical for some of the attractions like the Zipline. On busy days 90 minute waits are common. On less busy days, you might get on just after you pay for your ticket.

Bring something to waterproof your phone, just in case. That goes for any boat ride and the Journey Under the Falls, which are guaranteed to get you wet even though you will be wearing a rain coat. Hydrate. You will be doing a lot of walking. Luckily, if you are looking at a building near the falls, it will have a washroom.

The best paid attraction away from the falls is Bird Kingdom near the Rainbow Bridge. It’s about $15 for an adult and takes 1.5 to 2 hours. It’s even better when its crowded because kids love the place and you can get up close and personal with most of the wildlife.

Niagara Falls is a great destination all year round. No matter what the weather, the Falls are just spectacular. However, there is more to do in the summer. Many attractions in The Falls close in the late fall and don’t open up again until the late spring like the Maid of the Mist, the Spanish Aerocar and the Niagara Zip Line.

May to October is peak season, but room rates tend to be higher for hotels, particularly on weekends. From November to April, room rates are very cheap and there are rarely crowds.

2. Calgary

The biggest single party in the country is the Calgary Stampede, held in early July every year (including this one). Although it has a fair grounds, the party extends well into the city itself, and Calgary is a big fully modern city with its own attractions.

One can go to Dinosaur Provincial Park if they wanted to go further out (it's about a 3 hour drive east of Calgary vs 1.5 hours to Drumheller). In a day trip from Calgary you can go to Bar U Ranch National Historic Site down Highway 22, then to Fort Macleod to see The Fort Museum (of RCMP history) and Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site (of Indigenous Blackfoot history).

Then drive back along Highway 2 with a stop at Nanton to check out the candy store and antique stores. This would be your Canadian Prairies history day. Fly in to Calgary, and spend a day or two to get oriented to regional history at Heritage Park and the Glenbow Museum (or hire me to give you a tour!). Then spend a few days in Banff, followed by a drive down Highway 40 through Kananaskis.

It exits at the town of Longview, from which you turn south on Highway 22. Visit Bar U Ranch, and at the junction with Highway 3 turn west to the Crowsnest Pass, the Frank Slide and Bellevue Mine. Then it's south to Waterton Lakes National Park. After visiting that, head back north to the town of Cardston and Highway 2. That will take you to Fort Macleod, The Fort Museum, and Head-Smashed-In.

Drive further north to Nanton, then cut back west on Highway 533 across to Highway 22. Take that back north, passing through Longview to Black Diamond. Stop off at Marv's Soda Shop, then head west on Highway 7 to the world's largest glacial erratic just outside of the town of Okotoks. The road leads you back to Highway 2, which you take back to Calgary. Give yourself that day from Calgary to go out to Drumheller as well.

3. Lake Ontario

Windsor is actually a pleasant small city that doesn’t share a lot of problems with it’s neighbour, Detroit. The downtown area is pleasant and safe, and the waterfront is nicely landscaped and visitor friendly. It has occasional festivals that draw people from both sides of the border.

It has some very walkable sections, and Windsor is a very old city so there is some history there as well. It’s mostly for people who like parks although there is an aircraft museum, casino and a few other attractions.

The string of islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence between eastern Quebec and Anticosti Island are home to seabirds, rare plants and the largest concentration of erosion monoliths in Canada. Fossils, bunchberry flowers and puffins dot the landscapes. It’s a nearly featureless landscape save for a few more limestone towers rising from the beach. On closer inspection, however, the island is a unique and fragile environment.

4. Vancouver

Golden Ears Provincial Park is located in Maple Ridge. Regardless of the weather, this park offers some of the most stunning views. If it is raining, go to check out a true West Coast rain forest! Some recommended hikes in this area are Alouette Lake. Right beside the parking lot, you can walk to the day campground and take in the amazing mountain reflection in the lake. Come here during the sunrise and/or sunset.

