The five regions you need to visit on your trip to Alberta

K.C. Dermody

Written by Justin Mewse

January 2024

Exploring Canada’s Alberta rewards visitors with an adventure that unfurls the province’s diverse beauty and endless outdoor adventures. In the winter, the pristine landscapes are adorned with glistening snow, inviting enthusiasts to enjoy world-class skiing and snowboarding in resorts like Banff and Jasper. As spring emerges, the Rockies come alive with blooming wildflowers, creating a picturesque setting for hiking and wildlife spotting. Summer brings endless daylight hours, perfect for exploring Alberta’s five stunning national parks, immersing in the turquoise lakes, and embarking on outdoor activities like rafting and hiking. Autumn paints the landscapes in vibrant hues, offering a scenic backdrop for road trips along the Icefields Parkway and discovering charming towns like Canmore. Throughout the year, Alberta showcases its rich cultural heritage through events, museums, and festivals, while the warm hospitality of the locals adds an extra layer of charm to every season’s exploration.

Admiring the view at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area - Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development/Bob Webster


Exploring Calgary as a pivotal stop in your Alberta adventure unveils a dynamic cityscape nestled against the stunning backdrop of the Canadian Rockies. You can immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene, savour renowned cuisine, and experience the warm western hospitality while using the city as a gateway to the awe-inspiring Banff and Jasper National Parks for an unparalleled exploration of nature’s majesty. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Calgary:


  • Calgary Tower: Enjoy panoramic views of the city and the Rockies from the iconic Calgary Tower’s observation deck, offering a breathtaking perspective day or night
  • Calgary Stampede: Immerse yourself in the exhilarating rodeo spirit and western culture during the world-famous Calgary Stampede, held annually in July. Opening in May 2024 is the Same Centre which will tell the story of Calgary’s world-famous outdoor extravaganza year-round
  • Heritage Park Historical Village: Step back in time at this living history museum, featuring authentic exhibits and interactive experiences that showcase Western Canada’s pioneering past
  • Alberta Boot: With a storied history dating back to 1978, this renowned Western bootmaker crafts high-quality and custom-fitted cowboy boots that epitomise the rugged spirit of Alberta’s cowboy culture
  • Studio Bell: Visit this cultural landmark which is home of the National Music Centre. It showcases Canada’s rich musical heritage through interactive exhibits, state-of-the-art recording studios, and an impressive collection of musical artifacts
  • Stephen Avenue walk: Wander along Stephen Avenue, a pedestrian-friendly street in downtown Calgary, lined with shops, restaurants, and historic architecture, providing a vibrant atmosphere year-round
  • Fish Creek Provincial Park: Experience nature within the city limits at one of North America’s largest urban parks, offering hiking and biking trails, wildlife viewing, and serene picnic spots
  • Winter sports: Embrace the winter wonderland by hitting the slopes at WinSport, or enjoy ice skating at Olympic Plaza in the heart of downtown
  • Cultural events: Attend various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Calgary International Film Festival, Folk Music Festival, and Beakerhead, celebrating the intersection of science and art
  • Drumheller and Royal Tyrrell Museum: Embark on a prehistoric adventure in Drumheller, Alberta, exploring the mesmerising Badlands landscape, where the Royal Tyrrell Museum unveils a captivating journey through time with its world-renowned collection of dinosaur fossils and exhibits
Peace Bridge, Calgary - Travel Alberta


Edmonton’s Festival City status shines brightly amidst its dynamic urban allure and natural beauty, providing an engaging backdrop for an array of annual festivals and events. As a city that cherishes its ice hockey heritage, visitors can immerse themselves in the spirited atmosphere, with the renowned Edmonton Oilers contributing to the cultural richness of this diverse and lively destination. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Edmonton:


  • West Edmonton Mall: Dive into North America’s largest shopping and entertainment complex, West Edmonton Mall, where you can shop, dine, and explore attractions like the World Waterpark, Galaxyland amusement park, and the Sea Life Caverns
  • Fort Edmonton Park: Step back in time at Fort Edmonton Park, a living history museum that recreates four distinct historical periods, allowing visitors to experience the evolution of Edmonton from fur trading post to a bustling city
  • Alberta Legislature Building: Admire the grandeur of the Alberta Legislature Building, a historic landmark with beautiful architecture, picturesque grounds, and informative guided tours
  • Royal Alberta Museum: Immerse yourself in Alberta’s natural and cultural history at the Royal Alberta Museum, featuring engaging exhibits on everything from dinosaurs and wildlife to Indigenous cultures
  • Edmonton River Valley: Embrace nature in the heart of the city by exploring the extensive network of parks and trails in the Edmonton River Valley, offering opportunities for hiking, biking, and scenic walks
  • Art Gallery of Alberta: Delve into the world of art at the Art Gallery of Alberta, showcasing a diverse collection of Canadian and international contemporary art in a visually striking building
  • Edmonton Folk Music Festival: If visiting in August, don’t miss the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, a renowned event that brings together musicians and fans for a weekend of performances, workshops, and a vibrant atmosphere
  • Métis Crossing: Métis Crossing is a cultural gathering place and heritage site that beautifully captures the essence of Métis history, offering immersive experiences and showcasing the rich traditions of the Métis people
  • Rogers Place: Catch a live concert, sports event, or entertainment show at Rogers Place, a state-of-the-art arena in downtown Edmonton
  • Elk Island National Park: Take a short drive from Edmonton to Elk Island National Park, known for its pristine lakes, abundant wildlife, and the opportunity to see free-roaming bison, making it a perfect day trip for nature enthusiasts
Ice skating at Edmonton City Hall Travel Alberta/Mike Seehagel


A visit to Canmore, nestled in the majestic Canadian Rockies, promises a harmonious blend of outdoor adventure and serene mountain charm. Surrounded by towering peaks, Canmore offers a gateway to the spectacular Banff National Park. Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing against a backdrop of pristine alpine landscapes. Canmore’s culinary scene is a delightful surprise, offering a range of dining experiences from cosy cafes to upscale restaurants. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Canmore:


  • Hiking and biking trails: Discover the numerous trails surrounding Canmore, suitable for all levels of hikers and bikers, offering panoramic views of the Rockies
  • Canmore Nordic Centre: Visit the Nordic Centre for year-round outdoor activities, including cross-country skiing in winter and mountain biking in summer
  • Quarry Lake Park: Relax at Quarry Lake Park, a local favourite for picnics, swimming, and enjoying the serene surroundings with the Three Sisters mountain peaks as a backdrop
  • Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre: Delve into Canmore’s history and geological wonders at the museum, showcasing the town’s evolution from a mining community to a mountain destination
  • Downtown Canmore: Stroll through downtown Canmore, filled with charming boutiques, art galleries, and eateries, offering a laid-back atmosphere and unique shopping experiences
  • Grassi Lakes Trail: Hike the popular Grassi Lakes Trail for stunning views of turquoise-hued lakes, accessible for hikers of varying skill levels
  • Helicopter tours: Experience the Rockies from a unique perspective with a helicopter tour, providing awe-inspiring aerial views of the surrounding mountains
  • Carter-Ryan Gallery: Surround yourself with Jason Carter’s bold brilliant paintings and beautiful soapstone sculptures and get to know this prominent Alberta artist from Little Red River Cree Nation
  • Canmore Cave Tours: Embark on an underground adventure with cave tours, exploring the fascinating world beneath the mountains
Winter night in Canmore - Travel Alberta

Banff and Lake Louise

Banff and Lake Louise stand as iconic jewels in Alberta’s stunning landscape. Banff, a charming town within Banff National Park, offers a perfect blend of outdoor adventure and cultural richness. Visitors can explore its vibrant downtown, indulge in local cuisine, and set out on awe-inspiring hikes surrounded by towering mountain peaks. A short drive away, Lake Louise captivates with its emerald waters and the world-renowned Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. The lake serves as a gateway to countless outdoor pursuits, including hiking, canoeing, and skiing, all amidst the backdrop of glaciers and snow-capped mountains. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Banff and Lake Louise:


  • Banff National Park: Explore the pristine wilderness, scenic viewpoints, and abundant wildlife within the boundaries of Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Banff Town: Stroll through the charming streets of Banff town, discovering local shops, galleries, and eateries offering a mix of cultural experiences
  • Banff Upper Hot Springs: Relax in the Banff Upper Hot Springs, nestled in the mountains, and enjoy soothing thermal waters with panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes
  • Hiking trails: Embark on a variety of hiking trails, such as the iconic Johnston Canyon, Tunnel Mountain, or the more challenging Sulphur Mountain, each offering unique perspectives of the Rockies
  • Lake Louise: Admire the tranquil waters of Lake Louise, surrounded by the towering peaks of Victoria Glacier, and take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque lakeshore
  • Moraine Lake: Visit the stunning Moraine Lake, known for its breathtaking turquoise colour and the imposing Valley of the Ten Peaks, offering a paradise for photographers and nature enthusiasts
  • Canoeing on Lake Louise: Experience the tranquility of Lake Louise by canoeing on its pristine waters, surrounded by the grandeur of the mountains
  • Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise: Explore the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, a historic luxury hotel with unparalleled views of the lake and mountains
  • Skiing and snowboarding: In the winter, hit the slopes in the world-class ski resorts around Banff and Lake Louise, enjoying the powdery snow and stunning alpine scenery
  • Dog sledding and icewalks: Embrace the winter magic with activities like dog sledding and ice walks, providing unique perspectives of the snowy landscapes
Hiking Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass - Banff & Lake Louise Tourism/Paul Zizka


Jasper is a picturesque alpine town surrounded by stunning natural wonders. As the gateway to Jasper National Park, the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this charming destination offers a perfect blend of adventure and tranquility. Visitors to Jasper can explore awe-inspiring glaciers, turquoise lakes, and lush forests. The town itself exudes a relaxed atmosphere, featuring a range of outdoor activities, from hiking and wildlife watching to stargazing in the world’s second-largest Dark Sky Preserve. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Jasper:


  • Jasper National Park: Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Jasper National Park, home to rugged mountain landscapes, pristine lakes, and diverse wildlife
  • Maligne Lake: Cruise on Maligne Lake to Spirit Island, surrounded by towering peaks and stunning blue waters, creating a postcard-perfect scene
  • Athabasca Falls: Witness the powerful Athabasca Falls, where the Athabasca River plunges dramatically through a narrow gorge, creating a spectacular display of cascading water
  • Columbia Icefield: Explore the Columbia Icefield, a vast expanse of ancient ice that feeds multiple glaciers, and embark on the Glacier Skywalk for breathtaking views
  • Jasper SkyTram: Take a scenic ride on the Jasper SkyTram for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys
  • Wildlife viewing: Encounter wildlife such as elk, moose, bears, and bighorn sheep in their natural habitats, especially along the Maligne Lake Road and Icefields Parkway
  • Jasper Dark Sky Preserve: Stargaze in the Jasper Dark Sky Preserve, one of the world’s largest accessible Dark Sky Preserves, offering unparalleled views of the night sky
  • Jasper town: Wander through the quaint town of Jasper, filled with charming shops, restaurants, and a relaxed mountain-town ambiance
  • Pyramid and Patricia lakes: Enjoy the serene beauty of Pyramid and Patricia Lakes, offering opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, or simply soaking in the tranquil surroundings
  • Hiking trails: Explore a variety of hiking trails, including the Valley of the Five Lakes, Sulphur Skyline, and the iconic Bald Hills, each providing unique perspectives of the Rockies
  • Jasper Yellowhead Museum: Discover the local history and culture at the Jasper Yellowhead Museum, showcasing artifacts and exhibits related to the town’s heritage
Canoe and kayaking on Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park - Travel Alberta/Parks Canada/Ryan Bray

​Discover The Best Holiday Options In Alberta With These Recommended Trips

We’ve delved into the holiday offerings from a number of our favourite travel experts to find what we think are the best itineraries you can book to experience the delights in Alberta.

14-Day Canadian Rockies Winter Wonderland

Discover the dazzling Canadian Rockies during the winter months on this holiday packed full of activities and spectacular snowy scenery.

From £1,305pp

Operated by Trailfinders

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  • Spend time exploring Calgary – If there is a game on while you’re in town, pick up tickets to see a Calgary Flames ice hockey match
  • Join the locals celebrating the winter season at the annual SnowDays festival
  • Try snowshoeing, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride and travel on Banff Gondola for mountain top winter views of Banff and beyond
  • Visit the luxurious Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise or Fairmont Banff Springs for dining with dazzling views
  • Hit the slopes of Marmot Basin ski resort
  • Catch one of the many exciting festivals which take place in Edmonton throughout the winter

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  • 13 nights accommodation
  • Banff Snowshoeing Adventure
  • Banff Gondola
  • Banff Sleigh Ride
  • 3 day Jasper Marmot Basin Ski Lift Pass
  • All road transfers in Canada on a shared basis
  • ATOL protected

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11-Day Explore Alberta – Peaks, Prairies and Dinosaurs

A self-drive itinerary full of contrasts, from fun cities to spectacular national parks, and from expansive prairies to majestic peaks.

