Canada

Your full Wanderlust guide to

Canada

Canada
Views of British Columbia (Shutterstock)

Covering nearly 10 million sq km, spread across 10 provinces, there’s an abundance of space, wilderness and diversity in Canada to fully immerse yourself in the culture and nature of this great North American nation. Planning the trip of a lifetime by rail or road is an iconic way to experience Canada where you can observe abundant wildlife such as moose, whales and an array of bears. It’s also one of the best places in the world to experience outdoor adventure, including hiking, kayaking, canoeing and mountain biking.

Canada stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean, across 10 provinces and three territories – each with their own unique culture and landscape.

From the historic island of Newfoundland in the east to the cosmopolitan Vancouver Island in the west; from the mountain-bordered wilderness of adventurous British Columbia to the culturally-rich and festival-ready city of Toronto, the hardest part of travel in Canada is deciding where to go. While there, make sure to sample the cosmopolitan feel and gastronomic triumphs of Canada’s cities, learn from the wisdom of Indigenous culture, and soak up the majestic mountain scenery.

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Latest Canada articles

Capital
Ottawa
Language
English and French
Population
38.9 million
Int. dial code
+1
Visa
UK citizens can visit Canada for tourism visa-free for up to 6 months if they have Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)
Time zone
Ottawa: UTC-5 and UTC-4 from second Sunday of March-first Sunday of November; Newfoundland: UTC-3:30; Atlantic: UTC-4; Eastern: UTC-5 and UTC-4 from second Sunday of March-first Sunday of November; Central: UTC-6; Mountain: UTC-7; Pacific: UTC-8
Plug Type
Type A and Type B
Currency
Canadian Dollar CAD

When to go to Canada

Canada comes up trumps in every season and its scenery will vary dramatically throughout the year. Although it occasionally snows in summer and you may find blooming tulips in January, each of the four seasons brings their own unique charm to the country.

International airports

Canada has several international airports. Toronto (YTO) is the major hub for international flights; there are direct flights from London Heathrow with Air Canada and from London Gatwick with Air Transat.

Other international airports in Canada include Vancouver (YVR), 15km from the city centre; Halifax (YHZ) in Nova Scotia, 34km from downtown Halifax; Montreal (YUL) in Québec, 19km from downtown Montreal.

Getting around in Canada

Via Rail is Canada’s national rail service, which offers journeys between cities and villages, as well as multi-day sleeper journeys, including spectacular, glass-roofed carriage trips through the Rocky Mountains.

Taxis are readily available in city centres. Long-distance bus companies are prolific and an inexpensive way to travel in Canada. Several consecutive days on a bus remains a rite of passage for travellers and locals alike.

Health & safety

Canada is a safe country with low crime rates. Be aware of petty crime, and if you’re venturing out into Canada’s famed outdoors, be cautious of local wildlife and keep at a distance, particularly in areas known for bears.

Bermuda

Your full Wanderlust guide to

Bermuda

Bermuda

‘Nothing but gusts, storms and foul weather’, complained Silvester Jourdain in his 1613 tome A Plaine Description Of The Barmudas.

He wasn’t completely wrong about the climate – Bermuda is closer to Nova Scotia than it is to the Caribbean – but then he wouldn’t have wandered down Front Street in Hamilton on a warm summer’s night, watching dancers and listening to reggae and jazz, or lazed on one of Bermuda’s famous pink beaches.

Comprising seven interlinked islands (and a sprinkling of islets), Bermuda is 1000km east of the US coast. Since first colonized in 1612, its allegiance has been firmly to the UK, though to some extent it spans the cultural gulf between Britain and the United States. Many Americans think it’s quaintly English; Brits often find it rather American.

It’s also grown since Silvester Jourdain’s rather dismal visit. Then it was a remote outpost, fringed by treacherous reefs and visited by Spanish or Portuguese seafarers only if their voyage had run into problems.

Under British rule Bermuda became strategically important. The town of St George is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the Americas. It prospered through the War of Independence and supplied famously fast Bermuda Sloops, crafted from the islands’ indigenous cedar, for Britain’s great naval wars with Spain.

The small islands became heavily populated. Instead of fading into remote obscurity, Bermuda boomed. Now, with cruise ships pulling in through the summer and its (very British) heritage assured, it’s still an island group very much on the move.

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Comprising seven interlinked islands (and a sprinkling of islets), Bermuda is 1000km east of the US coast. Since first colonized in 1612, its allegiance has been firmly to the UK, though to some extent it spans the cultural gulf between Britain and the United States. Many Americans think it’s quaintly English; Brits often find it rather American.
Read article

Respect local customs and concerns: Bermuda is a largely conservative Christian country, and courtesy is highly valued. Standards of dress can be quite formal: hotels and restaurants may require men to wear a jacket/tie; most require at least a shirt with collar (i.e. no t-shirts) for dinner. Keep beach wear for the beach.

Catch a Festival

Any excuse for a good old-fashioned knees-up is welcomed with open arms and flowing rum, so be sure to see at least one big event while you’re visiting. Those of note include Cup Match (late July/August), Bermuda Music Festival (October), Bermuda Culinary Arts Festival (November), Bermuda Day (24 May) and International Race Weekend (January). Quirkier events include the traditional Good Friday kite-flying on Horseshoe Beach, and the Non-Mariners Race at Mangrove Bay in Somerset in early August: the idea is to sink as quickly as possible in the most spectacularly unseaworthy contraption imaginable.

Learn Bermudian

The islands’ slang is a colourful vernacular not too dissimilar from that of the Caribbean islands, and the locals will love it if you try to catch their rhythm

See Art

The Bermuda Art Gallery is the place to see paintings inspired by Bermuda’s lush greenery, sweeping beaches and pastel houses. The likes of Georgia O’Keeffe and Andrew Wyeth are known for taking inspiration from the island, and some of their works are proudly on display.

Go riding

Rise early to canter across the South Shore beaches on horseback before the sunbathers arrive.

Say hello to Johnny

If you’re in Hamilton during the week, head down to the Crow Lane roundabout between 5am and 10am. There you’ll find Johnny Barnes, Bermuda’s ‘goodwill ambassador’, who has been cheering up commuters every morning for over 20 years, blowing kisses and shouting encouragement to every passer-by.

Dive or snorkel

Bermuda’s proud naval history pervades the island culture, but get a closer look by diving one of the many wrecks that foundered on the offshore reefs. Snorkellers should head for Tobacco Bay at the East End, or Devonshire Bay. Alternatively, you can get a feel for what lies beneath at the Aquarium or Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute.

Latest Bermuda articles

Water is scarce here, so be careful how you use it. The island is dependent on rainfall for its water supply – it is popularly called ‘liquid sunshine’.

Capital
Hamilton
Languages
English, Portuguese
Population
68,000
Int. dial code
+441
Visa
Time zone
GMT-4
Voltage
110V 60Hz
Currency
Bermudian dollar. ATMs are dotted all over the island. Travellers cheques and credit cards are widely accepted.

When to go to Bermuda

Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Bermuda’s climate is mild throughout the year. In the summer (April – October) temperatures reach an average of 85°F, but it’s also a muggy time of year with humidity hovering around 84%. Although Bermuda lies outside of the hurricane path which routinely batters the Caribbean, it’s worth noting that August – October is hurricane season; plan carefully, and allow for tetchy weather. Winter falls November – March, with temperatures averaging 70°F. Although the conditions for diving and beach activities are better in summer, winter temperatures are generally much more comfortable for exploring the island.

Bermuda airport

Bermuda International Airport (BDA) is located on the east of the island.

