Millions of Canadian tourists cross the Atlantic each year to explore Europe. France, Italy, and Spain repeatedly appear on the list of top countries visited by Canadians, but which are the best cities for Canadian sightseers?
The answer to this question depends on what the individual is searching for. Whilst some European cities stand out for their astonishing cultural offering, others boast some of the finest restaurants and eateries to be found anywhere in the world.
With so many interesting places to see in Europe, deciding on an itinerary can be difficult.
The news that the same ETIAS visa waiver for Canadian citizens, to be launched in 2022, will be valid for all Schengen Area countries is therefore of great benefit to those who wish to experience several towns in different European states.
Holidaymakers can find out how to apply for this mandatory travel document as well as discovering what some of the European cities frequented by Canadians have to offer.
European cities for beaches and summer sun
The Mediterranean coastline is dotted with some fantastic urban centres which offer the best of both worlds. Tourists can spend the morning visiting the most important tourist attractions and the afternoon relaxing on the beach.
The Spanish cities of Valencia and Barcelona are 2 stand out examples of such cities.
Which are the best beaches for holidays in Valencia?
Valencia lies on Spain’s Costa Blanca which boasts some of the finest beaches in Spain. Some of the most popular are:
- Las Arenas
- La Malvarrosa
Valencian beaches are generally clean and safe, perfect for families.
Which are the best beaches for vacations in Barcelona?
Barcelona is famous for its seaside location as well as its cultural monuments such as Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera, and the Arc de Triomf.
Tourists flock to La Barceloneta beach during the summer months and the many restaurants and bars remain open year-round.
Visiting these and other Spanish beaches is a popular activity for Canadians in Europe.
Cities in Europe for cultural tourism
Canadians wishing to experience the culture and history that Europe is famed for often head to France.
Paris is renowned for its world-class museums and emblematic French monuments including the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower.
Whilst Canadians with an interest in art should certainly prioritize a trip to Paris, keen historians should not overlook Carcassonne.
A fortified French city in the Languedoc region, Carcassone’s walls date back to medieval times and the 12th-century castle within the walls is fascinating. The citadel of Carcassonne was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1997.
Other French cities for cultural tourism include:
Top gastronomic cities in Europe
Another great attraction for Canadian tourists is food and drink in Europe. Exceptionally varied, each country has its own type of cuisine, and each city offers its own specialties.
Italian cuisine is popular across the world with pizza and pasta restaurants widespread. However, for a truly authentic experience, nothing compares to enjoying classic dishes in a local eatery in Italy itself.
Bologna has often been referred to as the ultimate destination for foodies: tortellini, mortadella, and tagliatelle al ragù are all highlights whilst the drink of choice is Lambrusco.
Other Italian destinations popular amongst Canadians are:
- Rome: particularly for spaghetti alla carbonara
- Milan: the Milanese risotto is on the menu at almost all restaurants
- Parma: to sample genuine prosciutto di Parma
- Naples: best known for its pizza, it also has an excellent street-food offering
The greenest cities to visit in Europe
Canada is praised for being an eco-friendly nation and it is something many residents feel passionately about. Europe also has a number of urban areas with plenty of parks and environmentally friendly features including:
- Helsinki, Finland
- Vienna, Austria
- Stockholm, Sweden
In addition, some European cities are surrounded by lush countryside. Ahr, the Middle Rhine valley and Moselle, 3 of the best wine regions in Germany are within easy reach of the city of Cologne.
Travelling to European cities with ETIAS
From 2022, Canadian passport holders will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver before travelling to Europe.
This will allow Canadians to move around the Schengen Area ETIAS countries for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period, plenty of time to spend time in several of the places mentioned above.
Furthermore, the permit is multiple-entry which means that visitors are welcome to return using the same ETIAS if they don’t have time to see all the places they would like to on one trip.
In addition, Canadians are to benefit from the increased safety of ETIAS. Whilst European cities are generally safe for tourists, by pre-screening all third-country arrivals, individuals who could potentially pose a threat can be stopped from legally entering.
Holidaymakers from Canada will therefore soon be able to enjoy Europe with greater peace of mind than ever before.