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Highlights of Canada and the Rocky Mountains at Christmas

11 days From £3,395 per person


A fabulous Christmastime journey through the magical Canadian Rockies on the iconic Canadian train

Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

2024 Tour code: CWX25

About the tour

Celebrate the festive season in the sensational snowscapes of Canada on an unforgettable rail journey, experiencing the sights, sounds and scents of Canada at Christmastime. We explore the vibrant city of Vancouver, enjoy the ultimate white Christmas among Jasper's snow-clad mountains and picturesque wintry landscapes and spend three nights in beautiful Banff.

Unforgettable Experiences

Journey on The Canadian
Journey on The Canadian
Enjoy an iconic rail journey on The Canadian into Canada's Rocky Mountains, from Vancouver to Jasper, waking to breathtaking sunrise views of soaring mountains, vast frozen lakes, snow-laden forests and unique wildlife.
Spend Christmas in the relaxed town of Jasper, on the edge of the wilderness in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, enjoying local festivities and a Christmas Day lunch buffet.
Lake Louise
Lake Louise
Stay in the beautiful mountain town of Banff, gateway to Banff National Park, and experience the spectacular setting of Lake Louise in its winter finery when cross-country skiers glide across the deeply frozen lake, encircled by soaring peaks and snow-frosted forests of fir trees.
Stanley Park, Vancouver
Stanley Park, Vancouver
Explore multicultural Vancouver framed by mountains and encircled by water, and discover its landmarks including the original settlement of Gastown, buzzing Chinatown and the remarkable indigenous totem poles of Stanley Park.

What’s included


Day 1 - London to Vancouver in a day

Our Canadian adventure starts at London Heathrow where we meet our Tour Manager and our group before our flight to Vancouver. On arrival we are transferred to our downtown hotel for a three-night stay in this wonderful city, framed by mountains and encircled by water. This evening is free to relax or maybe to become acquainted with the local neighbourhood. Situated between the city's West End and Downtown district, our hotel is within walking distance of many Vancouver attractions, including the city waterfront - an extension of Downtown - which has a pedestrian walkway. There are several restaurants, cafés and bars nearby, or you may choose to dine at our hotel.

Day 2 - Sightseeing in the beautiful city of Vancouver

We set out on a sightseeing tour of Vancouver today, first making our way to Gastown, Vancouver's original settlement. Named after 'Gassy' Jack Deighton, a Yorkshire seaman who arrived here in 1867, today Gastown is a popular downtown area of cafés, music bars, fashionable shops and galleries. From here we continue to Chinatown, Canada's largest Chinese district, which was established in the late 19th century - once inside, you may forget you are in North America. Here we soak up the sights, atmosphere and aromas of the colourful streets and intriguing food stalls. Finally, we visit Stanley Park, Vancouver's wonderful open parkland of 400 hectares where we see the city's fantastic, world-renowned totem poles which pay tribute to Canada's Native American heritage.

After our tour, the rest of the day is free to explore independently. After taking time to relax and recharge at the hotel, you may like to take the bus or a taxi across to North Vancouver, to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The park has several walking trails, and the historic treetop bridge has a beautiful rainforest canopy with spectacular views of the forest below. Alternatively, you might prefer a stroll along the Seawalk trail in Vancouver Harbour, overlooking the water with fabulous mountain views.

Day 3 - Free time in multicultural Vancouver

The day ahead is yours to explore Vancouver at your own pace. Close to our hotel is the Roedde House Museum, a delightful 1893 Queen Anne-style mansion which you could look around and learn about the Roedde family who lived here. The museum is also a lively music venue and hosts jazz and classical concerts. Nearby is the Vancouver Art Gallery, which has an exciting collection of art that reflects the many facets of this multicultural city. In the centre of the city is Robson Square, an urban parkland which, in winter, transforms into a popular ice skating rink.

Vancouver is known as one of the world's most 'liveable cities' and to experience it through the eyes of a local, you could visit Granville Island, known for its fantastic fresh food market, with gourmet stalls and an array of galleries and craft studios. In winter the market is lit up with twinkling festive lights. You can reach Granville Island by taxi or take a scenic ferry ride from the waterfront. Other sights well worth seeking out include the fascinating Anthropology Museum at the University of British Columbia, reachable by local bus, the small but exquisite Classical Chinese garden and park in nearby Chinatown, or the city's beautiful VanDusen Botanical Gardens.

If you're interested in exploring beyond the city, you could take the bus up to Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver for a ride on the Skyride cable car for jaw-dropping views across the city skyline, Pacific Ocean and Gulf Islands. At the top, there's a range of seasonal activities, including sleigh rides or a snow limo. There's also a high-altitude bistro, a café and observatory restaurant. This evening you're free to dine independently, with a vast choice of eateries in downtown Vancouver.

Day 4 - Morning at leisure, overnight journey to Jasper on The Canadian

Our day starts with a free final morning in Vancouver, and you might choose to make the most of our hotel's facilities, visit the local shops or enjoy a leisurely walk along the waterfront. In the afternoon we transfer to Union Station to board The Canadian for our overnight journey through the majestic Rocky Mountains to Jasper. The Canadian is a truly iconic train, transporting us in restored stainless steel carriages through incredible winter landscapes in the comfort and privacy of a curtained berth. We enjoy dinner onboard then, after settling into our berths, during the night our train climbs into the foothills of the Rockies.

Day 5 - Christmas Eve in the peaceful mountain town of Jasper

We awaken this morning to cinematic views of glaciers, lakes, plunging canyons, frozen waterfalls and snow-covered peaks, all illuminated by the sun's first rays of the day. After breakfast on The Canadian amid this stunning scenery, we arrive into Jasper late morning - a friendly, easy-going mountain town in the heart of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. Bordered by soaring white mountains and frosted Douglas firs, in winter the town is blanketed in snow.

On arrival in Jasper, we have time to take an initial look around and maybe enjoy some lunch downtown, before checking into our hotel for two nights over the Christmas festivities. This peaceful mountain town is laid-back and low key, with big-hearted locals and cosy cafés to warm up in. While the bijou boutiques, shops and restaurants may be lit up for Christmas, Jasper is surrounded by wilderness, and it isn't unusual to see a family of elk crossing the road.

For a small town, Jasper has a wide choice of restaurants for your Christmas Eve dinner. You may also choose to celebrate at the elegant Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge which is beautifully decorated for Christmas and has a popular Gingerbread Village and ice skating.

Day 6 - A white Christmas in the Canadian Rockies

Today is Christmas morning and we wake in the pretty wintry setting of Jasper, where a peaceful hush sets over the town. We enjoy a leisurely Christmas breakfast at our hotel.

After a relaxed morning, and possibly a peaceful walk on freshly fallen snow, we sit down to a festive Christmas lunch buffet. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free, and you may wish to explore locally or maybe make the most of the hotel facilities.

Day 7 - Across the Icefields Parkway to beautiful Banff via Lake Louise

Leaving Jasper and its National Park behind this morning, we begin the spectacular drive to Banff, travelling along the world-famous Icefields Parkway - one of the world's most scenic highways, 144 miles long, which links Banff with Jasper. Listed by Condé Nast Traveller as one of the top drives in the world, we enter a picturesque valley of awesome frozen lakes, travelling between some of the highest and most rugged peaks in the Rockies. Enroute we pass two other impressive landmarks, the Columbia Icefields and the wondrous Athabasca Glacier. 

Before reaching our destination we stop at Lake Louise in Banff National Park, which in winter becomes a magical frozen arena, where cross-country skiers glide across the deeply frozen lake, encircled by soaring peaks and snow-frosted forests of fir trees. We take a beautifully scenic break here at the comfortable Fairmont Hotel which overlooks Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier. With time to enjoy lunch independently, there's a choice of eight dining venues, and may like to look around the shops or take a walk out to the snow-covered shoreline.

On arrival in Banff this afternoon, we check into our lodge for a three night stay. There's time to relax and perhaps to warm up at the hotel spa before wandering down to the town centre to choose a restaurant for dinner.

Day 8 - Tour of Banff and its unique natural wonders

Waking up in the beautiful mountain setting of Banff, today's excursion is a tour around the National Park's stunning natural wonders of Banff. Exploring this breathtaking landscape with a local guide, we visit the glacial Lake Minnewanka, the striking Two Jack Lake and its distinctive mountain, Mount Rundle. We also see the Banff Hoodoos, a fascinating cluster of needle-like sedimentary rocks. Surprise Corner, as the name suggests, delivers spectacular and unexpected views of the Spray Valley and the frozen wall of water formed by the Bow Falls.

As part of our excursion we also take a ride on the Banff Gondola, a cable car that transports us to the summit of Sulphur Mountain. Besides panoramic views of the surrounding winter landscape, at the top of the mountain is a museum, an outdoor Observation Deck with a dome tent - where you may like to sip a hot chocolate as you enjoy the views - and two restaurants. There's also a long boardwalk you may like to wander along, to take in the spectacular mountain views.

We return to our hotel and you're at leisure to explore and decide on a place to enjoy dinner in Banff's lively downtown.

Day 9 - Free day in the magical setting of Banff

Today is your last full day in the beautiful Canadian Rockies and it is entirely yours to spend as you wish. You may like to spend some time relaxing at the spa in our hotel, or enjoy an invigorating walk through the snowy streets of Banff's downtown. The centre is compact so easy to walk around, with a great variety of inviting places to eat, cafés and independent coffee shops to relax in or enjoy a spot of people watching. Shops range from sports outlets selling mountain gear to fashionable boutiques and outlets selling authentic Canadian crafts. There are also several galleries where you can view some original Canadian art.

Banff has an excellent transport system and you may choose to take advantage of this to seek out some local attractions. One is Johnston Canyon, which has a guided ice walk that you can book. There is a metal walkway through the scenic canyon, which cuts through the snow-dusted rock towers on both sides, above the frozen river. At the end of the trail, a frozen waterfall sparkles with icicles and natural ice sculptures. Other activities you may like to experience in Banff include snowshoeing or wildlife walks - your Tour Manager will be able to provide suggestions. Although many animals are in hibernation during the winter months, it is possible out in the wilds to spot wildlife in the snow - most commonly you may see moose, deer, elk, bighorn sheep or mountain goats, but elusive lynx, wolf or caribou may also be seen if you are lucky.</>

This evening you might like to head downtown for your final dinner in the Canadian Rockies, or may choose to dine at the restaurant in our lodge.

Day 10 - Homeward bound, from Calgary

Saying a fond farewell to Banff, we transfer to Calgary today by coach, a journey of around two hours. After saying our goodbyes to fellow travellers, we board our flight back to London Heathrow.

Day 11 - Arrival in London Heathrow

We land in London Heathrow this morning and our holiday draws to a close. The holiday may be over but the memories of this wonderful journey in the Canadian Rockies will surely last a lifetime.

Additional information

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above./p>

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. 

We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Forest Park Hotel, Jasper

Forest Park Hotel, Jasper

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Sheraton Wall Centre hotel, Vancouver

Sheraton Wall Centre hotel, Vancouver

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