It should come as no surprise that Canada – the world’s second-largest country – is home to some of the most dazzling and diverse scenery on the planet. From the dramatic, snow-capped mountains of British Columbia to the fascinating French province of Québec and the sea-battered coast of Nova Scotia, this vast country has something for everyone.
Canada is so huge, in fact, that deciding which parts to visit can seem an impossible task. And even once you’ve decided where to head, planning your schedule can take a lot of time and effort.
That’s why Canada is one of the best places in the world to take an escorted tour and be led by trusted, expert guides who do all the research and planning for you – allowing you to relax and enjoy your break without a care in the world.
With this in mind, we’ve partnered with escorted tour company Cosmos to show you just how easy (and exciting!) it can be to take a tour in Canada. With professional tour directors overseeing hotels and transportation, local guides showing you the secrets of each destination, and bags of free time to explore at your own pace and in your own style, this is the way to turn travel dreams into reality.
So, to get you inspired, here are five incredible Canadian holidays for 2023.
1. The Canadian Rockies tour
The Canadian Rockies are famous throughout the world for their hulking mountains, glittering glaciers, thundering rivers, and spectacular national parks.
With so much pristine scenery around, an escorted tour is the best way to squeeze as much in as you can. This is particularly true if you want to explore the real heartland of the Canadian Rockies, which encompasses two beautiful states: British Columbia and Alberta.
A 10-day tour with Cosmos begins in Alberta’s cosmopolitan city of Calgary before you head to Banff National Park, which is the gateway to the Canadian Rockies. Here, you can explore alpine meadows, bubbling hot springs, and much more, before heading to Jasper National Park – the largest national park in the country. It offers some of the country’s best trails and you can take excursions to Maligne Lake and Spirit Island to enjoy a unique sense of peace and solitude.
In between visiting each national park, you’ll get to ride an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on the Columbia Icefield, and stop at Lake Louise, where the mirror-like turquoise waters reflect the burly mountains all around you. You’ll have plenty of free time in Vancouver, Calgary, and Vancouver Island’s Victoria, which is the capital of British Columbia.
Whether it’s admiring Victoria’s 55-acre Butchart Gardens, heading to the top of Calgary Tower, or picking up souvenirs in Vancouver, you won’t be short of things to do!
Discover the wild beauty of the Canadian Rockies
2. Eastern US and Canada tour
If you’ve always wanted to explore the US as well as Canada but weren’t sure how to fit it all in, this grand double tour is your chance to see the best of Eastern North America!
This 15-day trip begins in New York City, and you’ll have a blast as you visit the Big Apple’s most iconic sites. A visit to Boston is also included, where you can follow the Freedom Trail and enjoy a guided sightseeing tour along the way. You’ll then head into Canada to explore Québec City, which includes historic sites like the Place Royale (the so-called birthplace of French America).
In Montréal, you can visit 19th-century Notre Dame Church and the once-walled Old Montréal, before heading west to Canada’s capital, Ottawa, where you can visit sights like Parliament Hill and the Canadian Mint.
Not far from Montréal is Thousand Islands National Park, which you’ll sail through, admiring views of lush wooded islands and sweeping vistas, before visiting Toronto, where you can head to the top of the iconic CN Tower.
If that weren’t enough, you’ll also pass by the thundering Niagara Falls, visit the US capital of Washington DC, go sightseeing in Philadelphia, and learn about the Amish in Pennsylvania Dutch country.
Visit the Eastern US and Canada
3. Alaska and the Yukon tour
The idea of exploring one of the world’s last great frontiers appeals to many of us – particularly those who have a burning sense of adventure.
Alaska and Canada’s Yukon Territory don’t only boast some of the most staggeringly beautiful scenery imaginable, but they’re also home to vast swathes of remote wilderness. So if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday that takes you to an awe-inspiring natural environment, this is it!
Beginning and ending in Alaska’s Anchorage, this is a chance to travel through untamed wilderness, taking a glacier cruise along Prince William Sound while spotting eagles, whales, and dolphins. Passing between Valdez, Tok, and Whitehorse, you can admire awesome views of Bridal Veil Falls, Thompson Pass, Worthington Glacier, and the precipitous peaks of Kluane National Park.
