10 most beautiful places to visit in Canada
Canada has built a reputation for its sublime natural beauty. From the towering peaks of Whistler, the awe-inspiring drama of Niagara Falls, and the breathtaking mystery of the Aurora Borealis, it’s easy to see why.
World-class snow sports, picturesque national parks, serene hiking trails and even metropolitan beaches make the ‘Great White North’ a mecca for adventure travellers. So whether you’re looking for adrenaline-pumping activities or simply a beautiful escape back to nature, you’ll find that and so much more in Canada.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the most beautiful places in Canada.
1. Serene hiking trails in Ontario
Best for: An enchanting adventure through pristine Canadian landscape
The largest of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories, Ontario is home to some of the country’s most breathtaking natural attractions. Niagara Falls, Ouimet Canyon and the Bonnechere Caves make the region a playground for adventure travellers, which is also brimming with scenic hiking trails that wind through expansive national parks.
Popular hiking routes like the Pines Hiking Trail in Quetico Provincial Park, the Coastal Trail at Lake Superior and the Bruce Trail in Toronto provide an immersive look into the true natural splendour of Canada’s landscape. Expect to see towering pines, impressive lakes and an abundance of wildlife.
Insider tip: Although many of Ontario’s trails are gentle and well-suited to beginner or intermediate hikers, it’s always essential to pack for the occasion. GPS messenger devices, reflective clothing, and proper storage of food to avoid unwanted attraction from wildlife are all recommended.
2. The winding slopes of Whistler
Best for: World-class skiing in a winter wonderland
Whistler is the crowning jewel of Canadian snow sports, attracting powder hounds from all around the world. The town is located just two hours north of Vancouver and is home to Whistler Blackcomb; one of North America’s largest and most famous ski resorts.
Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced veteran, you’ll find something to match your abilities on Whistler’s many groomed slopes. And when you’re not on the skis, the pedestrian-only village at the foot of the mountains is a winter wonderland of cosy pubs, cafes, restaurants and retail therapy.
Insider tip: Remember, your travel insurance for skiing and snowboarding will only cover you if you’re on-piste, which means on a designated ski area that’s open to use.
3. Vancouver's scenic bays
Best for: Inner-city attractions in a stunning natural setting
You may not associate Canada with beaches and bays, especially in a city so close to the Whistler mountains. However, Vancouver boasts a handful of pretty stretches of sand and sweeping blue bays, which are located a stone’s throw from the lively CBD.
Kitsilano Beach, Jericho Beach, the Spanish Banks and Ambleside Beach are just a few of the options close to the city centre, where you’ll find volleyball, kayaking and cute cafes to refuel.
Insider tip: Smoking, drinking alcohol and inflatable water toys are a few things prohibited on Vancouver’s beaches. You can find more information on the Tourism Vancouver website.
4. The rugged coast of Tofino
Best for: Windswept beaches and impressive wildlife
Located on the rugged Vancouver Island, Tofino is a mecca for adventure travellers seeking raw Canadian wilderness, wildlife and even surf. Tofino has some of Canada’s best beaches and is regarded as the centre point for the country’s surf scene, but winter’s frigid waters are definitely not for the faint of heart or ill-prepared.
Insider tip: Wildlife tours are a popular way for visitors to enjoy Tofino’s impressive creatures, including killer whales, bears, wolves, cougars and sea otters. Book with a licensed operator and read up on customer reviews to find your perfect tour.
5. Island worlds in Nova Scotia
Best for: Virgin bays by day and log fires by night
Nova Scotia lies in Canada’s east, and is another of the country’s most serene coastal environments. The city of Halifax is brimming with trendy cafes and restaurants, while outside the city lies sweeping rocky bays, countless islands and world-famous national parks like Cape Breton Highlands and Kejimkujik.
A hike to the Balancing Rock in the Bay of Fundy is a great chance to take in the breathtaking scenery and one of Nova Scotia’s most dramatic coastal formations.
Insider tip: Winters in Nova Scotia are brutally cold, and tourism tends to shut down during this time. Prices will be higher in the summer months of June to September, however this is your best chance to enjoy the area.
6. Picturesque parks in Toronto
Best for: Family-friendly adventure in a lively city setting
With its towering skyscrapers and bustling city streets, Toronto may not be the first place that comes to mind for nature travel in Canada. However, the city is also home to some of the country’s biggest and best green spaces, like High Park and Trinity Bellwoods.
With over 1,500 parks in the city, it’s impossible to enjoy them all. But for botanists, the Allan Garden is a must. For sunset picnics, Bellwoods is a treat. And for relaxed lakeside beaches, a quick ferry to Toronto Islands is a great day trip.
Insider tip: If you plan to enjoy some of Toronto’s other attractions, a City Pass grants you access to tourist sites like the CN Tower, Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma, Ripley’s Aquarium and Ontario Science Centre.
7. The breathtaking landscape of the wild west coast
Best for: An unforgettable voyage into worlds of white
Towering glaciers, crystalline frozen seas and foreboding mountain ranges - a cruise voyage from Canada to Alaska will have you thrust into a scene straight from David Attenborough’s Blue Planet.
Depending on the cruise itinerary you choose, you could pass through natural wonders like Anchorage, Glacier Bay and Juneau.
Insider tip: If you’re looking for longer days but want to avoid peak season, visit between May and September when nature is in full bloom.
8. Unbelievable beauty in Banff
Best for: Vast national parks and mesmerising Northern Lights
The resort town of Banff is famous for its world-class skiing, Rocky Mountain peaks and sprawling chateaus. Canada's first national park, Banff, is home to countless natural wonders. It’s also a good place to spot the elusive Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights.
Other attractions include the Bow Falls, Lake Minnewanka and Stewart Canyon.
Insider tip: Winter is often regarded as the best time to see the Northern Lights in Banff. If you’re travelling in the area, monitor the Aurora Forecast website, which provides daily updates on the likelihood of the spectacle occurring.
9. Dramatic bike trails in British Columbia
Best for: Heart-thumping descents through the Canadian wilderness
British Columbia, affectionately referred to simply as “B.C.”, is one of the premier mountain biking regions in Canada and even the world. From challenging mountain descents to scenic coastal trails, B.C. has a staggering variety of options suitable for most skill levels.
The Chilocotin coast, Vancouver Island’s Cumberland, and huge expanse of trails in Fernie are just some of the areas that attract bikers from around the world to B.C.
Insider tip: They might be beautiful, but many of the trails in British Columbia are also perilous. Stick to your limits and play it safe - you’re likely to be a long way from help if the unexpected happens while riding.
10. Soothing sands on Prince Edward Island
Best for: Rolling green hills that meet the striking blue sea
Prince Edward Island lies off the coast of Nova Scotia, and is known for its pristine red-sand beaches, stoic lighthouses and sublime seafood. The island was the famous setting for the 1908 Anne of Green Gables novel, and now is home to the Green Gables Heritage Place historical site.
The singing sands of Basin Head is one of Canada’s most intriguing natural attractions. A whistling tune can be heard as the brisk coastal wind rushes across the surface of the sand, and as travellers walk through it.
Insider tip: The impressive Confederation Bridge now makes it possible to reach Prince Edward Island by road, however the tolls can be pricey.
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