Canada

10 days in Canada – Ultimate 10-Day Itinerary – 2018

Recommended itinerary – 10 days in Canada

It’s decided, are you going to visit Canada in 10 days during your next vacation? Excellent choice !

In order to help you organize your stay, I have prepared a 9, 10 or 11 day itinerary in Canada to allow you to discover the West of the Country. If you want to visit Eastern Canada ( Montreal , Toronto etc ..), I recommend you read instead my article: A week in Eastern Canada. The program adapts very well for 10 days!

On this itinerary are some of the best-known cities in the region, such as Vancouver and Calgary , as well as the discovery of the main landmarks, including the famous Jasper and Banff National Parks.

This 10-day road trip to Canada is the perfect mix between city ​​trip and stroll in the most beautiful natural landscapes of the country! 

Throughout the article discover our detailed program day by day , our advice and good plans and of course our selection of the best accommodations for each stage.

So, what to do and see in Western Canada in 10 days?

Day 1-2: Vancouver

To begin your 10-day stay in Canada, I propose you to land in Vancouver, British Columbia. I will say right now that western Canada is a very large area for this circuit in Canada , so the return will be from Calgary. In 10 days, if you want to see the maximum of things, this is the best solution.

As you can see, renting a car is also essential to travel the vast expanses between cities and parks. I recommend you to go through Rentalcars.com , the site I use for all my car rentals abroad.

Many reasons:

  • The site is super convenient to compare renters in Canada and find the best offer
  • Thanks to their complete protection (do not forget to subscribe during your reservation!), No problem in case of damage or accidents, you will be reimbursed very quickly
  • If you change your mind or have to cancel your trip, cancellation is free!

To benefit from the best price and if you already know your holiday dates, I recommend you to rent your car now. Click here to compare prices! 

After these practical considerations, you can begin your 10-day visit to Canada with a visit to Vancouver.

I recommend you start by visiting the historic district of Vancouver, Gastown .

This is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the city’s atmosphere and see the beautiful Victorian buildings typical of the area. Do not miss to see the curiosity of Gastown, the famous Steam Clock!

Nearby, visit Chinatown to visit Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Chinese Garden, the first Chinese garden in the world to be built outside of China. The place is really beautiful and the atmosphere very soothing , perfect for recovering long hours of flight.

Then join Canada Place and its waterfront. The place offers a splendid view of the surrounding mountains and Stanley Park. Think about photographing Canada Place’s most famous item, the Digital Orca , a giant pixel art orca. One of Vancouver’s must-see!

Canada Place, a must in Vancouver

I also suggest you try Vancouver’s must-see attraction, Fly Over Canada, which takes you to Canada in 4D(not in 10 days but in 8 minutes!), Comfortably seated in dynamic seats. The experience is great but like everywhere in Vancouver, it’s not cheap.

For lunch, you will have no trouble finding something to eat, whether you are more street food or restaurants. Why not try Japadog , Japanese hot dogs?

For the rest of the program, spend a relaxing afternoon at Stanley Park, Vancouver’s largest park. You can explore it on foot or by bike , a walk of 9 km makes the tour. In both cases, do not miss to go to the Amerindian totem pole and from the point of view to admire the Lions Gate Bridge. 

At the end of the day, to admire the sunset, Vancouver’s best spot is atop the Vancouver Lookout. In the same style as the CN Tower in Toronto, the building has an observation platform at 170 meters to admire a 360 ° panorama of the entire city.

And to finish in style, this first day in Vancouver, heading to the Yaletown district , where are concentrated the best restaurants in the city. 

The next day, to continue to visit Vancouver, I propose a more original experience than usual during this tour in Canada: a flyover from Vancouver by seaplane!

Several companies are available, the rate will depend on the duration and places you want to see. If you want to fly over the city, the beaches and the parks, I advise you to book your excursion in advance with one of the most serious service providers right here. Count € 88 per person for 20 minutes by seaplane.

And because the emotions are digging, continue the morning on Granville Island , where you’ll find lots of vintage shops and local crafts but above all a huge indoor market !

For the lunch break I can only recommend that you make a picnic with local products or test the food court and its dishes from around the world. To enjoy with a good beer at the edge of the water.

Vancouver seen from Granville Island

In the afternoon, a cultural visit to the Museum of Anthropology to understand the history of First Nations , the Native American peoples of British Columbia and Canada. To see especially for his collection of totems. If you’ve ever visited the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa , it’s kind of the same.

