Why travel to Ottawa this winter
The Canadian capital city of Ottawa is a fantastic place to visit in the winter. However, it's important to note that the city is very cold in winter – so wrapping up is a must with temperatures dropping low enough to make it the third coldest capital in the world, behind Moscow, Russia and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Nevertheless, once you're dressed ready for the weather, Ottawa in winter is an incredible place to be. Below we've listed out some of our top reasons you should book a winter trip to the Canadian capital.
Winter is quieter!
With so many exciting things to do in Ottawa the city is popular with tourists year round, but during the winter season, the numbers drop giving you greater access to pack in all the things you want to do.
Just 20 minutes outside of Ottawa's bustling capital, you can head to the stunning Gatineau Park and pick up a pair of snow shoes so you can hike the trails around. Follow a map around the park and take in the serene beauty, which boasts over 100 types of rare animals and plant species. Make sure you're dressed appropriately with thermal hats, mittens, scarves, winter boots and plenty of layers so you can enjoy your day to the full.
Check out Parliament
Ottawa's Parliament building is a stunning spectacle at night during the winter as it's lit up with different coloured snowflakes, making it a must see on a visit to the city. In late December, Parliament takes a break too, so you can be sure the area will be quieter around that time.
The French-Canadian influences are clear throughout the city, including the Chateau Laurie, a stunning landmark hotel which is worth visiting for a drink, or at least to take in the stunning architecture. Just a short walk from Parliament is the Canadian war museum, which is also worth a visit during your trip.
Get your skates on
Ottawa boasts the largest UNSECO world heritage site you can skate on, with almost 8km of winding canal for you to glide along through downtown. During the first three weeks of February, the Winterlude festival offers skating, ice sculptures, and giant snow playground activities for everyone to enjoy. Don't worry if you don't have skates, there are plenty of places to rent them in the city so you can join in the fun.
When you're in Ottawa you definitely have to join the queue to try a Beavertail. The popular snack is a fried piece of dough with butter and sugar on top, with additional toppings added as required.
When planning your trip to Ottawa, check out Ottawa Life to make sure you're up to date with all of the latest events and places to visit in the city. If you're planning to drive to Heathrow airport before your flight to Ottawa, you will need to plan your parking in advance and find the best value Heathrow parking costs.