There are so many ways to visit Canada. Choose to self-drive, tour by rail, take an escorted tour or try a cruise? Check out my top picks below.
Canada is the second largest country in the world, so holiday options are endless. Yet despite the great cities, it’s Canada’s majestic landscape and vast wilderness that captivates visitors. Surrounded by the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans and an interior full of jaw dropping lakes and rivers, Canada is a land of natural wonder. The east coast of Canada has always been easily accessible from Ireland, but thanks to the introduction of Aer Lingus’ direct flights from Dublin to Seattle, the west coast of Canada is now much more accessible too. I have teamed up with Canadian Sky who offer a wide selection of escorted tours, self drive itineraries and city breaks to Canada. I have listed some of my favourite ways to visit Canada below, but Canadian Sky can tailor make any itinerary to suit you. Whether you want to combine an Alaska cruise with a self-drive tour of the Rockies, Toronto with Niagara Falls, or take a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer luxury train, Canadian Sky can arrange it for you. For a limited time, they are also offering an ‘early booking’ saving of €100 per person off many of their 2019 holidays!
Western Journey: Flights & 7 night Escorted Tour, €1499!
This eight day escorted tour starts in Calgary, where you will have your first day to explore this city at your leisure. The following day you will enjoy a sightseeing tour of Calgary, before setting off in a deluxe motor-coach to the Rocky Mountains. Spend two days marvelling at the stunning scenery of Banff National Park 😍. Explore the area at your leisure or avail of the many excursions available, including the Columbia Icefield adventure, which includes a ride on the Ice Explorer and a trip to the magnificent Lake Louise.
After a two night stay you will then drive the famous Trans-Canada Highway into Yoho National Park, which is full of canyons, forests and streams, before arriving in Kamloops for an overnight stay. Day five brings you on another unforgettable drive through the ranch lands and coastal mountains en route to Whistler. Explore at your leisure or take the optional float plane sightseeing tour over Garibaldi Park. The following day you will leave the countryside behind to explore the vibrant city of Vancouver where you will stay for two nights. Avail of the complimentary sightseeing tour or explore on your own, the choice is yours!
Price from €1499 in 2018 or €1679 in 2019 (includes €100pp discount), includes flights, accommodation on a bed & breakfast basis, professional tour director throughout; Calgary, Banff and Vancouver sightseeing tours.
Seattle & Alaska Cruise: Flights, 3 night stay in Seattle and 7 night all-inclusive Alaska cruise, €2449
Fly direct with Aer Lingus to Seattle and enjoy three nights in the centrally located four star Kimpton Alexis Hotel, before setting off on a seven-night cruise through Alaska, on Norwegian Pearl. This ship was refurbished in 2017 and boasts sixteen dining options, fifteen bars and lounges, a spa, casino and west-end style shows! Meals, drinks and gratuities are included in the cost of your cruise so you will need very little spending money.
Visit the Icy Strait Point and go whale watching; stop at Skagawy which is famous for its role in the gold rush and it’s stunning sunsets and also Glacier Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Glacier Bay is home to mountains, rainforests and fjords, as well as wonderful wildlife. This will definitely be one of the highlights of your Alaskan adventure. Other cruise stops include Ketchikan, famous for the Misty Fjords National Monument and Victoria, the vibrant capital of British Columbia.
Price from €2449 in 2018 and €2869 in 2019, includes flights, 3 nights hotel stay in Seattle and a seven night premium all-inclusive Alaska cruise.
Self Drive Great Parks of the West: Flights & 13 nights accommodation with car hire, €1899
Vancouver, the Canadian Rockies, Banff, Jasper, Whistler – this road trip is firmly at the top of my bucket list! You begin your holiday in Vancouver before setting off to explore the magnificent Canadian National Parks. Explore the Okanagan Valley and Glacier National Park before spending two nights in the resort town of Banff. Visit Lake Louise, one of the world’s most spectacular lakes. Stay in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Jasper and explore the largest National Park in the Rockies. Go hiking, white water rafting or check out the Jasper SkyTram for stunning views from the top of the mountains. Drive through the Yellowhead Pass and enjoy a host of outdoor activities in the celebrity town of Whistler. This thirteen night road trip will allow you experience the best of what Western Canada has to offer.
