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Canada is a country filled with famous landmarks, historical wonders, delicious food, incredible culture, and all the outdoor exploration you could want. From city adventures in Quebec and Vancouver to the well-known Rocky Mountains, Canada has so many amazing destinations that it’ll be hard to choose. Discover French-Canadian culture and cuisine, hit the hiking trails in the National Parks, or check whale-watching off your bucket list. Don’t forget to take home the classic tasty souvenirs like maple syrup and ice wine.

Ready to plan a North American adventure in the welcoming country with so much to offer? Here are 9 amazing things Canada is known for to get some inspiration.

Lighthouses

White and red facade of Peggy’s Point Lighthouse

Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, Nova Scotia

Ruggedly beautiful coastal towns with quintessential lighthouses are an iconic seaside Canadian scene. From the West Coast to the East Coast, there are plenty of these historic structures dotting the coastline.

On the eastern edge of Canada, Nova Scotia alone has dozens of lighthouses. Perhaps the most well-known lighthouse in Canada is located here. Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, situated in Peggy’s Cove, is the subject of numerous postcards and photography images. Built in 1915, Peggy’s Point Lighthouse overlooks St. Margaret’s Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and offers a walking trail with spectacular views.

In St. John’s, Newfoundland, the Cape Spear Lighthouse is another notable landmark. Perched upon a peninsula, this historic lighthouse was constructed in the 1800s and is one of Canada’s National Historic Sites.

Rocky shore near Point Atkinson Lighthouse

Point Atkinson Lighthouse in Vancouver, British Columbia

On the West Coast, in British Columbia’s city of Victoria, the 1916 Lighthouse at Ogden Point is a must-see. A breakwater path provides a fantastic vista of the structure and the Salish Sea. You might even spot local seals swimming and sunbathing, along with jellyfish and starfish.

In Vancouver, an entire park is dedicated to the resident Point Atkinson Lighthouse. The city’s Lighthouse Park is host to several trails that allow visitors to take in the surrounding scenery, as well as the popular landmark and National Historic Site.

Rocky Mountains

People kayaking in Emerald Lake of Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, British Columbia

The dramatic scenery of the massive Rocky Mountain range is one of the top things that Canada is famous for. Sprawling from British Columbia to Alberta, the Canadian Rockies are breathtaking and offer seemingly endless opportunities for outdoor exploration.

This impressive mountain range is home to well-known national parks like Jasper, Banff, Yoho, and Kootenay National Park. Alpine lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, hiking trails, and many other outdoor pursuits lure nature enthusiasts to these destinations.

In Banff National Park, you can enjoy outdoor recreation at the iconic Lake Louise, trekking various hiking trails by day and relaxing in the Upper Hot Springs in the evening. Some of the best things to do in Jasper include walking on a glacier in Jasper National Park, driving the iconic Icefields Parkway, and stargazing in one of the world’s best dark sky preserves.

Hiking

Scenic view of Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia

With so much breathtaking scenery and natural attractions, it’s no surprise that Canada is known for its incredible hiking opportunities. From longer, more challenging treks to family-friendly day hikes, Canada has a wide array of trails for enjoying the country’s natural splendor.

On the Atlantic side, take in the striking beauty of Nova Scotia while hiking the Skyline Trail. On this five-mile loop path within Cape Breton’s Highlands National Park, you’ll experience stunning seaside scenery and wildlife.

A few hours outside of Quebec City, you’ll find an outdoor playground worthy of packing your hiking boots. The Saguenay Fjords National Park is an under-the-radar natural destination where you can explore without the crowds. With more than 60 miles of trails throughout the park, there’s plenty to choose from for any skill level.

Alberta is a hiker’s haven with numerous trails weaving throughout the national parks. Hike to the famous Lake Agnes Tea House in Banff National Park or traverse the All Souls Route to the pristine Lake O’Hara for a well-rounded taste of Yoho National Park.

Woman walking on Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in Vancouver, British Columbia

In Vancouver, a trip to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park will have you feeling like a kid. For the ultimate Vancouver nature experience, traverse a 450-foot long suspension bridge over the Capilano River and embark on a treetop adventure or cliff walk for incredible views into the gorge.

Whale Watching

Humpback whale spotted in Victoria

Humpback whale in Victoria, British Columbia

Canada is one of the ultimate destinations for whale watching. Getting out on the water to search for a glimpse of these majestic ocean creatures is an unforgettable experience. Marvel at their grace as they breach the ocean’s surface, spouting water and swimming nearby.

When you visit Newfoundland, you’ll have the opportunity to see a wide variety of whale species like humpback and sperm whales, belugas, minkes and pilot whales, and possibly fin or spotted blue whales. Nova Scotia is frequented by humpbacks, finbacks, minke, and pilot whales with excellent chances of spotting them in the Cabot Trail area or the Bay of Fundy.