Pitt Lake is a great Instagram spot to witness the Northern Lights given the conditions are right! In Gold Creek Falls, witness some turquoise waterfalls and streams. Mike Lake is a quick walk for West Coast boardwalk photos.

Fly into Vancouver, rent a car, drive to Horseshoe Bay just outside of Vancouver and take the ferry to the Sunshine Coast. Take 1.5 hour coastal drive to Egmont and Backeddy. They have glamping tents, inn, and waterfront cabins. Everything is water and mountain views. Oh, they also have a great pubs here that is walking distance to all the accommodations and a marina if you want to go on a boat tour.

Camping around Tofino is also popular with a lot of campgrounds around.

5. Banff

Yellowhead is a very viable alternative, especially in winter towing an unfamiliar trailer. The road is still scenic and not a bit scary. Unlike the Kicking Horse and the Coquihalla. The Yellowhead goes through Jasper instead of Banff. You can also take the TransCanada almost to Banff, then go up the Icefields parkway to Jasper.

This adds three hours to the trip. You get to see the Columbia Icefields which will be gone within 50 years. Make sure you take a selfie at the current year toe marker of the Athabasca glacier.

Loneliness reigns in the central territory as you travel in Canada. Cross the plains of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta to find wheat, more wheat, and then again wheat, perhaps dotted by occasional grain silos that rise against the horizon. An unpretentious landscape reserves unique experiences, such as delighting in observing polar bears, sturgeons and even an ancient fortress in the inaccessible sub-arctic city of Churchill.

Banff is one of the places that one needs to visit in Canada. During the winter, skiing is key and during the summer, hiking in Banff National Park is the best activity along with biking, wrestling (a combination of hiking and rock climbing) and fishing.

If you do the hike to Banff, you surely have an outdoor sport in mind. Enjoy rugged terrain the way you see fit. Ride the Banff Gondola and experience a stunning bird's eye view of six Canadian Rockies mountain ranges.

Moraine Lake, is one of most iconic sights in Canada known for its striking teal color and its picturesque setting by the Valley of Ten Peaks. Located north of the Saskatchewan River in Alberta at the foot of the Canadian Rockies the landscape surrounding the Lake Abraham just outside the boundaries of Banff National Park is majestic, with snow-capped peaks everywhere and the pristine sky as a roof.

The fresh air and energies of the forest touches you when you are in the mountain range. It makes you want to camp there and just enjoy the moment there. A long scenic drive along British Columbia will take you to witness the beauty of the Rockies. For those living in desert regions are missing out in this glory. Many beautiful mountains across the globe and are all worthy as the most beautiful.

It is not too far from Edmonton and Calgary, both just over three hours by car. It is also possible to arrive by tracing a whole route through the nature of western Canada leaving Vancouver. In that case, it is nine and a half hours of travel, so you could make an intermediate stop to spend the night in one of the picturesque villages inland or at the foot of Shuswap Lake.

One should not wonder why Lake Abraham has become so famous among tourists and especially among photographers. Here one of the most beautiful and deadly natural phenomena in the world occurs. The ice bubbles or frozen bubbles as they are often called are all extra attraction this place can support.

This particularity has a reason for being the plants in the lake bed release methane gas that freezes the closer it gets to the surface and the bubbles accumulate as the climate gets colder and colder.

The good thing about visiting Lake Abraham is that you can get unique snapshots, especially because you can walk on it to get them. The ice is thick enough at all times, although the feeling you have is that it can break at all times, hence there is no shortage of adrenaline rush.

Stop off in David Thompson Country to join Pursuit Adventures for an Ice Bubbles Tour on Abraham Lake. Winter is a special time of year for wildlife at Jasper National Park with elk, deer, big-horned sheep, goats, coyotes, wolves, moose, foxes and lynx roaming around. You can also take a winter wildlife-watching tour to learn more about the history, geology and ecology of the area and to seek out some of the park’s most iconic creatures.

