Canada is a hot bed of bucket-list worthy experiences. Spectacular mountain ranges, cosmopolitan cities, fascinating wildlife…each of these elements providing its visitors with life-long memories. Yet the sheer size of the country may leave you wondering if there is a chance for you to experience the best of it all in just one short trip. Well, with a trip to Alberta, the answer is an easy yes.
Home to some of the country’s most iconic landscapes, wildlife and experiences; if you’re keen to immerse yourself in quintessential Canada, you need look no further than this enchanting province.
Here’s a 8 night itinerary packed with classic Canadian offerings. From foodie tours through the city to quiet alpine lakes, this is the perfect introduction to one of the world’s biggest (and best) countries.
KICK OFF IN CALGARY
Land in Calgary and we’ll transport you to your choice of luxury hotel. You’ll no doubt be tired after your journey, so an afternoon and evening of relaxed wandering is in order to help you acclimatize. As night falls, make your way over to Model Milk, one of Calgary’s most revered restaurants, where we’ll have a table booked and waiting for you. Serving up contemporary Canadian fare, a hearty meal of smoked brisket or rainbow trout is sure to ready you for a good night’s sleep.
TAKE A TASTING TOUR
We’re all for standard sightseeing, but when you can sightsee whilst tasting some of the destination’s best culinary offerings – why would you do it any other way? Calgary is brimming with farmer’s markets, bistros and high end restaurants that continue to grow and develop alongside Calgary’s evolution in the world’s food scene, so a food tour is a great way to get to grips with this exciting city. Listen to your private guide as he tells the story of the different vendors in the markets and how the culinary scene here has exploded in recent years whilst keeping your eye out for some of Calgary’s famous landmarks and architecture.
Full with both food and knowledge? Then it’s time to move on to other pursuits. Depending on your interests, we can curate tours and itineraries to suit you. Consider yourself to be a bit of an art buff? Glenbow Museum, with its varying art exhibitions will open your eyes to Calgary’s cultural side. Interested in the area’s history? We will make sure you get time to visit Heritage Park Historical Village, where you’ll gain an insight into the history of the West in an interesting way that’s suitable for the whole family.Read more
INTO THE WILD
From Calgary it’s on to Banff National Park to discover the iconic treasures that reside here. You’ll be holed up just a stone’s throw from Lake Louise, the focal point of the whole area. Once you’re settled in, it’s straight back out to tick off an activity found on many a bucket list; canoeing on Lake Louise. The image of blue alpine waters overlooked by towering snow-capped peaks and dotted with wooden canoes is a famous one, so now it’s finally time you put yourself in the frame. Wander round the waters edge to the boat house and hop into your private canoe. When you’re in the center of the lake, stop paddling and look around at the stunning scenery that surrounds you. Experiences like these just have to be appreciated.
In between driving out to the area’s famous lakes (Bow Lake and Moraine Lake being particular favorites of ours. Do not miss them.) be sure to also make time for Banff Upper Hot Springs to enjoy some natural R&R. An area that the First Nations peoples once frequented, believing it to be a sacred place, tourists and locals alike now make pilgrimages to in order to bathe in the hot mineral waters and enjoy unbeatable views. A place steeped in history as well as natural beauty, it’s a great place to while away your final hours in Banff.
THE ROAD TO JASPER
There’s no need to feel too sad about leaving Banff, as your next stop is yet another national park and the road to get there just so happens to be one of the most scenic routes on earth. The Icefields Parkway links the two parks and has plenty of pit stops where you can jump out to absorb your surroundings. One stop in particular we can’t help but highlight is the Glacier Skywalk. A cliff-edge walkway that curves out and round to a glass (yes, glass) platform, enjoy the adrenaline rush as you step out onto the transparent surface and look down at the mountains and rushing waterfalls below you. It takes a little while to get used to, and we wouldn’t recommend it for vertigo sufferers for obvious reasons, but we love it. Who knew walking on glass could be so exciting?
THE FINAL STOPS
Jasper has many incredible highlights, but with only a couple of nights in this vast area, we’ve handpicked spirit island and the sky tram as your must-do experiences.
The heart of Jasper National Park; Spirit Island on Maligne Lake is only accessible by boat, so we’ll have you booked onto a cruise that will open your eyes to the sheer beauty of Western Canada. Coasting on alpine waters that have filtered down from the Rockies, you’ll be able to hop out of the boat onto Spirit Island, which will prove to be a fantastic photo opportunity. Stood in the center of a lake surrounded by giant mountains, you’ll begin to realize just how small you are.
Then there’s the world-famous SkyTram. The highest (and longest) aerial tramway in Canada, you’ll literally feel as though you’re being transported to the top of the world. A ground-breaking achievement for Jasper, this experience will truly leave you breathless.
To wrap up this incredible adventure, its time for some more cosmopolitan vibes as you spend a night in Alberta’s capital city – Edmonton. Known as the Festival City, you might just be lucky enough to be in town for events like the Folk Festival or the Fringe Festival. If not, simply take time to wander the halls of The Art Gallery of Alberta for a spot of culture and immerse yourself in the color and bustle of the city’s farmers’ markets. Then, as night falls, make a toast to your epic journey through quintessential Canada at one of the many restaurants and bars along Edmonton’s wonderful Whyte Avenue.