Expansive prairies and gem-toned lakes framed by the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains make Alberta one of the world's most scenic destinations.
As a sprawling city of nearly a million and a half people there’s a lot going on, yet Calgary still has a hint of small town feel thanks to its western roots that started way back with the arrival of the railroad, in a time when pioneers arrived in droves on horses which eventually led to the world famous Calgary Stampede. Here are the best things to do in Calgary, scenic spots and how to enjoy a luxe getaway.
There are fun day trips, Indigenous experiences and outdoor adventures on its doorstep in spots like Sundre, southern Alberta and Waterton. These are some of the best hikes in Kananaskis where there's also backcountry glamping, and winter means ice hiking to spots like Troll Falls.
Banff gets all the glory, but don't skip over Canmore which is just 15 minutes away and has hiking, bike paths, a fun town centre and great hotels. In Banff, wander through the bustling town then head out for a nature walk at Johnston Canyon, Sunshine Meadows, the Cave and Basin National Historic Site (the birthplace of Canada's national parks) or soak in the hot springs. For epic views, take a ride up Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola to see the entire Bow Valley spread out below.
From Banff, head to spectacular Lake Louise for a wellness getaway, then up the Icefields Parkway which is one of the world's most scenic road trips (even in winter). Make stops at Instagram-famous Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake, the Columbia Icefields and Athabasca Falls en route, and here are some fun things to do in Jasper.