The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

There are so many dreamy vacation destinations around the world, and Canada is definitely one of them.

From snow-kissed mountain vistas and life-affirming natural wonders to golden beaches and inviting turquoise waters, Canada boasts countless breathtaking scenes, unique wildlife and a whole host of idyllic vacation destinations.

So, why isn't it a popular vacation spot for European tourists?

Despite its allure, Canada often finds itself overshadowed when it comes to European tourists' vacation plans. I'm from the U.K., and in my experience, Canada rarely takes center stage in conversations about vacations or travel. Of course, it's on many travellers' bucket lists, but it's not particularly common to come across Brits who have vacationed in the Great White North.

In fact, when my partner and I moved to Canada in 2019, we didn't know anybody who'd visited Canada. And many of our friends and family were curious about our decision to move here.

Interestingly though, it is pretty common to find British people who've visited countries like the United States, Australia and Mexico, for example, so it's likely not the distance putting people off.

Recent data from companies like Statista and Finder.com suggest countries like Spain, France, Greece and Italy consistently rank among the most popular destinations for British holidaymakers, which is expected given their relative distance and the availability of cheap flights. However, the United States is also listed regularly within the top 20, while Canada barely gets a look in.

In fact, according to Finder.com's research, Canada doesn't even make the cut among the U.K.'s top five non-European countries to visit. British tourists seem to favour destinations like the United States, India, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, and Pakistan over Canada.

Of course, this doesn't mean Canada rarely has visitors. The country comes 19th in a recent ranking of the world's most popular vacation destinations and hosts millions of holidaymakers every year. But what is stopping Brits and other European travellers from prioritizing it?

After living in Canada for several years, it's become increasingly hard for me to imagine why this impressive country wouldn't be top of the list for anybody planning a dream vacation abroad.

But, after discussing it with well-travelled friends, here's why I think so many Europeans (and specifically British people) might not consider Canada when planning their holidays— and why they absolutely should!

The cost

Helena in Toronto.

Just like the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and many other countries, Canada isn't renowned for being a budget-friendly destination. Notably, major cities like Toronto and Vancouver are infamous for their high cost of living, which might lead tourists to perceive Canada as an expensive place to visit, potentially discouraging them from visiting.

However, Numbeo's cost of living index suggests that, overall, Canada is actually more affordable than countries like Australia, the United States, and New Zealand. It even stacks up favourably against popular European destinations such as France, Austria, Ireland, Denmark, and Norway, among others.

So, if it's the cost of things like groceries, eating out and accommodation that's putting you off Canada, perhaps reconsider, because it could be cheaper than you expected!

Of course, there's one essential cost to keep in mind – flights to Canada.

The airfare

Arguably one of the biggest factors that may make Canada an underrated vacation destination is the belief that travelling to the country is extremely expensive – and in many cases, it is.

Yes, the cost of airfare to Canada from other countries can vary, and it's not always the cheapest vacation option. Especially when you consider that travellers can fly between different European countries for double figures.

However, that doesn't mean there aren't deals to be had in Canada. With an increased number of budget airlines offering cheap flights, especially during off-peak seasons, it might not actually be as pricey as you'd imagine. And the cost of visiting from the U.K. is pretty similar to flying to the U.S. or Mexico.

Once you've landed in Canada, you don't have to break the bank to explore it. Canada has a whole bunch of reliable transportation options, from affordable domestic flights to efficient buses and trains. So, with a little savvy planning, it could be more budget-friendly than you might think!

The size

Canada is really, really big — especially when you compare it to smaller countries like the U.K.

Because of its immense size, Canada might seem a bit overwhelming to visitors who aren't sure where to go. In fact, some travellers might avoid Canada all together simply because it feels too massive to tackle.

Planning a trip in a land that stretches from one ocean to another, with a whole bunch of different things to see and do in between, is a lot. It's kind of like having too many choices on a restaurant menu; it can actually be off-putting!

It might seem simpler visiting the United States, for example, and focusing your trip around a well-known tourist attraction like Disney World or the Grand Canyon. Perhaps some travellers are skipping Canada because they worry they won't be able to explore it all. It's possible some vacationers prefer smaller, easier-to-manage destinations.

However, with a little planning and research, you can have an incredible adventure exploring different parts of this massive country. It might take some extra effort, but the rewards are definitely worth it.

The weather

Another common misconception about Canada is that the country is locked in a perpetual winter wonderland with never-ending snow and freezing temperatures.

And while, of course, Canada does have its fair share of snowy magic in the winter, it also has enough warm, sunny days to make it a desirable summer vacation destination for any traveller.

In my experience, Canada is actually warmer than the U.K. during the summer months, and the winter, although definitely chilly, was really not as bad as I initially expected.

So, perhaps potential visitors need to forget the images of snow-capped mountains and icy landscapes and replace them with sun-soaked golden beaches that could rival any tropical paradise.

The wildlife

Canada's wildlife is a bit like a real-life National Geographic documentary. We're talking bears, moose, beavers, and even Canada geese — arguably the most terrifying creature ever to live. And that's not something everyone is excited by.

Just like some travellers are put off visiting Australia by the promise of snakes and giant spiders, some people may be turned off by the thought of hiking alongside grizzlies.

Of course, Canadians know that you're not likely to find a giant bear protecting her cubs on every hike you go out on, but tourists don't, and just the possibility can be intimidating for those not accustomed to this type of wildlife encounter.

If this is why you've been avoiding a dream trip to Canada, don't worry. The bears are not lining up at the border to greet you. With common-sense precautions, it's surprisingly easy to enjoy Canada's stunning natural beauty without it turning into a "bear-y" adventure.

The culture

The Canadian Tire Centre.

Another reason Canada is perhaps overlooked by British tourists is the perception that it's very culturally similar to the U.K., and therefore not as exciting for those looking for exciting cultural contrasts.

Of course, many Canadians speak English and both countries share many of the same big brand stores, restaurants and fast-food chains, which can make it seem less enticing for those who are familiar with these things.

Canada's diversity and unique cultural experiences often go unappreciated and it seems many European travellers know very little about Canadian cuisine, history and culture. And while it may seem like Canada is just a hop across the pond, there's a lot more to discover beneath the surface.

The misconceptions

The notion of Canada being perpetually cold, incredibly expensive, culturally familiar, and perhaps just too vast are all factors that could be putting off potential visitors.

However, beneath these misconceptions is a country promising vibrant cities, stunning landscapes, rich cultural tapestries and some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet!

So while it might not always get the limelight it deserves, Canada is, without a doubt, a destination well worth exploring — no matter where you're visiting from.

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

2023-09-21T18:38:02Z dg43tfdfdgfd