Winter is the perfect time to explore Canada’s Alberta. Even throughout the colder months, Alberta still sees lots of sunny days that make snow-based adventures all the more epic. Begin your winter adventure by flying direct from London to Calgary and heading to the Rocky Mountains. A haven for winter pursuits, visitors to the Rockies will be spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor activities.

Hit the slopes for a spot of skiing at Banff National Park’s SkiBig3 resorts, take a sleigh ride on Lake Louise and join Indigenous-owned and operated Mahikan Trails for snowshoeing and a winter medicine walk to learn how to identify plant species.

6. Winnipeg

Head to the northern parts of Manitoba from October to November and get up close to magnificent polar bears on a wildlife adventure you won't forget! Enjoy the prairie-style urban entertainment in the sophisticated and artistic Winnipeg - the city where the children's character Winnie the Pooh comes from. It has been known to get colder than the North Pole.

It is home to Canada's first and only human rights museum. Unlike most large North American cities, Winnipeg is very isolated as it is 7 hours away from the nearest city. Winnipeg is going into it's 19th year of being the Slurpee Capital of the World. At one time Winnipeg was referred to as the Chicago of the North due to being a major railway hub and the terra cotta architecture in famous Exchange District.

In that same Exchange District stands the first skyscraper in Western Canada. Winnipeg is home to the beautiful Journey To Churchill exhibit which is the most comprehensive exhibit of Arctic species in the world. Winnipeg is also one of Canada's sunniest cities. For all nature lovers Winnipeg is also a measly 45 minutes away from one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world.

Canada can boast the 31-letter Pekwachnamaykoskwaskwaypinwanik Lake, which is Cree for the place where wild trout are caught by fishing with hooks. One of Canada’s very hidden gems is 5 hours north of Winnipeg, a pristine body of water called Little Limestone Lake. Because of the concentration of calcite in the water, the lake adopts a beautiful turquoise colour when the weather is warm.

7. St. John's

At the tip of the peninsula is the Viking memory of the house of Leif Eriksson. Once you get past the novelty of visiting the only part of the North American continent that’s still a part of France d'outre-mer, all that remains of France’s colonial empire. If you really must go, there is a small ferry that runs between the Newfoundland town of Fortune and St. Pierre, the capital.

8. Edmonton

Its all about the people who love to travel and do shopping. Canada is a very beautiful country in the summer and Edmonton is a beautiful city too. The main attraction of Edmonton is WEM which is the largest mall in North America and one of the largest mall in the world. The thing with Saskatchewan is that you have to explore.

Saskatchewan is flat, you really can't believe how flat unless you have actually been there. Sand dunes, cactus, snakes, lizards, scorpions. All there to be found, and many more rare animals. There are fantastic lakes, warm and clear in summer. Ever been to a purple sand beach? Saskatchewan has this. You know you need some for your collection of sand from around the world.

Sure you can see you dog run away for three days in the southern portion of the province, but that means great sunsets too. Saskatchewan is the land of the living skies, and in summer, sunsets last for hours. In winter, you’ll have 360 by 180 degree northern lights.

The north half is hilly and forested, and has diamonds. The northern portion features some great scenic things, like Lake Athabasca and it’s immense sand dunes(there are sand dunes in the south too). Lake Athabasca is shallow water for miles in places and very clear. There is a bit waterfall up there too, east of Lake Athabasca. Getting there is for hardcore adventurers.

Like fishing? Saskatchewan. Like catching fish? Saskatchewan! The province is covered in lakes with great fishing, many fish who have never seen a fish hook. And many moose who have never seen a camera. Go find the beavers, the wolves, the wolverines, foxes, the great snowy owls.

9. Yellowknife

Canada brings together cosmopolitan cities and almost unexplored territories, with over 200 protected natural spaces ranging from the Cascade Range in British Columbia to the Mealy Mountains National Park on the Labrador Peninsula. Yellowknife, the remote capital of the Northwest Territories, Churchill in Hudson Bay (Manitoba), and the Yukon region, a territory almost the size of Bahia, but with only 34,000 inhabitants on the Alaskan border, attracts poachers.

