Alberta is one of the most spectacular places in the world, as vast as it is varied in landscapes and experiences. Located in western Canada, the province of Alberta is bordered by the rugged Canadian Rocky Mountains and boasts five national parks—many of them UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Within its borders, you’ll find untamed forests and emerald lakes, alpine meadows and backcountry wilderness, all home to a bounty of wildlife large and small. In the international gateway cities of Edmonton and Calgary, enjoy the best in culture and cuisine.
Adventures are available year-round, as you choose from world-class skiing, hiking, fishing, golf, backcountry exploring, theatre, shopping and a multitude of festivals. Whether you are exploring by foot, car, bicycle, horseback, canoe, rail or coach, Alberta is a vacation destination you won’t soon forget.
Remember to breathe.
Alberta’s authentic and unpretentious capital is located on the beautiful North Saskatchewan River and offers an array of original experiences throughout the year. You’ll appreciate the exceptional dining, shopping, entertainment and recreation opportunities this vibrant urban centre has to offer. Iconic Whyte Avenue is home to blues clubs, artisan shops, specialty shopping and eclectic eateries.
The city hosts over 30 festivals, from theatre, arts and culture to food and wine, dragon boats, winter and even accordions. Twenty-two major parks make up Edmonton’s expansive river valley—the largest stretch of urban parkland in North America.
The city is home to the West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America with more than 800 stores and services, 10 attractions, two hotels and over 100 dining venues.
Less than an hour’s drive from Edmonton is Elk Island National Park where you can see bison, elk, white-tailed deer and moose in their natural habitat and learn how 100 years of conservation brought the bison back from the brink of extinction.
With prairies to the east and mountains to the west, Calgary is a sophisticated urban gem surrounded by natural grandeur. It buzzes with world-class cuisine, shopping, art, theatre and music while embracing its rich western heritage.
Experience the city’s classic western hospitality at the Calgary Stampede—The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth—featuring one of the world’s largest and richest rodeos, parade, midway, concerts, agricultural competitions, chuckwagon racing and First Nations exhibitions.
The Rocky Mountains
The Canadian Rocky Mountains stretch along Alberta’s western border and offer a network of protected national and provincial mountain parks as well as charming alpine towns. Crystal clear glacial lakes are sprinkled throughout the parks like brilliant gems.
Choose from retreats as rustic or lavish as you like, from secluded backcountry cabins to spoil-yourself wilderness lodges with fine linens and soaker tubs. Stay at iconic resorts that feel like fairy-tale castles, and experience the elegance of luxurious suites of wood and stone, your own private fireplace and gourmet dining close at hand.
Banff National Park
Located 90 minutes west of Calgary, Banff National Park became Canada’s first national park in 1885 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Watch for bear, elk, moose, deer and bighorn sheep as you explore its rugged and unspoiled wilderness on a vast network of trails. In winter, dive into deep powder on skis and snowboards, and enjoy snowshoeing, dog sledding and canyon ice walks.
Just 45 minutes west of Calgary, Kananaskis Country is a vast playground of more than 50 interconnected provincial parks and recreation areas on the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. It offers an extensive array of world-class alpine skiing, canoeing, hiking trails, horseback riding and whitewater rafting. There’s also the Canmore Nordic Centre, one of the top cross-country ski destinations in the world, designed for the 1988 Winter Olympics.
Jasper National Park
The largest of Alberta’s Rocky Mountain National Parks, Jasper is just four hours west of Edmonton and is part of a collective UNESCO World Heritage Site. Filled with soaring peaks, ancient glaciers and untouched wilderness, it is also the second largest dark sky preserve in the world, giving star gazers of all ages a chance to experience extraordinary aurora borealis.
From Calgary travel to the Canadian Badlands where the golden prairie grasslands drop off to a world of mulitcoloured canyons, a stark desert of striped hills and chimneys of rock formations. See the locations where movies like Legends of the Fall and Brokeback Mountain were filmed. Hunt for fossils in Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and learn about the region’s deposits of dinosaur bones—the largest in the world—at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller. Check out the coulees, kilns and concerts in Medicine Hat. Do dinner and theatre in the tiny town of Rosebud, home of Alberta’s only professional rural theatre company.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is the biggest, oldest and best preserved buffalo hunting site in North America. Hike to the ancient drive lanes with Blackfoot guides. Learn about their culture through the stories of the elders, native drumming and hoop dancers.
Waterton Lakes National Park
Three hours south of Calgary is Waterton Lakes National Park. Tucked away in the southwest corner of Alberta and bordering Montana, USA, it is part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. The area’s dramatic collision of prairies and mountains features grasslands, wetlands, aspen groves, evergreen forests and alpine tundra, providing a unique diversity of plant life and a rich variety of wildlife.
The Infinity Experience
The Calgary Tower© Visit Calgary
The Calgary Stampede© Visit Calgary
Visit the Calgary Zoo© Visit Calgary
Edmonton Festival City© Canadian Tourism Commission
Visit West Edmonton Mall
Summer in Banff© Lake Louise Tourism & Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Athabasca Glacier© Canadian Tourism Commission
Lake Louise in the Winter© Lake Louise Tourism & Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Elk Island National Park
Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump