Exploring Calgary and beyond


By Harriet Cooper

Photography by Visit Calgary

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Juillet 2017

Nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Calgary buzzes with a dynamic energy, and city slickers will love the soaring skyscrapers, active arts scene, upscale restaurants and lively nightlife. An hour west, and it’s all about the fresh air: Banff National Park is teeming with wildlife, jaw-dropping scenery and outdoor activities. Here’s how to have the best of both worlds…

Marvel at the skyline

Marvel at the skyline in this cosmopolitan city; a product of the oil boom, its infrastructure isn’t the only thing that will catch your eye. Follow the cool crowd downtown for innovative eateries and unique boutiques, soak up the café culture in vibrant Kensington Village and browse antique stores and cutting-edge galleries in Inglewood, the original Main Street.

Soak up the café culture in vibrant Kensington Village and browse antique stores and cutting-edge galleries in Inglewood, the original Main Street

Don your cowboy hat

Don your cowboy hat at the Calgary Stampede, taking place every July. Expect ten days of steer-wrestling and chuck wagon races featuring some of the world’s best competitors and animals. Whatever you do, don’t miss the legendary stampede pancake breakfasts.

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  • Explore the exciting city of Calgary before venturing into the Canadian wilderness © Getty.

    Le saviez-vous ?

    The average age of a Calgary resident is 35.7 years, meaning the city bustles with youthful energy and plenty of nightlife. Book flights from London to Calgary, plus a five-night hotel stay from:

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Channel your inner Alanis Morissette

Channel your inner Alanis Morissette at the new National Music Centre, which will take you on an interactive ride through Canada’s music history. Little ones will love the zoo and stepping back in time at the Heritage Park Historical Village.

Lace up your walking boots

Lace up your walking boots and head to the towns of Banff and Lake Louise for an inspirational mountain adventure. Banff National Park has 1,600km of well-marked walking trails or you can hire a guide, who will show you the hidden gems. Alternatively, saddle up on a horseback tour, which offers ‘cowboy cookouts’ at a remote cabin or outpost.

  • Discover 450 years of music history at the National Music Centre.

    Of note

    The National Music Centre houses over 2000 music artefacts, from instruments to artist memorabilia.

    Découvrez Calgary
  • After a day of adventure in the great Canadian outdoors, relax at the Fairmont Banff Springs.

    Birthday treat

    During 2017, Canada’s National Parks turn 150 and are offering free entry for all, just pick up a 2017 Discovery Pass.

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  • Buckle up for the world-famous Calgary Stampede © Visit Calgary.

    Whip crack away

    The Calgary Stampede is the largest outdoor event in the world and on average attracts over a million spectators every year.

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Hit the waters of Lake Louise

Hit the waters of the tranquil Lake Louise, either by canoe or kayak. Glide through the startlingly turquoise lake, with the Canadian Rockies rising either side, before stopping for lunch and a swim at one of the sandy beaches. Or sit back and let someone else do the hard work for you on a Bow River Safari, where you’ll spot an array of wildfowl and wildlife.

Up your camping game on a backcountry adventure

With its impressive network of campsites all linked by hiking trails, Banff National Park is ideal for backpackers who like to sleep under the stars and wake to breathtaking vistas.

Calgary essentials

Que manger

Old-school dining institution Caesar’s Steak House in Calgary has been serving Alberta beef since 1972. Order your steak charbroiled over open flames. Afterwards head to Milk Tiger Lounge, recently named one of the best bars in the world.

Où séjourner

Fairmont Banff Springs is the perfect base from which to appreciate the wilderness of Banff National Park. The 770-room mountain retreat has a homely vibe and impeccable service, not to mention 12 restaurants and the Willow Stream Spa, the ideal place to pamper yourself.

If you only do one thing…

A visit to a true Canadian Western saloon is almost compulsory. Crack open a cold beer, order a plate of country comfort food, before trying your hand at line-dancing, mechanical bull-riding or calf-roping. We like Wild Bills. Yee-ha!

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