Canada is – in a word – enormous. The sheer size of the world's second largest country can be difficult to grasp, but think of it this way: Canada has fewer inhabitants than Poland but is a staggering 32 times as large. All that space means you could easily spend a lifetime (or several) exploring the Great White North which has the longest coastline on the planet (202,080 km to be exact), three of the globe’s top ten largest islands (including one that’s double the size of Great Britain) and more than half of all the lakes in the world. If the promise of endless nature and some seriously cool cities isn’t enough to entice you to visit, consider the people: Canadians, it’s safe to say, are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Comprising ten provinces and three northern territories, the problem isn’t finding something to do in Canada, it’s choosing where to start. Quebec is a great launching pad and is known for being bilingual: if you speak English or French, you’ll have no problem getting around. Montreal and Quebec City are the two largest urban areas; Montreal is larger and more cosmopolitan with a thriving nightlife and restaurant scene, while visiting Quebec City is like stepping into the past with its European feel and gorgeous Old Town. You can’t go wrong with either, but we say do both. Once you’ve checked those off your list, the rest of the country is your oyster. Adventurous types should head West to British Columbia – with its inland mountains and coastal islands, it attracts international outdoor sports enthusiasts of all types. Manitoba, to the East, is the polar bear capital of the world and is home to Churchill, one of the best places in the world to observe Aurora Borealis, The Northern Lights. For Celtic culture and some absolutely killer lobster, Nova Scotia will prove delightful. The second most densely populated province is also the second smallest, home to some truly stunning coastline alongside ample wildlife and an excellent wine country.
It’s doubtful that there’s any other destination in the world that offers as many experiences on so many levels as the USA, which is why many visitors to its shores come back time and time again (more, please!). Its sheer size means that while snow is falling in some places, the sun is beaming in others. Head to the west or east coast in the winter for a ski holiday, and fly down to Florida on the same visit to pack in some salubrious beach time before heading home. It’s a diverse and eclectic country, one that has something (lots of things, in fact) for everyone of any age and, by and large, if you speak English, you’re all set. The notorious friendliness of the people is infectious; before too long, you’ll find yourself saying “have a nice day” as you bid goodbye to everyone you meet. ‘Only in America’ is an expression that will go through your mind time and time again, whatever the experience you embark on, as will the realisation that everything is supersized – well, almost everything. Road trips are a great way to take it all in if you’re staying a while: historical sights, national parks, exciting cities, small towns, sporting events, theme parks, museums, beaches, mountains and vast shopping malls (of course). It’s also a good way to experience the varied cuisine that each region boasts (from fish tacos in California, to rattlesnake – in Texas, where else?), and the chance to stay in a wide range of hotels and maybe a few luxury bed and breakfasts. So where to begin? Elvis fans may opt to fly into Memphis, Tennesee directly, while oenophiles will head to San Francisco and hop over to Napa. Families have probably plans that include Orlando, but most of us will no doubt find it easier to fly into New York City, although other big cities like Chicago, LA, DC, Boston and Miami are other fun places to begin the adventure. Head off as a couple; travel with friends; take the grand-parents; fly at half-term; or hop over for a city break. Year-round, the US is ready with open arms.