5 ideas for sightseeing tours in Canada

Tofino, île de Vancouver, Canada

A selection of road trip ideas and sightseeing tours in Canada

Canada, as you know, is a big country. Huge, in fact. So it’s not hard to find something to do. But you’re in the mood for something different, for a change from ordinary sightseeing and to go at your own pace? One idea comes to mind: travel as you please. Whether it’s a summer vacation, a chance to visit an acquaintance you haven’t seen in a while, or simply the call of the road – because you love road-trips, there are countless kilometers separating one coast from the other… and the exceptional regions in between. If you want to get away from it all, then these tours are for you.

1. From Toronto to Niagara Falls

Wine Country Ontario, road trip aux Chutes du Niagara

Flickr – Graham

We start here with a classic, but only the name of the final destination is familiar to you. Indeed, in this « trip », it’s not Niagara Falls that your attention is drawn to, but rather to Ontario’s wine region. In recent years, the region has gained recognition for its products, and even some of British Columbia’s top wineries have set up store here. So, on your way to Niagara Falls, take the time to stop off at one of the B&Bs along the way and immerse yourself in the rows of vines.

2. Icefields Parkway, Alberta

Promenade des Glaciers, lac Peyto, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Peyto Lake, Banff National Park – Flickr – Esther Lee

When was the last time you admired a glacier? And have you ever done so in summer? Although theIcefields Parkway is only 232 km long between Jasper and Banff, you’ll want to allow plenty of time for regular stops. Winding along the edge of the Great Divide, the route promises lovely views of verdant meadows, waterfalls and the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Although the route is short, there are places where you’ll want to stop for the night, like the pristine turquoise waters of Lake Louise, fed by pure glacier water.

Of course, the Columbia Icefield is not just there to be admired from afar. In summer, it’s possible to venture onto the surface of the Athabasca Glacier in a bus known here as an ice explorer. This « finger » of the Columbia Icefield is around 6 km long, 1 km wide and up to 300 m deep. If you prefer to go on foot, you can book a guided hike at the Columbia Icefield Centre along Highway 93.

Of course, there’s much more to explore in Alberta, including Drumheller, the dinosaur capital of the world, and home to the famous Badlands.

3. Country roads, Quebec

Château Frontenac, Vieux Québec Ville

Wikimedia – Hurteau, Paul

The province has some magnificent historic cities, but it’s on its country roads that you’ll encounter the authentic character of Quebec. Taken individually or combined for a longer trip, the Chemins de campagne tours offer something for everyone. These routes showcase the Lanaudière region through agritourism, rural and cultural heritage, and nature. And so, it’s a gourmet route where gourmets can indulge in all the local specialties from artisan cheeses to local wines and the best bakeries.

Each route has a theme or attraction to see, such as the Route des Baleines, which stretches 900 km along the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Labrador (and yes, you can watch whales from this route). The Chemin du Roy links Repentigny to the old city of Quebec, passing through small historic towns along its 260 km route. The Route des montagnes takes you to the heart of the Charlevoix World Biosphere Reserve, where you can see the highest peaks of the Laurentian Shield. From Quebec City (or upon arrival), there are many other ways to tour Canada.

Also worth a visit: the Route des Navigateurs, linking Baie-du-Febvre to Sainte-Luce via Quebec City.

4. Cabot Trail

Piste Cabot Nouvelle-Ecosse, circuit Canada

Flickr – Dennis Jarvis

Lonely Planet called the Cabot Trail one of the best road trips in the world, and those who’ve done it won’t disagree. This 300 km circuit allows you to get to know the province of Nova Scotia, andCape Breton Island in particular, in greater depth. Hike the trails of Cape Breton Highlands National Park, stop for a swim or test your skills on the Highlands Links golf course. Attend a Celtic music festival and immerse yourself in the province’s Scottish and Acadian heritage. Try your hand at fishing, and discover why seafood dishes like lobster and crab are famous here.

Can’t make it in winter? There’s something to do in every season. In winter, you can go whale watching, and there are special tours for autumn.

5. Vancouver Island Tour

Tofino, île de Vancouver, Canada

Flickr – Ruth Hartnup

From its southern tip to its western shores,Vancouver Island is an excellent destination for enjoying Canada’s west coast. The island, which is larger than Belgium, is well worth an entire holiday. You can visit the largest city, Victoria, but why not escape the tourists and trek to Tofino, for example?

With a rental car, there’s something special about driving for hours through the lush forest before coming upon the coast. If you find yourself daydreaming and getting lost, it doesn’t take long to feel like you’re in an explorer’s documentary. If you decide to go to Tofino, as suggested, you’ll arrive in British Columbia’s surfing paradise. Vancouver Island has much more to offer, both on the coast and inland. Take the time to visit for at least a week.

Do you know any of these circuits? What is your feedback?