1. Banff National Park
Banff is one of Alberta’s two most famous national parks. This is where LOTS of visitors to the province aim for and it’s easy to see why. Bright glacial lakes, dense evergreen forests, snow-capped mountains … Banff feels like mother nature at its best.
The park extends for 6,641 km² along the eastern slopes of the famous Rocky Mountains. In winter, tourists flock to the mountain resorts for skiing and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, while summer tempers with sunny and spectacular weather.
But in the spring and fall, there is still plenty to attract visitors, and this is also a more “out of the way” time to visit as you share the park with far fewer tourists . In both intermediate seasons, you can enjoy an abundance of wildlife, epic walks, and incredibly beautiful locations. Here are some of the best times of the year to visit famous places like Lake Louise!
2. Jasper National Park
Another of the most popular places to visit is Jasper National Park. At 11,000 km², it is the largest national park in the Rocky Mountains and contains some truly amazing places. Think spectacular canons, thunderous waterfalls, and epic glaciers.
Like Banff, Jasper is especially popular during the summer and winter ski season. But throughout the year there are so many great adventures to experience. Again, spring and fall tend to be much quieter and much more adventurous. From hiking on glaciers, to canoeing and kayaking on beautiful lakes, to climbing and canoeing. Regardless of your limits, adventure and amazing landscapes await you in Jasper National Park.
3. Icefields Parkway
Connecting the town of Jasper with Lake Louise from Banff, Highway 93 North is better known as Icefields Parkway. This is undoubtedly one of the most scenic driving routes in the world and almost certainly the most spectacular I have ever seen!
The road passes through the Columbia Icefield, where you can stop to see the Athabasca Glacier. The Glacier Sky Walk offers unrivaled views of the ice field from above, but you can also get up close and personal with a hike on the glacier itself. It is quite a challenging hike, so a proper guide and equipment is required.
Another must-see along the Icefields Parkway is the viewing area above Peyto Lake. Head to Bow Summit for a view of the wolf-shaped lake, which is so bright blue that it looks almost unnatural!
Calgary is Alberta’s largest city and is often the first port of call for visitors arriving at the international airport. It is best known for the famous Calgary Stampede, but there is much more to the city than cowboy culture. Although it is a pretty good destination in Alberta, there is much to discover in Calgary and it is easy to have a more “off the beaten path” experience.
Small fashionable neighborhoods, colorful street art, award-winning contemporary architecture, craft breweries, amazing food and lots of tree-lined outdoor areas … and that’s for beginners only! Check out my summary of 14 fun things to do in Calgary to fill a few days in the city.
How to get to Alberta
Getting to Alberta from the UK is that easy! There are direct flights from London to Calgary (9 hours 15 minutes) and Edmonton (8 hours 40 minutes).
Once you’re there, I recommend you rent a car to explore the province at your leisure. There is so much to see, so having your own car is very useful. If you’re not sure about driving abroad, Alberta is a great place to try – read everything about my experiences here!
Tip: Make sure you apply for the Canadian government’s official ETA and buy it before booking tickets. There are a ton of websites that offer different versions of it, but all you need is the official government one that costs $ 7.50. Anyone who charges more than this is not the official site! Find out more about it.