From £1,599pp

Operated by Canadian Sky

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  • Plenty of opportunities to see lots of dinosaur discoveries
  • Visit Lake Louise for a bucket list photo opportunity
  • Discover the hidden gem of Waterton Lakes National Park
  • Enjoy time in the cities of Edmonton and Calgary
  • Drive the spectacular Icefields Parkway

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  • 10 nights accommodation
  • 9 days car hire, electronic roadbook
  • Return international flights
  • ATOL protected & award-winning tour operator

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12-Day Southern Alberta Explorer Motorhome Itinerary

Southern Alberta is home to three of the five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Alberta and this motorhome route will take you through all three.

From £1,839pp

Operated by Travelbag

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  • Spend two days in the dynamic city of Calgary before collecting your motorhome
  • Visit three of Alberta’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites as your travel through the southern region
  • Marvel at beautiful landscapes, discover dinosaur fossils and see Indigenous rock art
  • Travel at your own pace in the comfort of your motorhome

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  • 2 nights hotel accommodation
  • 10 days motorhome hire
  • Unlimited miles package and zero damage plan
  • Two personal kits and one vehicle provision kit
  • Return international flights
  • ATOL protected & award-winning tour operator

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13-Day Alberta Rockies Ski Safari

Explore Banff & Jasper National Parks, ski in four different resorts, experience the Icefields Parkway and go ice-walking in a majestic frozen canyon.

From £1,489pp

Operated by Ski Safari

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  • Ski one or more of Banff Sunshine, Mt Norquay, Lake Louise and Marmot basin resorts
  • Join a Maligne Canyon guided walk
  • Frequent some of the 100 bars and restaurants found in Banff
  • Choice of Banff and Jasper, Lake Louise, Jasper and Banff or Lake Louise and Jasper itineraries
  • Flexibility to change duration of stay and accommodation options within each resort
  • Opt to travel by transfer or book a hire car

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  • 12 nights accommodation
  • Transfers
  • Add pre-book lift passes, ski hire, ski school and extras such as city add-ons
  • Return international flights
  • ABTA & ATOL protected

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8-Day Journey through the Clouds Discovery Banff

This Rocky Mountain journey takes you between Vancouver and Calgary, and includes the stunning mountain towns of Jasper and Banff. Experience the Columbia Icefield on an Ice Explorer, the Glacier Skywalk and the Banff Gondola.

From £3,335pp

Operated by Canadian Affair

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  • Experience the Icefields Parkway sightseeing tour from Banff to Jasper
  • Journey up Sulphur Mountainer on the Banff Gondola
  • Take a boat cruise on Lake Minnewanka
  • Travel on board Rocky Mountaineer and admire the mesmerising scenery as you journey west
  • Enjoy free time in Banff to relax in the hot springs
  • Explore Vancouver at leisure

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  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 2 days on board Rocky Mountaineer in SilverLeaf service with breakfasts and lunches included
  • Tours as detailed in the itinerary
  • Banff Gondola
  • Ice Explorer and Glacier Skywalk
  • National Park Pass
  • Rail station transfers in Jasper, Kamloops and Vancouver
  • Return international flights
  • ABTA & ATOL protected

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9-Day Rockies Winter Wonderland

This 9 day escorted tour of the Canadian Rockies is truly magical – seeing the snow and ice bringing this spectacular landscape to life.

From £2,199pp

Operated by Travelsphere

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  • Explore Jasper National Park
  • Tour Banff National Park
  • Ride the Banff Gondola
  • Take a trip to the picture-perfect Lake Louise
  • Stay a couple of nights at the famous Fairmount Chateau Lake Louise Hotel
  • Be taken on a horse-drawn sleigh ride
  • Enjoy a relaxing visit to Banff’s natural hot springs

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  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 5 breakfasts and welcome drink
  • Tours as detailed in the itinerary
  • Travelsphere Holiday Director
  • Transfers while in destination
  • Return international flights
  • ABTA & ATOL protected

Visit Website


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