1 New York to Boston
The dizzying city of New York is home to a whopping 8 million stories, and from the minute you meet up with your Contiki crew, you'll have your own to add to the mix. Today we make for Boston, stopping by New Haven, Connecticut on the way - home to Yale University, known its thriving student culture. Achingly cool Boston is a delectable mix of history, hipsters and – thanks to the world-famous Red Sox - baseball. Spend the afternoon with your Trip Manager getting acquainted with the city's core spots and distinct Irish flavour, then come night get friendly with the team over an included dinner and boogy round town. (D)
Boston is steeped in history, so weave your way through the 18th century today on the Freedom Trail. This red-brick path winds past a plethora of sites integral to the revolution, and is guaranteed to inspire your inner rebel. Visit Harvard University (yes, the very same) and get a tour with one of the students. This hilarious look at student life will bring out the LOLs. Take well-deserved coffee breaks at groovy cafes, have a snooze in one of the nine parks that comprise the city's “Emerald Necklace” and reward yourself with a mouthwatering seafood feast. (B)
3 Boston to Quebec City
With the luck of the Irish, we pack our bags without leaving anything behind and make for Quebec via the wilds of Maine. Whizzing by jaw-dropping scenery and spotting the occasional moose out the window is sure to give you a second wind before we cross the border to Canada. Quebec's capital – Canada's Paris – is the only walled city in North America, and once you cop an eyeful of its beauty, you'll see why they wanted to lock it away. We'll pull in late today, and tonight you're welcome to take a traipse through town and sample the local watering holes. (B)
4 Quebec City
With its cobbled streets and ancient stone houses, Quebec City's UNESCO World-Heritage-listed old town is an open-air museum. After a history lesson with a Local Guide, get out and explore more of what the region has to offer: its vibrant art scene, Parisian-style eateries and quaint river boardwalk. If your tastebuds are feeling adventurous, try munching on duckling with maple syrup – a local delicacy. What else? You could check out the Chateau Frontenac - this red brick building built in 1983 is a landmark the city is definetely proud of. Champagne anyone? The city also boasts some pretty cool nightlife, so lets get out there and boozie, French style. (B/D)
5 Quebec to Montreal
Bid Quebec au revoir as we head towards the jazzy island city of Montreal. Pretty scenic views, yes yes yes, we're talking panoramic. Camera at the ready. Together, we'll take a spin around Montreal's Old Port and quays before driving up to Mt Royal, which offers sensational views of the city that will leave your head reeling. Back on sea level, we'll familiarise ourselves with a few signature sites. If you're hungering for an adrenaline rush this afternoon, jump in a jet boat and get wet in the rapids of the St Lawrence River, or perhaps just take a wander around time trying out your best high school French. (B/D)
Today is all yours - soak up as much of Montreal's creative juices and infectious joie de vivre as you can take. Add some cutting-edge threads to your wardrobe at The Main, munch your way through various countries at Jean-Talon market and dance the night away at a jazz bar downtown or in the Latin Quarter. It would be rude not to grab a serving of poutine on the way home, wouldn't it?
7 Montreal to Toronto via Rockport
Still bopping along to the sax from the night before, we bid farewell Montreal. These 1000 islands are as pretty as a picture and a great way to relax and take in the views before we hit the city. On our stop, you'll have chance to board a boat and float your way along the water for an hour of bliss. These islands are dotted with historic buildings and castles. Back on land we make our way further into Canadian territory, with Toronto in our sights. Welcome to Toronto, the largest city in Canada. Your Trip Manager will fill you in on the hot spots of this fabulous city soon after we arrive, and will then give you the afternoon off to find your niche in its cosmopolitan melting pot. (D)
Toronto is another one of Canada's mulit-cultural hotspots. Maybe catch a baseball game, Head to the of the CN Tower, visit Gallery 44 or Toronto Park for people watching. Tonight, feel the global vibe of this city's nightlife. (B)
9 Toronto to Niagara Falls
It's time to wash away the city grit at what is undoubtedly the best-known waterfall on the planet: Niagara Falls. You can't get much wetter than at the world's ninth-largest waterfall. Experience Niagara Falls' surging power first-hand on the Niagara Cruise boat by getting right up to its thundering base, then soar above the action in a chopper or just take in the scene from the safety of a viewing platform. And don't worry – the ponchos are our treatLater today we head back to Toronto where we will spend the night.
10 Toronto to Whistler via Vancouver
We'll whisk you the airport this morning and just a pre-warning - it's an early one. But because of what's in store, we know that despite the protests and yawns, you won't mind that much. Why? Because Vancouver awaits... How's that fresh air! The rugged, handsome landscapes of Whistler are gorgeous all year long, from the ancient mountain peaks to the alpine hiking trails. First up though, stretch out those legs for an optional zipline on the 'superfly'. One of the world's best, do it alone, or jump in a tandem with a buddy - 102km an hour is not for the faint hearted. Dinner's on us tonight – make sure you rest up, because adventure is on the cards all day tomorrow. (D)
Come winter, Whistler may be a haven for snowbunnies, but when the weather is warm, it's activity central. Test your Popeye strength by canoeing along the River of Golden Dreams, zipline over churning rivers or take a hike through scenery that puts most postcards to shame. If you're feeling lazy, take a gondola or a chairlift to the mountain tops, but don't forget to explore the village itself – you'll melt at its cuteness. (B)
12 Whistler to Kamloops
Today it's out of the mountains and into Canada's Wild west interior. After a photo stop at idyllicSeton Lake, we'll stop in at the former gold-rush town of Lillooet just a few-hundred years too late to make our fortunes. Traders used to stop at Kamloops to swap tall tales about the one that got away (we mean the days' catch) and tonight, we'll be doing exactly that - the tales at least. Relax, go for a wander, or see if you can spot some local cowboys. Tomorrow there is much more in store when we leave the province of BC and into Alberta and the mighty Rockies. (D)
13 Kamloops to Jasper via Mt Robson
Well rested, we'll take in some incredible scenes on our drive this morning, and you might even see the highest point in the Rockies if weather permits. Eating outdoors is essential in these parts, so we'll load you up with a picnic lunch against a backdrop that will insight some serious FOMO from friends back home. Full and happy, the great outdoors is then yours to explore. Want to take the adrenaline levels up a notch? Get involved with our optional white-water rafting excursion on the Frasier River. There's nothing like a rafting adventure to confirm that there is no 'I' in team.Jasper will be your home for the next two nights – convenient really, considering it's the perfect base to explore the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. (B)
Rise 'n' shine - it's time to get out there with an easy hike though Maligne Canyon. Towering limestone walls will watch over us as we take in the scene, making our way across bridges to the thrilling soundtrack of rushing water. Nature goals achieved, we'll jump on the coach and head to Maligne Lake, famous for the azure colour of its water, and today we'll show you why. Drink in the beauty of the surrounding snow-capped mountains from the shore, or take an optional cruise out to iconic Spirit Island, the most photographed image in the Rockies - we'll bet you know the one. Later, we'll leave you to your own devices to explore the cute town of Jasper.
15 Jasper to Banff
On our way to Banff today, you'll be glued to the windows as we pass the waterfalls, lakes, meadows, glaciers and towering mountains that make up the Columbia Icefield Parkway. Take a walk to the Athabasca Falls, wheel across the Athabasca Glacier on the Ice Explorer, and cure that cotton-mouth with a drink of pure H2O – just be careful not to stick your tongue to the ice... Peyto Lake and Lake Louise (you're sure to have seen these on Instagram) are the perfect place to snap your next profile pic, and make sure those eyes stay peeled for wildlife. We'll roll into Banff – the unofficial capital of the Canadian Rockies. You're in cowboy country now, and who are we to buck tradition? Saddle up for a round of drinks before dinner and check into your chalet. (D)
There's loads on the menu today in Banff: hop on a gondola up Sulphur Mountain, take a heli-tour of the high country. At night, toast the moon with a horseback ride through the back-country complete with a fire-cooked meal to round off the day. (B)
17 Banff to Vernon
Marvel at the change of scenery today as we cut through three national parks on our way to Vernon. First up is Yoho National Park with its valley of waterfalls and meadows, and home to the amazing engineering feat - the Spiral Train Tunnel. Next up is Glacier National Park, which boasts over 400 (wait for it) glaciers (surprise) and Rogers Pass. Lastly, we'll see Mt. Revelstoke National Park's towering peaks and raging waters. Dinner in Vernon tonight is our shout – after cramming three national parks into one day, really, you deserve it. You'll probably also be hankering for a beverage after such a long day, and fortunately, the city's array of traditional pubs are happy to help you out on that front. (B/D)
18 Vernon to Vancouver
We're sure you'll agree that meandering through Canada's wine country – the famed Okanagan Valley - is a great way to kill time on the drive back to Vancouver. It's time to see everything of this magical metropolis that you missed the first time around, we'll treat you to a whirlwind tour of the historic sites. It's time to see everything of this magical metropolis you missed the first time round. Vancouver's downtown is world class, and its locals' take immense pride in its multiculturalism. Stop for pics at the city's nine Totem Poles - these colourful carved sculptures stand tall in Stanley Park and are a must-see sight that were gifted to Vancouver City. Get out there and get local, do some boutique shopping or even rent a bike and explore the city on wheels. Tonight, give your ears a treat with some live music in the alleys of Yale Town.
A hidden grassroots art scene, eating adventures in abundance, and a pretty seaport setting - your free day in Vancouver will not be short of magic. If the galleries and cute cafes get old, roam one of the cities many parks or gardens or find a spot to take in the surrounding mountain vistas. Top off the day with a dinner cruise and your Vancouver experience is whole and complete. (B)
20 Depart Vancouver
All good things must come to an end, and so does our alpine adventure this morning. We wish you all a fond salute and bon voyage. We hope we'll be seeing you again soon...