You might not have guessed it but Lonely Planet, the New York Times, and Condé Nast must all know something since each of them named Canada as #1 for the top travel destinations of 2017.  Canada is #1 for Top Countries in Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2017” and, both the New York Times and Condé Nast listed Canada as #1 in their top places to travel in 2017. No surprise to those of us at Sojourn because our bike tours in Canada have been garnering two thumbs up from guests for nearly a decade.

What are some of the reasons that make Canada such a wonderful place to visit? Canadians are friendly people. It’s true, our neighbors to the north are known for their sense of humor and joir de vivre. Maybe it’s the long cold winters that help enhance this behavior during the few and fabulous warmer months of the year. Canada is cycling-friendly. Québec’s La Route Verte includes over 5000 kilometers of marked cycling routes. Wouldn’t you appreciate a bit of that south of the border? The US dollar goes farther in Canada – 30% farther as of this writing. What’s more, all Parks Canada sites are offering free admission in 2017 in honor of the 150th anniversary of the confederation.

Tulips blooming in Ottawa

It looks to be a celebratory summer full of special events, particularly in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec which were among the first to join the confederation. The Canadian Tulip Festival kicks things off in mid-May in Ottawa, Canada’s Capital City. Over one million tulip bulbs will bloom during the annual festival which runs May 12-22 of 2017. The origins of this festival can be traced to a thank you gift from the Queen of the Netherlands to Canada for their help in liberating her country from Nazi occupation during the 2nd World War. Ottawa’s fabulous network of bike paths offer exceptional views of the plethora of colorful tulip gardens throughout the city. Secure your spot on the May 13-19 Ottawa to Montréal tour for front row tulip viewing and you’ll also catch part of Montréal’s 375th anniversary celebration later in the week. Special events in both cities will be on-going throughout our tour season.

Where can you travel and feel like you’re in France without crossing the ocean? To the cradle of French civilization in North America, Québec City. This charming and beautiful port city is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the only walled city north of Mexico. Settled over 400 years ago by French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, Québec City is brims with history and French culture. Climb on your bicycle in Burlington, Vermont and nearly 300 miles and five days later, you’ll arrive in this most European of North American cities where you will enjoy three nights in the heart of the Old Port. After pedaling though beautiful small villages along the way, it feels like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The Burlington, Vermont to Québec City tour has been so popular that we recently acquired an additional trip date in order to accommodate the overwhelming interest. This new tour date runs from August 26 through September 3 of 2017. As with all of these trips, your return travel to Burlington, Vermont is included in the trip price.

An easy-going bike tour in Canada can be found on the beautiful Niagara Peninsula, a region that was recently featured by both Wine Spectator and the New York Times for its quietly growing popularity in the wine industry. Rich in history – retreating British settled here during the American Revolution – and agriculture, the peninsula has quietly become one of the premier wine regions in the world. Its rise to fame can be traced to Icewine however over 46 varietals of grapes are currently grown on the bucolic peninsula that is sandwiched between Lakes Ontario and Erie, just west of Buffalo, NY. Lovely inns and respected restaurants can be found in small town’s such as Niagara-on-the-Lake, best known as the prettiest town in Canada. Bike paths and quiet country roads combine to make this a wonderful destination for the bike tours that Sojourn operates here.

Cyclist in Quebec CityFor those who cannot manage a week or more of vacation, you can still experience Canada’s 150th during a long weekend bike tour from June 1-4. Begin your ride in Burlington, Vermont then cross the Canadian border into Québec for a festive two days of cycling in this French-speaking province. After riding through tidy rural farmland, you’ll enter Montréal over the Jacques Cartier Bridge which will feature a display of thousands of lights in honor of the 150th anniversary celebration. Explore the sites and celebratory festivities in Montréal on foot then participate in the popular Tour de L’île to culminate your trip. This fun annual event features a 30-mile ride through Montréal on streets that are closed to vehicular traffic. It draws thousands of participants, many of whom dress in costume for the ride.

If you plan to join us for a bike tour in Canada in 2017 you will need a passport or enhanced US driver’s license in order to cross the border. A credit card that won’t charge you for foreign transaction fees, and an ATM card will serve more useful and cost effective than acquiring Canadian cash prior to leaving the US. Just pack your clothes, bike shoes, and bring your enthusiasm for adventure, then leave the rest to us. Your Sojourn tour leaders will guide you on an experience of a lifetime in the country of our friendly neighbors to the north. You might just come home singing “Oh Canada.”

Sojourn is a boutique company specializing in bicycling and active vacations in the US and Canada. Exceptional tour leaders, deluxe accommodations, and attention to detail are cornerstones of their trips. For more information visit GoSojourn.com or phone (802) 425-4771.