Canada has the world’s longest coastline of over 202,000 kms touching the Arctic, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. It also has 52,455 islands, putting it fourth on the list of countries with the most islands. Did you know, the Top 10 largest islands in the world features three Canadian Islands? Yup, Baffin Island, Ellesmere Island, and Victoria Island.
Although many of these islands are hard to reach, here are some of the most beautiful islands that you must see for yourself!
Here are the Top 10 Most Stunning Canadian Islands:
1. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
Voted as the “Best Island in Canada to Visit” and “One of the World’s Best Islands” multiple times by Travel and Leisure, no wonder Cape Breton is on top of our list. The Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island is arguably one of the most scenic routes in the world. Winding along the coastline, the Cabot trail will bring you to charming fishing villages, panoramic views of the ocean from the Cape Breton Highlands. In the middle of the island lies Bras d’Or, one of the world’s largest saltwater lakes, a popular destination for recreational boaters, and designated as a UNESCO world heritage site.
2. Sable Island, Nova Scotia
There are only a few places in the world where you can still see “wild” horses. However, Sable Island, 160 km to the east of the mainland of Nova Scotia, sitting alone in the Atlantic Ocean, is one of those places. Descendants of horses introduced to the island in the 1700s, roughly 500 feral horses can be found roaming the sandy dunes of Sable Island. Aside from these stunning animals, the island is also famous for the hundreds of ships wrecked on its shores.
3. Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Ancient old-growth forests, rugged mountains, and bountiful coastal environments make Vancouver island one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. Because of its world-class whale-watching, wilderness adventures, famous surf destinations, and Victoria’s charm, the island attracts tourists from across the country and around the globe.
4. Fogo Island, Newfoundland and Labrador
Situated off the Northern coast of Newfoundland, Fogo Island is famous for its one-of-a-kind architecture. Each of the 12 communities on Fogo Island & Change Islands has its own distinctive style and feel. Aside from the fascinating architecture of the Fogo Island Inn and artist studios, the island will enchant you with its beautiful landscapes and rich culture. Fogo has become a destination for artists worldwide who work in incredible, inspiring studios.
5. Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is not just an island, but also the smallest of Canada’s provinces. Known for its red sand beaches and sandstone shorelines, delicious potatoes, and as the home of Anne of Green Gables, this charming island offers many characters. Access the island from Confederation Bridge; at 13km long, it’s the longest bridge in the world that crosses icy waters.
6. Manitoulin Island, Ontario
Take a ferry crossing from Tobermory Ontario, or road trip up the Trans Canada highway taking in the sights along the way. Located near the North Shore in Lake Huron, Manitoulin Island is the largest freshwater island in the world and home to the Wikwemikong Unceded Territory, one of the largest First Nation communities in Canada.
7. Haida Gwaii, BC
Temperate rainforests, remote wilderness, abundant wildlife, and rich heritage are just a few of the treasures that await on Haida Gwaii. Heda Gwaii is not a single island, but an archipelago of islands made up of two larger islands surrounded by smaller ones, sitting on the edge of the continental shelf, or as some may call it “the edge of the world”. The extensive archeological history of the islands indicates that the Haida have lived on the archipelago for at least 14,000 years.
8. Thousand Islands, Ontario
The Thousand Islands are a picturesque group of 1,864 islands scattered throughout the St. Lawrence River at the outlet of Lake Ontario and spanning the Canada-U.S. border. The islands formed 12,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age are rich in history and offer world-class fishing, diving, and paddling opportunities within secluded bays. Scattered among the islands are many cottages, lighthouses, historical sites, and a national park.
9. Baffin Island
As the largest island in Canada, and the 5th largest in the world, Baffin Island is an ideal destination for your Arctic adventure. Catch the northern lights, learn about Inuit culture, hike the massive fjords, or marvel at Mount Thor’s steep face, the highest vertical cliff in the world. Baffin Island is an adventurer’s paradise from incredible vast landscapes to unique wildlife, including snowy owls, polar bears, and narwhal.
10. Magdalen Island / Îles de la Madeleine, Quebec
In contrast to the steep rocky fjords of Baffin Island, Quebec’s Îles de la Madeleine offer rolling green hills, red sandy beaches, quaint homes, and picturesque red cliffs for a more laid-back adventure. A small cluster of islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Magdalen Islands offer plenty to do and see, including kayaking the coast, eating delicious food, listening to Acadian music, and so much more.
Ranked in no particular order.