Oh, Canada, you’re one fantastic country to travel in, especially as a solo traveler!
For those who love the outdoors, want a safe and incredibly friendly place to travel through, and who want to experience many different cultures all at once, Canada is the perfect solo destination at any time of year.
Canada is easy to navigate, has a very low crime rate, is absolutely huge, so you can’t run out of national and provincial parks or activities, and it’s breathtakingly beautiful, need we say more?
Though the whole country is worth exploring, these are a few places that my fellow travel bloggers and I think are particularly good for solo travelers in Canada:
1. Banff, Alberta
Alberta was my first stop ever in Canada and by the time I left, I was seriously asking myself if I should just come back and move in. Alberta is a winter wonderland with snow-shoeing tracks, nordic skiing, ice climbing, and ice fishing all nearby. It’s also home to excellent downhill skiing in Banff and Lake Louise. In the summer, it’s the perfect jumping off point for hiking trails galore.
Though everywhere in Canada has its own special beauty, this part of Alberta sure is a standout.
2. Icefields Parkway, Alberta
“When it comes to incredible scenery, you can’t go past the Icefields Parkway in Alberta. The road is often described as the ‘most beautiful drive in the world’ and it’s easy to see why. Snow-capped mountains line both sides of the road, a river runs through the valley, waterfalls tumble down across the rocks and several glaciers are within easy reach.
The Icefields Parkway is not particularly long – 233 kilometres from Jasper to Lake Louise – and is easy to do in one direction in a day, even with all the stops. And it’s these stops that make it perfect for a solo traveller. You’ll never have a chance to get bored on this drive because there are constantly places you’ll want to get out of the car to take photos and explore off the road. And then, regardless of which direction you go, you’ll find friendly towns with lots of other travellers at the end of the road trip, in Jasper or Banff National Parks.” – Michael of Time Travel Turtle
3. Winnipeg, Manitoba
When I told some Canadian friends that I was heading to Winnipeg for a couple weeks last summer they scratched their heads and asked why. This must be Canada’s most underrated province yet it’s probably the friendliest and one of the least crowded to travel through in the summer months. It also has thousands of lakes so if you’re into paddling, it’s the perfect place to get some solitude.
I joined a multi-day canoeing adventure right out of Winnipeg, enjoyed the summer Fringe Festival, and took a road trip around Lake Winnipeg (you can read more about that on my Manitoba writeup on Alamo’s Scenic Drive).
4. Montreal, Quebec
“Montreal is an absolutely amazing city that combines the best of North America and Europe into one very walkable place. The people are friendly and there is a ton to do. Old Montreal is full of cafes and European charm and a perfect way to spend a Sunday. Centre-ville is the main part of Montreal and has everything you could want, bars, restaurants, museums and culture. The people in the city are beautiful and incredibly fashion forward. The city would certainly be more enjoyable, however, if you speak French and could be slightly intimidating to a solo traveler that doesn’t speak any French at all (most people in Montreal do speak English, but a little bit of French does go a long way).” – Paige of Miss Travel
5. Ottawa, Ontario
“Despite being the Capital city of Canada, Ottawa is often skipped over for the bigger, brighter cities of Toronto and Montreal. However, for solo travellers, Ottawa is a a great choice. Part of Ottawa’s charm is that it has the big city attractions with a friendly small town feel and lots of green space. It’s also really easy to get around. Museums, art galleries, parks, the parliament buildings, and the historic Byward Market are all within walking distance of one another.
Ottawa is also a student city, with two large universities and a college, so there are plenty of young people around. Plus, Ottawa locals are known to be super friendly. It’s pretty common to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger while waiting for a coffee or while admiring artwork in the National Gallery of Canada. If you visit during the summer head to Major’s Hill Park or Nepean point. Both are favourite hangout spots for locals looking to soak up the sun.” – Hannah of Eat Sleep Breathe Travel
6. Killarney Provincial Park, Ontario
“Solo travel is obviously a lot about spending time on your own, but I’ve never felt so alone (in a good way) as I did in Killarney Provincial Park. This is THE place to try canoe camping: paddle from lake to lake, pitch your tent in solitude near the water shore and climb the surrounding granite hills for gorgeous views. The park is so beautiful, it inspired members of the Ontario Society of Artists to capture it in numerous of their paintings and watercolours. During the summer you should leave your flysheet in the bag and sleep under the starry sky, listen closely to the noises of the forest and spot local wildlife from your sleeping bag!
For safety and additional paddle power, I hired a guide from Killarney Outfitters. They also provided all the gear and food necessary for a successful and bear-free weekend in the park. If this is your first canoe camping trip – like it was for me – I can only recommend heading out with a guide who is experienced and skilled in order to keep you safe and entertained.” – Kathi from Watch Me See
7. Vancouver Island, British Columbia
“Vancouver Island is a fantastic destination for solo travellers who love the outdoors. It has all the gorgeous scenery of the Pacific North West with even more snowy mountains, and all on an island off the west coast of Canada. Don’t miss the rugged coastline of Tofino, surrounded by ancient rainforest and with some of the best surfing and whale watching you can find, worth visiting in both summer and winter. If you’re on the island from May to September, the West Coast Trail is a 5 to 7 day hike in the Pacific Rim National Park that calls itself the “hike of a lifetime”. Check out Victoria, the capital of British Colombia and the biggest city on Vancouver Island, which feels kind of like a British city transplanted in Canada, but with a hippy vibe. The people are friendly and often environmentally conscious, which is no surprise given the beautiful surroundings they live in. You can explore Vancouver Island by public transport, hiring a car, or hitchhiking, which is fairly common on the island.” – Sonja of Migrating Miss
8. Vancouver, British Columbia
“Canada was actually one of the first places I ever traveled to solo. I fell in love with the country – and in particular with beautiful Vancouver! For me, Vancouver is one of the few places in the world which has everything – beach, the mountains, beautiful nature, and a big city life. The city center of Vancouver is easily accessible by public transport foot and even by foot, making it perfect for solo travelers. There’s a wide range of good accommodations, from hostels to hotels – or just try Couchsurfing. That’s what I did, and I met some great people. It’s true that Canadians are the friendliest people on earth!
A place you can’t miss is the beautiful Stanley Park, offering you beautiful views of the harbor and on the skyline. If you’re looking for a nice workout, hike up the Grouse Grind – you’ll be rewarded by spectacular views of the city. Afterwards, you can relax on the city beach and enjoy the sunset.
For me, Vancouver is the perfect city – enjoy your visit!” – Patrick of German Backpacker
9. Sunshine Coast, British Columbia
“Everyone loves Vancouver and rightfully so. It is perfect for the solo traveller with its bustling bars and jumping hostels but visitors keep missing a gem over the water, Canada’s Sunshine Coast. The Sunshine Coast is made up of lots of small towns and even more lakes. Getting around is the only stumbling block for solo travellers as the bus service isn’t that well connected. However, that really isn’t an issue because the types of travellers that hit the Coast in BC are relaxed, friendly and always willing to take others along with them on their trip.
Staying at Up The Creek in Roberts Creek comes highly recommended for its relaxed vibes, hammocks on the porch and free bikes to pedal to the bigger towns of Sechelt and Gibsons. Don’t be fooled by the one shop village status, Roberts Creek has a big social calendar of live bands and fayres. The number of return visitors (family, couple, adventure, yoga loving, or solo) is a testament to just how lovely the Sunshine Coast is.” – Gemma of Two Scots Abroad
10. Calgary, Alberta
“Calgary is basically Canada’s answer to Denver. A hip, modern city that’s an easy drive to Banff and the rest of the Canadian Rockies, the city itself is small with a distinct neighborhood vibe. Take in the views from Calgary Tower, stop by Canada Olympic Park, and peruse the boutiques, restaurants, and bars downtown on Stephen Avenue Walk. If you come in July, the Calgary Stampede is the big summer to-do with rodeos, concerts and Western events that make for a two-week party.” – Lauren of The Down Lo
11. Quebec City, Quebec
“What intrigues and excites me about Quebec City is the French influence on everything, be it food, architecture or the spoken language. You will wonder if Canada has a Narnia-like hidden wardrobe that leads you into France! The colorful buildings with their fairytale-esque appearance add to this illusion. Fear not if you don’t know French though, Quebec City is mostly bilingual. However, not everyone speaks fluent English, so keep a map of the city handy and I advise you to learn a few useful sentences in French.
Based on JUST one statistic, Quebec City already ranks high for solo female travelers – province with the lowest crime rate in Canada. Other factors that will push Quebec City to the top of the list are – friendly locals, year round beauty and activities, art and culture, bike friendly destination and that sweet.. sweet.. Maple Taffy!” – Pari of Traveling Pari
12. Kananaskis Country, Alberta
“I have taken many exhilarating solo trips to such far flung places as post-earthquake Haiti and Mali in West Africa, but as a native Albertan, one of my absolute favorite places in the world is a lesser-known outdoor gem called “Kananaskis Country.” This large natural area consists of multiple provincial parks stitched-together along Highway 40 which is about an hour drive west of Calgary. With soaring Rocky Mountain vistas, pristine glacier lakes, stunning alpine meadows and a fraction of the crowds that Banff National Park attracts, K Country is a world-class destination in its own right, and offers plenty of opportunities for a solo trip in the mountains.
Active women can get lost in the beautiful sights and dizzying heights on any of the superlative hiking, cycling, and cross-country ski trails that will suit all skill levels. As always when travelling solo, some safety precautions should be taken, so always leave your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member and carry bear spray when on the trails. Making noise is the best deterrent against run ins with carnivores so sing a song to yourself like no one is listening, except for the bears!
For a taste of rustic luxury, book yourself into the beautiful and remote Mount Engadine Lodge and sample the delicious locally inspired cuisine while watching the sun set over the meadow from the lodge’s expansive wrap-around deck. Included in the nightly rates are afternoon high tea with scrumptious treats, an award-worthy dinner, hearty breakfast and a packed lunch to take with you on any number of the adventures accessible from the area. In the winter, you could snowshoe onto the lodge’s meadow, or ski any of amazing nearby trails. In the warmer months, there are endless hiking opportunities and the chance to cycle to the top of the highest paved road in Canada. The possibilities are limited only by how much energy you have.
For ladies seeking a more relaxing retreat in the mountains, check into the Delta Hotels Kananaskis Lodge for a weekend of pampering and fine dining in the most gorgeous mountain setting.
If Kananaskis is not on your radar for solo female travel already, it should be now. Its exhilarating mountain scenery and breathtaking adventures will give any adventurous woman the chance to get away from it all in the most incredible setting.” – Thea of Zen Travellers
13. Toronto, Ontario
“Despite Canada being my neighbor, I’ve not explored it as much as I’d like to say. I grew up going to Niagara Falls a lot and I’ve been to the charming and breath-taking Victoria. Last fall, however, I took my first solo trip to Canada and my first trip ever to Toronto. Like many do, I fell head over heels for this diverse city. Toronto is perfect for a solo traveler and even an inexperienced one at that. The city is easy to navigate, I never felt unsafe (don’t ever let your guard down though), and the city is extremely walkable but there is also great public transportation. I stayed in both a hostel and couchsurfed during my time there and both proved perfect for meeting other people and bettered my solo experience even more!
My favorite things to do include exploring the extensive street art including Graffiti Alley and Underpass Park, spending a day in Kensington Market wandering through the shops and sampling food, finding unique coffee shops (my favorite was Odin – a Scandinavian inspired cafe and bar) and eating my way through Toronto. You can find just about any cuisine imaginable in Toronto and as a vegan, I had absolutely no trouble eating to my heart’s content. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled as you’re walking around to see all the fun and eclectic parts of the cities such as an entire store devoted to condoms, a Harry Potter themed shop, and a dog fountain.” – Ashley of The Southern Gypsy
“My first experience with Toronto was when I arrived for the annual International Film Festival when the city is teeming with movie stars and film hopefuls.. I was pleasantly surprised to find the city easy to navigate on my own by foot, subway or tram. You can peek into the historical past at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel and Casa Loma castle; marvel at the modern CN Tower and indulge in the farmers market offerings at the St. Lawrence Market. When you look past the poutine you’ll find a city of diverse food neighborhoods (Little Italy, Little Portugal, Leslieville and The Annex) and food trucks serving a (really good) taste of the world. Uniquely Toronto attractions are The Hockey Hall of Fame, Bata Shoe Museum (yes a museum celebrating shoes!) and shopping at Hudson’s Bay. Toronto celebrates its residents and welcomes new guests with warm Canadian hospitality so that your visit is one of many yet to come.” – Suzanne of Phila Travel Girl
Bonus: Music Festivals
“Canada is without a doubt one of the most picturesque countries in the world, so that means it’s home to plenty of pretty amazing venue locations for events. I’d argue it’s also the best country in the world to attend a music festival by yourself, because Canadians are the nicest people in the world! So polite, kind, and unbelievably. There are tons of incredible music festivals in Canada to choose from, but I’d personally recommend events like Shambhala, Astral Harvest, Motion Notion, and Osheaga Festival if you’re looking for a solid party! The festival atmosphere is truly intoxicating at these events, and I guarantee you’ll leave the festival with so many new amazing friends. While most people would never think of attending an event like this alone – it can be one of the most rewarding experiences!” – Dave of Jones Around The World
Those are a few of our favorite places to travel in Canada, though the list in the world’s second largest country is, of course, probably endless! For safety, outdoor adventures, beauty, and easy-to-navigate cities with plenty to do year-round, Canada has it all.
Did we miss anything that should be on this list? Let us know in the comments!
*This post was brought to you in partnership with Alamo Rent a car. All thoughts on the best places to travel solo in Canada belong to their respective authors.