Here is another Canadian gem to celebrate Canada’s 150th; Calgary and the breathtaking Rockies.
Calgary downtown is fairly small, and one day is more then enough to explore it in a leisurely pace. It is fairly small comparatively to downtown Toronto and Vancouver. We stayed in downtown Calgary but it all depends on what you are here for, later in the post I will share best places to stay in.
So here goes our experience of Calgary and the Rockies…
- We ate at Cora’s Restaurant bright and early.
- Took a stroll at the Olympic Plaza. Its a nice urban park in the midst of downtown, and like its name, it was initially created for Olympic medal ceremonies.
- Walked through Stephen’s Avenue (this is their main walkway with shops and restaurants in downtown).
- Missioned to an Indian Restaurant because my dad was craving some Pav Bhaji (It is sweet bun with potato stew) 🙂
- Checked out the “Wonderland Sculpture” located outside the Bow building.
We headed out on our way for a day trip to see some of the Rockies and lakes.
- First stop; Lake Louise; It takes about 2 hours from downtown Calgary. It’s best to get here early in the morning, around 7-8 am to avoid the big crowds and to get the best turquoise views of the lake. Parking is also another issue here, you may have to park 20-30 minutes away if you come later. We took a tour bus, which was super convenient, since we got dropped off right by the lake. (spent 2 hours here). “It is like standing in a dream” is what my dad said as he sat there taking in the view, while I went on to take an unnecessarily abundant amount of pictures. Definitely when you go, just sit there, take deep breaths and enjoy the view, this place is pretty surreal.
- Second stop; Moraine Lake, about an hour away from Lake Louise. It is one of the most photographed lakes and it is no surprise; the lake, with the backdrop of the valley of ten peaks, makes for the perfect desktop wallpaper. Make sure to check it out at different elevation levels by hiking up, to see the different colors of the lake. (spent another 2 hours)
- Third stop; Takkakaw Falls, about 2 hours away from Moraine Lake. These are Canada’s second highest waterfalls. Once we arrived, we had to walk a few minutes’ from the parking lot to get to the falls, but we knew we were getting closer as we could start feeling the mist of the falls even from a distance. We only stayed here for about 40 minutes, but it was enough, as we had a lot more to cover this day.
- Fourth stop and my most favorite; Emerald Lake. At the lake lodge we had lunch, a burger to be exact, it was an okay burger but with the views of the lake, it tasted amazing (for another great location to eat a burger, check out my Vancouver post here :)). We hiked around and relaxed by the lake for about 2 hours. There are also Canoes you can rent, to get even better views on the lake.
- Mini stop at Yoho National Parc; our driver made a mini pit stop here, so of course we grabbed a few shots.
- Final stop; Downtown Banff. This place has a very European feel with the narrow streets and the building designs. We did some shopping here and ate dinner at Indian Curry House (it was an average restaurant).
After all that, we called it a day and headed back to downtown Calgary. I would suggest instead of staying downtown Calgary like we did, to stay in downtown Banff or Canmore (a bit cheaper and just half hour away from Banff). We didn’t get a chance to see Sulphur Mountain, and there is also the Banff Gondola to take in some great views of the Rockies.
- Had some amazing French toast at Beltliner, definitely recommend this place.
- Took a stroll in Prince Island Park, and walked through the Peace Bridge. It is a great spot to view the city’s skyline and take some great photography shots.
- Our final stop of the trip was the Calgary Zoo.
- Afterwards we headed back on our flight back to the YYZ
The Rockies and the lakes are one of the most beautiful natures wonders and a must see. You don’t need to add filters or effects to your photography because these places are just that beautiful. It is a great road trip to take and next time I would like to venture towards Jasper, as well. I would recommend staying in downtown Banff or Canmore, as it is where most of the action is, instead of staying downtown Calgary. We didn’t stay at any of the lakes but it can also be a good idea to actually spend a night by either Emerald Lake or Lake Louise, and wake up to the amazing views.
Hope you enjoyed this post and it inspires you to check out this Canadian Gem if you haven’t already 🙂