A town at the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that likes to take care of itself. Drawing in millions of visitors a year, Banff nevertheless manages to keep a tight community feel, while the obvious draw – the fact that the town is surrounded with enviable mountain scenery – remains a must-see for the region throughout the year.
The mountains, of course, provide most of the entertainment. In the winter you can strap on your skis/ boards, or watch the more talented do it at breakneck speed during the World Cup Downhill Championships. You can indulge in the ultimate in Christmas-tinged experience by taking a sleigh ride around the town, or go snowshoeing through the bitter cold. Summer brings a warmer selection, but you’ll need no less energy; biking and canoeing are popular with the adventure travel crowd, while the more sedate can content themselves with simply wandering up a mountain and ogling the view from the peak of one of the many trails. If you’re feeling daring you can even throw yourself into one of the (freezing cold, glacier supplied) lakes, then again there’s always a quick round of golf…
Whatever time of year you arrive, the views from the Banff Gondola are an essential part of any trip, as are the selection of hot springs to be found around the outskirts of town, each offering their own natural-spa experience. Cruising around the Icefields Parkway is about more than just going somewhere, with exceptional views to be had throughout the journey, and Bow Falls – with its Marilyn Monroe movie history – is yet another extraordinary site. Time your trip just right, and you could find yourself dancing up a storm on Canada Day, eying an impressive array of ice sculptures of joining in the start and end of season parties that revolve around the local ski scene.
Banff, in short, is not designed for relaxation, although you could if you wanted to. It’s the kind of lovely tourist spot where you’ll be on the go constantly, with music, beer and high-energy activities at the very core of the local ethos. To get the most from your trip, get right in the thick of things.
Canmore is a town in Alberta, Canada, located in the Bow Valley with a permanent population of 11,442. The non-permanent population is about 3,790 or 29% (combined population of 15,232). It i…