Holidays to Banff
Banff National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest national park in Canada. An estimated three million people on Banaff holidays visit the park every year. The town of Banff sits 130 kilometres west of Calgary in Alberta, close to the mountains, and is a major tourist resort. Skiing and snowboarding, hiking, dog sledding, horse-riding, fishing, and other sports are all available in Banff; Sunshine Valley, Mount Norquay and Lake Louise are the nearby ski resorts. It is not just about the outdoors life, however; Banff has a wide selection of hotels, restaurants, and bars, and offers an extensive array of leisure and cultural activities.
Banff dates back to the 1880s when the railways began to spread across Canada. The town was named after Banffshire in Scotland where George Stephen, President of Canadian Pacific Railway, was born. The town is less than eight square kilometres in size and is surrounded by wild countryside on all sides, so visitors may well catch a glimpse of a deer or an elk from their hotel window. An extensive range of accommodation is available for individuals who take their holidays in Banff, from 5-star luxury hotels to bed and breakfast guesthouses, while the more adventurous can head into the wilderness and stay overnight in their choice of mountain lodges, lakeside cabins, or campsites.
Restaurants which feature both local and international cuisine can be found in Banff, along with numerous coffee shops, bars, and nightclubs, so there is plenty to keep visitors entertained when they return from the slopes. There are also plenty of opportunities for shopping nearby, ranging from large malls to smaller, chic boutiques. Alternatively, visitors can indulge in some pampering at the various spas and natural health centres around town. In recent years Banff has also made a name for itself as a cultural centre with museums, galleries, and events such as the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, the Banff National Park Bike Fest, and the Rocky Mountain Wine & Food Festival.
Winter sports may entice many people to take holidays in Banff, but there is plenty to enjoy during the summer months too. The natural beauty of the mountains takes on a different character as plants and animals emerge after the long winter, and rock-climbing, hiking, canoeing, and fishing become popular pursuits, as does playing a round of golf at one of the nearby golf courses. Temperatures can reach above 20° C in summer before going well below freezing in winter.
Holidays in Banff are not complete without visiting the famous peaks like Mount Rundle, Cascade Mountain, Mount Norquay, and Sulphur Mountain. The Banff Gondola cable car takes passengers to the summit of Sulphur Mountain with its spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. Intrepid hikers can then take the Banff Skywalk along the summit ridge to Sanson’s Peak, which is also home to the Banff Upper Hot Springs.