At the exit of the museum, you can take a tour by the beach of Wreck Beach. It is right next door.

To find a bit of nature and greenery in Vancouver, head to the Van Elsen Botanical Garden. Considered one of the most beautiful gardens in North America , it has more than 7,500 species of plants and trees. Wooden bridges, waterfalls, fountains, the garden is really well done and very nice.

And to end the day, nothing beats a quick shopping session on Vancouver’s main commercial street, Robson Street. You have just arrived, it is obliged that you miss a T-shirt or a little dress in your suitcase !!! 🙂

To visit Vancouver in 2 days, you will not need your car. You can easily visit on foot or use public transport , which, as in any major tourist city, are highly developed and convenient.I advise you to rent a car from the 2nd stage of this 10-day trip to Canada.

To stay in Vancouver

  • Samesun Vancouver : Hostel located in the city center, 2 steps from Yaletown. Bed in dormitory from 35 €, breakfast included. The most: the central location, the atmosphere, the comfortable beds, the good breakfast with muffins and bagels.
  • The Sylvia Hotel: The hotel is located just 2 minutes walk from Stanley Park and one minute from the beach. Spacious and bright double room from 120 € per night. The most: the location, the friendliness of the staff, the authentic charm of the place.
  • Blue Horizon Hotel : Located on Robson Street, Vancouver’s main shopping street. Double room really spacious and comfortable with a magnificent view from 190 €. Pros: the location to visit Vancouver on foot, the view, the many shops and restaurants nearby, the comfort of the rooms. It’s our heart stroke for its benefit / price ratio! For me the best hotel in Vancouver.
  • The St Regis Hotel : Located in downtown, 200 meters from Vancouver Lookout. Spacious and warm double room from 240 € per night, breakfast included. The most: the optimal geographical location, the competent and warm staff, the comfort of the rooms, the breakfast excellent and hearty.

Day 3: Whistler

The second leg of this 10-day trip to Canada takes you to Whistler. From Vancouver, it will take about 2 hours to drive to Whistler.

Whistler is best known for being a ski resort with some of the best ski slopes in the world. If you travel to this part of Canada during the winter, this is the perfect place to enjoy winter sports in Canada. You can also go on dog sled rides or snowmobiling. 

In the village, you can also indulge in shopping and eat in very good restaurants.

A good program for the day, is not it?

But do not worry, if you do not like skiing or if it’s not winter, Whistler offers the opportunity to do many other activities throughout the year.

Things to do and see in Whistler include the following activities:

  • Ride the 2 highest peaks in Whistler in just 10 minutes with the Peak to Peak gondola. She is famous for its length, more than 4.4 km long! You will be able to admire a superb panorama on the valley and the glaciers.
  • Take a hike. Many trails start from Lost Lake. Remember to bring your picnic, there are some very nice places to land.
  • Try the mountain bike. Shops rent in Whistler and it’s a good way to walk the trails and experience new sensations.
  • Relax in one of Whistler’s upscale boutique hotels.
  • Get off at over 100 km / h on the largest zip line in Canada! 

Staying in Whistler

Whistler is the premier ski resort of choice in Western Canada. Even if you book as early as possible, expect still high rates, especially in the middle of winter.

  • Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel Whistler: Located 10 minutes walk from the slopes. Modern and cozy studio equipped with a kitchenette from 140 € per night. The most: the comfort and the decor of the accommodation, the very nice staff, the pool and the jacuzzi. This is our favorite for its benefit / price ratio in Whistler. 
  • Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside: Located just 150 meters from the departure of the gondola. Spacious studio, very well equipped with oven, microwave, dishwasher, practical to be able to make food, from 250 € the night. The most: the situation, the equipment, the friendliness of the staff.
  • Four Seasons Resort Whistler: An upscale hotel located in the upper part of Whistler. This 5 * hotel offers very comfortable and cozy double rooms with views of the mountains, from 500 € per night, breakfast 27 €. Goodies: a heated outdoor pool, a SPA, jacuzzis, free shuttle service. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Whistler!

For a slightly more economical alternative and if sleeping in a dormitory bed does not bother you, I advise you to sleep at Whistler Lodge Hostel. Everything is new, clean and you will have access to a jacuzzi in the middle of the forest. Bed in dormitory from 40 € per night.

