Canada’s capital is situated in the northeast of the Ontario, not far away from the Quebec border. Despite being smaller than other Canadian cities such as Montreal or Toronto, Ottawa is a diverse city with plenty to offer. Downtown you will find a number of excellent restaurants and world-class museums and galleries. If you are someone who prefers being outdoors, there are outdoor pursuits too such as wandering along the side of the river or ice skating across the longest ice skating rink in the world.
The best time to visit Ottawa is between March and May as during these months the weather is pleasant and there are number events to attend, such as the famous Tulip Festival. In addition, visiting Ottawa in the spring allows you to avoid the summer peak season which is characterised by crowds and high prices. If you don’t mind the cold, the cheapest time to visit Ottawa is during the winter.
Ottawa is served by Ottawa International Airport (YOW) and receives 8 flights a week from London. The average flight time from London to Ottawa is 7 hours and 30 minutes. For most of the year, a return flight to Ottawa will cost you around £550. However, prices rise to nearer the £750 mark during July.
Things to Do in Ottawa
Ottawa is a tourist’s paradise as there are plenty of things to see and do and everything is quite close together, allowing you to pack loads of attractions into your day. The first port of call for almost all holidaymakers in Ottawa is the Rideau Canal. This historic canal meanders through the centre of the city and provides a lovely walk in the summer months. However, if you visit Ottawa during the winter months, the canal freezes over to form the longest ice-skating rink in the world.
Parliament Hill is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks and is certainly a must-visit when in Ottawa. The building itself with its neo-gothic design and ornate copper routes is visually stunning. Several parts of the building are open up to the public. This includes the Centre Block and the observation deck on the top of its Peace Tower which offers an unforgettable view of the city below.
As mentioned in the introduction, there are plenty of excellent museums and galleries to visit while in Ottawa. Two of the best museums to visit are the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum. The Canadian Museum of Civilization explores the history of Canada through a number of fascinating exhibits. The Canadian War Museum has an impressive selection of war artefacts and is the most comprehensive museum of its kind in the country.
As Ottawa is the capital of Canada, hotel prices are quite high in the downtown area. As a result, you are often better off looking for accommodation slightly farther afield and travelling into the downtown area using Ottawa’s reliable public transport.
In Ottawa, much of the accommodation comes in the form of suite hotels which primarily cater for those who visit Canada’s capital on business. In the downtown area you will also find a number of unique, high-end accommodation options as well as a number of international chains.
In addition, there are a number of bed and breakfasts scattered throughout the capital which are perfect for those looking for cheap summer accommodation in Ottawa.
If you plan on visiting Ottawa during a festival or event, be sure to reserve your accommodation in advance as hotel rooms book up quickly. In addition, you can make some great savings, even during the popular the summer months, if you opt for a weekend package.