Alberta might be one of Canada’s most overlooked provinces. Compared to the bright allure of Montreal and Toronto, Alberta may seem like a quiet place. Believe us though, there’s plenty to explore. Named after the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848 – 1939), it remains a place of stunning natural beauty and bustling cities. Here are the top 5 Alberta destinations to visit to make your trip one to remember.
Top 5 Alberta Destinations
Alberta’s capital city, Edmonton is a buzzing hub full of some of the area’s finest universities, museums, and art scenes. Though it has a smaller population than Calgary, Edmonton’s urban area is, in fact, larger than Chicago’s. All that space gives plenty of room for several large parks and picnic areas. Also, be sure to check out the West Edmonton Mall, which was, until recently, the largest mall in the world.
2. Banff National Park
An area of outstanding natural beauty, Banff is famous for its awe-inspiring scenery. Stop by Lake Louise for its deep blue waters throwing up reflections of the awe-inspiring mountains that surround it. Grab a stay at the majestic Chateau Lake Louise for the amazing lake-side views or canoe rentals for the more adventurous holidaymaker. Or have a hike to the famous Victoria Glacier. During winter, many people come to the Lake Louise Ski Resort, one of the country’s favourite skiing spots and most popular Alberta destinations.
Northeast of Calgary is the little town of Drumheller, also going by the rather more ominous title “Town of the Dinosaurs”. Millions of years ago, in the palaeolithic period, many different species of dinosaurs called the region their home making it a modern-day gold mine for fossil finding. Be sure to stop by the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology to see some of the discoveries up close. Also, to learn about the region’s history or take a hike around the eerily atmospheric badlands around the area.
Alberta’s most populous city, Calgary functions as something of a point of departure for those heading to the Rockies. Originally a fort for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (better known as “Mounties”), it was an important tactical position for the pioneering of Canada in the 19th century, becoming one of Canada’s most fertile agricultural centres. If you’re in town in July, check out the world-famous Calgary Stampede. During the Stampede, the whole city comes together in a blur of colour and music to celebrate the city’s ranching heritage.
The Calgary Tower downtown gives stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and on special civic occasions, a giant plume of flame can be seen issuing forth from the top. Take a winter sports break at the famous Canada Olympic park where all kinds of snow sports are on offer. Or if you’re there in summer, take a ski lift to the top and try mountain biking your way to the bottom.
5. Writing-on-Stone National Park
Sharing the border with the American state of Montana is Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park. Recently put up for UNESCO World Heritage Status, the area more than deserves it. Check out the petroglyphs carved by the Blackfoot Native Americans, some made almost 10,000 years ago.