Toronto-based Artic Kingdom organizes snowmobile safaris through the remote regions of Nunavut and Baffin Island, polar bear sightings, with lodgings such as Yellowknife Lodge, a hostel away from the hustle and bustle of light. Nunavut, a part of the Northwest Territories is the largest and least populated area of Canada. It is not easy to get here and even more difficult is to reach the Baffin region, the constellation of islands east of Nunavut and the Arctic. The northernmost continuously inhabited settlement in Canada (and the world) is Alert on Ellesmere island.

Desolate and brutal home of the Inuit, the Baffin island shelters mountains that skim the clouds. It is starkly beautiful. You won’t find luxury accommodations. Are you the adventurous type who doesn’t need to be hand fed and hand led? Then it is a great place. It is not a place for whiny tourists. You can do the cruise ship thing if you want hand holding. The jewel of the island is the Auyuittuq National Park.

Canadian Northwest is hard to imagine with an extensive swath of boreal forest and Arctic tundra. Few visit the lone Aulavik, one of the four national parks of the territory to photograph one of the largest waterfalls in the world.

What better idea than to spend the summer solstice at the northernmost point you can reach? One of the clear advantages of traveling to the Arctic during the summer solstice is that you can live what is called the Midnight Sun here. When you have passed the Arctic Circle, there is no night for two months.

24 hours of uninterrupted light can be great if you are able to sleep in the absence of darkness. It is really strange to go to sleep when the light invites you not to rest. And in addition, ypu can see many more wild animals, because when temperatures are high they are usually hidden.

It all starts on the dreaded Dempster Highway. In fact, on the internet there are endless articles that give advice to the 'brave' who decide to drive on this mythical road. The truth is that it is not so much. The truth is that the preparation of the car is essential. Let it be clear that to travel to the Arctic the normal thing is not to click so much.

Most leave the Dempster Highway without any problem and, at best, with a single puncture. The Dempster Highway is a long and dirty journey to the Canadian Arctic through the inhospitable places where the infinite tundra, the mountains of Tombstone Territorial Park and the green landscapes that form the Peel and Mackenzie rivers combine.

Yellowknife, the remote capital of the Northwest Territories, Churchill in Hudson Bay (Manitoba), and the Yukon region on the Alaskan border, attracts Aurora hunters in winter.

The Dempster is the only road in Canada that reaches the Arctic Ocean. The traditional 735 km to Inuvik is followed by 137 km more to reach Tuktoyaktuk. Like the other territories of Yukon and the Northwest Territories, it’s a celebration of First Nations traditional foods that’s heavy into local wildlife and locally-sourced seafood. They have their own take on whale blubber, muskox, bannock and caribou.

Great Bear Lake is the fourth largest lake in North America, the eighth largest in the world, and the biggest lake located entirely within Canada. It is also one of the deepest bodies of water on the continent, with a maximum depth of 1,463 feet—more than 100 feet deeper than Lake Superior. Great Slave Lake is the deepest, followed by Crater Lake and then Lake Tahoe.

The shoreline of this body of water runs for a sprawling 1,690 miles, and there is an additional 512 miles of shoreline spread among the 26 main islands in the Lake. Great Bear is situated near the Arctic Circle, and its “Dease Arm”—one of the five main sections of this body of water—is located north of the Circle.

Although both native American tribal peoples and later European settlers fished in the Lake, it was described as a “biological desert” by a Canadian federal government report in 1944–45. Only 16 species of fish are found here, a consequence of the extreme cold, the great depth, and the nutrient-poor waters from the rivers that feed into the Lake. Nevertheless, there are three notable fishing lodges located here, and they are popular destinations for dedicated anglers.

The waters of Great Bear Lake are noted for their exceptional clarity. The surface of the Lake is frozen for 7 to 8 months of the year, with the thick ice suitable for use by ice road truckers. All in all, a place with an interesting history despite its extremely remote location.

