You’re not afraid of icy weather and wild animals? then you bring the best prerequisites for one or more round trips through north america with you. Discover canada, the second largest country on earth, with icy landscapes in the polar region, majestic mountains and lively cities.
you don’t want to go on typical package tours that are planned from beginning to end? Then pack your passport and head off on a round trip to the wilds of canada! I can assure you that from the weather to the landscape many surprises await you.
My ultimate canada tips
Canada at a glance:
- Canada is located in north america and is the second largest country on earth in terms of area after russia. The only land border is in the south and northwest, with the united states of america. In addition, Canada borders Greenland to the northeast.
- Canada is composed of ten provinces and three territories together. to the east are the atlantic provinces of nova scotia, new brunswick and prince edward island. The easternmost of the regions are newfoundland and labrador. Towards the west, ontario and quebec join in. The so-called prairie provinces in central canada are alberta, manitoba and saskatchewan, followed by britsh columbia in the west. The territories in the north, northwest territories, yukon and nunavut, are directly subordinate to the federal government and therefore do not form independent provinces.
- Canada’s capital is ottawa, located on the river of the same name, right on the border with quebec. Ottawa has approx. 1.1 million inhabitants and is the fourth largest city in Canada.
- Canada covers an area of almost 10 million km². Due to its enormous width, the country is therefore crossed from coast to coast by six different time zones.
- in the country there are almost as many different climate zones as there are time zones. Visitors must be prepared for both a polar, maritime, continental and cool temperate climate. Basically: winters in canada are long, cold and snowy. the summers are short and only in british columbia, west of the rocky mountains, the climate is much milder than in the rest of canada.
- besides english, french is also the official language of the country. In nunavut, the eskimo language inuktitut is the official language with equal rights.
- At least when it comes to currency, the country is united across the board. Canadian dollars are used everywhere (current exchange rate: 1 CAD = 0.69 EUR).
- For a stay of up to six months, whether for tourism or business, the following tax must be paid on entry to the country no visa needed. However, you must obtain an electronic entry permit before entering the country. all info about this "eta" can be found in my travel magazine. everything beyond the 6 months requires a visa. If you want to do an internship or employment, you have to apply for a work permit through the canadian embassy in vienna before departure, as the embassy in berlin does not have a visa and immigration department.
- the health system in canada is regulated by the government. if you need medical care while traveling in canada, make sure your international health insurance includes treatment in canada.
- the number one means of transportation in canada is definitely the airplane. Due to the extreme vastness of the country, flying from city to city is both the most time- and cost-saving option. for those who want to start the round trip on the ground, I recommend a rental car or a bus. the bus system covers large parts of the country and allows spontaneous travel through canada with hourly departures.
- By the way, the head of the country is queen elisabeth II. Canada is a constitutional monarchy within the commonwealth of nations.
The canadian provinces at a glance
Nova scotia, new brunswick and prince edward island
the atlantic province of nova scotia is all about the element of water. About 5400 lakes are located in the province and are, as you can imagine, very popular with water sports enthusiasts. Besides the strongholds of shipbuilding and fishing, not far from the city of dartmouth you will find the famous bedford institute of oceanography. the largest city in the region is halifax, which is one of the most important hubs of the country. Nova scotia is also home to canada’s only single malt whisky distillery as well as one of the most beautiful coastal roads, the cabot trail around cape breton island.
New brunswick is the only part of the country that is officially bilingual. The Acadians, as the French settlers are called, have left their mark on the area not only historically, but also linguistically. A sight that can only be found in the estuary of the saint john river you should not miss any of the following places during your trip through canada. You will notice that in the "reversing falls rapids" the water runs backwards. Yes, you read that right! the reason for this natural spectacle is the massive influx of sea water during the tide into the bay of fundy.
The prince edward islands are a family-friendly domicile for recreation seekers. Mild air and water temperatures of 23 to 32 degrees make a short trip to one of the white sandy beaches a nice change of pace. With an area roughly twice that of the saarland, "the island" is the smallest of the canadian provinces.
Newfoundland and labrador
in newfoundland you will find the oldest city in canada. The capital st. john’s on the avalon peninsula in the east of the region is entitled to this title. Most of the inhabitants are of scottish or irish descent, which is reflected in the small pubs and the music.
Labrador is one of the last wilderness areas on earth, far off the beaten track of package tourism. moose, wolves, porcupines, polar bears and polar hares find an undisturbed home here. Also anglers will enjoy the many lakes and rivers. accompanied by an experienced fishing guide the hunt for trout and atlantic salmon can begin.
Ontario, the province of superlatives
Hard to believe, but even in canada a vacation on the beach is possible. To the georgian bay islands you will find wasaga beach, the longest freshwater beach in the world. In addition, there are ontario the cities with the highest population in canada. For example toronto or the canadian capital ottawa. Canada’s second largest province is as large as France and Spain combined. if we are talking about superlatives, let’s stay with it: you can’t imagine ontario without the world famous niagara falls at the border to the USA. connecting the large lakes erie and ontario, the water masses plunge about 58 meters into the depths here. When traveling through north america these waterfalls are among the top sights. not without reason i have already told you in detail about niagara falls in my travel magazine.
french region quebec
with a total area of 1.5 million km², quebec is the largest province in canada. with just over 7.5 million "quebecois", it is the only region with a french speaking majority. In the eastern part of the country, the seasons of spring and autumn are particularly pronounced. A special highlight is the indian summer in october. nowhere else will you find such a variety of colors in the foliage of the forests than at this time and place.
