3 Days in Ottawa: A Travel Guide
You simply cannot visit Canada without experiencing the charm of Ottawa. Ottawa is the capital city
of Canada within the province of Ontario. Canada has lured travellers for the longest time due to the
landscape and natural beauty this North American country offers.
featured photo byPhoto by Matthew Fournier on Unsplash
The wanderlust in a tourist can be satisfied with the array of forests, glaciers, lakes and mountains
Canada has to offer. From cosmopolitan cities to hidden cabin gems, Canada has something for
If you are a seasoned traveller or want to experience a different part of Canada, Ottawa is the
destination for you!
What to Know About Ottawa
The great part about visiting Canada is that if you stay for less than 180 days, you don’t require a
visa. Also, crime is relatively low, so you can travel and sightsee without agonising over your safety
every few minutes. The Canadian people are known for being welcoming and very friendly, so chances are you will feel at ease instantly.
The currency of Canada is the Canadian Dollar, so do your research on the currency conversion rates
and ensure you have enough dollars to enjoy your stay. Ottawa’s languages are French and English, so be prepared to hear dialects in both.
The best time to visit Ottawa is between the months of March and May when spring is in bloom and
the temperatures are mild to warm. The months of June to September are the hottest and are also great times to travel. If you prefer the cold, stick to the off-season which is cheaper too!
Decide on which days you would like to travel in order to book flights to Ottawa. If you need some
help in this area look here for flight details. Porter Airlines offer travel agent services, corporate
travel, and they travel to Ottawa at great prices and service you can trust. Take the stress out of
travel arrangements and allow the experts to help you book your flights and accommodation for
May is a great time to visit Ottawa for two distinct reasons – The Canadian Tulip Festival, and for the fitness lovers, the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. Flora lovers and admirers will be able to swoon at the Canadian Tulip Festival which is the biggest Tulip festival held in the world. There are over one million tulips here, with approximately 650,000 visitors who flock to the annual event to see the beauty and splendour of the tulips.
The Tulip Festival coincides with the arrival of spring in Canada and offers various activities which make this festival something extraordinary to experience. Tours, entertainment, art and fireworks provide something for the entire family to enjoy.
Join thousands of runners at the annual Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon as you run the streets of
Ottawa and enjoy the Boston Marathon qualifier. Read up on the race here to be prepared for the marathon if you intend on running it.
Day One: Rideau Canal
Every trip to Ottawa should start with the Rideau Canal. This picturesque canal is a UNESCO world heritage site which provides scenic views on either side of the canal and is a delight to both residents and tourists. Dedicated multi-use pathways run on either side of the Rideau Canal and provide the perfect opportunity for cycling, walking or running. In winter, the canal turns to ice and provides the world’s largest ice-skating rink which attracts tourists both locally and abroad.
The blooming tulips alongside the canal in May are the perfect backdrop to a bicycle tour around the canal and through the city. You can rent a bicycle along the canal and leisurely make your way around the canal and city. Keep an eye out for information boards along the way that highlight the canal’s history and heritage to learn more about the spectacular man-made waterway. If you prefer to travel by boat, consider an eco-friendly electric boat cruise that provides the same experience that renting a bicycle provides but with less physical exertion.
If you are feeling more adventurous, rent a canoe, paddleboat, kayak or stand-up paddle board to explore the canal for the day. Keep an eye out for the various fauna and flora that surrounds the canal during the spring and summer months. There are various places to rest and eat along the way, so plan to spend a full d aysight-seeing around the legendary Rideau Canal.
Day Two: Ottawa and Gatineau
Exploring the city of Ottawa and neighbouring Gatineau should be on your itinerary on day 2. Start
at Parliament Hill and join an hour-long guided tour of the home of Canada’s parliament. Stop at the
Mill Street Brewery for a refreshing drink before visiting the Canadian War Museum. The next stop
should be at the famous ByWard Market in the heart of Ottawa. The market consists of buildings
that are surrounded by open-air stalls to satisfy the curious, hungry or those looking for curious to
take home. Don’t forget to purchase the iconic maple syrup that Canada is super famous for at one
of the stores.
Grab a bite to eat at a restaurant in Ottawa before crossing the river on the Pont du Portage bridge
into Gatineau where you can spend the rest of the day seeing the sites. If you want to connect with
nature, consider visiting Gatineau Park where the variety of hikes and walks provide the best
lookouts to spot wildlife and meet other tourists. Located on the banks of Gatineau, look out for the
Mosaiculture which displays 48 giant floral sculptures in the summer months. These sculptures are
beautifully crafted and breathtaking in person and will not soon be forgotten.
Day Three: Petrie Island
Your final day in Ottawa should be spent on the beach! Yes, you heard right – Ottawa has a beach.
Petrie Island sits amid the Ottawa river and is the perfect spot for a picnic or a lazy day lounging in
the sun. The two beaches on Petrie Island are open from mid-May to September complete with
lifeguards from noon until 7pm. Petrie Island is equipped with ablution facilities, a canteen and picnic tables to enjoy in the warmth of the sun. Hop on a bus to get to Petrie Island and spend the last day watching the sun set on the beach. The beach is also geared for entertaining children with trails that allow them the chance to see turtles in their natural habitat. The island is also equipped for beach volleyball, kayaking and hiking. There is something for every tourist to enjoy.
In the winter, Petri Island becomes an ice-fishing spot and some sportsmen enjoy cross-country skiing in the area. When spring arrives, many locals and tourists come to Petri Island to watch the snow and ice melt and flood into the Ottawa river.
A beach day is the perfect way to end your tour of Ottawa and because the beach is only open from
midday, so you can sleep in and grab a late breakfast, find a book or magazine to read on Petrie Island, or look through your photographs of the previous two days.
End the evening by choosing to dine at Riviera Ottawa, where you can enjoy Canadian cuisine and a
drink of your choice in an old bank building on Sparks Street.
With this handy guide, your trip to Ottawa will be one to remember and treasure for years to come.