Whistler

Day 4-5: Wells Gray Provincial Park

Third leg of this 10-day Canadian road trip, Wells Gray Provincial Park. Today is really a big stop to drive,as the drive from Whistler to the park takes about 5 1/2 hours. 

I know, it’s long, but it’s a must stop for all routes in Western Canada, with the park practically halfway between Whistler and Jasper (the next stop).

It allows you not to go all the way at once and it is truly a beautiful place in western Canada. It is a wilderpark and much less touristy than those of Jasper and Banff.

You have 2 possibilities:

  • you get up very early to arrive at the park early in the afternoon so you can begin to discover it quietly
  • make a full day road trip by taking your time on the road to admire the scenery and take some pictures. The road from Whistler to Wells Gray, Highway 99 is considered one of the most beautiful roads in Canada and really worth taking your time!

The following day, according to your desires and interests, here is a list of activities to do in Wells Gray Park:

  • See Helmcken Falls: These are the most famous, they are among the most beautiful in Western Canada. They are easily accessible within a 10 minute walk from the car park and located in a beautiful natural setting, this is the must-see site of Wells Gray.
  • See the other waterfalls you should not miss: the Bailey’s Chute where you can see the salmon going up the river; Spahat Falls and Dawson Falls. It is not for nothing that Wells Gray Park is nicknamed “The Waterfalls Park! “
  • Take a swim or canoe at Clearwater Lake
  • Hiking on one of the many trails. The one called Trophy Mountain leads you to Sheila Lake through sumptuous landscapes and beautiful flowery meadows.
  • Observe the black bears. 
When you arrive in Clearwater, go through the Visitor Center to get a map of the park. Very useful for organizing your day.

To get to Clearwater Lake, it’s better to have rented an SUV: there is not really a road, only a 26 km track and with a classic rental car, it’s a bit of a hassle and it’s a risk take a lot of time.

Staying in Wells Gray Park

  • Wells Gray Inn: Located at the park entrance. Basic double room but very clean from 60 € per night, breakfast 10 €. The most: the situation, the benefit / price ratio, the outdoor jacuzzi, the warm welcome. A convenient and economical hotel for a night in the park. 
  • Gateway B & B: Located in Clearwater, 1 minute walk to the beach. Apartment with 2 bedrooms, a corner, a separate entrance and a kitchen, the fridge is even filled by the owner before your arrival! From 100 € per night, breakfast included. Most: the comfort of accommodation, breakfast, the beautiful garden. Ideal for a stay with family or friends in Wells Gray Park. 
  • Stoneshire Guesthouse: Located 10 minutes drive from downtown Clearwater. Comfortable suite with sitting area and kitchen equipped with utensils and hotplates, from 140 € per night. More: the calm, the equipment, the proximity of the lake to bathe, the service of rent of bicycles and organization of descent in rafting.
Helmcken Falls, Wells Gray Park

Day 6-7: Jasper National Park

Visiting Canada in 10 days is all about taking a stop at the famous Jasper National Park , a landmark of Western Canada, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From Wells Gray Park, it’s a 4-hour drive to get there. Just before arriving in Jasper, stop at Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies.

You will probably arrive in the early afternoon, for the rest of the day, so I suggest you go see the 2 most beautiful lakes of Jasper:

  • Maligne Lake is approximately an hour’s drive from Jasper City. It is the largest rocky lake and Spirit Island , which is in the middle is one of the most photographed in the world. You can walk around the lake or enjoy a cruise on the lake. Count about 50 € for a commented cruise of 1h30.
  • On the return between Maligne Lake and Jasper, you’ll find Medicine Lake, the second lake to be seen in Jasper National Park.

Spend the night in Jasper , the park’s only “city” where you’ll find shops, restaurants and hotels.

The next day, spend a day exploring the National Park on foot. After the day spent yesterday by car and the day ahead for tomorrow, I recommend you to do some hiking ! Jasper is the perfect place for this, as it offers plenty of different trails for all levels. Check with the visitor center for a map.

Among the most popular hikes, I advise you:

  • The Maligne Canyon Trail : round trip distance 4.4 km for moderate difficulty
  • The Cavell Meadows Trail in the Mount Edith Cavell area: 7 km round-trip distance, medium difficulty
  • The Sulfur Skyline : 8 km round trip with a difficult level because there is a good elevation of 700 m. At the top, it offers a magnificent 360 ° view of the Rockies.
  • The Old Fort Point Hill Loop with stunning views of the Athabasca River: distance of 3.8 km with average difficulty level
  • The valley of 5 lakes : 4.5 km away and a medium difficulty.