Getting around in Bermuda

Bike and motorcycle hire are both popular options, especially as it’s not possible to rent cars on the island. It’s worth noting, however, that thanks to the often hilly, narrow roads you’ll need to be very fit to get the best out of your bike hire. As an alternative, there’s a good bus system which connects with most attractions. Public ferries are more scenic and, as the distances across water can be shorter than the land routes, they can be quicker too. Grab a free public transport guide from one of the tourist offices or at the Washington St bus station in Hamilton.

Bermuda accommodation

Bermuda isn’t short on accommodation, but be prepared for a hefty bill. There are no hostels or campgrounds in the country, and ‘budget’ options are often priced at around US$120 per night – consider visiting during the winter months if you’re counting the pennies. If expense isn’t a concern, you’ll be overwhelmed with the choice of B&Bs, apartments, hotels and resorts all over the country.

Bermuda food and drink

Fresh fish and seafood are the base of most Bermudan dishes, but don’t worry about them becoming monotonous: there are countless inventive recipes and, if you want to keep things interesting, every meal can be an adventure. Bermuda fish chowder is a full-flavoured fish soup seasoned with local black rum and spices. Also look out for codfish cakes (often served in a bun at lunchtime), Portuguese bean soup, shark hash, and the Sunday codfish breakfast of cod, eggs, potatoes, bananas, avocado and tomato salsa. The island’s ginger beer is legendary – it comes with a signature sharp ginger kick – and afternoon tea is a national institution.

Health and and safety in Bermuda

Water in larger towns and cities is usually safe to drink, but if you’re travelling further afield be sure to ask about the water’s suitability for drinking. Bottled water is widely available, but it may be a good idea to carry a water purification system (tablets or filter) with you. If you’re caught without a treatment option, boiling is a good way of killing bacteria. The humidity makes heat stroke a danger in the summer months.

Drinking in public places is not allowed, though you can bend the rules if your beer-can/rum bottle is in a brown paper bag and enjoyed unobtrusively.

Greenland

Your full Wanderlust guide to

Greenland

Greenland

Whether you want to crane your neck at the cruise ship-dwarfing icebergs of the north, or hike the green-cloaked mountains of the south, Greenland is full of contrasts.

If you’re looking for peace and quiet, head to the remote, raw wilderness of the Arctic Circle or the isolated and culturally-rich east.

Whatever direction you head in, Greenland is bound to offer you an adventure of a lifetime.

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North Greenland

Calling all iceberg junkies, sun addicts and dog lovers. The north of Greenland is for you. Drive your own dog-sled as you can taste the crisp air and appreciate the stunning scenery rushing past. Don’t miss the UNESCO-listed Illulissat icefjord, where icebergs shimmer on the water’s surface like a thousand shards of glass under a sun that never sets.

South Greenland

One glimpse of the south and you’ll see how Greenland got its name. Hike from farm to farm across the mountains, looking down at the sea ice flowing past. Feel a warm welcome from the villages you visit and listen to the locals’ cultural stories. Warm up in a natural hot spring and appreciate the power and beauty of nature all around you.

The Arctic Circle

The urban city of Sisimiut, with its orange glow radiating warmth from its brightly coloured houses is a real comfort inside the vast, remote and rough Arctic Circle. Sisimiut is the perfect base for adventure, from where you can hike the never-ending white-powdered landscape, spot polar bears, Arctic foxes and whales, and kayak among the glittering icebergs. If you want a real polar adventure, this one’s for you.

Learn more about Arctic Greenland

East Greenland

The east is for those who like to get outside all year round. This mountain-dominated part of the country offers ample opportunities to strap on some skis, paddle a kayak, climb the steepest of slopes and walk across the Ice Cap. Don’t forget to pause to appreciate the unique culture of the Innuit communities in the east. And keep your eyes peeled and fingers crossed for the northern lights.

Learn more about the east of Greenland

Capital
Nuuk
Languages
Inuit (Greenlandic), Danish
Population
56,600
Int. dial code
+299
Visa
If you are a UK, USA, Australian or European national, then you do not need a visa for Greenland
Time zone
GMT-3 (March – October GMT-2)
Voltage
220 AC 50 Hz
Currency
Danish Krone (Dkr) ATMs accept foreign cards. Travellers cheques are not widely accepted.
Denmark travel advice
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Greenland tourism board
Greenland tourism

When is the best time of year to go to Greenland?

