In Canada, there is no shortage of activities and attractions for tourists. From hiking in the mountains and nature parks to kayaking in Vancouver or relaxing in trendy cafés in Montreal. In this article, we offer useful tips to get the most out of a backpacking holiday in Canada and how you can apply for the mandatory eTA.
When hearing the word "backpacking" most people usually think of countries in Southeast Asia or Europe. Canada may not be the first country that comes to mind. Yet, Canada is a great place to go backpacking.
Canada is enormous. It is the second-largest country in the world. This means that there are many things to do. Nature lovers will feel especially at home in Canada. The vast majority of Canada consists of unspoilt nature. But if you prefer to stay in the cities, Canada has got you covered. Canadaʼs cities are bustling metropolises with activities for everyone. More than 70% of Canadaʼs population lives within 160 kilometres of the US border. In fact, more than half the population lives in the states of Quebec and Ontario alone.
Apply for an eTA easily online
Canada is also an ideal destination for backpackers as the mandatory travel authorization for Canada, the eTA, is relatively inexpensive. An eTA costs only £19.95 per person, and is applied for entirely online. There is no need to visit the embassy. One only has to fill in the online application form, after which the costs have to be paid. After approval (on average within 5 days), the eTA is digitally linked to the passport with which the application was made.
Since Canada is so big, it is virtually impossible to see everything in one holiday. Fortunately, an eTA is valid for a maximum of five years. With an eTA one may travel to Canada an unlimited number of times.
Money and Costs
In Canada, people pay with the Canadian dollar (CAD). 1 CAD is equivalent to approximately £ 0.57. Many parts of Canada also accept the US dollar. However, it is recommended that you exchange money for Canadian dollars in advance. If you pay with US dollars, the exchange rate is determined by the company you are buying from. While this can sometimes work out positively with a better exchange rate than the official one, it can also mean that you lose more money.
ATMs can be found almost everywhere in Canada. Again, however, it is better to change money in advance. The transaction fees at ATMs can quickly add up. If you need money, it is best to go to a bank or exchange office.
Depending on the level of comfort you want, the costs per day can vary greatly. For example, a bed in a room in a hostel costs about £ 15 per night and a hotel easily costs double. Because Canada is so big, it is highly recommended renting a car. The cost depends on the type of car you rent. On average, renting a car costs between £ 25 and £ 35 per day.
Sights and activities
An eTA Canada allows you to stay in Canada for up to five months per visit. Below are some highlights in Canada that shouldn’t be missed while on holiday in the country.
From west to east
Vancouver and Whistler
Vancouver is considered by many to be the most beautiful city in Canada. This is partly due to the cityʼs British colonial past, which has resulted in beautiful Victorian architecture. Stanley Park, a huge city park of more than 4400 hectares, is a must-see during a visit to Vancouver. Many tourists also go to Granville Island. This man-made island is full of shopping malls, markets and fun workshops that one can participate in.
From Vancouver, you can drive to Whistler via the HW-99 highway. Whistler is mainly known as one of the best ski areas in Canada, and during the winter months it is very busy on the slopes. But also outside the winter months, there is a lot to do, like hiking in the wilderness or mountain biking.
Calgary and Banff
Calgary is the largest and richest city in the Canadian province of Alberta. This is largely due to the oil industry. It is therefore no surprise that there is a lot to do in this city. In the historical district of Heritage Park, one steps back in time to the period of the pioneers in the 19th century. Car enthusiasts can visit Gasoline Alley, a museum with a large collection of antique cars. In July, Calgary hosts the Calgary Stampede, a large festival that is all about the Wild West.
Calgary is an excellent base for exploring the Rocky Mountains. Like everything in Canada, this high mountain range is enormous, with a length of more than 3000 kilometres. In the Rockies you will find several nature parks. One of the most popular of these is Banff National Park, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful natural areas in the world. Banff is home to beautiful sights, such as the strikingly blue Moraine Lake that lies between the glaciers.
Toronto and Niagara Falls
Toronto is the capital of the province of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. The city is known for its diversity, combining beautiful nature with impressive architecture. The city is situated on Lake Ontario, one of Canadaʼs 5 Great Lakes. You can walk along the waterfront at various places in Toronto, such as the Waterfront Trail or Scarborough Heights Park. Toronto also has the largest museum in Canada: the Royal Ontario Museum. You can also visit to the top of the famous CN Tower for a magnificent view of the city.
Of course, no trip to Toronto would be complete without a visit to Niagara Falls, the famous waterfalls on the border with America. Niagara Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in the world, and you can get up close and personal with the thundering falls at several locations.
Montreal and Mont-Tremblant
In the east of Canada is the province of Quebec. Montreal is the largest city in Quebec and the second-largest city in Canada after Toronto. Both French and English are spoken here, and Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris. Montreal is characterized by the French architectural style, which is best seen in the old city district Vieux-Montreal. Here you will find the Notre Dame of Montreal, a beautiful basilica from the early 19th century.
But nature lovers are also in the right place here. Quebec has beautiful nature reserves, such as the national park Mont-Tremblant, at about a two-hour drive from Montreal. In Mont-Tremblant, you can enjoy various activities, such as biking, hiking and canoeing.
Whether you decide to backpack in the east or west, there is always something to do in Canada. Apply for your eTA now for an unforgettable backpacking holiday in Canada!