Home to cowboy culture, a diverse heritage and the incredible Canadian Rockies, there’s so much to explore on an Alberta holiday. Discover beautiful prairie lands and the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, blanketed in vast sub alpine forests criss-crossed by hiking trails. It’s a land of outdoor adventure where you can kayak along rivers or rushing rapids, take to the slopes at three world class ski resorts known as “Ski Big 3” or relax and luxuriate in mineral rich hot springs.
In Banff National Park, you’ll find yourself cradled in snow capped mountains and gazing at stunning glacier fed lakes. For breathtaking views over the park, take a ride on the Banff Gondola, or gently paddle across the turquoise waters of Lake Louise or Moraine Lake. Head north along the Icefields Parkway and make your way to Jasper National Park, leaving time to stop for Alberta’s abundant wildlife and the awe inspiring views that will accompany you the whole way. When you reach Jasper, you may find yourself lost in awe at the area’s pristine wilderness and vast mountains, but by night you’ll see the true spirit of the park, as the sky lights up with stars like you’ve never seen before and, if you’re lucky, the stunning Northern Lights.
Cities of the Wild West
Alberta’s vast stretches of stunning wilderness are broken up by its two biggest cities: Calgary and Edmonton. With Calgary’s gleaming skyscrapers and the impressive West Edmonton Mall, they might seem like innately modern cities on first look, but don’t be fooled - this is the Wild West after all, and cowboy culture is still alive and well here.
There are so many sides of Alberta to discover, so why not make your trip a multi centre holiday? Take an unforgettable trip on the iconic Rocky Mountaineer train or simply explore the province by car, exploring Calgary and Edmonton and the incredible mountains in between, or combine a visit to Calgary with a trip to Banff and Jasper.
Great sample itineraries
Alberta offers up a world of possibilities, so take a look at our sample itineraries below, give us a call and let us plan your perfect trip.
Vancouver, Banff and Calgary Multi Centre Holiday
Calgary To Vancouver Road Trip
There is so much to do in Alberta that the first decision you will need to make is, when do you want to go? The many National Parks are open year round but the wildlife can differ by season meaning you can go back again and again. We love describing Alberta as the ultimate adventure playground but it really is; kayaking, horseback riding, skiing, motorcycling trails… the list is endless and each one takes in the beautiful scenery and landscapes on offer. Something you cannot miss and is guaranteed to be on your wish list, is to witness the Northern Lights. We can make all this happen and more, so call our experts now and start your adventure.
Alberta National Parks
Alberta is home to the largest and oldest of Canada’s National Parks and some of the most visited. Guaranteed spectacular scenery - mountain vistas, turquoise lakes, ancient glaciers and vast open spaces are what draw people to these magical parks. Canada’s first national park and the flagship of the nation’s park system, Banff is the ultimate adventure pilgrimage for those wishing to visit the Canadian Rockies and see its breathtaking mountain scenery and turquoise lakes for themselves. Explore Banff’s 1000 miles of trails on foot, by bike or on horseback. Head out and discover the park's incredible wildlife on display with bears, elk, big horn sheep and many more to see. The largest park in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper is a year-round mountain playground and covers more than 11,000 square kilometres of untouched alpine wilderness. Located directly north of Banff National Park, Jasper is linked to it via the iconic Icefields Parkway – frequently named as one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Unlike Alberta’s other parks – Badlands National Park is a unique travel destination within Canada’s "Wild West" region. Home to the richest source of dinosaur fossils in the world, a drive along the “Fossil Trail” is perfect for families, from the jaw-dropping display of some of the largest full dinosaur skeletons at the Royal Tyrrell Museum; to taking a guided authentic paleontological dig at Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site where many of the planet’s most important discoveries have been made and continue to be unearthed.
In Alberta you'll find nearly 600 species across the five National Parks and two hundred and fifty provincial parks. From bison, elk, grizzly and black bears, to the elusive wolf, cougar and wolverine, there's plenty of wildlife for you to discover. Take an evening wildlife safari tour in Banff National Park, which becomes much more active in the cool hours before dark. Grab your binoculars and spot elk sauntering across a clearing, mountain goats perched high on a ridge, and sometimes even a grizzly bear snuffling through a berry bush.
