Banff may be a gateway to adventure in the Canadian Rockies, but don’t just pass through this resort town. Get to know it.

You can’t help but daydream in a town like Banff, where the skyline is dominated by towering mountain peaks. That would explain why so many creators are drawn here, hence the rich arts scene. Although it’s located in one of the most tranquil settings on earth, Banff is a lively little place, with restaurants, nightlife and plenty of shops. And of course you’ll also find cosy lodges fit with spas, perfect for some R&R.

Frequently Asked Questions about Banff

What are the main ski resorts?

Banff is within an hour's drive of three ski resorts; no wonder it's such a buzz of activity during the winter months. Lake Louise Ski Resort is the busiest and most well known of the three. From cruisey slopes to dramatic chutes, the runs here cater to all levels of skiers and snowboarders. The thrills and spills at the tube park ensure that even your youngest travellers can get in on the action. If you'd like to roll out of bed, open your front door and hop straight on the gondola, you might prefer Sunshine Village. The only resort with on-hill accommodation, it also sees the best snow due to its higher elevation. Throw some incredible scenery into the mix and you can see why it's giving Lake Louise a run for its money! Ski Norquay is the closest resort to Banff, however, it's also the lowest. Accordingly, the snow is less reliable and its seasons are shorter. If you only have limited time, we'd recommend sticking with the first two.

What kind of wildlife will I spot in the park?

Boasting no less than 53 species of mammals, Banff National Park offers some of the best wildlife spotting in the world. But of course, any first-time visitor to Canada is going to have one thing on their mind - bears. The park is home to both black bears and grizzly bears. If you're hoping to spot one, the best place to try is at the Icefields Parkway or the Bow Valley Parkway. However, it's recommended you stay inside your car, as the bears' behaviour can be dangerous and difficult to predict. If you do encounter one while you're out walking, you shouldn't come within 100 metres. Apart from bears, expect to see deer, mountain goats, sheep, coyotes and wolves.

What's the best way to take in the sights in summer?

No matter your fitness level and thirst for adventure, Banff has the perfect warm-weather outing for you. As the mercury rises and the snow starts to melt, the winter resort of Sunshine Village starts living up to its name. Its winter infrastructure means that some of the region's most spectacular scenery in summer is also its most accessible. Catch the gondola to the top of the mountain and you'll have over 12 kilometres of well-maintained tracks to explore. This is where you'll find one of Banff's most popular and scenic walks: Sunshine Meadows. Canoeing is another popular Banff pastime. While the multi-day Bow River trip may be reserved for the experts, there is a number of other spots that offer a more relaxed outing. Cast your gaze over pine forests and up to the rocky mountain peaks as you glide through the azure waters of Lake Louise or Lake Minnewanka.

Is Banff a good place for a family holiday?

If your kids love nature and animals, then Banff is going to be a wonderful spot for your whole family. The town's well-developed infrastructure means it's easy to get around, and you'll find plenty of short walks to take the little ones on in the summer. You'll be able to teach them to ski in winter. Or, if they're too young for ski slopes, there'll be plenty of laughs to be had at Lake Louise's tube park. You'll also find loads of fun indoor activities, such as a movie theatre, bowling and waterslides.