On the west coast, British Columbia is the best place for viewing whales in their natural habitat. Vancouver is a top spot with many tour operators departing from Stanley Park and Granville Island. It is also among the best places to see orcas and humpbacks as they are often seen in this area. In Victoria’s Inner Harbor, the thrill of spotting whales is abundant. Gray whales, humpbacks, minke, and orcas swim in these waters.

Poutine

Plate of poutine

Poutine

Poutine is an iconic Canadian dish and one of the things Canada is famous for. French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy make for a delicious combination and serves as the perfect comfort food. Poutine is said to have its roots in Quebec but has become a favorite menu item throughout Canada and is available in most regions. If you’re in search of a more traditional poutine, Quebec is your best bet. For creative variations, look to the city of Vancouver.

A city food tour in Quebec is a great way to sample different poutines. From fries cooked in duck fat to nearly any topping you can imagine, poutine can be transformed into many different flavors. Whether you indulge in food-truck style poutine, a country diner’s heaping serving, or an elevated version of the dish, tasting Canada’s national dish is a must.

Wildlife

Elk spotted in Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park, Alberta

Other than whale watching, Canada provides thrilling opportunities for viewing a variety of wildlife, especially in the country’s national parks.

In Banff and Jasper National Parks, you may encounter elk on their daily commute, big horned sheep while hiking, moose on a leisurely walk, and black bears or even grizzly bears. Victoria is known for rich marine life, and in addition to various species of whales, you may get to see sea lions, seals, dolphins, and sea otters.

In Nova Scotia, you’ll have the chance to see eagles soar above in one of the best places for birding in North America. In Newfoundland, you might even encounter an adorable puffin, Caribou, and moose.

Francophone Culture

Landscape view of Old Quebec City including Chateau Frontenac

Chateau Frontenac, Quebec

Quebec City is known as the heart of Francophone culture from when the French settled there in the 1600s. French culture and traditions mixed with Canadian culture have evolved into a fantastic combination that makes the city feel very European, and its unique Francophone culture is one of the things Canada is known for. You’ll hear the French language widely spoken while visiting this region. Indulge in the joie de vivre (enjoyment of life) through Quebec’s historical, culinary, art, and cultural offerings.

The best way to explore the culture is by visiting museums and historical landmarks. Tasting authentic dishes like tourtière, a traditional meat pie, and tarte au sucre, a pie composed of maple syrup and brown sugar, are a great way to experience the culture.

Historical Landmarks

Beautiful exterior of Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, British Columbia

Canada has a rich history with many landmarks to visit for an interesting and educational historical experience. In Calgary, immerse yourself in a world of living history with a visit to the 127-acre Heritage Park. The Historical Village, Gasoline Alley Museum, and Heritage Town Square all make up a massive exhibit where you can learn about “How The West Was Once” from the 1860s through the 1930s.

One of the best things to do in Victoria is dive into local history. The Old City Quarter is a great starting point, as well as Craigdarroch Castle and the well-known Butchart Gardens, a 55-acre National Historic Site with walking paths.

Historical area of Plains of Abraham

Plains of Abraham, Quebec

Old Quebec is filled with historical landmarks to explore such as the Plains of Abraham, the funicular that connects the upper portion of the old city to the lower portion, and the Parliament Building.

In nearby Montreal, more history awaits at the Notre-Dame Basilica, a world-famous church. In the Maison Saint-Gabriel, discover the history of the settlers of New France.

Wine

Bottles of wine at a vineyard in Halifax

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Many regions of Canada are well-established or emerging wine destinations. In Nova Scotia, the picturesque Annapolis Valley draws visitors to experience this region’s wine country. This coastal vineyard experience mixes stunning vistas with top-notch wine and cheese.

Visit the oldest winery on Canada’s Atlantic side at Grand Pré Wines. Whites, reds, sparkling, and cool-climate wines are available for sampling while enjoying the scenery of the Bay of Fundy and Cape Blomidon.

Quebec is an up-and-coming wine destination with opportunities to taste some unique northern climate varieties. Try icewine, a regional dessert wine produced from grapes that were harvested while frozen. Just ten minutes outside of Quebec City, Île d’Orléans is a popular agricultural destination where you can visit several vineyards in close proximity.

Vineyard in Okanagan Valley

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

British Columbia’s wine regions stretch from Vancouver to the Okanagan Valley. Within a half-hour drive from the city, you can visit some top vineyards to taste regional varieties like pinot noir, pinot gris, Ortega, and icewines. Due to the microclimates within this province, an ample selection of wine varieties are available.

Couple sightseeing in Banff

Banff, Alberta

From abundant outdoor endeavors and stunning scenery to historical and cultural gems ready to explore, a luxury cruise to Canada is a fantastic way to experience all the incredible things Canada is famous for.

Browse cruise itineraries on our website and book an unforgettable vacation to Canada today.

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