Living in Canada, I always get asked by friends, readers and social media followers, “where is the best place to visit in your country?” Without fail, I always point people to Alberta. To me, it is the most stunning place in our country, which is beautiful, vast and has so much to offer. The first time we visited was back in 2015 and then again earlier this year. It never ceases to take my breath away and humble me. The mountains are truly something else. No matter the season — winter is like a fairytale storybook and in the summer: magical lush green and turquoise waters. There is so much to do and see, so we shared what we got up to in 5 days, thanks to Travel Alberta. Watch our travel vlog here and be sure to download our free itinerary guide of places to stay, eat and things to do below. I go more in to depth in this blogpost…
We began our adventure in Calgary (flying into the Calgary International Airport is your best option) and rented a car to explore at our own pace through Avis Rent A Car. We rented a Dodge Durango which is great for winter driving (which we are used to living in Canada) and it has heated seats. Trust me, you’ll appreciate that one!
We spent our first night at the Alt Hotel in Calgary’s East Village. Really loved the modern vibe and how close it was to the airport. Right across the street is the Simmons Building which is where we had a delicious lunch at a restaurant called charbar. They really focus on a locally sourced menu which we loved!
Calgary’s East Village is a hip mix of eclectic boutiques, restaurants and local treasures. We loved exploring the new Calgary Central Library. If you’re a bookworm like me, this place is heaven! Such a cool design as well (be sure to watch our vlog to get a peek inside). I also loved Liz & Lottie (you know my love for stationery, local clothing and accessories). They had a lot of neat finds! If you’re looking for a great brunch spot, Alforno Bakery & Cafe is excellent (especially for a pretty shot).
The drive up to Canmore from Calgary was gorgeous because we got to start seeing those beautiful mountains! We checked in at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge, which is a modern hotel nestled in the pines and mountains. I instantly felt relaxed checking in here and go figure, they also have the amazing Nordic Spa. It’s a hydrotherapy cycle spa with a series of hot saltwater and cold plunge pools and three different sauna types. I feel like our bones needed this after the flight and our first day of exploring. It was a great way to ease ourselves into the week and get really cozy.
We didn’t leave the resort, which was so nice and had dinner down at The Cedar Room in our hotel which was delicious!
The next morning we had breakfast at the lodge and then transferred to Spray Lakes for some dog sledding! The weekend before we left for this trip, we had to put down our 14 year old family husky. It was a really emotional ride for me, but I think it was just what I needed. We went with the Maddogs and Englishmen Dog Sled Tour and the way they care for these beautiful animals and allowing them to be in their element of what they LOVE to do (they are a working breed) was really great to see. The common theme I see and feel in Alberta is how much they value nature and care for it.
Banff National Park
Banff became Canada’s first national park in 1885 and today it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is what makes the Canadian Rockies a total dream destination!
When you approach the entrance to Banff National Park, there is an entrance fee (so you will need to purchase a Park Pass). This is required for parking in the park (FYI).
We first checked in at Baker Creek Mountain Resort and can I just say if cozy was captured in a photo, I am pretty sure it would be this place! The wooden chalets (complete with pendelton blankets to give you all the feels) are majestic, with a delicious restaurant (Baker Creek Bistro) and ice rink right on the resort! Our dinner at the Bistro was our favourite because they had blankets on each seat (hi, cozy!), the service was excellent and there was a crackling fire — need I say more?
Neal enjoying a hot cup of coffee on our balcony with the view of that fresh blanket of sparkling snow and trees. One of those moments I am so grateful for witnessing.
One of the most iconic places in the Canadian Rockies (Canada and the world to be honest) is Lake Louise. Whether it’s frozen over (like it was when we were there) or sparkling, turquoise blue in the warmer months, this place is magic. We had lunch at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in their Lakeview Lounge and this is where you can look out to the best view while sipping on delicious French onion soup!
In the winter you can go ice skating on Lake Louise or take a sleigh ride that follows the lake-side trail beneath Victoria Glacier.
We made our way up the Banff Gondola to see a whole new side of Sulphur Mountain and the Canadian Rockies. I have to say, seeing the endless trees climbing up the mountain and how endless and vast it all seemed took my breath away. We got some incredible views up at the top on the boardwalk and then had lunch at Sky Bistro.
We checked in at The Mount Royal Hotel in Banff for the end of our stay which is located on Banff Avenue (a ton of souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes and more). We had a delicious lunch at Block Kitchen & Bar (order the curry ramen if they still have it on the menu, it will warm you right up) and then I also love grabbing a Beaver Tail for dessert! It’s basically fried dough and cinnamon sugar (but you can get all kinds of toppings on it). It’s a Canadian staple, you just have to try one. Park Distillery is also an awesome place to grab a bite there for lunch or dinner.
On our last night, we headed to Vermillion Lakes (around 4pm) as the sun was beginning to set to get this shot below. We wanted a place to enjoy a quiet moment and take it all in before heading home. We even saw two deer running across and it felt like the pages of a story book were coming to life. We could not believe the beauty we were witnessing this whole trip, but this just made it even sweeter for us.
I hope you found this travel guide helpful and please never hesitate to comment below with any questions you have! I would be more than happy to help and answer! If you haven’t already, be sure to watch our Alberta Travel Video HERE.
Thank you to Travel Alberta for allowing us to experience this beautiful week in one of our favourite places in all of Canada.