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Eline from Oirschot asked

Canada (BC and Alberta) what not to miss?

I am a 19 year old girl from the Netherlands, and me and my friends are planning to go on a vacation to west Canada next year. We really want to see the nature and culture of BC and alberta and maybe take a flight to toronto on the last few days. 

We were wondering if anyone had suggestions or tips about what not to miss, and maybe tell us about their experiences?  


Canada   Alberta (AB)   British Columbia (BC)

5 Answers
answered by
Megan from Calgary

Depending on your time frame and your budget, if you travel to Alberta - a trip to the Rocky Mountains is a must. And most people either choose between Banff National Park of Canada or Jasper National Park (it is hard to do both if you are pressed for time). It is said that Jasper is often a lot more quiet and there  areless tourists than in Banff just due to ease of travel and closer proximity to Calgary and Highway 1 (Canada's main highway that transverses the country). The Columbia Icefield Glacier as mentioned by others, however, are found closer to Jasper. Jasper is closer to Edmonton.

2 lesser and lovely locations to share that I'm surprised no one has mentioned yet:

1) Moraine Lake I find it to be even more beautiful than Lake Louise [Google image has been attached to this answer. Photo credit to kind Internet web soul who uploaded it].  

2) And if you're willing to drive out a little - Abraham Lake is nice too, either in the summer or winter. [Google image has been attached to this answer. Photo credit to kind Internet web soul who uploaded it].

3) If you have time, a visit to Drumheller to the Royal Tyrrell Museum is always fun to see dinosaurs bones. Around the area also has the Hoodoos Trail [Highway 10 S] in the Canadian Badlands Valley. [Google image has been attached to this answer. Photo credit to kind Internet web soul who uploaded it]

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Alberta (attraction)
  2. Banff National Park of Canada (attraction)
  3. Jasper National Park (park)
  4. Columbia Icefield Glacier (attraction)
  5. Moraine Lake (attraction)
  6. Lake Louise (attraction)
  7. Abraham Lake (attraction)
  8. Drumheller (city)
  9. Royal Tyrrell Museum (attraction)
  10. Hoodoos Trail (attraction)
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answered by
Kim from Canada

I would recommend starting in Vancouver and a road trip is definitely the best way to do this part of the country! Starting from Vancouver take a couple of days to explore Vancouver Island by taking the ferry across to Victoria and driving up island and across to Tofino exploring the little towns along the way and don't forget to stop at Cathedral Grove to see the rainforest, amazing centuries old cedar trees and the culture of Canada's First Nation's people. 

Head back to Vancouver you can take the highway either north and go through Whistler and see the ski resort town heading through Kamloops, OR go through Kelowna and visit the Okanagan Valley, BC and the wineries of the valley region. 

This is a great way to explore the Rocky Mountains and the scenery of B.C. while making your way to Banff. Once there you can explore the Banff Hot Springs, check out the gorgeous Lake Louise and you're close to both Calgary and Edmonton for easy flights to Toronto. I would say unless you really enjoy big cities, skip Toronto and spend those extra days soaking up what BC has to offer!

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Vancouver (city)
  2. Vancouver Island (attraction)
  3. Victoria (city)
  4. Tofino (city)
  5. Cathedral Grove (attraction)
  6. Whistler (city)
  7. Kamloops (city)
  8. Kelowna (city)
  9. Okanagan Valley, BC (attraction)
  10. Banff (city)
  11. Lake Louise (attraction)
  12. Calgary (city)
  13. Edmonton (city)
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answered by

If you're going to Banff, you should continue to Lake Louise, the Upper Spiral Tunnel and Takakkaw Falls.

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Banff (city)
  2. Lake Louise (attraction)
  3. Upper Spiral Tunnel (attraction)
  4. Takakkaw Falls (attraction)
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answered by
Margie from Calgary

Banff and area is a definite must. If your here in July the Stampede is a great way to experience the Cowboy life. Also, take a trip out to Drumheller and the Badlands Guardian. Go see the museum. Lots of dinosaur discoveries there. That is an easy day trip from Calgary. A trip down to "Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump" south of Calgary is a great way to get a taste of our first nations history. Have a great trip!!