Do you like pancakes with maple syrup?? Then you will be interested to know that here in quebec the sweet syrup is extracted from the canadian maple and delivered all over the world. The capital of the province, founded in 1867, is Quebec City, whose old town is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just under three hours’ drive from the capital, in the south of the province, is the island city of montreal, with a population of 1.7 million. It impresses with its nightlife, fashion scene and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. the inhabitants here are well prepared for the harsh winters. In montreal, you can go shopping at pleasant temperatures in the world’s largest underground city.
alberta, manitoba and saskatchewan
These three components are the basis of Alberta’s prosperity. the provincial capital of the breadbasket of canada is edmonton. the largest and wealthiest city is calgary, home to nearly a million people and almost a quarter of the province’s total population. special features in alberta are the annual, world’s largest rodeo show and the canada olympia park. By the way, did you know that alberta is the province with the highest percentage of the rocky mountains is?
More than 100.000 lakes and countless rivers can be found in manitoba on an area almost twice the size of germany. Here you can admire the beauty of the subpolar world.Home to wild elk, bison, black bear and the rare wapiti deer species. At the mouth of the churchill river and the coastal region of hudson bay in the north you can see polar foxes, orcas, beluga whales and even polar bears from a safe distance.
Known for its beautiful sunsets is saskatchewan – a true dream destination for romantics. With its seemingly endless prairies, never-ending skies and limitless horizons, this region of canada is also known as the "land of the living skies".
british columbia with landmark vancouver
the flagship of the region is vancouver. after the 2010 winter games, the largest city in british columbia has become the talk of the town. mountain regions like whistler with its "champagne powder" are among the dream ski areas in british columbia. furthermore, the westernmost zone of canada has the largest seaport in the country, vancouver port. the fact that the coast mountains, which are also located in british columbia, are also the gateway to the rocky mountains, is just another treat that this province has to offer.
visiting the eskimos: northwest territories, yukon and nunavut
the yukon is one of the most pristine regions of canada. With a population of 30.000 on an area not larger than germany, yukon seems to be almost deserted. Canadians living there are distributed between the capital whitehorse and dawson city. an absolute highlight of the district is the yukon quest, the annual and toughest dog sled race the world. But not only this attracts many visitors, also the yukon international storytelling festival, where the stories and legends of the first nations are recited, is a powerful argument for a trip to the icy west of canada.
nunavut is the home of the inuits. By far the largest part of the country is defined by its self-governance through the ice people. nowhere else will you find so much untouched nature as here! The probability of encountering seals or walruses in Nunavut is much higher than meeting a human being. So if you want to discover solitude, you couldn’t choose a better vacation spot. In the through extensive glacier and fjords Inuktitut, the language of the eskimos, is a recognized official language alongside english and french.
You have to see these national parks:
almost as famous as for its maple syrup, canada is known for its sheer number of national parks. Incredible 38 national parks and national reserves you can find here. This does not include the provincial parks that exist in the different parts of the country. Around two percent of canada’s total land mass is taken up by it. it can be said that the national parks are the sights of canada, nowhere else can you experience nature in all its facets so close up. It would take too long to introduce you to every single national park, so I’ll show you my favorites!
wood buffalo national park
in northeast alberta lies canada’s largest nature reserve. On a gigantic area of 44.807 km² are mainly lakes and swamps. But not only that, also salt deserts and underground streams can be explored in the park. During the winter nights the sky of wood buffalo national park shines with the blue, green and red of the northern lights. In summer, however, the sun never sets, even at midnight it is as bright as day. to explore the flora and fauna of the park, there are several possibilities. you are allowed to hike through the park all year round. In winter, you can ski or snowshoe through the wilderness.
kluane national park
Huge chunks of ice crash into the sea with a deafening roar, and yet temperatures can reach 20 degrees in summer. No, I’m not lying to you, this is really all in one place. You won’t believe it? Just pay a visit to the national park in the southwest of the yukon territories pay a visit, then you can experience it for yourself. its proximity to alaska can explain the frigid temperatures. 82 percent of the park’s area is dominated by mountains and ice. kluane national park has a non-polar glacier field of enormous size – not to say the largest the canadians can offer their visitors. But not only the largest ice field, but also the highest mountain of the country finds its home here. in a coastal formation of the rocky mountains rises the mount logan at 5959 meters in altitude. no question that here hikers and climbers get their money’s worth.
Prince Edward Island National Park
What comes to mind when you think of canada?? Exactly, endless forests, vast land and weather rather dominated by snow and cold. in canada’s second smallest park, however, you will find a landscape that most of you do not immediately associate with the north american country. on the prince edward islands you will find red sandstone cliffs, white sand beaches, huge sand dunes and summer water temperatures of over 20 degrees celsius. It is no wonder that this region is a true tourist magnet is. For those who like it quieter, the less crowded brackley beach is a good place to soak up the sun. this park in the east is a must-stop for water sports and sun lovers on their trip through canada. prince edward national park also offers hobby ornithologists a total of 300 species of birds best conditions for a successful exploration tour.
no matter which part of canada you decide to visit, or whether you’re planning a longer stay in the north american state – canada offers plenty of opportunities for every taste. maybe you’ve toyed with the idea of taking some time off and going on a singles trip somewhere work-and-travel? Canada is virtually predestined for this, as its vastness means it takes longer to explore. If you are still looking for the right accommodation and cheap flights, then have a look at my flight and hotel search. There you will surely find!