by Natalie Robinson / 2019-12-17 16:51:12
Alberta is one of the most breath-taking places on earth. It is a great destination to visit year-round and makes for a wonderful holiday. From exploring the stunning scenery of the Rocky Mountains in one of Alberta’s many national parks to seeing a real-life rodeo in Calgary or shopping at North America’s biggest mall in Edmonton to digging for fossils in Dinosaur Provincial Park, there is something for everyone in the province.
The Canadian Rockies hug the province’s western border and are a magnificent sight. Here you’ll find shimmering glaciers, thundering waterfalls, deep canyons, evergreen forest and an abundance of wildlife, all surrounded by the towering peaks of the Rockies. Banff and Jasper National Parks border each other; joined by what is considered one of the best drives in the world, the Icefields Parkway.
In Jasper National Park, visit the glass-floored Glacier Skywalk, or take an Athabasca Glacier Tour to appreciate Alberta’s awesome scale. Or enjoy the park’s dark-sky preserve status, celebrated every October, on a Skytram star session.
Another must visit is Banff National Park, the first national park in Canada established in 1885 after railway workers stumbled upon a thermal hot spring. Hop on the Banff Gondola, open year-round and take in the sights of the six mountain ranges from the top of Sulphur Mountain. Or relax and rejuvenate in the geothermally heated Banff Hot Springs, a magical experience no matter the time of year.
Nearby you will find Lake Louise, with its stunning and world-famous turquoise lake and a landscape sure to take your breath away. Its vibrant emerald green water and soaring mountain backdrop are picture perfect. The scene is so stunning it almost seems unreal.
Lake Louise is also a great place to hike with trails for all ability levels. Or hire a canoe and paddle across the lake towards the Victoria Glacier or climb aboard the Lake Louise gondola which crawls up the side of Whitehorn Mountain to a dizzying viewpoint above the valley floor.
When the snow falls, the mountains become a winter wonderland. Get in on the ski action, or dog sled, ice walk, snowshoe or skate on the frozen Lake Louise.
Further south Waterton Lakes National Park is the smallest Rocky mountain park, but many consider it the hidden jewel in the crown. Take a boat cruise across an international border or take traditional high tea at national historic site Prince of Wales hotel for a perfect view of the lake.
Alberta’s largest city, and the jumping off point to visiting Alberta, is a chic urban landscape set dramatically between prairies and peaks. A place with world class cuisine and entertainment, which at the same time embraces its rich western heritage. Immerse yourself in Calgary’s wild west spirit at the Calgary Stampede, a 10-day rodeo dubbed “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”, that dates back over 100 years. For an adrenaline rush head to Canada Olympic Park, home to the 1988 Winter Olympics; ride a bobsleigh, zipline off the ski jump, take the gravity ride on the Skyline luge, ski or bike. Or discover Canada’s largest living history museum, Heritage Park, a chance to immerse yourself in the history of Western Canada.
The city’s standout landmark is the Calgary Tower where you can enjoy 360-degree views over the city. The tower was built to honour Canada’s centennial year of 1967 and is the tallest building in Canada outside of Toronto. Get a bird’s eye view of the city and spot the magnificent Rockies from the top, or enjoy a meal in the Sky 360 restaurant which revolves as you dine.
Alberta’s amazing Badlands in the south of the province are a sight to remember and a fantastic road trip location. In the Badlands you’ll find prehistoric fossils and a strange and stark moonscape of otherworldly towering rock formations called hoodoos. It is also home to the Dinosaur Provincial Park, another World Heritage Site. This park was once home to dinosaurs including the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Albertosaurus. Join a paleontologist on a dig, or for the children an interactive fossil hunt, in some of the world’s most prolific dinosaur bonebeds.
Alberta’s capital Edmonton is a major cultural centre buzzing with museums, live theatre, art galleries and countless festivals. Set along the curving North Saskatchewan River, this vibrant city is easy to explore; join a food tour and take in some of its culinary delights or hop on a Segway to join a tour through the scenic River Valley Park., the largest stretch of urban parkland in North America.
Edmonton has a fascinating heritage. Step back to 1875 at Fort Saskatchewan Historic Site, tour the Legislative building or visit the four distinctive pyramid shapes of the Muttart Conservatory hothouses, each home to rare species of plants from different biomes.
For shoppers, the West Edmonton Mall is not to be missed. This shopping centre is literally the size of a city and is the largest mall in North America, with more than 800 shops, a giant water park, ice rink, mini golf, bowling, a casino and an indoor amusement park.
Edmonton is also a jumping off-point for amazing wild woods and wetlands. Elk Island National Park is only 45 minutes out of the city, home to moose, elk, deer, plus the main attraction, large herds of bison: it’s also the perfect place to star gaze, and maybe see the Northern Lights.
Travel to Alberta from the UK in just over nine hours for flights to Calgary. Premier Holidays can help with booking every aspect of a trip to Alberta – call us today to discover our offers.