Even more magnificent scenery awaits you in Denali National Park. Stretching for a staggering six million acres, Denali National Park is home to North America’s tallest peak (the 6,190-metre Mount Denali) and most fascinating wildlife, like grizzly bears, wolves, caribou, and moose. Plus, along the way, you’ll learn about the Klondike Gold Rush, visit historic Dawson City, and enjoy a breathtaking seven-day cruise through Alaska’s most majestic scenery.
Discover the wilderness of Alaska and the Yukon
4. Western Canada tour
Western Canada has its own unique appeal, from the soaring skyscrapers of Vancouver to the wild, rocky mountains, and miles of stunning natural landscape – from beaches to rainforests.
If you want to see the best of this region, why not join the Canadian Masterpiece tour? You’ll have 12 days to discover the beauty, charm, and wilderness that this special part of the world possesses in such abundance.
Your adventure begins in the city of Vancouver, where you’ll enjoy a guided tour of Stanley Park, the harbour and beaches, Chinatown, and much more. You’ll also have free time to spend as you like; perhaps to head to the lively markets of Granville or check out Gastown’s famous steam-powered clock.
When you’re finished in Vancouver, you’ll hop on your Rocky Mountaineer train for a two-day ride through dazzling scenery. This includes jaw-dropping views of the Selkirk Mountains and Yoho National Park – and when you reach Alberta’s Banff National Park, there’ll be chances to spot wildlife including wolves, bears, bighorn sheep, and deer.
After riding on the Ice Explorer, you’ll arrive at majestic Jasper National Park. Here, you can follow in the footsteps of the pioneers on your way to Whistler, before finishing up relaxing on Vancouver Island.
Discover Western Canada’s greatest masterpieces
5. Canadian Train Odyssey with Alaska Cruise
And finally, if you want to take the chance to see as much of Canada as you possibly can in one single trip, there’s only one way to do it.
This epic, 22-day cross-country train adventure takes you from the tip of Eastern Canada right to the edge of the West, taking you to many of the country’s most iconic sites – and even includes a cruise through Alaska.
The first stop is Toronto, where you’ll have a guided sightseeing tour of this cosmopolitan city, and take an excursion to the world-famous Niagara Falls. Then, your train odyssey begins when you board VIA Rail’s premier transcontinental train, which – for three days – will shuttle you through Canada’s magnificent heartland, which boasts jaw-dropping vistas.
In Alberta, you’ll explore the province’s iconic national parks, from the lakes of Jasper to the peaks of Banff. And, in British Columbia, you’ll visit Victoria and sail through the gorgeous Gulf Islands, before enjoying a seven-night Alaska cruise that takes you along the spectacular Inside Passage.
As you marvel at the rugged scenery of the Pacific Coast, you’ll stop off in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan, learning about the culture and history of this unique part of the US, before finishing up back in Vancouver.
See the very best of Canada and Alaska
Canada is such a vast and diverse country that it’s no surprise that trying to plan a holiday here can seem overwhelming. From the cosmopolitan cities of French Canada to the isolated beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the breathtaking landscapes, unique history, and cherished cultures are just part of what makes Canada so special.
Whether you’re drawn to sophisticated cities like Montréal, Ottawa, and Québec City, the craggy coastline of Nova Scotia, or the mesmerising beauty and enchanting wildlife of Alberta and British Columbia, this magnificent country has something for everyone.
And if you’ve always wanted to explore the desolate, icy beauty of Alaska as well as the wild Pacific Northwest, and watch whales in the ocean while eagles soar overhead, you can do all that here too – you might just need a guide!
With Cosmos, all the research and planning is done for you by expert guides and tour operators, meaning you can focus on sightseeing and enjoying your surroundings – whether you choose to do that by rail, road, ice, or sea – or all four!
To find out more about Cosmos and to browse their extensive range of Canadian escorted holidays, you can head over to their website.