Banff…how blessed I feel to live so close to this gem. I always think it’s so great how when I’m in Banff, I meet people from all over the world – it really is one of those bucket list check spots, and for good reason!
- Banff Springs Spa – this is a great all-year round activity. You can treat yourself to a service, or just book in to enjoy the Willow Stream Spa with a good book…oh-so relaxing!
- Snowshoeing – pack your own or rent some while you are there – it’s a great way to explore during the winter months (if you’re a skier or snowboarder, there’s lots of that too!)
- Hiking – you’ll pay the price for accommodations in the summer, but all the hiking adventures are so worth it (use AllTrails to navigate your route, and check in with AlbertaParks to see if there are any closures)
- Ride the Gondola – a great activity for a group, and a much easier way to get a view of the mountains, rather than hiking up. That being said, I love hiking Sulphur Mountain, and you can always enjoy the gondola down if you wish
- Walk Downtown Banff – wander and shop if you desire…I highly recommend Rocky Mountain Soap Company and Jolene’s Tea House for some awesome local takeaways
There are so many options, so you can really take your pick, but here are some that stand out to me!
- The Fox – I have always loved this location, specifically because of the cave hot tub! Enjoying this as a nightly activity is worth the stay in itself!
- The Rimrock Hotel – You’ll have to shuttle or drive into the downtown, but this spot is so nice and luxurious, and you have easy access to the great food and drink options at the Rimrock
- Fairmont Banff Springs – the rooms aren’t something to write home about (especially for the price), in my opinion, but the location, the spa, the golf, and the food makes this spot what it is – you wouldn’t even need to leave the hotel
Now to the Food…in Banff
- Three Ravens – this spot is quite fancy, and the game-style dishes are exquisite. Even their salads are phenomenal. Ask for a spot by the window, as the full window view is part of the whole experience
- Waldhaus – people can debate which fondue wins between this and the Grizzly House. This is definitely a finer-dining experience than the Grizzly House, but you’ll want to be a person that likes schnitzel for their main course
- Grizzly House – fondue, fondue, fondue! Definitely choose the stone option for cooking your meat, and don’t skip out on any of the garlic for the cheese fondue (toss it all in there)
- Nourish – this spot may turn you into a vegan…jokes. I’ve gone to this vegan spot with only non-vegans, and the flavours are so rich. Once again, it’s pricey, but extremely filling!
- Balkan – a great spot for Greek!
- Eddie Burger – one of the best burgers you’ll ever have, if you ask my husband
- Bear Street Tavern – nice spot, especially in the summer when you can sit on their outdoor patio – lots of menu options
- The Eden – hardcore treat yourself to the chef’s tasting menu!
- Cow’s – you can’t go wrong with this ice cream!
- The Fudgery – I promise that you’ll need to take at least one to try right away
Canmore…this beautiful place makes you feel like you’re existing in a green screen. If you’re from Alberta, I hope you’ve been! It is less touristy than Banff, and has all the beauty, and the food, but with a much stronger mountain-vibe. If you’re not from Alberta, add it to your mountain wish list!
- Nordic Spa – truth be told, I haven’t been here, but it’s definitely on my wish list! I’ve stayed at the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge and will share a whole guide on that soon!
- Hike – Canmore is probably one of my favourite places to hike ever – the landscape, the views
- Pool/Hot Tub – I feel like most of the places you will stay have a rooftop or outdoor pool/hot tub looking out over the mountains, and you really can’t go wrong with that
- Walks – if you aren’t into hiking, or if you simply want to do both, there are lots of nice little nature walks and paths you can find right in and around Canmore
- Dog Sledding – If you’re going to go dog sledding, I recommend the company Snowy Owl – they will teach you how to be a pro! You get to switch positions part way through, so you and your partner can both “drive,” as well as sit and enjoy. Snowy Owl gets some great pictures of you, and they offer you hot chocolate. Such a nice experience!
Just like Banff, there are so many options for accommodations, but the one that would keep me coming back for more is…
- The Malcolm – From the glass elevator looking out at the mountains, to the outdoor pool and fire pit, you’ll love your experience here
Now to the Food…in Canmore
- The Blake – please do yourself a favour and get the fries here. No matter how fancy your meal is, you need the fries!
- Communitea – delicious, nutritious, lots of options for all dietary restrictions. Pick-up or eat in. And get a tea while you’re at it!
- Tapas – this is a beautiful meal, but the more people you can go with, the better, so you can try many more options
- The Sensory – it’s called an elevated fine dining experience
- Hear Me Raw – stop in to stock up and take all these plant-based treats and protein snacks home with you!
- Harvest Cafe – perfect lunch spot for a soup and a sandwich, or stop in for a quick tea and snack as you’re wandering around
Other Restaurants that I haven’t had a chance to try, but are recommended and/or researched:
- Crazy Weed
- Red Rock Pizza
- PD3 by Blake (on a bus – seasonal only)
- Where the Buffalo Roam
Lake Louise…you go to Lake Louise to see water a colour that you won’t see anywhere else (unless you go to Bora Bora, and even then, it’s different…). Moraine Lake is also a location that you should add to your bucket list. Thing is, for both locations, you either need to go crazy early, like in the 6ams or before, to get a parking spot, or if you are staying or dining at the Chateau Lake Louise, then you have access to parking. If neither of these options work for you, you’ll have to test your patience and park far away and take their shuttle.
Lake Louise Activities
- High Tea – book in for high tea at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – beautiful food and a beautiful experience
- Hike – as always, hike! Lake Agnus Trail is a classic hike that you can start right by the hotel – it leads you up to a tea house with no electricity, so pack your cash, and enjoy this break at the top
- Skate – during Winter, you can skate on the lake and often see ice sculptures to get you in the winter spirit
- Canoe – in the summer, you can rent a canoe and head out on the water. This is not an inexpensive endeavour, but something that you probably want to do at least once, so soak in every minute they give you!
- Head to Moraine Lake – as I said before, if you’ve come this far, check out Moraine Lake too
- Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise – this is where you’ll want to be!
Now to the Food…in Lake Louise
- Chateau Lake Louise is packed full of many restaurants and cafes and you can’t really go wrong with any of them!
Soak in those mountains, y’all!!