The Ultimate Banff Travel Guide
O Canada, you sure are a sight for sore eyes !
Earlier this month, a girlfriend and I landed in Calgary Airport with our adventurous spirits ready for the weekend ahead. We had the trip of a lifetime at a destination that I cannot recommend enough. If I've said it once, I'll say it a 100 times : do your a soul a favor and add Banff to your travel bucket-list. Banff is a National Park in Canada and one of those places that no words or pictures will adequately do it's beauty justice. While we were exploring the mountains and taking in the dreamy scenery, many of you asked me to share the details of our trip. As always, if you have any further questions I'm a quick email away but in the meantime, let's talk all things Banff ::
HOW TO GET THERE
Flying in Calgary International Airport (YYC) and then renting a car to scoot over to Banff will be your best bet. In my opinion, having a rental car is a must so don't forget to book ahead of time! The drive to the airport to downtown Banff is right at the hour and a half mark but the scenic views make it go by in a breeze. If renting a car is not an option, there is the option to hop on the Banff public service bus that runs to all the main attractions in town.
WHERE TO SAY
We stayed at The Rimrock Resort and I would highly recommend doing the same ! The Resort is located in the heart of Banff National Park with picturesque views of the Canadian Rockie Mountains. The staff, the amenities and the location were top notch and I'd be shocked if you didn't have the experience.
WHAT TO DO
Now to the fun part ! Keep in mind that Alex and I were there beginning of May and although it was rare for that time of the year, winter was still in full effect. As it would anywhere, the weather dictated much of what we were able and or not able to do // see but here are a few must do's:
VISIT LAKE LOUISE
a few tips::
- Lake Louise is actually located in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada which is a 40(ish) minute drive fro Banff National Park downtown. Account the drive time there and back when planning your day !
- During our time there, unfortunately, Moraine Lake was closed due to the amount of snow but if you visit during warmer months absolutely pair your visit toLake Louis with a stop at Moraine Lake since it's nearby.
- The best time to visit the lakes is either first thing in the morning or in later in the evening. People travel from all over the world to experience the magic of these lakes and if you're anything like me, you'd rather take in the sights without a flood of tourists.
- There is a lovely paved pathway around the perimeter of Lake Louise that is perfect for taking a stroll. Since you're there, you mind as well get the full experience - right?! Hop on the path and get ready for even more stunning views from every angle.
- If you are there during the summer months, get yourself in a canoe and paddle around the lake ! Lake Louise was completely frozen over when we visited and I'd love to see it during summertime so tag me in your photos!
- Make a pit stop at the cafè inside of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. This gorgeous hotel overlooks Lake Louise and offers prime patio seating for you to sip on a coffee or delicious cup of hot chocolate !
LAKE ANGES TEA HOUSE
If I were to ever visit Banff again I'd make sure to do so during the warmer months and hiking up the Tea House on the shores of Lake Anges would be the first thing on my list to do. Again, I have not experience this first hand but from what I've heard, it's an absolute must do!
Holy moly this expedition blew me away. The Banff Gondola is considered to be Banff #1 attrition, and for good reason. The gondola ride is an 8 minute journey to takes you up 2,292 feet to the summit of the Sulphr Mountain. Let me say that again, 2,292 feet !! I'm not going to lie, my face turned pale as we were soaring over the treetops but it was worth it once we reached the top. The Banff Gondola is hands downs a jaw-dropping mountain experience ! In terms of logistics, I would highly recommend booking your tickets ahead of time and going during the front half of the day. Can you tell I'm not a crowd person? ; )
BANFF UPPER HOT SPRINGS
I'm going to be honest, the Upper Hot Springs were the only part of Banff that disappointed me. As we walked up the Hot Spring both Alex and I looked at each other with a confused look on our face. In my opinion, the Hot Springs looked like an outdated apartment complex pool. After a quick walk through we scooted back to the car and were off to explore the next stop. If you don't believe me, go see it for yourself but if you trust me, I wouldn't recommend wasting your time when there are so many other amazing spots to experience.
WALK AROUND DOWNTOWN
Ok, let's talk about how adorable downtown Banff is ! Taking a walk through the downtown area is something you'll want to make sure you check off your list. There are also plenty of conveniently located pathways that make for the perfect casual stroll through town. This website provides a ton of useful information to locating the walking trails and about Banff in general.
WHERE TO EAT:
* great coffee paired with great food to match ! The Whitebark is a perfect pitstop before heading out for a day full of adventure.
Wild Flour Bakery
* artisan bread and pastries baked fresh, every day. Want to know what is better than freshly baked in house bread? Nothing. Wild Flour has a bustling local neighborhood feel that will make you feel right at home. OH and if you’re a tea lover, make sure to order a cup because their brews are delicious!
Bill Peyto Cafe
* after soaking in our time at Lake Louise, we made a pit stop at Bill Peyto Cafe before heading back to downtown Banff. The cafè offers hearty meals to fuel adventures big or small! It’s a totally casual vibe with a big menu that will be sure to please everyone’s tastebuds.
* This is one of the dining options at Banff Gondola. The food was fresh and the chef -attended stations will have you going back for seconds!
APP / DRINKS :
* stylish handcrafted cocktails, delicious bites and ideal views ! The lounge is inside the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel that offers an enchanting castle feel that you don’t want to miss out on.
Maple Leaf Grill
*The elegant log cabin inspired interior will give you a true Canadian dining expereince
The Bison Restauant
* A truly mouth watering meal ! Alex and I cozied up to the bar and has a 10/10 dining experience. Everything from the service to the drinks to the entrees had us walking away with a full stomach and happy heart!
I hope this post was insightful and has you inspired to experience the magic of Banff first hand. Again, feel free to send me an email // firstname.lastname@example.org // or reach out via direct message if you have any further questions ! : ) xoxoxo