Ottawa holidays are perfect if you are seeking a heavy dose of Canadian culture in some of the world’s top museums. You can wander the stately streets of Parliament Hill, shop at bustling ByWard Market, and cruise along the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Canada’s majestic capital Ottawa really does have it all. The city boasts a blend of Canadian and French history as well as multi-cultural districts like Chinatown and Little Italy. Start your trip in Parliament Hill, which is perched above the river and lined with impressive buildings complete with spires and clock towers. During the summer, you can watch the changing of the guard and nightly light-show on the hill. If it’s a warm day, why not cycle or walk alongside the Rideau Canal? If you’re choosing to visit in the winter then you might want to get your skates on - literally - as this stretch transforms into the world’s longest ice skating rink. If you love history will find plenty to interest you here, as Ottawa is home to seven of Canada’s nine national museums. There are dozens of famous landmarks to explore too, including the National Gallery, Canadian Mint, the Museum of History, and Sussex Drive, one of the city's major ceremonial and institutional streets and home to the Candian Prime Minister.
Holidays in Ottawa, Canada: a cultural delight
No trip to Ottawa would be complete without visiting ByWard Market, the heart of the city’s restaurant and bar scene. Shop at the farmer’s market, try some Canadian dishes like poutine and BeaverTails, peruse local crafts, and soak up the carnival atmosphere.
Stay at one of Ottawa’s best hotels, many of which are located in ancient buildings. The Fairmont Château Laurier is set in a turreted, French-Gothic building by the canal, while the Lord Elgin Hotel near Parliament Hill dates back to the 1940s. More modern hotels in the central area include the Westin Ottawa and Delta Ottawa City Centre.
Want to discover more of Canada? Then head out of the capital to visit Ontario’s spectacular national parks like Bruce Peninsula and Georgian Bay, where you can cruise the Thirty Thousand Islands. Spot black bears and moose in Algonquin Provincial Park and visit the Muskoka region for trekking, dog sledding and kayaking. Our Eastern Journey tour takes in all of Canada’s major east coast cities, including Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, as well as the mighty Niagara Falls. To experience both Canada’s urban hubs and its striking wilderness, our Canadian Contrasts tour includes both the west coast cities, as well as Banff National Park with its snow-capped peaks, lakes and glaciers.
Great sample itineraries
Browse our selection of Ottawa tours. From east coast city gems and crashing Niagara Falls to west coast favourites like Vancouver, Calgary and stunning Banff National Park, you can tailor these to your heart’s content with our specialist experts.
Montreal And Ottawa Holidays
Escorted Tour From East To West Canada
As the Nation's capital, there is never a shortage of things to see and experience in Ottawa. From its incredible national museums to its scenic vistas and iconic sights, discover some of the very best that Ottawa has to offer below.
Walking Gourmet Food Tour of Byward Market
Get to know Ottawa's vibrant culinary scene and discover hidden gems in the lively Byward Market area of the city. Discover a 'progressive dinner' experience, with four-course meal split across four different award-winning and famous restaurant whilst you soak up the eclectic atmosphere of the area as you stroll between each eatery.
Ottawa Historical Highlights Walking Tour
Enjoy a leisurely sightseeing tour with a private and knowledgeable guide, as they provide a captivating overview of the Capital and showcase its colourful history, political characters and iconic architecture. Explore the included stops at all of Ottawa's top sights, including Parliament Hill, The National War Memorial, The Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Sussex Drive, Byward Market and many more.
Ottawa City Cycling Tour
Take the opportunity to see and experience the fantastic history and diversity of Canada's capital in a way that is not possible on a tour bus or on foot. Explore Ottawa's most popular sights as you cycle from the picturesque vistas of the Rideau Canal and Ottawa River to iconic Parliament Hill and Quebec's breath taking Gatineau Hills.
Ottawa River Cruise
Cruise along the Ottawa River and see the sights of the Capital as well as the natural beauty and historical architecture of the surrounding area. Take in majestic views of Parliament Hills, Rideau Falls and the Prime Minister's residence, 24 Sussex. You'll be provided with fascinating commentary and insight on the development and rise of Ottawa as a city and how it became the seat of Canada's Government.
Best time to visit Ottawa
June to August is the best time to visit Ottawa, when temperatures range from 18°C to 22°C. The shoulder months of September and May dip down to between 14°C to 16°C. Visit Ottawa in winter for a magical, snowy adventure - the temperatures plunge to minus 10°C in January and February. Do pack a raincoat just in case - Ottawa experiences year round rainfall of 60 to 90mm a month.
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“Hire a bike for a really easy way to explore Ottawa. I highly recommend riding alongside the beautiful Rideau Canal with its atmospheric views of the Parliament Hill buildings. In winter, ice skating along the canal is a special treat.”
“One of our favourite restaurants in Ottawa is the Pelican Seafood Market and Grill with its inexpensive seafood. You can enjoy sustainably-sourced fresh fish, such as shrimp, lobster rolls, BBQ salmon and oysters.”
Winterlude is one of Ottawa’s most iconic festivals. For three weekends during January and February, the city becomes a winter wonderland, with events centred around the frozen canal. Discover ice sculptures at Confederation Park, snow playgrounds, food and music. Be sure to catch the sporting events, which include speed skating and dog sledding.
Canadian Tulip Festival
Dating back to 1945, the Canadian Tulip Festival celebrates the coming of Spring, and is spread over 11 days at the start of May. The tradition began when the Dutch sent 100,000 tulips to honour Canadian soldiers who fought to liberate the Netherlands. This has since become the world’s largest tulip festival. Today, over a million tulips bloom alongside the Parliament, the canal and Dows Lake. You can enjoy concerts, parades, food, a Dutch stage, a craft show and fireworks.
BeaverTails are a popular Canadian treat of fried wheat dough served with tasty toppings. The dough is stretched into the shape of a beaver’s tail to honour the country’s mascot and largest rodent. The BeaverTails chain operates across Canada and features inventive toppings, ranging from traditional cinnamon sugar to pecan pie and yummy banana hazelnut.
Tuck into poutine, which has its origins in Quebec during the 1950s and has since been popularised around the world. Brown gravy is lovingly smothered onto french fries and cheese curds for this simple yet tasty comfort food.
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