The climate in Greenland is sub-Arctic: summer is surprisingly comfortable, averaging 17°C, but temperatures plunge as low as -40°C in January.

Peak tourist season is mid-May to mid-September. However, when you should go depends entirely on what activities you’re interested in. Whenever that may be, make sure you’re prepared for changeable conditions.

Summer in Greenland

The short Greenlandic summer starts in June and finishes around early September time. If you’re not a fan of snow and would prefer more greenery, wildlflowers and waterfalls then summer is for you.

You also have a higher chance of seeing more diverse birdlife as well as whales. And if you’re energetic you can enjoy scenic hiking, cycling and kayaking all under the midnight sun that never sets.

Learn more about hiking in Greenland

Winter in Greenland

Winter in Greenland runs from October to May and is perfect for anyone who gets excited over all that white stuff – you’re guaranteed a white winter in Greenland.

Expect snow adventures such as skiing, snowmobiling and dog-sledding. For a chance to see the northern lights, visit between September and April. Make sure you jump aboard a ship for a tour of the immense icebergs, too.

Learn more about the northern lights in Greenland

Wildlife experiences in Greenland

It’s not just the snow that makes Greenland so majestic – the wildlife is spectacular, too.

Whether you’re listening for the snow to crunch under the weight of a polar bear’s paw or feeling the splash on your face from a nearby whale diving under the icy waters, Greenland will offer you the chance to spot rare creatures…

Polar bear

You’ll most likely see Greenland’s rarest and most exciting animal on the sea ice, feasting on seals.

Humpback whale

Increase your chance of a whale sighting by visiting the southeast coast in summer.

Walrus

Sail through east Greenland and in the Davis Strait and baffin Bay to see walrus.

Learn more

Reindeer

Head inland during summer to see hundreds of Greenland’s grazing reindeer, also called caribou.

White-tailed eagle

Find Greenland’s largest bird on the southern part of the west coast of the country.

Musk ox

To see tens of thousands of these hefty and furry creatures, visit the wild herds in Kangerlussuaq. 

Learn more

Is it safe to travel in Greenland?

The most dangerous thing about Greenland is the weather – not just because of its Arctic temperatures but also because of its unpredictability.

When hiking, it’s essential to tell people where you are going and when you expect to be back. Conditions can change quickly so take it seriously, pack survival rations and be prepared for the cold.

Alaska

Your full Wanderlust guide to

Alaska

Alaska
Alaska’s beautiful landscapes (Shutterstock)

When the USA bought what is now the state of Alaska from Russia for around US$7 million in 1867, it represented probably one of the greatest deals in history. America certainly got more than it bargained for. This is a land of unlimited adventure: larger than the UK, France, Spain and Germany put together yet home to a population of just 733,000 – that’s around five people for every bear!

Alaska’s national parks are the size of small countries, spanning twinkling icefalls, creaking glaciers, endless forests and the highest mountain in North America (Denali; 6,190m). Bears, moose, caribou and wolves roam freely, making guided backcountry hikes both wondrous and thrilling, while small-boat cruises along the Inside Passage or Kenai Fjords gift a glimpse of its frozen wilderness from the water, as humpbacks and orcas glide beneath their hulls. 

On land, the Alaska Railroad (756km) offers a neat way to roll through all this natural majesty, as you rattle past gold-rush-era towns up to Anchorage – a city where the food is so fresh that the salmon on your plate has likely just been fished from the town creek. It is also home to the Alaska Native Heritage Center, where you can learn more about the 20 distinct Indigenous cultures who roamed these lands long before its American and European settlers ever dreamt of arriving here.  

Latest Alaska articles

Capital
Juneau
Language
English; around 23 distinct Indigenous languages
Population
733,000
Int. dial code
+001907
Visa
UK nationals don’t require a visa for stays of 90 days or less, but you will need an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), which can be applied for online.
Time zone
UTC-9 (Apr-Oct UTC-8)
Plug Type
Type A and Type B
Currency
US dollar ($)

When to go

The summer months (Jun–mid-Sep) are typically the best time of year to visit, when the warmer weather (up to 19ºC) and longer days make Alaska a delight to explore. By June, the bears are awake, boat trips to see otters, seals, walruses and whales have started, and the trails have begun to thaw. In July, the sockeye salmon are spawning in Katmai, as hordes of bears descend on the river, making for incredible photographs. 

As the weather turns freezing in October, the wildlife disappears and many of the roads in the parks close for winter. During this time, skiing, snowshoeing and dog-sledding take over, with stays in wilderness lodges beneath the glimmer of the northern lights making for an incredible escape. Bear in mind that April sees a lot of the local lodges, tours and restaurants close for the month. 

International airports

The main international airport is Ted Stevens (ANC) in Anchorage, which sees the bulk of international flights arrive. Fairbanks (FAI), Juneau (JNU) and Ketchikan (KTN) welcome services primarily from the US and Canada. There are also hundreds of small airports scattering the state, from which private seaplane and single-propeller flights can be taken. 

Getting around

The size and landscape of Alaska can make getting around difficult, especially if you want to venture into the furthest wilderness areas. 

During the summer, ‘park to park’ motorcoach services operate, linking up Seward, Anchorage, Whittier, Denali National Park and Talkeetna. Alternatively, the Alaska Railroad runs year-round, hitting the tracks between Fairbanks and Seward; this is a great option, and its observation carriages offer incredible views.   

If you’re driving, the Alaska Highway lets you road-trip up from mainland USA and into Alaska. This finishes at Delta Junction; from there you can pick up the local highways, but bear in mind that Alaska’s road network is notoriously small. Rental companies often don’t allow you to travel on specific roads for fear of damage to their vehicles. For the state’s infamous ‘gravel highways’, a 4WD is the best option. 

To reach any of the more remote parts of the state, you’ll need to travel by plane or boat. By water, the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System visits some 35 port communities along the Inside Passage for an affordable price; the alternative is to join an organised cruise, which typically stop in Skagway, Ketchikan and capital Juneau. Cruises of the Kenai Fjords depart from Seward. 

Many of the more remote park locations can only be reached by air; wilderness lodges will typically offer the option to fly in. You can also bag a ticket for a seat on the ‘milk run’ that airlifts in supplies to remote Alaskan communities along the panhandle; this lets you visit a number of cities that are otherwise passed over by visitors.  

Health & safety

Alaska is a safe place to visit, though the usual precautions are required in its larger cities, particularly for women travelling solo. The real danger comes when you get into the wilderness, where a guide is often required if you want to travel deep into remote areas. 

Wildlife attacks can happen when hiking, so it’s wise to make plenty of noise; you don’t want to startle a bear or a moose. If going on multi-day hikes, you should let someone know before setting off, and do not attempt backcountry hikes alone or if inexperienced. The weather can change at a moment’s notice, so being prepared for any eventuality is always advisable.  

United States

Your full Wanderlust guide to

United States

United States
Montpelier in Vermont during fall (Shutterstock)

Wonder-packed national parks, diverse cities, epic road trips, ancient Indigenous sites: the USA’s roster of travel experiences is more befitting of a continent than a country. New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles star in countless Hollywood blockbusters – but the US offers so much more than these celebrity metropolises.

Nowhere sounds better than the South. You’ll find snug jazz clubs in New Orleans; honky tonks in Nashville, and raw juke joints in the Mississippi Delta. Beyond the glittering soundtrack, poignant trails tell Civil Rights stories and National Park sites remember the Civil War battles that shaped American history.

In the Southwest, red-rock spires and canyons, cacti-filled deserts and centuries-old Puebloan cliff dwellings are parcelled into stirring national parks, while two of the country’s quirkiest cities – Portland and Seattle – rise from an emerald tree canopy in the Pacific Northwest.

In the northeast, New England unfolds in a whirl of Gilded Age mansions, lighthouse-studded shores and artsy small cities, and the Midwest’s travel bounty goes way beyond skyscraper-filled Chicago – from adventures on the ocean-like Great Lakes to cultural odysseys in some of the USA’s most underrated cities, such as Cincinnati and Detroit.

Then expect heart-stopping wildlife encounters everywhere from Florida’s sprawling Everglades (alligators, crocodiles) to Yellowstone National Park (bison, elk, bears) to Alaska’s spellbinding wildernesses (moose, Dall sheep and yet more grizzlies). The US is primed for any adventure.

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New music trails, Indigenous experiences and the Great American Eclipse are just some of the incredible reasons to plan a trip to the USA in 2024…
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Dive into the USA’s culture and heritage

Capital
Washington DC
Languages
English
Population
336.5 million
Int. dial code
+1
Visa
Travellers from 41 destinations, including the UK, are part of the US Visa Waiver Program – check the requirements for your country at travel.state.gov
Time zone
Eastern (EST) GMT-5, (EDT) GMT-4. Central (CST) GMT-6 (CDT), GMT-5. Mountain (MST) GMT-7 (MDT), GMT-6. Pacific (PST) GMT-8 (PST), GMT-7.
Alaskan (AKST) GMT-9 (AKDT), GMT-8.
 Hawaii (HST) GMT-10.
Plug type
Type A and B
Currency
American Dollar USD

When to go to the USA

The best time to visit the US is entirely dependent on what you want to do. 

The climate fluctuates widely across the country. Summer is generally the brightest time in northern areas, from New England to the Great Lakes region, while the south is best visited in the cooler shoulder seasons.

Planning a trip to one of America’s most popular national parks? You’ll have a smoother experience if you explore outside of peak summer season, when crowds and traffic have thinned. Winter adventures – from snowshoeing to skiing to sledding – abound in the USA’s northern reaches and mountain areas.

You can also pin your trip to one of the USA’s many festivals. Head to New Orleans, Louisiana or Mobile, Alabama for Mardi Gras in February; Chicago, Illinois for lakefront music festival Lollapalooza in August; or San Antonio, Texas for one of the country’s largest Day of the Dead celebrations in November.

International airports

You can catch direct flights to many places in the USA.

Key international gateways include John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York City; O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California; and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in Atlanta, Georgia.

New direct routes from London and other major European cities are continually added, allowing travellers to easily explore lesser visited pockets of the country, such as Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati. 

Getting around in the USA

The great American road trip is part of the USA’s national psyche, and long distances and sparse public transport means you’ll need to hire a car in many areas. Fabled road trips include California’s coastal Highway 1; the mountainous Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia; and historic Route 66, which slices through eight states. In some regions, an increased volume of electric vehicle charging stations means you can lower your carbon emissions while on the road. 

There are also good train networks across parts of the USA. Key Amtrak routes include the California Zephyr, which travels all the way from Chicago to San Francisco, and the Empire Builder, which heads west from Chicago out to Washington state. Brightline trains connect parts of Florida including Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

If you’re on a budget, Greyhound buses service vast swathes of the USA, though amenities are basic and other modes of transport are often more comfortable. 

Once you’re in the USA’s major cities, including New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington DC, extensive subway systems and light-rail trains provide convenient ways to get around.

Health & safety

Visitors to the USA should exercise the usual caution and common sense in major metropolitan areas when it comes to their personal security and possessions.

Gun crime in the US routinely makes the news, but it very rarely affects travellers. 

Tornadoes and hurricanes are a part of life in some US states: if a situation should arise while travelling, follow all evacuation orders and instructions from emergency services. Check weather.gov for more advice. 

The national emergency number is 911.

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