Awesome Alberta Holidays
Alberta is a province of prairies and mountains. It lies to the East of the great Canadian Rockies and, with British Columbia to the west, is one of the two main gateways to the Rockies. It is an excellent holiday destination for:
- The fantastic skiing and snowboarding areas of Banff and Lake Louise, which also have superb summer hiking, cycling and kayaking options
- The incredible Jasper National Park
- The Icefield Parkway, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world.
- Rail trips and road trips through the Rockies
- Visits to the cities of Calgary and Edmonton.
If you are thinking about a holiday in Alberta or the Canadian Rockies, an iconic Canadian rail journey, a road trip or camping trip, we can advise you, recommend a tour or tailor-make a holiday. We are completely independent, ABTA registered UK agents with access to hand picked specialist tour operators and holiday providers.
Get in touch with us today for a chat about your plans so that we can help to make them happen!
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Awesome Alberta Holiday Options
Alberta has two international airports, one at its capital, Edmonton, in the middle of the province and one at Calgary, its largest city, in the south of the province. It can also be easily reached by road from Toronto on the one side and Vancouver on the other, or by Canada's great rail service. The province is the eastern gateway to the incredible Rockies, and that is the main reason for people to go there, either for winter sports, or for hiking, biking, kayaking, rafting and more in summer. But that is not all it has.
Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta, is a great shopping destination, with major malls and neighbourhood shopping streets helped by a very low 5% VAT rate. It's a major centre for locally popular sports, including hockey and horse racing, and it prides itself on its local-produce based culinary tradition. Apart from a museum and botanical gardens, it has an extraordinary, massive urban park at its heart.
The other major city in Alberta is Calgary, and this is the more often used gateway to the province. Set between the prairies and the mountains, Calgary is a beautiful city with vibrant neighbourhoods and lots of green open spaces. It has plenty to offer holiday makers, including
- Studio Bell the architecturally stunning home of the Canadian National Music Centre, with five floors of exhibits, performance spaces and more
- Over 600 miles of urban recreational pathways for strolling or cycling, including routes along its beautiful river. These are filled with amazing pieces of public art - over 150 of them!
- The Calgary Tower, with a 360 degree, glass floored observation platform 625 ft above the ground
- Wonderful restaurants and several excellent breweries.
Banff & Lake Louise
The towns of Banff, one and a half hours to the west of Calgary, and Lake Louise, another half an hour on, are really the main attractions in Alberta. They are in Canada's oldest national park, the Lake Louise National Park. With absolutely gorgeous lakes and incredible mountains, this area offers unlimited opportunities for hiking, cycling, mountain biking, rock climbing, canoeing or kayaking, or even swimming, in summer.
In winter there are three major resorts for skiing and snow-boarding that offer vast expanses of the most exceptional skiing area, with an average of nine metres of snow per year.
The Icefield Parkway
Running northwest from Lake Louise to the town of Jasper and the Jasper National Park is the absolutely extraordinary Icefield Parkway. This is a drive that deserves a whole day, with plenty of time to admire the extraordinary views of some of the highest peaks in the Canadian Rockies, as well as glaciers, waterfalls and wildlife along the way.
Highlights of the route are the Columbia Icefield, with its interpretive centre and glass floored glacier skywalk, as well as Bow Lake.
Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Mountain National Park System and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is known for several things:
- It has fantastically dark skies and a planetarium from which to see the stars with incredible clarity
- It is superb for mountain hiking
- It has great wildlife including Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, Elk, Moose, Big Horn sheep and deer.
- There is an epic gondola ride called the Jasper Skytram to the top of a mountain called 'The Whistlers', not to be confused with Whistler Mountain in British Columbia.
- In winter the Marmot Basin Ski Resort has slopes on five different mountain faces all very close to Jasper town.
Alberta is not only about the Rockies. Southern Alberta has other sights, many of which can be seen on a day trip from Calgary. Worth a look are:
- Drumheller is a town at the edge of the 'badlands', areas eroded over centuries by glaciers and the Red Deer River, creating an extraordinary landscape which has been the site of major dinosaur finds.
- Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dedicated to the history and culture of the indigenous people of the area.
- Writing-on-Stone Provincial park which has extraordinary rock art and is another site sacred to the indigenous people if the area.
- Waterton Lake National Park is notable not only for its scenery and wildlife, but because it is part of the world's first trans-frontier 'Peace Park'.
Half the province lies to the north of Edmonton. It is full of wonders of its own, including lots of bison and other wildlife, opportunities for extreme white water rafting, and less extreme canoe trips, and sites of particular significance to indigenous peoples. Fort McMurray is an excellent place to see the the northern lights.
Getting There and Around & Things to Do
You can reach Alberta by air, through Edmonton or Calgary, by road from the east or west or by rail.
There are many wonderful opportunities for tours, whether you are a solo traveller, a couple, a family or a group of friends. And you can choose whether you prefer a big group or a small group, or even a private tour of your own. You can be active of not and you can tour by car, mini-bus, coach or train. There are tours that combine coach tours with train trips, and even ones which combine these with cruises to Alaska.
Alberta is also a fantastic place for road trips, and for camping trips in a camper-van or motor-home.
If you are looking for winter sports of any sort, or for summer activities, like hiking, cycling, climbing,kayaking or white water rafting, this is a great place for any of them.
We are perfectly positioned to advise you on your choice of tour, to put together for you a road trip with vehicle and accommodation, to organise you activities, whatever they are. We work with providers whom we know we can trust to ensure that you have the best possible holiday, and we make sure all bookings are secure and flexible.
Contact us today for a chat and see what we can do for you!
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Direct Flights From London: 8½ hours
With One Stop From Major Airports: From 11½ hours
At 12 o'clock in the UK it's 5 o'clock in the morning in Calgary or 4 o'clock during daylight saving.
Have a look at the weather graph to see how the average temperature and average rainfall in Calgary compare with the averages in London each month.