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Trans Canada by Rail

15 days Rail Tours

Virgin Holidays' view

Canada is calling you, and what better way to see it than with two of the best rail routes in the East and Western regions. You’ll jump aboard the train from buzzing Toronto to peaceful Jasper, and the Rocky Mountaineer from mountain-clad Banff to vibrant Vancouver; switching tracks for tarmac in between to experience the roads of the Rockies. Experience a day-trip to Niagara in the East, venturing to the foot of the falls. Walk and drive on a glacier in the West, at the famed Columbia Icefield. Jam-packed with culture, scenery and luxury, this rail trip will spoil you for choice.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Toronto

Arrive at Toronto’s International Airport and transfer independently to your downtown hotel. Pick up your information kit at the front desk upon check-in. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore Canada’s commercial and cultural centre. Stay 2 nights in Toronto.

Day 2: Niagara Falls excursion

Enjoy a full-day excursion to Niagara Falls. The route travels through the lush fruitgrowing district of the Niagara Peninsula to the spectacle of Niagara Falls. Board the Hornblower Niagara Cruises Voyage to the Falls boat tour for a spectacular boat trip to the foot of the Horseshoe Falls. Ample time will be spent at the falls to give you every opportunity to take pictures and admire the thundering waters. Highlights include a lunch and a trip along the beautiful Niagara Parkway which winds its way along the Niagara Gorge. Pass through the historic community of Niagara-on-the-Lake before returning to Toronto. (L)

Day 3: Toronto / VIA Rail's 'The Canadian'

Transfer independently to Union station to board VIA Rail's The Canadian en route to western Canada. Overnight on board VIA Rail’s 'The Canadian'. (L/D)

Days 4-5: VIA Rail's 'The Canadian'

Travelling north of the Great Lakes, view the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield, some of North America’s oldest rock formations. Rich in minerals and forests, the region is dotted with thousands of freshwater lakes. By early evening, the train crosses the border into the province of Manitoba and stops briefly in its capital, Winnipeg. Overnights on board VIA Rail’s The Canadian. (B/L/D)

Day 6: VIA Rail's 'The Canadian' to Jasper

By early morning, you will have crossed the vast expanses of prairie flatland in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and will be approaching the imposing silhouette of the Rocky Mountains. Enjoy the spectacle of nature as the train enters Jasper National Park. Stay 2 nights in Jasper.

Day 7: Jasper

You have a full day to relax and tour Jasper and the surrounding area. Enjoy a ride on the Jasper Tramway or visit Miette Hot Springs. Take in the breathtaking panorama of Jasper National Park’s serene lakes and gentle meadows standing in stark contrast to its jagged peaks and spectacular glaciers. 

Day 8: Jasper to Lake Louise

Today will be an unforgettable journey as you depart Jasper on your transfer along the Icefields Parkway, one of the most scenic roads in all of Canada. Every turn unveils spectacular vistas of magnificent peaks, outstretched valleys, cascading waterfalls and mountain meadows alive with colour. At the Columbia Icefield, ride in an Ice Explorer to explore the Athabasca Glacier (ride included). Continuing just beyond the edge of the glacial shelf, you arrive at Lake Louise – a verdant shimmering lake reflecting the majesty of the Victoria Glacier. Overnight in Lake Louise.

Day 9: Lake Louise to Banff

Take some time in the morning to explore the village of Lake Louise - a picturesque gateway to the mountain areas of Banff National Park, its small train station made famous in the film Dr. Zhivago. Today you will be transferred through the winding roads of Banff National Park to arrive at the Banff town site. Wildlife meander through the green spaces creating truly unique photo opportunities. Boutiques, confectioners and eateries line the quaint boulevards, adding to the charm of this picturesque alpine town. Stay 2 nights in Banff.

Day 10: Banff National Park

This morning, discover the town of Banff and its natural surroundings on a comprehensive sightseeing tour. The tour will show you some of Banff National Park’s many highlights, including the Hoodoos, curiously shaped by centuries of rosion, Surprise Corner and Tunnel Mountain Drive, overlooking the beautiful scenery of the Bow River Valley. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Day 11: Rocky Mountaineer Banff to Kamloops

Today you board the Rocky Mountaineer heading west to the Pacific Coast. This unique daylight service allows you to view some of the most spectacular sights in western Canada. The route departs the Rockies through Kicking Horse Pass, then climbs into the Selkirk Mountains following Rogers Pass. By late afternoon, you are in the arid ranchland of interior British Columbia, where you disembark for the night. Stay overnight in Kamloops. (B/L)

Day 12: Rocky Mountaineer - Kamloops to Vancouver

Today your spectacular daylight rail excursion to Vancouver continues. The journey leads through the "cowboy country" ranchland of the British Columbia interior and along the mighty Thompson and Fraser rivers. Rugged mountain peaks and rolling, wind-swept hills will define the horizon as you traverse the interior and approach the coastal mountains surrounding Vancouver. Upon arrival in Vancouver, transfer independently to your hotel. Stay 3 nights in Vancouver. (B/L)

Day 13: Vancouver

Discover Vancouver on a hop-on hop-off tour, taking in the sights of historic Gastown, English bay, Granville Island, the colourful totem poles of scenic Stanley Park and much more. 

Day 14: Victoria excursion

This full-day trip to Victoria begins with a cruise through the scenic Gulf Islands and includes a visit to the acclaimed Butchart Gardens. Afterwards continue to Victoria for a city sightseeing tour that encompasses Victoria’s stately homes and gardens as well as historic landmarks. You will see the University of Victoria and Beacon Hill Park and pass the Royal British Columbia Museum, Thunderbird Park, the Parliament Buildings and the exclusive homes of the Uplands and Oak Bay. You will return to Vancouver in the early evening.

Day 15: End of tour

The time has come for some last-minute shopping as your tour comes to an end. Individually transfer to Vancouver’s International Airport in time to check in for your onward flight. 

Please note: this is a set tour itinerary, if you have booked any pre/post or optional tour arrangements please refer to your separate vouchers and final documents.

Dates & prices

The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes

Pre/Post Tour information

If you would like to extend your trip or make the tour part of a longer holiday, we can easily add on a pre or post night stays for you. Our Sales Team will work with you to arrange the best connecting flights and book any additional hotel stays. Simply tell us what you’d like and we can arrange it.

Time difference

GMT -5 hours Eastern Canada
GMT -8 hours Western Canada

Tour inclusions

  • Accommodation for 14 nights (including 3 nights on board The Canadian)
  • 2-hour sightseeing tour of Toronto
  • Full day trip to Niagara Falls including lunch and Hornblower Niagara Cruises Voyage To The Falls boat tour* (mid-May to mid-October)
  • Toronto to Jasper rail passage on VIA Rail’s The Canadian (Section Accommodation)
  • Transfer from train station to Jasper hotel (for Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge only)
  • Full day sightseeing transfer along the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise (Ice Explorer ride included)
  • Scheduled transfer from Lake Louise to Banff
  • 3-hour sightseeing tour of Banff
  • Banff / Kamloops / Vancouver rail passage on the Rocky Mountaineer (SilverLeaf service)
  • Transfers to and from Kamloops train station
  • Hop-on Hop-off trolley tour of Vancouver
  • Full day excursion to Victoria including Butchart Gardens visit
  • 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners on board VIA Rail
  • 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches on board the Rocky Mountaineer
  • Travel & Information kit
  • Provincial Taxes and Federal GST and/or HST, less tour package rebate *Substituted by "Journey behind the falls" in off season

Tour exclusions

  • International flights
  • VIA Rail upgrade from Economy Class to Sleep Plus Class if required
  • Rocky Mountaineer upgrade to GoldLeaf Service if required
  • Insurance
  • Transfers to and from airport and / or train stations in Toronto, Jasper, Banff and Vancouver
  • Airport improvement fee
  • National Park entrance fees
  • Meals and attractions unless otherwise stated
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips & gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • The required Canada Electronic Authorization (eTA)
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary

Dining inclusions

3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners on board VIA Rail.
2 breakfasts and 2 lunches on board the Rocky Mountaineer.

Included activities

Tours listed in the itinerary.

Accommodation

Accommodation listed on the itinerary is a mix of 3-4V graded properties. Please note some tours are up to 3 weeks in duration and there may be some nights when staying in remote locations e.g. the National Parks, when the ‘V’ rating may vary. Hotels are subject to change up until 30 days prior to departure, but you will be advised of any changes.

Visa requirements

Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA)

Visitors travelling to or transiting through Canada by air are now expected to get an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) to enter Canada. If you’re arriving into Canada by air from either the UK or another destination e.g. the USA, you’ll need an eTA. This costs CA$7 and lasts for 5 years or until your passport expires, whichever is first. If you’re travelling by land or sea, you won’t need an eTA when you enter Canada. However, you must travel with acceptable travel documents and identification, i.e. your passport.

For more information on eTA system, and to apply online, visit the official Canadian government website.