Home Blog 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada to Visit

5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada to Visit

Sunday, 9th April 2023

Pam Forrest

canada mt assiniboine provincial park alberta astk

Great in every sense of the world, Canada – the world’s second largest country – boasts an impressive 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. From archaeological treasures to colonial history, awe-inspiring natural wonders to the world’s largest non-polar icefield, we’ve sampled five sites that should feature on every travel wish-list.

Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks

No less than seven national and provincial parks across the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia rub shoulders in this mighty collection of snow-clad mountains, glaciers and icefields. For many, the precipitous peaks, green conifers and mirror-like lakes of this area are the epitome of what a Canadian landscape should be. While there is considerable scenic diversity across this vast country, it’s almost impossible not to taken in by the Rockies chocolate-box vistas. Places like Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and Peyto Lake are breathtaking. Irresistible for first-time visitors, the Canadian Rockies are easily slipped into a self-drive or escorted holiday. Don’t miss canoeing on Lake Louise or riding the Banff Gondola.

We recommend: Rocky Mountains in Depth

canada alberta moraine lake istk

Old Town Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Gracing Canada’s Atlantic coast, this picturesque fishing village of colourful wooden houses represents the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America. The buildings date back to the 18th century and the architecture retains the functional purpose for which they were originally built around the fishing industry. There is an undeniable sense of a bygone era as you stroll around town. Make sure to include the waterfront, though for the best photo opportunity, head along Tannery Road on the opposite shore. Artisan galleries and quirky restaurants add to the characterful experience.

We recommend: Atlantic Self Drive Discovery


L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, Newfoundland & Labrador

One of the world’s first UNESCO Heritage Sites, this archaeological site was designated as part of the original selection in 1978. It is home to the remains of an excavated 11th-century Viking settlement, providing evidence of the first European presence in North America. It is actually the only authenticated Norse site on the continent and the style of structures are in keeping with those found in South Greenland and Iceland in the same period. The site was referred to as Vinland by these early Norse settlers and referenced in the Vinland Sagas, which documents the voyages of Leif Erikson.

We recommend: Newfoundland Discovery

canada newfoundland viking longhouse at l anse aux meadows istk

Historic District of Old Quebec

Founded by French explorer Champlain in the early 17th century, Quebec is one of the world’s best examples of a fortified colonial city and is illustrative of European colonisation of the Americas in this period. Exuding French charm, the city is an architectural treat with the distinctive turrets of Château Frontenac, now a luxurious hotel, an obvious focal point. Stroll the Terrasse Dufferin, delve into the Lower Town to relax in cafes, then plan a gentle assault on the old city walls and historic battlefield of the Plains of Abraham. Comfortable shoes are a must as soak up the sites and tastes of this historic city.

We recommend: Wildlife and Wilderness of Quebec

Petit Champlain, Québec City

Kluane / Wrangell-St Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek

Though it doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue, these parks comprise an impressive collection of glaciers and high peaks straddling the border between Canada (Yukon Territory and British Columbia) and the United States (Alaska).  Located within Kluane National Park Reserve, Mt Logan is the highest peak in Canada and this UNESCO heritage site also includes the world’s largest non-polar icefield. Grizzly bears, wolves, dall sheep and caribou call this spectacular landscape home.

We recommend: Alaska and Yukon Highlights

canada view over kluane national park yukon by kalen emsley

Discover more UNESCO World Heritage Sites around our destinations in the following guides, or view the full World Heritage List.

Feeling inspired?

If you’d like to visit any of the sites shown above, contact our team of travel specialists. With first-hand experience of Canada, they can advise the best way to weave a UNESCO site or two into your holiday itinerary.