Alberta is the ultimate adventure playground – with five enormous National Parks to choose from – whatever activity you’re looking for, Alberta will have it – all with the stunning backdrop of the incredible Rocky Mountains. Travel through this incredible terrain on horseback - exactly how this country is meant to be experienced, allowing you to view sweeping landscapes and spot wildlife that you might not get to see while on foot. Have you ever thought about touring Jasper’s rugged landscape from the freedom of the sidecar of a powerful Harley-Davidson touring motorcycle driven by a professional rider as you view the soaring mountains and lakes of the Icefields Parkway – one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Alberta First Nations
The province of Alberta is home to the Métis peoples, with a population of over 85,000 – the largest in all of Canada. The Métis evolved many different and fascinating traditions, legends, cultures and celebrations that are completely unique to them, as well as their own language. Learn about the traditional First Nations way of life and gain a valuable skills you can use for a lifetime. Perfect for those who are interested in back to basics and getting up close to nature, with everything from hide tanning, plant medicines or even making soap, moccasins and learning to bead, these are all available to experience.
Your best chance of seeing the hypnotising phenomena known as the aurora borealis is in September through to mid-May. As Alberta is home to the world's largest dark sky preserves, this means you are able to see the beauty of the kaleidoscope of colours dancing through the sky - a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be on everyone's bucket list.
Cowboys and Ranching
Leave the city life behind on an authentic western Canadian horseback adventure. Release your inner cowboy and experience life on a working ranch. From your saddle, ride by lakes, rivers all with sweeping views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains on the horizon. Back at the ranch, play a game of horseshoes or practice your roping skills, before enjoying a hearty home cooked meal as you swap tales with your fellow trailblazers around the campfire under a canopy of stars, before retiring to your cosy cabin for the best sleep ever.
Take one of the many Rocky Mountaineer journeys which either start or end in Alberta and discover the iconic landscapes and incomparable service that makes the Rocky Mountaineer so famous. One of the most popular routes is the First Passage to the West and this train is the only passenger service on this historic Canadian Pacific track. Or experience the diverse and extreme landscapes on the Rainforest to Goldrush journey which takes you into Jasper.
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"Try to include a helicopter tour of the Rockies in your itinerary, it's a truly breathtaking way to see the sheer size and beauty of the mountains."
"If you have time on your trip, try to fit in a helicopter trip over the Rockies. This will give you another amazing experience from up in the sky. They have a wide range of options beginning from a shorter 30 minute trip right the way up to spending a few hours up in the air exploring."
"Learn more about the indigenous Metis people with a visit to Mahikan Trails at Canmore. There’s a tour and activities allowing you to get involved in first nations culture."
In celebration of the area’s Wild West culture, both past and present, millions of people gather at Stampede Park each July for the Calgary Stampede. The event is spread over 10 days, with one of the world’s biggest rodeos, a parade, chuckwagon racing, agricultural shows and more.
Banff Gondola Sunset Festival
The Banff Gondola is an incredible experience at any time, but during the Sunset Festival it's even more incredible. Through the summer, after riding the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain, you can celebrate the sunset in good company, with food, drinks and great live music.
Jasper Dark Sky Festival
A designated Dark Sky Preserve, Jasper is the perfect place for stargazing, but there’s no better time to enjoy the clear views of the night sky than the Jasper Dark Sky Festival. The festival is a great opportunity to learn more about the stunning view, with keynote speakers, panel talks, dark sky photography workshops and the chance to experience Jasper’s planetarium.
Edmonton Heritage Festival
Canada’s multiculturalism takes centre stage at the annual Edmonton Heritage Festival. Held in Hawrelak Park, the festival spans three days each August and brings together 100 countries and cultures sharing their cuisine, music and entertainment.
Thanks to the great pastureland and wild habitats, Alberta is renowned for its beef, caribou, elk and bison.
Bloody Caesar Cocktail
Invented in Calgary in 1969, this cocktail consists of a mix of clam juice, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, vodka, finished with a celery stick, and is popular throughout Canada.
Our Alberta destinations
Types of Alberta holidays
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The Hayes & Jarvis Way
We've been tailor making holidays for 65 years. With over 60 destinations to choose from, talk to us and we'll listen to your travel ideas to create unforgettable holiday experiences.