Price from €1899 in 2018 and €1919 in 2019 ( includes €100 per person early booking discount) this trip includes flights, car hire, three nights in Vancouver, one night in Penticton and Revelstoke, two nights in Banff, Jasper, 100 Mile House, and Whistler. You will also receive a personalised Canada Roadbook, containing essential travel information featuring overview notes, local sightseeing and attractions, daily itinerary highlights, provincial maps with city guides and customised day-by-day routing maps.
Luxury Rocky Mountaineer, Journey Through the Clouds Explorer: Flights, 2 day Rocky Mountaineer train ride, 7 nights hotel accommodation, helicopter trip over the Rockies, Ice Explorer & tours, €2469
This trip of a lifetime starts with a helicopter trip over the Rockies – it doesn’t get much better than that! Explore Lake Louise and stay in the famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel. Visit Banff where you will get the chance to ride the Banff Gondola to the summit of Sulpher Mountain. Enjoy a half-day tour into Yoho National Park and explore the Spiral Tunnels and the Kicking Horse Bridge, before returning to Banff for an overnight stay. Take the sightseeing tour of Jasper National Parks and see the magnificent Columbia Icefield, the largest accumulation of ice south of the Arctic Circle. Ride on the Ice Explorer to the middle of the Athabasca Glacier before returning Jasper for a two night stay.
Board the Rocky Mountaineer for a trip to Kamloops and onwards to Vancouver. Marvel at the snow capped mountain peaks and natural wonders as you travel across the Rockies. Your journey ends with an overnight stay in Vancouver where you will get the chance to explore this vibrant city on your own.
Price: from €2469 in 2018 and €2759 in 2019 ( includes €100 early booking discount ), includes flights, two day Rocky Mountaineer train ride – Silverleaf service, seven nights hotel accommodation with breakfast and two lunches, helicopter trip over the Rockies, Icefields tour including Ice Explorer, Calgary Tower, Calgary to Banff, Yoho Park, Banff to Lake Louise, Lake Louise to Jasper tours, Vancouver Lookout and transfers.
Circle Newfoundland & Labrador: Flights & 12 night tour with meals €3499
Discover the fascinating island of Newfoundland, where thousands of Irish immigrants arrived in the 18th century. This island, known as ‘the most Irish island in the world’ is home to striking landscapes and a fascinating history. The fully escorted tour starts in the capital of Nova Scotia, Halifax, where you will overnight before starting your journey to the island of Newfoundland. You will cross over the Canso Causeway to Cape Breton Island where you will board a Marine Atlantic ferry for an overnight crossing to Port-aux-Basques in Newfoundland. Board another ferry at St Barbe and cross the strait of Belle Island on the way to Labrador. Travel to L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic site, which marks the earliest European settlers in North America and gives a fascinating insight into the Viking lifestyle. Weather permitting, take a whale watching tour and see the famous icebergs in the Summer time, before travelling to Cow Head for a two night stay. Visit Gros Morne National Park which is full of dramatic scenery and wildlife. Take a scenic boat tour, see whales, bald eagles and discover the history of the small shore-lined villages.
A two night stay in Gander will allow you to visit the beautiful town of Twillingate and the famous Aviation Museum as well as the Terra Nova National Park and the town of Trinity. Your tour finishes with a two night stay in the colourful seaport of St. John’s, Newfoundland’s capital. This is North America’s oldest city and has a modern waterfront with stunning sea views. You will take a boat tour in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve (weather permitting) where you can see puffins and other wildlife before visiting Cape Spear National Historic Site, the most easterly point in North America.
Price from €3499 in 2018 and €3589 in 2019 ( includes €100 early booking discount ), includes flights, accommodation, 11 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 9 dinners, tour director, land transportation by modern tour coach, ferry crossings, boat tours, guided tour of St. John’s & Twillingate.
There are many ways to visit Canada, which one will you choose? This post was sponsored by Canadian Sky but all views, as always, are my own.