And to end the day and relax, there’s nothing like passing through another must-see place in Jasper, Miette Hotsprings. In other words hot springs of hot water located outside. You can relax while enjoying a magnificent view of the mountains and the park.

Accommodation in Jasper

Tip: Book your accommodation in Jasper as soon as possible! Most establishments are full months in advance, even campsites. Prices can also fly according to the weeks: a room proposed to 120 € passes to 350 € the week after. The rates of the hotels that I propose to you are therefore really random.

  • Chateau Jasper: This hotel offers spacious and well-equipped double rooms from € 110 a night. Most: the pool and spa area, the comfort of the rooms, the price / performance ratio.
  • Mount Robson Inn: Hotel near downtown Jasper, 2 minutes drive. Very quiet double room with views of the mountains from 200 € per night, breakfast included. Most: the calm, 2 hot tubs.
  • Best Western Jasper Inn & Suites: The hotel offers several types of suites with seating areas, some with kitchenettes. They are all very warm and spacious. From 230 € per night, breakfast included. The most: sauna, steam room, swimming pool, the good location, the warm welcome.
  • Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge : Located 7 km from Jasper, on the shores of Lac Beauvert. Double room warm and comfortable from 400 € per night. Pros: the beautiful lakeside location, the heated outdoor pool, the attentive staff.

If you have a small budget to sleep in Jasper National Park, I recommend Jasper Downtown HostelThis hostel offers dorm beds from € 30 per night. Everything is super clean and modern.

Jasper National Park

Day 8-9: Banff National Park

For this 5 th leg of this 10-day trip to Canada, take the mythical route of the Canadian West, the Icefields Parkway.

The Icefield Parkways (Highway 93) is known to be one of the most scenic drives in Canada. It connects the cities of Jasper to Banff over 230 km through the two national parks.

I advise you to plan a whole day for the trip. There are indeed many places and points of view to admire all along the street. The car parks and lookouts are provided to be able to stop easily.

Stops to make when you travel on the Icefield Parkways:

  • See the Athabasca Falls, over 20 meters high
  • Stop at Sunwapta Falls
  • Discover the Athabasca Glacier and the Columbia Icefield. If you only have to make one stop on the glacier walk, this is it. You can walk the glacier on foot or take a bus ride on giant tires for a ride. It’s one of the most popular activities in the area! 
  • Lake Peyto, accessible by a 15 minute mini walk. You will be surprised by its turquoise waters from the melting glacier.

To not miss any of the points of interest, you can visit the site of the glacier walk. 

The glacier walk

At the end of the day, you are at the end of Route 93. For this night and the night after, I recommend you to stay in Lake Louise, the closest town to Lake Louise. This lake is in Banff National Park and is one of the most photographed lakes in the world. In an intense turquoise blue, the lake is simply splendid and ultra photogenic.

In the program of the next day , you can practice the most widespread activity in the park, hiking! Many hiking trails start from Lake Louise but also from Moraine Lake, the second famous Banff Lake. The flyer for all walks is available at the Visitor Center in Lake Louise Village. 

In the list of easy trails , I recommend the one that goes around Lake Louise in just 1 hour, a good way to get in shape. You can also climb to the Fairview Lookout , in just 45 minutes to admire the lake and the famous hotel in the background. On the same principle, you can also go around Moraine Lake in 45 minutes. 

For medium difficulty hikes, the most beautiful is undoubtedly that of the Plaine des Six Glaciers. With a duration of approximately 4 hours it allows to discover a series of impressive glaciers and peaks.

To find out in advance about the state of the trails, and check out all possible hikes, visit the Canada Park site. 

Our tips and tricks to better organize your day hike in Banff Park

1) Lake Louise and Moraine Lake both have parking. However the sites are limited, and during the tourist period (June to September), it is advisable to be there before 9 am if you want a place.

2) Once the Moraine Lake locations are complete, the road is cut off and you will not be able to access it. Note also that it is open only from May to October.

3) From Lake Louise (the village), a shuttle takes you to Lake Louise for free. Rotate approximately every 20 minutes until 6 pm for return.

4) Bears are very present in Banff Park, always have pepper spray with you and make noise  as you walk to hear you approach. The best is to move in groups.

Accommodation in Lake Louise / Banff National Park

Here, same recommendation as for Jasper National Park, book early! And also the same for the (very) high rates.

