AD DISCLAIMER : Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, to find out how affiliate links work read my disclaimer here. I have clearly marked these with (affiliate link)
Hello! So at long last, today I am sitting down to chat about our trip to Canada that we went on in November.
It seems a million years ago now, but I would do anything to go back.
Canada is probably my favourite place that I’ve ever visited, and the most beautiful too.
I mean you’ve seen the pictures, you expect it to be stunning, but in real life it was even better.
I also loved how chilled everyone was and how friendly too! If you’re debating a trip, then I urge you to go, this place needs to be on everyone’s bucket list.
I think this blog post is my most requested (and I promise that’s not the usual influencer thing of ‘so everyone’s been asking for my skincare’ meme haha ) so I thought it might be useful to chat through our itinerary, where we stayed, where we went, what we did and everything else.
It may seem like a daunting trip but it was so easy to plan and navigate, and I think you could do it on a budget too.
So let’s begin.
On our trip we visited three places : Banff, Lake Louise & Jasper. We spent two nights in Lake Louise and Jasper and four nights in Banff. We also spent two nights in Calgary *this was so we could be close to the airport* so in total, we had 8 nights in Canada.
Flights : We flew into Calgary which is a city about an hour and 40 minutes from Banff, you can also fly to Vancouver and drive to Banff that way, but I don’t know much about that route, but I’d recommend flying into Calgary as it was super easy to get to Banff.
We had a nightmare with our flight out there, but this was a weird freak occurrence, so don’t let this put you off. We struggled to find a direct flight to Calgary from Manchester, so we flew via Frankfurt. Well we were supposed to.
Air Canada wouldn’t let us on the flight from Frankfurt to Calgary due to a ‘ticketing error’ – I won’t get into now, but it was a nightmare. I’m currently waiting to hear back from them, and if you can, I’d avoid booking with them. Their customer service has been appalling, but if you have to book with them, I’m sure you would be fine, but I just don’t want to really put any business their way.
We ended flying via Washington and Chicago and landing into Calgary almost 24 hours later than planned, it shouldn’t have been such a complicated journey, so don’t let this put you off.
We were supposed to stay in Calgary the night we landed as we didn’t want to drive to Banff after travelling for 10+ hours, and we stayed in Calgary the night before we flew to NYC as we had a super early flight. We stayed at the Homewood Suites By Hilton (affiliate link) which I’d recommend, it was about 10 mins from the airport, was good size rooms, friendly staff and pretty affordable. They also do a free shuttle to the airport too which is great.
Hiring A Car :
I’d recommend hiring a car to get around, I think you can book coaches to take you from place to place, but having a car means you have so much more flexibility to do things and we found that a lot of the national park attractions were spaced out so you needed to drive for a bit to get around.
We hired a compact SUV from Enterprise, I think we paid $300 CAD which is about £175 which I don’t think is too bad for over a week’s hire.
Tip * To save money, hire a car from a rental place which isn’t at the airport. We got ours from Calgary Edmonton Downtown which was about 15 mins from the airport and a $15CAD Uber ride, but saved us about $100 which is crazy!
Enterprise can also pick you up and drop you off to save you getting a Uber but think you need to arrange this in advance.
We filled up with petrol a few times but it’s so much cheaper than in the UK. So the car didn’t cost too much to run whilst we were out and about.
The roads were also all very clear even with all the snow, so don’t worry about the driving conditions, just obviously drive sensible, but Canada are very used to bad weather whilst us Brits aren’t, so we found the driving conditions absolutely fine.
So we stayed in five different hotels throughout our stay, it was a bit manic staying somewhere new so often as we felt you could never really unpack, but it was good to mix things up and try some different hotels.
