Banff is an amazing little resort town in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta surrounded by stunning national parks. It’s full of cute boutique shops and good restaurants and the ever-present possibility of spotting native wildlife like moose and elk roaming its streets!
There is so much to see and do here in any season, which is why it was top of our list when we went to Canada for a family holiday.
Banff is easy to get to by road and rail or by flying into Calgary Airport and then taking a Brewster Express transfer, a scenic two and three-quarter-hour ride northwest. A stay in Calgary to take in its cosmopolitan culture is also an option before heading to Banff.
AM: We arrived at our hotel, Elk + Avenue, which is right on Banff Avenue just steps from the main street with its boutique shops and restaurants. The rooms are a decent size with all the amenities you expect in standard hotel rooms.
Our first stop was to find our way to the Banff Gondola, which was nice and easy. A local bus goes there roughly every 20 minutes and costs C$2 each way. It also stops at other major tourist spots.
The gondola is a must-do for soaking up the amazing scenery and the walking trails at the top offer even more amazing views.
PM: We spent the afternoon exploring the boutique shops and stopped in at a BeaverTails pastry shop for an afternoon treat! BeaverTails is a famous Canadian chain and its namesake product is a flat doughnut that resembles a beaver’s tail. You can chose from many toppings, with the most popular being Nutella or cinnamon and sugar – totally worth a try!
AM: We got up this morning for a full-day tour with Discover Banff Tours who picked us up from our hotel in a comfortable mini coach. Our guide provided a good commentary as we made our way north to Lake Louise, looking for wildlife along the way.
Lake Louise is just as amazing as the photos you see and we were all blown away by its beauty. We had some time to wander around and explore and have a peek into the famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise hotel and resort. We also chatted to some locals taking their dog for a walk on one of the many trails around the lake and wished we had a walking spot like it back home.
Our next stop was Moraine Lake, which was even more beautiful than Lake Louise and has the most vibrant turquoise colour. We had a bit of time here to explore and take a walk around before we jumped back on the coach to head back to Banff.
PM: This afternoon we walked around the shops again before taking the bus to Banff Upper Hot Springs to have a relaxing soak while overlooking the stunning mountains. It is only C$8 to enter the pool complex and you can hire towels and lockers should you wish. Then it was time to head back to Banff for dinner and a good night’s sleep. We’re still dreaming about when we can come back!