What to do in Canada: the ultimate bucket list

Have you ever seen a grizzly bear fish for salmon, canoed across a glacial lake or explored an underground city? Canada is simply epic. It’s a place fuelled by adventure; where hipster cities meet wild, mountainous landscapes and some of Earth’s most extraordinary wildlife. We explore 10 of Canada’s best things to do – the ultimate Canada bucket list.

Misty Marvel: Niagara Falls

Picture a gigantic sheet of roaring water and clouds of mist that float into the sky; the almighty Niagara Falls is nature at its most exciting. Its three waterfalls include the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Here, over two million litres of water cascade over the crest line every second.

Watch this natural phenomenon from the belly of the beast on the Voyage of the Falls boat tour. This 20-minute experience gets you daringly close to the cascade and the sensation of being showered by this force is breathtaking – bring a waterproof camera and a spare change of clothes and shoes as even with a poncho on, you’ll get drenched. A popular alternative is the Journey Behind the Falls, where historic tunnels carved into the bedrock lead to observation decks offering awe-inspiring views of the thundering waters.

Expert tip: “Stay overnight and see the falls illuminated after dusk in the mesmerising nightly light show. For the best seat in the house, cosy up in your room at Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa and enjoy the view right from your window." Sharna McKay, Assistant Manager, Kuoni Metro Centre.

Search for grizzly bears from a floating lodge

Indigenous-owned Knight Inlet Lodge, on northern Vancouver Island, is one of the finest spots in the world for grizzly bear viewing. It floats on the longest fjord on British Columbia’s coast, in the southern reaches of the Great Bear Rainforest. Here, mountains spill down into salmon-rich rivers and deep inlets, and the wildlife experience is unparalleled, Towering trees provide sanctuary for not only grizzly and black bears, but wolves, cougars and bald eagles. Venture out on a scenic cruise to catch glimpses of the diverse marine life; you may spot humpback whales, orcas and pods of porpoise. You can only reach it by floatplane, so it’s a brilliant choice if you want to experience a remote and peaceful stay in the wild. The bear-viewing tours are led by expert guides who know the area inside out and can help increase your chances of seeing a grizzly on its own turf.

Expert tip: “The moments we spent with a beautiful sow and her 16-month-old cub were unforgettable. This is a true off-the-grid experience with little to no phone service but my advice is to embrace the slow life and revel in the here and now.” Emma Tibbetts, Content Executive

Watch the world unfurl by rail

Cut through deep green forests on a long and winding track, and gaze out of your window as snow-dusted mountains and bright blue lakes flash past your eyes. There’s something so enchanting and romantic about exploring a country by rail, and when it comes to picturesque train journeys, it doesn’t get much better than Canada. The award-winning Rocky Mountaineer is one of Canada’s top rail services, and we have four amazing Rocky Mountaineer routes which can easily be added to your Canada escape. Ask us about our overnight First Passage to the West Rail Journey, where you can stop at the glacier-fed Lake Louise, one of the jewels of the Canadian Rockies.

Additionally, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the classic Canadian, a highlight of both our Rockies rail journey and Canada & Alaska by Road Rail & Sail. On our Western Canada by Rail & Sail itinerary, you’ll get not one, but two legendary train routes – the Rocky Mountaineer and The Skeena, ensuring you’ll see Canada’s grandest scenery in one epic trip.

Expert tip: “I highly recommend the GoldLeaf cabin. You’ll enjoy views of Planet Earth’s most spectacular peaks and vistas beneath the unique glass-domed roof, all while sitting back in a plush heated seat. From indulging in locally sourced menus and wine pairings in the dining room to breathing in the crisp mountain air from the outdoor viewing platform, this is the way to experience luxury train travel at its best." Jack Pike, Store Manager, Kuoni at John Lewis Oxford Street

Go whale watching from Vancouver Island

For a whale-watching experience you’ll always treasure, it’s all about Vancouver Island. From Tofino to Ucluelet and Victoria, this stunning island is a wondrous place to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. But it’s not just about whales here – the island's diverse wildlife and wealth of outdoor activities make it a paradise for nature lovers.

In Ucluelet or Victoria, hop on a zodiac boat for a guided whale-watching tour departing from the harbour. Experienced captains will take you to the feeding grounds of grey and humpback whales and other marine life like seals and otters. Don’t miss cruising through Clayoquot Sound in Tofino; the boat will carve ripples in the water as you follow the fin of an orca or catch the breach of a humpback whale as it bursts out of the ocean and crashes back down, leaving a frothy spray in its wake. For the best viewing experience, visit between March and October.

Expert tip: “Choosing between Vancouver and Victoria for whale watching? In Vancouver, you’ll soak in the city skyline views before venturing into the Straits of Georgia. But if you prefer a shorter trip to see whales up close, Victoria’s charming harbour offers quicker access to the scenic gulf islands.” Claire Gateley, Tailormade Travel Expert - Australasia & North America

Explore Vancouver by floatplane

British Columbia’s diverse and trendy Vancouver is a real crowd-pleaser. It’s got beaches, mountains, eclectic nightlife and the country’s hottest foodie scene; you can try everything from Japanese hot dogs and fish tacos to Canada’s famous poutine – crispy French fries covered in cheese curds and lashings of gravy.

One of the coolest ways to see Vancouver’s contrasting landscapes and sights such as Stanley Park and English Bay is by floatplane. Before an exhilarating water landing, you’ll fly beneath the clouds over tall mountains wrapped around golden beaches; past coastal forests and above the glittering city skyline.

Expert tip: “Another great way to take in Vancouver is by renting a bike and exploring the Seawall, the longest uninterrupted waterfront path in the world. Visit on a weekday for a quieter experience.”  Tom Waite, Regional Product Manager

Stay at one of Canada's most iconic hotels

It’s easy to see why Lake Louise is such a bucket list favourite. Fresh-scented pine trees climb up craggy mountainsides and, in summer, the water is a striking shade of turquoise. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is one of Canada's most iconic hotels. It sits on the edge of the lake in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site, Banff National Park. You can explore the area on a guided hike or hire a canoe and head out on the water. Fairmont Hotels and Resorts has a collection of luxury retreats all over Canada and we can help you find the right match – from the five-star Fairmont Royal York in Toronto to Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, the country's most photographed building.

Expert tip: “If you’re staying at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, be sure to visit the 1608 bar where mixologists from all around the world will make you your own unique signature drink.” Eve Jetten, Tailormade Travel Expert - Australasia & North America

Walk on a glacier in the Canadian Rockies

Let’s talk about Highway 93. This awe-inspiring route, also known as the Icefields Parkway, connects Jasper National Park to Banff National Park and is one of the most astounding drives around. We can arrange a sightseeing tour for you, where you’ll travel along this ultra-scenic stretch of road, before taking a seat in the giant Ice Explorer snow coach to reach the Athabasca Glacier.

Here, you’ll get to walk on and drink from the glacier and experience the architectural masterpiece of the Glacier Skywalk, which juts out over the edge of a cliff. Step out onto the glass floor and peer between your hiking boots at the plunging waterfalls of Sunwapta Canyon, a 280-metre drop below.

Expert tip: While exploring the Rockies, be sure to include a hike to Wapta Falls, a relatively easy, 5km-long trail in Yoho National Park. These powerful falls are reminiscent of a mini-Niagara – it really is a must-see.” Karen Munro, Personal Travel Expert, Kuoni Winchester

Sail the Inside Passage

Our Western Canada by Rail & Sail adventure features the famed Inside Passage – widely regarded as the world's most scenic ferry route. Cruise through a maze of picturesque islands, towering fjords and ancient rainforests as you soak in the mesmerising beauty of British Columbia's coast. Keep your camera ready for sightings of whales, eagles and other wildlife against a backdrop of stunning natural landscapes.

Expert tip: “Experience the beauty of the Inside Passage not just on an Alaskan cruise, but also on a jaw-dropping 18-hour ferry voyage between Prince Rupert and Port Hardy. Be sure to book a cabin in advance for more comfort on this unforgettable journey.” Mary Janiec, Store Manager, Kuoni Solihull

Chill & thrills in Ottawa

Around February each year, Ottawa transforms into a winter wonderland with the vibrant Winterlude festival. Get set for a chilly cavalcade of entertainment and events from ice skating on the UNESCO-designated Rideau Canal to admiring intricate ice sculptures at Confederation Park. Warm up with hot chocolate and indulge in delicious BeaverTrails pastries as you stroll through the charming streets strung with twinkling lights. Activities over the three weekends include ice dragon boat races on the frozen waterways, horse-drawn sleigh rides and frosty fun in Snowflake Kingdom, set up with giant snow slides, mini-igloos and ice-dig treasure hunts.

Expert tip: "Dress for the occasion! Temperatures in Ottawa can get well below freezing in February, so come prepared with extra socks and gloves.Heather Flanagan, Marketing team

Cruise into the wild

Take your Canadian bucket list to the next level with an unforgettable cruise to Alaska. Sail through crystal-clear waters, amid towering glaciers, mountains and the thriving wildlife of the region –humpback whales, caribou and birdlife from puffins to eagles. Whether you're exploring historic ports of call, enjoying onboard entertainment or indulging in gourmet cuisine, an Alaska cruise is an unforgettable finale to a holiday in Canada.

Expert tip: “Rise early and don your thermals to witness Hubbard Glacier in all its glory on your Alaskan cruise. Ships do a 360-degree turn, so you don’t need to worry about what side you are on. For the best experience, grab a warm drink and head up to the top deck for the best views.” Faye Woodbridge, Personal Travel Expert, Kuoni Cambridge


Excited to start planning your dream Canadian adventure? Our team of tailor-made experts are here to create the perfect trip for you. Reach out today for personalised advice from someone who has been there.

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