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Banff, Canada

The great outdoors is calling to say there are adventures awaiting you in Banff, Canada. Situated near Lake Louise in the Banff National Park,this city has breathtaking views of the Canadian Rockies, where visitors can take part in numerous outdoor activities such as hiking around Lake Minnewanka. Beyond the unspoiled landscape and the Victoria Glacier, Banff is a city rich with history and culture. The Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum, Natural History Museumand the Canadian Ski Museum Westwill give visitors a historical perspective on everything from skiing to the First Nation people.

When visiting Banff, there is no shortage of great wine and gourmet food. From the scenic Storm Mountain Lodgeto the Saltlik, local cuisine features fresh seafood, steaks and decadent desserts. After dinner, catch an event or show at the Banff Centrewhere art and culture are proudly showcased every day of the year. Regardless of what season it may be, Banff always has something going on for tourists on holiday in beautiful Canada.

Banff’s Top 10

10. Bow Falls These gushing falls in Banff offer visitors a striking view while hiking the area around Bow River.

5. Canada Place As a Canadian icon, this facility showcases events such as concerts and fireworks 365 days a year for visitors to enjoy.

9. Sunshine Meadows Naturally beautiful, this garden beckons tourists to hike and take pictures of the stunning flowers and mountains in Banff.

4. The Hoodoos In Bow Valley tourists will discover magical spires of rock that have been carved by the winds and water long ago. This is a must-see in Banff for nature lovers.

8. Lake Louise This diamond in the rough gives tourists an outdoor experience packed with activities regardless of the weather.

3. Vermillion Lakes This series of lakes is located a short drive from Banff and is a spectacular place for a nature trek or bike ride.

7.Banff Park Museum As a national historic site, this museum holds an impressive collection of more than 5,000 specimens.

2. Whyte Museum of the Rockies This museum features a variety of permanent and temporary displays, including exhibits by local artists.

6. Norquay Lookout Located in Banff National Park, this lookout atop Mt. Norquay has amazing views.

1. Banff Gondola Ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain in a four-passenger modern gondola to take in panoramic views of six mountain ranges.

Banff History

  • Buffalo Nations Luxtom Museum - This is an excellent museum about the first people to have lived in the area.
  • Banff Park Museum - This is a natural history museum housed in a log cabin and features stuffed animals to examine.
  • Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies - A history museum that gives you a much better understanding of the area, its history and its people.
  • Cave and Basin National Historic Site – Home to a rare snail thought to be extinct, this museum also features hot springs inside a cave.
  • Natural History Museum - There is so much to learn about the area that one museum just can't do it; be sure to explore the natural history of Western Canada.

Banff Art & Culture

  • Banff Centre - This is a venue for conferences and performances and also includes dining and restaurants.
  • Canada House Art Gallery - This gallery features contemporary Canadian artists.
  • Canada Place - A place that makes being Canadian a wonderful thing. All kinds of items for anyone who loves Canada.
  • Cascade Gardens - Don't miss these lovely gardens, where the art of gardening is plainly visible. Admission is free.
  • World Heritage Park - UNESCO is dedicated to preserving historic sites around the world.

Banff Shopping

  • Sundance Gifts - You can buy card, gifts or books in this small shop.
  • Banff Book and Art Den - Though there is a whole wall dedicated to the area's history and natural attractions, the bookstore has a wide selection for every taste.
  • Welch's Chocolate Shop - Satisfy your chocolate cravings at this quaint shop.
  • Walter Phillips Gallery - This gallery handles art that is distinctive and a little different for the discriminating art buyer.
  • Hudson Bay Company - This is a large retailer that has a bit of everything for tourists.

Gay & Lesbian Banff

  • Banff Gay Weddings - Provides gay and lesbian weddings in this picturesque area.
  • Delta Banff Royal Canadian Lodge - This is a stunningly beautiful gay-friendly hotel.
  • Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel - A beautiful hotel that looks like a castle and is attached to a golf course.
  • Alberta Gay Travel - This agency will help you plan your perfect vacation.
  • Tunnel Mountain Resort - A reasonably priced, gay-friendly resort.

Banff Outdoor

  • Central Park - A scenic park in town for taking a nice afternoon stroll.
  • Plain of Six Glaciers - This is a popular trek that offers splendid mountain and glacier views.
  • Lake Minnewanka - This large lake is perfect for swimming, boating and fishing.
  • Lake Louise - One of the most picturesque lakes in the world, surrounded by glacier-dotted mountains.
  • Bow Falls - While hiking through the park, don't miss this lovely waterfall.

Banff Sport

  • Play 27 holes at the Banff Springs Golf Course.
  • Learn how to curl at the Banff Curling Club.
  • Ski or snowboard in the Lake Louise Ski Area.
  • Engage in white-water rafting with Chinook Rafting.
  • Heli-ski with Canadian Mountain Holidays.

Banff Events

Ice Magic in January makes Banff a competitive place with ice-carving competitions at Lake Louise. There are various events like cool carving demos and activities for children.

Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival in Banff is one of the largest and most exciting wine and food events in the province Alberta. This spring festival offers travellers a chance to sample massive varieties of beverages and gourmet food.

From May through August, the Banff Summer Arts Festival is a spectacular event that showcases concerts, performances, art walks, exhibitions, and much more.

Canadian Rocky Mountain Arts Festival brings the Banff summer to life with a fantastic art event that is held annually in June.

In July, the Canmore Folk Music Festival offers visitors a musical experience that has been going on for more than 30 years.

Doors Open Banff is a one-day event in August where the public is invited to explore the rich history and heritage of Banff through tours of the town’s finest historical buildings.

At the end of summer, the Banff National Park Dragon Boat Festival is a must-see event with brightly coloured dragon-head boats gliding through the calm Lake Minnewanka in the Banff National Park.

In the fall, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival features everything from films to exceptional speakers that are intriguing and inspiring. Tourists will also find unique gifts like paintings, pottery and jewellery.

Winter Start Festival goes from November to December in Banff and has family-oriented activities and holiday treats like Santa Claus, Christmas crafts and face painting.

The Winter Festival goes for 10 days in Banff and is full of winter fun with events like family swims, cross-country skiing and the Bar Golf crawl.

When To Go

From December through March, snow falls every month. Daytime temperatures will hardly surpass 32°F (0°C) until mid-March, and could drop to 0°F in the evening.

The shoulder months of April through May will have a wide array of weather like blizzards one week and warm sunshine the next. Springtime highs can reach the mid 50s (12°C). When summer comes, the temperature reaches its peak in the low 70s (23°C).

As fall approaches, September through November can turn cold quickly, and tourists and locals await the first snowfall and the start of ski season.

Getting There

By plane, Banff flights will arrive at Calgary International Airport. This airport has major airlines that operate regular flights to and from Calgary every day. The drive from Calgary International Airport to local accommodations takes about two hours and is a distance of 90 miles (145km).

When travelling by car to Banff, take Canada's national Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Hwy). Since Banff is a town inside Banff National Park, you will need to purchase a national park pass at the park gate.

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