  • Paradise Lodge and Bungalows: Located 1 km from the village of Lake Louise. Suites and wooden bungalows, typical and warm from 300 € per night. The most: the ideal location, the beautiful setting, the excellent home.
  • Baker Creek Mountain Resort: Located 20 minutes drive from Lake Louise. This resort offers suites and chalets decorated in the mountain style with paneling and fireplaces from € 400 a night. Most: the location near the river, the natural environment, the beauty of the cottages. This is our recommendation for a romantic stay in Banff Park. 
  • Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise: This is the famous hotel on the shores of Lake Louise! Elegant and well decorated double room overlooking the lake or the castle park from € 600 a night. The most: the panoramic terrace to admire the lake, the geographical location, the friendly staff. It’s our choice for a luxury vacation in Banff National Park! 

A much cheaper option for the budget, spend a night in a youth hostel. I recommend the HI-Lake Louise Alpine CenterBed in dormitory from 40 € per night, hard to find cheaper!

The Fairmont Lake Louise Hotel – The Best Hotel In Banff

Day 10: Calgary

Here you are on the last leg of this 10-day trip to Canada. Today, leave Banff National Park to join Calgary. From Lake Louise, a journey of approximately 2 hours awaits you.

Calgary is often a stopover town on the way to or from a road trip in Western Canada. Yet it deserves a little tour to discover the main places of interest.

To visit Calgary in 1 day , I suggest you visit the Glenbow Museum. The perfect way to learn more about the history of the city and the region of Alberta. With 33,000 works, the Glenbow is nothing less than the largest art museum in Western Canada. His visit is really very interesting.

Then head to Calgary Tower, Calgary’s iconic landmark. This tower offers a 360 ° view of the entire city and part of the Canadian Rockies. With a glass floor, sensations guaranteed to almost 190 meters high! Just like in the towers of Toronto or Vancouver, you can have lunch in the revolving restaurant at the top.

The city of Calgary at night

In the afternoon, I recommend visiting Heritage Park Village. Stroll through a typical western Canadian village of the last century. Browse stalls, the forge, the bakery , to discover the lifestyles of yesteryear. Take a seat in an authentic steam locomotive or embark on a paddle boat cruise 

If you spend 10 days in Canada with your family , it’s a great idea to do something in Calgary!

In the late afternoon, go to the coolest neighborhood in Calgary: Kensington Village. You can enjoy it for shopping and the latest souvenir shopping. This is also where I suggest you take your evening meal, the neighborhood of some of Calgary’s best restaurants. 

If you’re lucky enough to have an extra day and visit Canada in 11 days:

  • You can add a day around Vancouver to go whale watching or visit a suspension bridge in Capilano , the most famous place near Vancouver.
  • Another option: if you prefer nature to the city, add a day in Jasper or Banff to hike.
Staying in Calgary
  • Wicked Hostels :Youth hostel located opposite the Calgary Stampede. Bed in dormitory from 25 €, breakfast included. Goodies: the central location, the full breakfast, the warm atmosphere and the free laundry:-D
  • Lakeview Signature Inn : Located approximately 20 minutes drive from the center of Calgary. Studio with kitchenette equipped from 90 € per night, breakfast included. Pros: spacious room, the possibility to make yourself to eat, the indoor pool, a barbecue in the garden, the excellent breakfast. This is our favorite for its unbeatable value for money!
  • Elan Hotel : Located right on the 17 th Avenue, 15 minutes’ walk from the Calgary Tower .. Modern Double room, spacious and bright from 115 € a night, breakfast included. Most: location, comfort of rooms, excellent bedding.
  • Hôtel Le Germain : The hotel is located directly opposite the Calgary Tower, ideal for visiting the city on foot. Modern and spacious double room from 250 € per night, breakfast included. Most: an exceptional hotel with attentive staff, very good breakfast, the comfort of the rooms, the size of the bathrooms. I highly recommend it for an exceptional stay in Calgary.

Feel free to give us your opinion and suggestions on our 10-day itinerary in Canada!

Calgary
10 days in Canada – Ultimate 10-Day Itinerary – 2018
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Jennifer Bringardner

Through BonAdvisor, I share my passion for travel since 2017. A hobby at first, I quickly realized that my articles could inspire travelers like you to better organize their trips. A question about a destination, a visit, a good plan? I'll answer in the comments.

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