10. Halifax

Sable island is an uninhabited, 13 square mile island that has at least 350 shipwrecks around it. Horses roam the island. They ended up there due to a surplus of horses left from Boston merchants. Today they have their own unique genetic makeup and live in peace on the island, which is essentially a giant sand dune.

But they have found suitable grass to eat and ponds to drink from. When water is in short supply, they've learned to dig holes, finding a layer of clean water just beneath the surface.

While the official food invention of Nova Scotia is the Donair, which is popular across the country, the Rapple Pie is unique to the area. Basically, it’s de-hydated potatoes, that’s bee RE-hydrated with broth, and mixed with meat. It’s why it has it’s odd texture and look despite being essentially mashed potatoes mixed with meat.

The Fundy is home to the Hopewell rocks, home of the world’s highest tides. The entire region is full beautiful little maritime towns within close proximity, and the hospitality of the people is amazing, even by Canadian standards. The Fundy has lots of beautiful trails to hike in as well.

11. Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada

Every part of Canada is beautiful. As you drive towards Alberta you can see the landscape change. The Rocky mountains, Okanagan Valley, every single part of Canada. But if you’re looking to return to nature, Canada has a lot of that too. In the Rockies between B.C. and Alberta is the Rocky Mountain Park system which has several national and provincial parks, all of which are fantastic.

12. Hamilton

Hamilton in Ontario is blessed with scores of mind-blowing waterfalls (although some are inaccessible either by being on private property or by being too dangerous). Depending on what fascinates you, the waterfalls therein come in various types (ribbon, classical, curtain, cascade) and sizes. The largest and most scenic is Webster Falls while Tew's Falls is the highest.

Albion Falls is a cascade and classical waterfall in in Red Hill valley. There you will find the Lover's Leap. You must have heard of several tales of this place.

13. Elk Island National Park

From the Rockies, travel onwards to the winter city and provincial capital of Edmonton. Here, the river valley is a great place to go exploring via bike. Plus, the city is an excellent base from which to discover a wild oasis known as Elk Island National Park. Thirty kilometres east of the city, this area is a designated dark sky preserve and the cornerstone of Canada’s bison conservation efforts.

Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve in Elk Island is free from light pollution and it’s possible to see the Northern Lights year-round. The National Park has also played a vital role in helping to repopulate species of elk so be sure to keep an eye out for them as well as more than 250 bird species.

14. Whitehorse

Inuvik will not leave you indifferent. The igloo church and the greenhouse are obligatory visits. Remember to ask in the visitor center for your certificate of having crossed the Arctic Circle. While it is true that my original idea was to reach the Arctic Ocean from Alaska, the plans changed after reading and investigating a little about the subject.

You can get to Deadhorse and from there you need to hire a tour that lasts about 4 hours. This means that you will be quite limited since the area is the private property of an oil company.

Going around the center, walking its streets and reading the explanatory posters is moving to those times of wealth, opulence and waste. An experience that you cannot miss is to go up to the Midnight Dome Viewpoint, from where the views are incredible. And from Dawson, to get to the start of the Dempster Highway, you only have to drive about 40 kilometres.

You will drive on a gravel road in good condition until a sign will warn you that you have arrived at Tombstone Territorial Park. Here the wildlife begins in all its splendor! This park is the last point of life 'civilized' that you will find in many kilometres.

Although the above-mentioned cities are some of the most popular cities in Canada to visit, they are not the only ones. Calgary, the Canadian Rockies, Whistler, are some other Canadian cities that offer something exciting and unique. As all the cities are spread around the country, it is impossible to cover all of these in just one holiday.

So, give it a good thought while you travel in Canada. Plan your holiday according to the city that excites you the most before you book your tickets and apply for the Canada visa for Indian tourist. This would ensure that you have a great and unforgettable Canadian holiday. The Canada tourist visa for Indians can be obtained from any of the Canadian Consulates.
Kalyan Panja