Canada is a country in North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world’s second-largest country by total area
Banff National Park
Perhaps the most obvious place to start when discussing the most beautiful places in Canada is Banff National Park and its magnificent Lake Louise. Take the gondola up Sulphur Mountain for an incredible view of some of the world’s most dramatic mountain scenery, then explore the park’s stunning waterfalls, forests, and glacier lakes, including vibrant Lake Louise, an unlike-anywhere-else oasis in the Canadian Rockies.
Where to stay: Elegant Mount Royal Hotel has a Banff-themed library, rooftop hot tubs, a lobby museum, and modern decor that echoes the destination.
Victoria is British Columbia’s fairy tale-like capital—easily one of the most beautiful cities in Canada—and Butchart Gardens is the jewel in its flowery crown. Besides touring these enchanting gardens, things to do in Victoria include visiting the expansive Royal BC Museum, strolling salty Fisherman’s Wharf, and exploring idyllic Beacon Hill Park.
Where to stay: Victoria’s stately Fairmont Empress is famous for many things, its classic afternoon tea chief among them. Service and accommodations are as regal as you’d expect.
The 17-mile Vancouver Seawall allows for one of the most exhilarating bike rides you’ll ever take. Ride (or walk) the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path for wide, glittering views of the Pacific and plenty of entry points into dynamic Stanley Park. Stop to enjoy the beaches and other fun surprises along the way. While in Vancouver, you may as well visit a couple more of the prettiest places in Canada: the immersive Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and 4,100-foot-high Grouse Mountain.
Where to stay: At the impressive Fairmont Waterfront, service is so bespoke that even your shampoo bottle is personalized with your name on it.
If you’re aiming to see the most beautiful places in Canada, you could do far worse than Whistler in winter. It’s got sheer white mountain peaks, world-class skiing and snowboarding, an inviting apres-ski village, zip-lines through snow-covered trees, and fantastic places to eat and sleep.Where to stay: For magical views, book Nita Lake Lodge, which has luxurious guest rooms, a spa, three restaurants, and a shuttle that takes you to the base of Whistler Mountain.
Glacier National Park
Amid the massive Canadian Rockies is Canada’s own Glacier National Park and its jaw-dropping beauty. The namesake geographical features take the form of icefields, waterfalls, and brightly hued lakes, making for some of the most resplendent natural scenery on Earth.
Where to stay: In the park, you can camp, use an RV, or book a hut or cabin. There are no hotels in Canada’s Glacier National Park, although the town of Revelstoke is nearby, and its Poppi’s Guesthouse hostel gets high marks for coziness, friendliness, and affordability
Nova Scotia’s 185-mile Cabot Trail loops around Cape Breton Island, making for one of North America’s most memorable drives. In addition to providing gorgeous coastal views, the highway takes you to small fishing villages, the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, golf courses, museums, galleries, and artisan boutiques. It also passes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park, where moose, bears, and eagles roam, and where autumn’s vivid colors secure Cabot Trail’s spot among the prettiest places in Canada.
Where to stay: Keltic Lodge is a historic, well-appointed resort right on the Atlantic in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Amenities include in-room fireplaces, verandahs, a golf course, a heated swimming pool, and a satisfying restaurant.
Niagara Falls isn’t just one of the most beautiful places in Canada—it’s one of the most beautiful places in the whole world. And though Americans tend to think of it as a U.S. attraction (of course), the Canadian view of the famous falls is actually even better. Come in summer to be treated to nightly fireworks over the mist.
Where to stay: The city around Niagara Falls is pretty touristy, so it’s worth the effort to drive about 13 miles north to a charming little town called Niagara-on-the-Lake and its elegant Charles Hotel, where guest rooms have fireplaces, private verandahs gaze over Lake Ontario, gardens bloom with flowers, and service is superlative.
Victoria-by-the-Sea is a storybook village full of small-town seaside charm, including a photogenic lighthouse, red sand beaches, and artisan shops and galleries. Historically known for its fishermen, it’s now more populated by artists and creatives who leave an inspired mark on their lovely municipality.
Where to stay: The historic Orient Hotel is an inviting bed and breakfast that provides wonderful views of the water from almost every guest room.
Yellowknife/Northwest Territories – for a truly stunning wilderness experience in Canada
When you’re done with walking around the oldest city in North America and ticked the polar bears off your wildlife list, head properly up north in search of the Aurora Borealis, aka the Northern Lights. As a natural phenomenon, you’re never guaranteed to see them, but Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories is a great place to try. Just remember to wrap up warm!
To get one of the greatest glimpses into such a vast, sprawling country, how about going coast to coast, from Atlantic to Pacific? Taking a drive across the Trans-Canada Highway or a ride on the Canadian (a 1950s train journeying from Toronto to Vancouver over the course of 3-4 days), is something that few people experience in a single trip, but any who do so will remember for the rest of their lives.
2. The Rockies – one of the most famously scenic and beautiful places to visit in Canada
While the entire Rockies stretch through the USA as well, when it comes to jaw-dropping scenery its northern neighbor comes up trumps, whether it’s for hiking in the summer or skiing in the winter. Comprising 5 National Parks (Banff, Glacier, Jasper, Kootenay, and Yoho) this area should be near the top of any bucket list.
The Rocky Mountaineer is the train of choice for many honeymooners, and it’s easy to see why – glass-topped carriages giving superlative views onto glaciers, towering mountain peaks, waterfalls, canyons, and lakes so blue you’ll think your eyes have been Photoshopped.
Lake Louise – one of the largest and most scenic ski resorts in Canada
Beautiful Lake Louise is located in the Rockies but deserves a special mention of its own. You’ve seen the photos – with water almost impossibly turquoise (the result of minerals in the rock that flow into the lake after glacial erosion) – now it’s time to see the lake for yourself and get a picture of your own.This isn’t the place to get away from it all – and certainly won’t be able to get away from thousands of other tourists – but some places are popular for good reason, and deserve to be visited anyway.
Churchill, Manitoba – one of the top destinations in Canada and where polar bears roam
To fans of seeing animals in their natural environment, this place is no longer a secret – it’s marketed as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World” and it more than lives up to its name (I saw about 40 of them in one day on a recent trip – although you might want to check your traveler’s insurance before you go!).
While it is already the premier destination for seeing these beautiful white bears, not everyone realises that in late summer it also a fantastic place to see Beluga whales. Add to that the opportunity, if you’re lucky, to see the Northern Lights in deep of winter and to see colorful wildflowers in June-August, and it means this tiny town of around 1000 people has something to offer year-round, definitely one of the best places to visit in Canada!
Toronto – the bright and bustling cosmopolitan city and an amazing place to visit in Canada
Even the most committed nature seeker will find themselves in a city at some point, so embrace all that the urban life has to offer in Toronto. My first impression was that it seemed like a smaller, cleaner, tidier version of New York. The views from the CN Tower (which held the title of world’s tallest freestanding structure for over 30 years) are as incredible as you’d imagine, while the Royal Ontario Museum is the best single summary of Canada’s cultural life and history.
For something really unusual, check out the Cineforum (where local eccentric Reg Hartt will essentially show you short films and animations in his living room, and maybe talk about LSD…), while the historic Distillery District is alive with cafes, art galleries, and idiosyncratic shops. And finally, take a walk up to the Gothic Revival stately home Casa Loma – in equal parts fascinating, quirky, and tragic.