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A guide to Canada

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NO COUNTRY DOES ADVENTURE QUITE LIKE CANADA.

Here, outdoor enthusiasts get given epic holidays on a platter, thanks to the mighty national parks and contrasting stretches of coastline. However, Canada is as eclectic as they come, and you won’t be hard-pressed to find a holiday that goes a little bit beyond the expected – if that’s what you’re after.  

From wildlife-watching adventures to city breaks and everything in between, we’re here to tell you what to expect from a Canada holiday. So, without further ado, here’s our guide to Canada.

WHAT IS CANADA LIKE?

Let’s start by getting a lay of the land. Canada is undoubtedly huge – almost the same size as Europe, to put it into context – but a whopping 80% of the country remains uninhabited. Of course, with a population of 38 million, there are still plenty of bustling cities for you to discover, but it’s the rich and varied landscape that tends to steal the show.

Take a trip to Northern Canada – particularly in the winter - and you’ll be inundated with glaciers, ice and snow. The western portion of the country, namely British Columbia and Alberta, is where you’ll find the iconic Canadian Rockies. Central and Eastern Canada boasts a mix of mountains, alpine lakes and lush forests. And, finally, Atlantic Canada - over on the east – is all about that rugged ocean scenery with a few sandy beaches thrown in for good measure!

WHICH CITY SHOULD I VISIT IN CANADA?

We’ll talk about all the incredible ways you can explore Canada’s great outdoors. But, before we do, let’s take a moment to shine the spotlight on those ‘bustling cities’ we mentioned. First on our list is cosmopolitan and fun-loving Vancouver. One of the country’s top city-break destinations, it’s home to the famous Stanley Park and has ski-central Whistler right on its doorstep.

Then there’s Calgary just east of Banff National Park. This is the place to go if you’re looking to experience some quintessential Canadian cowboy culture – or you just fancy visiting the Calgary Olympic Park. Toronto, tucked beside the USA’s border, might win the award for the coolest city in Canada, with its creative flair and steady influx of quirky food spots. However, the jazz scene of Montreal and the fairytale-like scenery of Quebec City shouldn’t be overlooked, either.

If these Canadian cities have whetted your wanderlust, flying to Canada couldn’t be easier with direct eight-hour flights to Toronto with Air Canada.

IS CANADA GOOD FOR ADVENTURE HOLIDAYS?

After you’ve soaked up the city’s delights, you’ll want to balance things out with some big-sky adventure. And, as you can imagine, Canada is just the place for it. Keen hikers are well and truly spoilt for choice, regardless of which province they find themselves in, with stunning national parks dotted across the country. Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland is a top pick among many, as is Yoho National Park in British Columbia and Bruce Peninsula National Park in Ontario.

Although, it’s not just hiking you have to look forward to on a Canada holiday. With over 800,000 lakes in Canada, this is the place for all things canoeing, kayaking and swimming. Or, if you consider yourself a bit of an adrenaline junkie, you’ll find no shortage of white water rafting, zip-lining, and bungee-jumping sites to explore. Simply put – there’s not much you can’t do in Canada!

HOW DO I GET AROUND CANADA?

We could be here for hours listing all the things worth seeing and doing in Canada, but what use is having a jam-packed itinerary if you don’t know how to get from A to B? Here at Travelbag, our Travel Specialists can help you with every detail of your holiday plans, but – for now – we’re here to give you a little insight into how you’ll be getting around.

If you’re staying in one of the major cities, public transport has got you covered. Buses, streetcars, subways – it’s all there. However, if you’re planning a multi-centre Canada holiday, you have some options. Hiring a car or a campervan will give you ultimate freedom while allowing you to take in some stunning rural views. Alternatively, if you want to cover more ground, air or train travel is the way to go. Canada’s domestic flight network is pretty extensive – and not overly expensive if you book in advance. Equally, Canada’s VIA Rail is a convenient coast-to-coast journey that connects Halifax in the east to Vancouver out west, journeying through cities and rugged country in one amazing and good-value trip.

WHERE CAN I SEE CANADA’S WILDLIFE?

Now that transport’s taken care of, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of choosing what to see and do. And sure, how you choose to spend your time away is totally up to you, but if we had to grace you with one top tip, it would be to try incorporating some wildlife-watching into your Canada holiday. There’s no shortage of experiences for you to pick from, either.

Catching sight of a black, grizzly or spirit bear will undoubtedly be a moment for the memory bank. They’re found across the country, but a guided tour through British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest – the clue’s in the name – is a pretty safe bet. Moose, elk, bison and wolves are also frequently spotted in Canada, particularly in places like Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan. Alternatively, you could make tracks for Churchill, Manitoba, where polar bears and beluga whales await.

WHAT ABOUT CANADA WINTER HOLIDAYS?

There are perks to planning your holiday in any season – particularly where wildlife watching is concerned. Although, it has to be said winter holidays in Canada provide endless amounts of fun. Skiing might be the first thing that comes to mind, with Banff, Whistler and Mont-Tremblant among the top destinations. But, even if skiing and snowboarding aren’t really your thing, you’ll still find plenty to do in this winter wonderland.

Whether it’s dogsledding, show-shoeing, ice-skating or chasing down the spectacular Northern Lights – your winter Canada trip promises to be full of magic. And, if you’ve got a Canada winter city break on the horizon, you’re in for a festive feast. Picture Christmas markets, themed theatre shows, jaw-dropping light displays and plenty of opportunities to try some super-indulgent Christmas comfort food.

SO, HOW DO I PLAN A HOLIDAY TO CANADA?

Hopefully, by now, you’re brimming with inspiration, but that leaves the all-important question: how exactly do you plan a holiday to Canada? Lucky for you, here at Travelbag, holiday planning is what we do best. You can browse our selection of ready-to-go Canada adventures, or if it’s a bespoke holiday you’re after, you can give one of our Travel Specialists a call or visit your nearest Travelbag Shop. We’ll help you build that trip of a lifetime.

The bottom line? Planning a holiday to Canada couldn’t be easier.

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