Snow-capped peaks, crystal-clear lakes, colourful forests, lively cities and friendly people. Canada is a vast country simply overflowing with natural beauty, and by far the best way to explore it is by car. This week, we’ve put together a road trip for you which you can do by starting out from Montréal.
Canadian Road Trip, Stop #1: Montréal
The starting-out point for our amazing road trip through south-eastern Canada is the multicultural metropolis on the St. Lawrence River. Whether you want culture, architecture, good food, or simply to chat with incredibly friendly people , anything’s possible in Canada’s second-largest city.
The “must-sees” in the city on the St. Lawrence: Stroll through the beautifully restored old city , enjoy the view from Mont Royal , take a tour by bike or go shopping – either above-ground along the famous Rue St. Catherine , or in the subterranean corridors of the (equally well-known) Montréal Shopping Centre.
Canadian Road Trip, Stop #2: Ottawa
After Montréal, we leave French-speaking Canada and enter the Province of Ontario. The Canadian capital city of Ottawa is both enchanting and architecturally amazing. En route into the city, we stop at the Ottawa River to photograph the spectacular Parliament Building, with its Peace Tower , which offers a grandiose 360-degree view of the Rideau Canal .
More must-sees and to-dos in Ottawa: explore the National Gallery, the Canadian Museum of History, and the city centre on your own. If you prefer to see the city from above, think about booking a round-trip by air in the historic open biplane.
Canadian Road Trip, Stop #3: Algonquin Provincial Park
On the way to the next major city, we pass through Algonquin Provincial Park , the oldest national park in Ontario. With its untouched forests and swamps , which are best explored by canoe , the park will inspire and amaze you equally. On the road through the southern section of the park, you can observe moose , and with a bit of luck, even snapping turtles .
Canadian road trip, stop #4: Toronto
After a whistlestop sightseeing tour of Toronto , we jump on the ferry out to Toronto Island and enjoy the spacious park with the highly sociable locals who love to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city to enjoy the beauty of nature on their collective doorstep . After this, we continue north along the banks of Lake Ontario .
Canadian road trip, stop #5: Thousand Islands National Park
About two hours later, we reach Thousand Islands National Park , a group of islands located at the end of Lake Ontario, where the St. Lawrence flows on and eventually empties into the Atlantic. Most of the islands (the border between Canada and the U.S. runs in between them) are accessible by boat. Ships regularly cast off from Gananoque , showing you the most beautiful parts of the national park.
Canadian Road Trip, Stop #6: Upper Canada Village
Continuing on downstream along the St. Lawrence, we come to Upper Canada Village open-air museum. This is home to over 40 historic buildings, as well as mills and various workshops and guesthouses dating back to Canada in the nineteenth century. At the various stopping-off points, numerous extras dressed exactly as they would have done 150 years ago offer an extraordinarily authentic impression of life for French immigrants around 1860.
Canadian Road Trip, Stop #7: Trois-Rivières
Travelling towards Québec City now, we cross the St. Lawrence River at Trois-Rivières via the historic Laviolette Bridge , the only bridge between Montréal and Québec City. The picturesque Kings Highway , along which villas and mansions in wonderful gardens alternate with historic villages, begins a few kilometres out from the provincial capital. The 130 kilometre-long route, which leads all the way to Québec City, is the loveliest stretch of this historic road.
Canadian Road Trip, Stop #8: Québec City
With its small alleyways , the capital of the Province of Québec has a decidedly European – or more precisely, French – feel to it. The old city is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and lies on a 100 metre-high citadel, an imposing fortress with the Château Frontenac – the must-see attraction of Québec City. The former seat of the government of New France, the castle is now home to the most photographed hotel in the world. The upper and lower parts of the city are connected by a rack and pinion railway. Down in the lower city, you can wander through medieval lanes and enjoy the “savoir vivre” – the art of living beautifully, French Canadian-style. If you want to find out more about the history of the French conquerors and their British opponents, head for the Musée de la Civilisation . But the vast murals on the historic buildings also tell the story of the colonisation and the important personalities who helped shape the country.
Canadian Road Trip, Stop #9: Parc marin du Saguenay
Having visited the lively town, we get back to nature . Our next stopping-off point is Parc marin du Saguenay – after Québec City, another interesting stop on our road trip. Here, you can watch beluga whales and enjoy spectacular views of the vast Saguenay Fjord from the numerous trekking paths. One of the loveliest hikes is the Montage Blanche , which passes through a variety of landscapes, ranging from forest and swamp areas, all the way up to Alpine peaks – including a magical 360-degree view. Keep an eye out, and you might get lucky and see a beaver living by the side of the road.
Canadian Road Trip, Stop #10: La Mauricie National Park
After the whales, come the bears which you’ll catch sight of at Lac Saint-Jean , a few kilometres after Saguenay, on a Black Bear Tour . On this, the final stopping-off point before our journey back to Montréal, we see the beavers and moose which can be admired in La Mauricie National Park . The best way to do this is to book a guided tour with a national park ranger , and get to know the hugely diverse flora and fauna which make this fantastically beautiful national park in the Laurentian Mountains so unique. Unique, just like this amazing country!
Tips for your Canadian Road Trip
You’ll need around three weeks to do the entire round trip. You can also cut the trip short, of course, and visit Québec City, the national parks of Saguenay, Lac Saint-Jean and La Mauricie another time. Either way, the best way to do the trip is to rent a car or mobile home. Find your direct flights from Vienna to Montréal right here: