HI Hostels Blog

Adventures in the Great White North: A Backpacker’s Guide to Hostelling Across Canada

Dive into the untamed beauty of Canada’s wilderness as we guide you through the best hostelling destinations across the country. Discover hidden gems, epic hiking trails, and breathtaking landscapes that define the essence of backpacking on an unforgettable journey across Canada, a land of diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage. From the coastal beauty of Vancouver to the historic charm of Halifax, this guide will help backpackers discover the best of what the Great White North has to offer. Let’s explore some must-visit destinations and exciting activities to enjoy along the way.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Known for its stunning natural beauty and cosmopolitan atmosphere Vancouver offers two great hostel options! Check-in, relax and enjoy this dynamic city! Cycle or walk around the urban oasis of Stanley Park. Home to lush forests, scenic seawalls, and cultural landmarks like the Totem Poles and the Vancouver Aquarium. Explore the bustling public market, artisan shops, and waterfront dining in the cultural hub of Granville Island. Don’t forget to take the Skyride gondola up to Grouse Mountain for breathtaking views, go hiking, or try skiing and snowboarding in the winter.

Canmore, Alberta

Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Canmore offers breathtaking natural scenery and outdoor adventures. Whether hiking or cycling you can explore the extensive trail system, including the Grassi Lakes Trail and the Canmore Nordic Centre. Try a bit of caving and discover the underground world of Rat’s Nest Cave with a guided spelunking tour. Immerse yourself in the countryside while keeping an eye out for local wildlife such as elk, deer, and mountain goats. HI Canmore is a fantastic base for your trip, with stunning mountain views it is  simply perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

Quebec City, Quebec 

Cobblestone streets, charming architecture, and vibrant French-Canadian culture, Quebec City must be on your Canadian itinerary! HI Quebec City is perfectly located within the walls of Old Quebec. From here, indulge in this UNESCO World Heritage site.  Visit the Château Frontenac, Place Royale, and the city fortifications. Take a short drive to  the impressive Montmorency Falls, higher than Niagara Falls and with stunning views. Historians will love spending time at the Plains of Abraham, a historic battlefield turned urban park. Pack a picnic and enjoy learning about Quebec’s history!

Penticton, British Columbia

Situated between two beautiful lakes, Penticton is known for its vineyards, beaches, and outdoor recreation. Tour the local wineries in the Okanagan Valley, renowned for their award-winning wines. Relax on the sandy shores of Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake, or try kayaking, paddleboarding, and boating. Enjoy biking or hiking along the scenic Kettle Valley Rail Trail, offering stunning views of the valley and vineyards. Wind down after your exploring at HI Penticton Hostel. It’s great location means you’re within walking distance to the beach and downtown area.

Calgary – Alberta

The bustling city of Calgary is known for its vibrant arts scene and close proximity to the Rocky Mountains. HI Calgary City Centre sits right next to the Bow river, popular for a day out walking, biking, or paddling. Take in panoramic views of the city and the Rockies from the observation deck of Calgary Tower. Step back in time and explore the living history museum, Heritage Park Historical Village. Don’t forget to also visit the Glenbow Museum where you will discover Western Canadian history, art, and culture through diverse exhibitions and collections. Enjoy!

Halifax, Nova Scotia

The vibrant city of Halifax is the capital of Nova Scotia. It has a very rich maritime history and a lively cultural scene. Stroll along the waterfront boardwalk, visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, and enjoy local seafood at the Seaport Farmers’ Market. Explore the historic fort of Citadel Hill, learning about Halifax’s military history while enjoying panoramic views of the city. Venture a bit farther and take a short drive to Peggy’s Cove, a picturesque fishing village with stunning coastal scenery and a great lighthouse! After your sightseeing take some time to relax and share your travel experiences with others at HI Halifax

Canada’s vast landscapes and diverse cities offer endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. By staying at hostels across the country, backpackers can enjoy affordable accommodations while meeting fellow travellers and immersing themselves in local cultures. Whether you’re drawn to the urban charm of Vancouver, the rugged beauty of Canmore, the tranquil lakes of Penticton, the vibrant energy of Calgary, the historic allure of Quebec City, or the maritime spirit of Halifax, Canada promises an unforgettable journey. Pack your bags, lace up your boots, and get ready to discover the Great White North!

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