We stayed first of all in Caribou Lodge (affiliate link) which is in downtown Banff, it’s about a 10 minute walk from the town, and we really liked this hotel. It had free underground parking, and the rooms were a good size, had satellite tv and a nice lovely big bathroom. They also had amazing local toiletries which was a nice touch. The whole hotel was decorated in a cabin esq theme and the whole place smelt of a cosy fire (if that makes sense?) and all the Christmas decorations over the fireplace in the lobby looked lovely. Definitely would recommend staying here as it’s such a good location, and very comfortable and cosy.
For our last two nights in Banff at the end of our trip, we treated ourselves to a stay at The Rimrock Resort (affiliate link), this was a little more out of the town and up a mountain pretty much, however there’s free buses into town which we got one night which was great. This hotel was pretty special, we had a mountain view room which was kindly upgraded to a king size bed room, and this was my favourite hotel room ever. We looked out onto mountains and the hotel which was all lit up with Christmas lights and oh my god was it beautiful.
The staff were amazing, the bed was SO comfortable, the pool was lovely, in fact the hotel was so lovely and posh, I felt like Kevin in Home Alone 2 at the Plaza haha.
I didn’t think the price was too expensive ,and it was so lovely to end up the trip with a little luxury.
Lake Louise :
We stayed at Lake Louise Inn (affiliate link) when visiting Lake Louise which is about a 30/40 minute drive from Banff. This hotel was about a 5 min drive to Lake Louise and a couple of minutes from the little shopping village which was great. The hotel seems to be half renovated, we stayed in a room which was a little dated but was very big, and looked out onto a snowy wonderland. The hotel had some great facilities, they had a few restaurants and one night we ate at the italian which was one of my favourite meals of the whole trip! They also do a s’mores and hot chocolate evening on a Saturday night which was super cute!
We stayed at Jasper Inn & Suites (affiliate link) which was probably about a 10 minute walk from the main strip, however we just drove when we were in Jasper as it was verrrrry cold when we were there. Another slightly dated hotel but did the job, was clean, comfy bed and nice big room. The pool and restaurant were closed when we stayed there which was a shame but couldn’t be helped!
Our Itinerary :
Day 1 :
We flew into Calgary, picked up our car, made a pit stop to Walmart to get snacks and then travelled to Banff which took about 1 hour 40. Checked into the Caribou Lodge, refreshed and headed to Johnston Canyon which was about 20 minutes drive from the hotel.
We only had about half an hour before the sun set by the time we got there, so we did a quick hike to the lower canyon which was beautiful. It was quite icy and slippy in places so make sure you wear shoes with a good grip or take walking poles, the drive was also beautiful. We then went back to the hotel and crashed after our unplanned 36 hour travel to Canada, so we ordered pizza and poutine (omg amazing) to the room and went to bed.
Day 2 :
Feeling much more refreshed, we headed into Banff and got breakfast and watched the sunrise which was amazing. We headed to go to Bow Summit to see Peyto Lake but sadly this is closed for the next year!
We then drove to Abraham Lake along Icefields Parkway which was beautiful. Abraham lake was so big and blue and I was so happy because I didn’t think we’d get to see any blue lakes but we did.
We drove back to Banff, visited the Christmas market at the stables which made me feel like I was in a Hallmark Christmas film and went to the Grizzly House Fondue in Banff for dinner, which was amazing. I’m still thinking about the melted tolberone fondue that we had for pudding!
Day 3 :
So we left Banff super early and headed to Golden as today we went on a wolf walk. We did this at Northern Lights Wolf Wildlife Centre in Golden which was about an 1 hour 40 drive from Banff.
This walk was amazing, we went out with a 2-year-old grey wolf called Farley who acted just like a big dog. The wolf sanctuary owner Shelly has rescued many wolves from captivity and re-homed them as sadly they can’t be released back in the wild.
Outfit Details :
Coat : Regatta (gifted)
Scarf : Topshop (affiliate link)
We learnt so much about wolves and how important they are to our ecosystem and how misunderstood they are. Farley was so cute and had such a funny personality, it was surreal walking up a mountain with the snow falling, and a wolf by our side. Truly magical.
