The second largest country in the world, Canada has no shortage of beautiful landscapes and unique sites for travelers to explore. From coast to coast to coast, the country is home to vibrant and culturally rich cities, along with incredible natural wonders.
In Western Canada, the Rocky Mountains and cities of Vancouver, Victoria, and Calgary dominate most itineraries. In Central Canada, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City, are some of the most popular destinations. For those who venture out to Canada’s Maritime Provinces in the east, the beauty of Gros Morne National Park, along with the cities of Halifax and St. John’s, provide their own unique character.
Off the beaten path, but equally impressive, is Canada’s North, where great rivers flow out to the Arctic Ocean, creating some incredible territory for canoeists, and where polar bears can be seen in the wild. Travelers can explore the remote beauty of places like Nahanni National Park and the towns and cities of Churchill, Whitehorse, and Yellowknife.
For ideas to help plan your travels, see our list of top attractions in Canada.
- Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is Canada’s most famous natural attraction, bringing in millions of visitors each year. Located just over an hour’s drive from Toronto, along the American border, these massive falls drop approximately 57 meters. You can see the falls at an astoundingly close distance from several key points.
Niagara Falls and the Niagara Gorge have been attracting tourists and daredevils for well over a century. Between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries there were numerous attempts to plunge over the falls in various types of homemade boats and barrels. This, along with tightrope walkers and other spectacles, led to the adjacent town of Niagara Falls developing a carnival type atmosphere that still persists today. Families will enjoy a walk down Niagara’s outrageous Clifton Hill leading to the gorge and falls.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Niagara Falls: Best Areas & Hotels
Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Niagara Falls, Canada
- Banff National Park & the Rocky Mountains
Banff National Park lies in the heart of the majestic Rocky Mountains in the province of Alberta, and showcases some of Canada’s most beautiful scenery. Turquoise-colored lakes, snow-capped peaks, and glaciers are all easily accessible in this stunning park.
The jewel of the park is Lake Louise, where green waters reflect the surrounding mountains and glaciers, and visitors can stroll easily around the shores. Just a short distance is Moraine Lake, another impressive alpine lake with an even slightly more dramatic surrounding.
The Icefields Parkway, which runs from Lake Louise to Jasper, is an unforgettable drive and another major attraction in Banff. At the south end of the park is the lovely little town of Banff, providing all kinds of options for accommodation, shopping, dining, and nightlife.
Banff is also a major winter sports area and home to Lake Louise Ski Resort and Sunshine Village, two of Canada’s most prominent ski destinations.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Banff National Park
Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Banff National Park
- Toronto’s CN Tower
On the shores of Lake Ontario in Canada’s biggest city is the iconic CN Tower, one of Canada’s most famous landmarks. The tower stands an impressive 553 meters high and dominates the skyline.
At the top, you can find fine dining in the revolving 360 restaurant, and enjoy a meal while looking out over the city and lake. The LookOut and the Glass Floor offer beautiful views out over the entire area. But even those who choose not to go up the tower will find themselves stopping to stare at the structure, which is visible from almost everywhere in the city. At night, the tower is lit in different colors.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Toronto: Best Areas & Hotels
Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Toronto
- Old Quebec (Vieux-Quebec)
Old Quebec is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Canada’s historic gems. Spread across the Upper and Lower Town of Quebec, this area contains the city’s most historic buildings. The Lower Town, along the St. Lawrence River, is the site of the original settlement and home to the outstanding Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, as well as numerous other treasures. The Upper Town rests on 100-meter-high cliffs and is home to the Citadel, the Plains of Abraham, Place d’Armes, and the Parque Historique de l’Artillerie.
Old Quebec is one of Canada’s most popular historical areas and is well developed for tourism. In addition to the historical sites, other highlights include artists displaying their works on Rue du Trésor; interesting museums, like the Musée de la Civilisation; and unique shops and restaurants.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Quebec City: Best Areas & Hotels
Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Québec City
Just a two-hour drive from Vancouver is the famous ski resort and village of Whistler. While Whistler has always been an important winter sports area, it has also developed into a popular summer destination, with golf, mountain biking, and a lively town atmosphere throughout the year.
The village gained international attention in 2010 when it became one of the locations for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The area offers world class skiing, hotels, and dining, as well as a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities and beautiful mountain scenery.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Whistler: Best Areas & Hotels
Top Things to Do in Whistler & Easy Day Trips
- Ottawa’s Parliament Hill
Ottawa’s Parliament Hill stands high above the Ottawa River and is graced by the Neo-Gothic-style Parliament buildings built in the last half of the 19th century. The most prominent feature is the Peace Tower, which divides the House of Commons and the Senate on either side. In front of the Parliament buildings is the Centennial Flame, lit in 1966 to commemorate the centenary of the Canadian Confederation, and behind the buildings is a sculpture garden.
In the summer, the Changing of the Guard takes place on the front lawn of the Houses of Parliament, weather permitting. Below Parliament Hill, a lovely walk runs alongside the Ottawa River.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Ottawa: Best Areas & Hotels