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Banff (city)
  2. Drumheller (city)
  3. Badlands Guardian (attraction)
  4. Calgary (city)
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answered by
Ashley from Calgary

There are direct flights from Amsterdam to Calgary which would probably be your cheapest option. Banff is about an hour west of Calgary after that. You'd want to then rent a car and you can easily do most of your travels by road trip as long as you have at least a couple of weeks. 

We live in a bedroom community just outside of Calgary and we absolutely love living in an area full of amazing nature to explore.

We go to Banff often, it's definitely a must see. The town is cute with lots of shops and good restaurants and of course loads of nature to see. We love St James's Gate Irish PubElk & Oarsman Restaurant & Pubor The Bison (pricier). The Grizzly House Restaurant is popular for their fondue and the table top searing hot granite stone grilling but it is pricey, dark, smelly and BUSY. Evelyn's Coffee is a local business that has become a chain and has pretty delicious baked goods. There are hikes that start from various points around town but it's probably easiest to check out he Parks Canada site and see what suits your skill level/interests Johnson Canyon and the Ink Pots are popular. Lake Minnewanka is also very beautiful, great spot to go kayaking or canoeing. There's also the Banff Upper Hot Springs but they are super busy most of the time so if you really like hot springs, go, if not you aren't missing out. 

Lake Louise is also beautiful, there are less accommodation choices but it is lovely. One of our favourite hikes starts there, the Lake Agnes Tea House and Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse hikes that lead you to two different, remote mountain top tea houses, it's really fun way to spend the day and it's indescribably beautiful. The The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise restaurant is really delicious as well, if you want to splurge on dinner post hike. 

View from Lake Agnes Tea House of Lake Agnes

Beehive Mountain

Plain of Six Glaciers Trail

Jasper (Canada) is equally as gorgeous as Banff and Lake Louise but it is more north (you can get there by continuing from Lake Louise) so the scenery does change a bit and it tends to be colder. The drive itself from Banff to Jasper is lovely. Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre is at a midway point and it's extremely busy but worth it if you'd like to go on a trip up the glacier -- I'd skip the Skywalk, it's not really worth the money and you can get similar or better views elsewhere.  Jasper Brewing Company is a great pub to grab food. We went to the Miette Hotsprings which were really neat -- busy but neat -- the drive to get there is on a remote windy highway that is quite scenic and experience in itself. Maligne Canyon is super gorgeous, worth doing the day hike if you can. Athabasca Falls is also very scenic. 

Athabasca FallsMaligne Canyon

The entire route from Alberta through to BC is amazing. Radium Hot Springs is another spot you can stop to soak, on the side of a highway so not as peaceful as Miette or even Banff Upper Springs. The town is small but offers accommodation and such if you need to stop. 

If you are deciding on a road trip I'd suggest maybe swooping down to Kelowna or Penticton before you hit Vancouver. The weather in that area is quite hot in the summer and there are some great wineries you can tour as well. 

As I didn't really go into detail about Calgary I won't really get into Vancouver, the cities a whole other topic. 

I'd suggest taking the ferry onto Vancouver Island into Victoria and drive north to Tofino. The ferry ride is so nice and the whole island is amazing. This is where you start to get the rainforest folliage and a very "relaxed" slower pace of life.

On a side note, a flight to Toronto may not be easy, they're generally very expensive, it might be worth having it as a stop over on your way home or to AB/BC. 

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Banff (city)
  2. St James's Gate Irish Pub (restaurant)
  3. Elk & Oarsman Restaurant & Pub (restaurant)
  4. The Bison (restaurant)
  5. Grizzly House Restaurant (restaurant)
  6. Evelyn's Coffee (restaurant)
  7. Lake Minnewanka (attraction)
  8. Banff Upper Hot Springs (attraction)
  9. Lake Louise (attraction)
  10. Lake Agnes Tea House (restaurant)
  11. Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse (attraction)
  12. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (hotel)
  13. Jasper (Canada) (city)
  14. Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre (attraction)
  15. Jasper Brewing Company (restaurant)
  16. Miette Hotsprings (city)
  17. Maligne Canyon (attraction)
  18. Athabasca Falls (attraction)
  19. Radium Hot Springs (city)
  20. Kelowna (city)
  21. Penticton (attraction)

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