I don’t think I need to write much to convince any of you to head to Banff, just look below… in this case a picture really is worth a 1,000 words. So it’s no surprise that when a friend contacted me with a good flight deal it took little to no time for me to say, YES!!
Established in 1885, Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest national park. Located in the province of Alberta and the Canadian Rockies, Banff encompasses about 2,500 sq. miles. Between the snow capped mountains and the turquoise glacial lakes, this is probably one of the most beautiful places I have had the privilege of visiting. See below my full itinerary and some tips for making the most of your trip to Banff!
From the USA: I flew Air Canada from New York to Calgary with a stopover in Toronto. I personally thought that this was one of the best airlines I’ve flown. Aside from good in-flight entertainment and comfortable seats, when my friend’s flight was delayed and she was going to miss the connection to Calgary they put us both on the next flight so we could fly together!
From Calgary: We arrived pretty late so we decided to spend the night in Calgary as it was close to a 2 hour drive to Lake Louise. The next morning we headed back to the airport to pick up our rental car! We requested an SUV but since we were both under 25 we were unable to, so we ended up getting a regular car. I was pretty nervous at first because I figured there would be a lot of snow and ice considering it was November, but it wasn’t that bad… until we were close to the hotel there was not even snow or ice on the road, but even then it wasn’t too bad!
I would definitely suggest renting a car for this trip. There are busses and car services that will take you to Banff Town or Lake Louise, but unless you plan on staying at the hotel the entire time I wouldn’t suggest using either of those methods (especially if you are staying in Lake Louise). Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore where you want and when you want, and is definitely a lot cheaper than hiring a taxi to take you everywhere. Plus when you’re driving yourself you have the opportunity to stop along the way and take pictures of the pretty scenery! I used Expedia to book our car and got a good rate!
Where To Stay
If you want to enjoy your wine (or whatever your drink of choice is) with this view, then have I got the perfect place for you. WARNING this hotel may not be for a budget traveler, but totally worth the splurge! The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise offers a range of activities, luxury dining, and incredible views. It is truly one of the most beautiful places I have stayed at to this day. Whether you’re on a girls trip or romantic getaway this hotel has everything you need!
I found it cheapest to book directly through their website. Click here to check out Fairmont’s website
What To Do
Aside from admiring the beautiful landscapes and glacial lakes, there are number of things to do. If being outdoors is your thing, then I suggest you back your bags now. We were there during the winter so our activities were limited, but if you’re there during the same time here are a few suggestions.
Explore Banff Town: If you’re staying in Lake Louise it’s about a 30 minute drive. Here you will find tons of cute shops and restaurants. The perfect place to spend a few hours! Don’t forget to stop and take a photo with the Banff sign (another perk of renting a car, stop whenever you want!).
Banff Gondola Ride: This 8 minute scenic ride takes you 2,300 feet up. If you want incredible views like this I suggest you don’t skip this. From viewpoints and walking paths, to restaurants and shops once you’ve reached the top there is no shortage of activities. Although the view alone was good enough for me. I’d suggest booking your tickets in advance, you’ll also save 10%! Book here
Walk/Ice Skate on Frozen Lake Louise: We had been looking at photos of the beautiful glacial Lake Louise and were sad to see it was frozen solid upon our arrival (after all we were there during late November). Although we were disappointed by the frozen lake it was kind of cool being able to walk out on to the middle of it. If ice skating sounds fun to you, you can also rent skates, provided you’re more coordinated than I am.
Other winter activities that you may be interested in; skiing & snowboarding.
Winter Packing List
When it comes to packing sometimes I don’t know where to start. Below is a helpful list of things you may need, as well as links to purchase some of the items I bought for the trip.