Ah, rail travel. It's so retro and romantic. VIA Rail Canada (tel. 888/VIA-RAIL; www.viarail.ca/en) whisks you along from Montreal to Halifax to explore the "wonders of Eastern Canada" with a one-way rail ticket, an overnight on the train, and five nights' hotel -- all for a starting price of $1,263.
The trip combines a mix of guided activities and exploring on your own. Spend the first night aboard the train, with dinner. When you wake up the next morning, the shores of Chaleur Bay, New Brunswick, will be outside your window. Shortly thereafter, you'll arrive in Halifax. Check into the Cambridge Hotel and Suites, in the historic downtown and close to Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. For the rest of the day, explore Nova Scotia's capital at your leisure. The next morning, you're ready for a half-day city tour of Halifax.
The next morning, it'll be time to board the train again to Baddeck, Cape Breton, which is often referred to as the Scotland of North America. Baddeck is the start and the end of the Cabot Trail, a scenic seaside drive that you'll explore. The village overlooks a saltwater inland sea, Bras d'Or Lakes. Your tour takes you to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site and the Breton Highlands National Park. You'll spend two nights at the lakeside Inverary Resort, which dates back to 1850, before returning to Halifax for your final overnight at Cambridge Suites.
Note: This package is not a round-trip excursion -- you start in Montreal and end up in Halifax. If time is of the essence and you'd rather fly, according to a Kayak search, a one-way ticket from Halifax back to Montreal starts at $279 per person. However, you can always take the train back to Montreal -- fares start at $184 per person for a discounted, one-way economy ticket; the discounted fare for a sleeper car for two, with a shower, starts at $358 per person.
Trip Type: Independent, rail-inclusive
What the Quoted Price Gets You: An economy-class cabin on VIA Rail from Montreal to Halifax including all applicable taxes; six nights' lodging (one aboard the train, three in Halifax, two in Baddeck); a three-hour city tour of Halifax; a guided coach touring package of Cape Breton; some meals (three dinners; two breakfasts, and one picnic lunch); and whale-watching tours (weather permitting) for July, August and September departures.
What Else You'll Have to Pay: Transportation to the VIA Rail station; meals that aren't included, gratuities, and return transportation to originating city (Montreal)
Book By: As soon as possible to ensure availability
When: Aug. 8, 15, 22; Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26; Oct. 3
Other Details: VIA Canada says the package is not recommended for children under the age of 12.
All prices are per person and, if lodging is a component of the package, based upon two people traveling together (unless otherwise noted). The prices listed are general starting rates; see "What Else You'll Have to Pay" for details about associated taxes and fees. Base-prices, taxes, and fees can vary based on point of departure and time of travel. Blackout dates may apply. Trip add-ons like sightseeing tours and meal plans may also increase the price. Check with the tour operator for additional gateways and any single supplements, which is the extra cost that a solo traveler would pay to book the deal.