Though it's not a traditional shoestring destination, Canada can be explored by visitors on a tight budget with some clever planning. With free festivals, good-value activities, and wallet-friendly tours, Canada's major cities have lots to offer thrifty travelers. See below for top tips on exploring Canada for less.
Vancouver may be an expensive place to live, but for travelers visiting, it's easy enough to keep spending in check. The city's beaches, Stanley Park, and neighborhoods such as Gastown can be enjoyed without spending a ton. And, coach tours will let you experience outdoor activities in out-of-town destinations like the North Shore and Vancouver Island without forking out a fortune.
Montreal offers lots of inexpensive fun, whether it's climbing up to the lookout on Mount Royal, wandering around the cobbled streets of Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal), or attending any of the city's many free summer festivals. Coach tours of Montreal allow visitors to see attractions for a low price, while good-value day tours to Montreal include round-trip transport, guide commentary, and free time to explore the historic core.
The capital of the francophone province of Quebec, Quebec City is a popular cruise stop off, with visitors drawn to its European-style architecture and fairy-tale charm. One of the most enjoyable and economical ways to get a feel for this city is to tour it by hop-on hop-off buses, which travel around the main sights and offer commentary. Tours to the surrounding countryside, stopping at the likes of Montmorency Falls, Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, and Orleans Island (Ile d'Orleans), showcase the natural beauty and distinct culture of Quebec, at a reasonable price.
Despite being such a big tourist destination, Niagara Falls can be done on a budget. Savvy travelers can prepurchase sightseeing passes and packages that grant entry to multiple attractions at a reduced cost. Or, go as part of organized day tours, which include round-trip transport, a boat cruise to see the falls, and access to other top area attractions, for a fixed price.
Toronto is a world-class city and many of its restaurants, attractions, and hotels come with a price tag to match. But, it's possible to book some good-value experiences in advance. Hop-on hop-off bus tours and walking tours of neighborhoods, such as the Distillery District, Old Toronto, Kensington Market, and Chinatown, are fun and informative but won't break the bank. Food tours can also offer good value for money, allowing you to sample goods from a variety of dining hot spots without paying full whack at each.