On our way to Lake Louise, we stopped at Bear & Bone in Golden and had some seriously good burgers and then stopped off at Emerald Lake and Natural bridge before checking into Lake Louise Inn.
We chilled for a couple of hours before going to have s’mores and hot chocolate by an open fire.
Day 4 :
We got up early, got some pastries from the local bakery and explored Lake Louise. We did the trail up to Mirror Lake which was pretty tough (and steep) but had amazing views!
We then headed to Emerald Lake again as we loved it the day before and wanted to see it again as we didn’t have as much light when we went the day before, and this was only about 20 mins from Lake Louise.
Emerald Lake was one of my favourite places, it was beautiful and so chilled, it took my breath away and made me feel like I was in a real winter wonderland.
Outfit details :
Coat : Craghoppers (gifted)
We also went to find Wapta Falls, again running out of light we had to abandon on our hike and instead went to see it from a different view-point, we went to Wapta Falls Recreation Site and oh my god this view was stunning. I can’t even describe how stunning, it was one of those ‘is this real?’ moments.
We got back to the hotel and went to the italian at Lake Louise inn for dinner which was amazing!
Day 5 :
We checked out and drove to Jasper which was a three-hour drive along Icefields Parkway. It’s easy to see why people say this is one of the most beautiful drives in the world as this drive is stunning.
Henry’s Coat : Craghoppers (gifted)
You are just amongst mountain after mountain and every corner, we were going ‘wow’.
We stopped off at Athabasca Falls which was stunning and really interesting to see before getting to Jasper and checking into our hotel. We then ventured into Jasper for dinner and went to Jasper Brewing Co for a lovely dinner, we then very full, made our way back to the hotel.
Day 6 :
So we explored Jasper National Park on this day, and went to pyramid lake which was really cool, and had its own little island which I loved. I bet this place is amazing in the summer.
We also went to Maligne Lake which I think is one of the biggest natural lakes which was all covered in snow which was lovely. We also visited Fairmont Jasper briefly was super festive and then headed back to our hotel for hot chocolate and then went to Montana’s in Jasper for dinner.
Day 7 :
We travelled back to Banff on this day, so made the three-hour drive along Icefields Parkway which was just as stunning as a couple of days before. This day was super cold as there was a front from the arctic, it was -20! We went to Sunwapta falls which was pretty stunning, and then back to Abraham lake as it had frozen over a little more and Henry went in search of the methane bubbles.
We finally got to Banff, checked into the Rimrock (affiliate link) , used the pool and then ordered pizza and poutine again as we didn’t want to leave the room, it was so nice!
Our last full day in Banff, so we started by visiting the Hot Springs which was a two-minute walk from our hotel. This was a pretty cool experience sitting in a 40 degree pool surrounded by mountains. The contrast meant that our hair and eyelashes froze, which was insane!
We then headed into Banff for some lunch and a little mooch, we then went up to Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola which I’d totally recommend to do.
Such amazing views and such a cool experience, it was pricey but so worth it. We timed the gondola ride down as the sun set and it was incredible.
We went into Banff for dinner and had burgers at Eddie’s which was really nice and chilled before heading back to the hotel.
Day 9 :
We reluctantly checked out of the Rimrock and headed into Banff for some last bits of shopping and one last beavertail!
We then drove back to Calgary with a heavy heart. We took the car back and got a uber to our hotel where we chilled before making our way to the airport in the morning.
And that was the end of our Canada adventure.
I’ve not been really sad to leave somewhere for ages, but I didn’t want to leave and would go back in a heartbeat. Canada was even more beautiful and amazing than we imagined, and if you’re thinking about going then I urge you do. Probably my favourite trip ever and determined to go back one day.
I’d love to know if you’ve ever visited Canada?
And if you have any questions about anything – let me know as more than happy to answer anything that I’ve maybe missed out! Also vlog coming soon on my YouTube!