The height of adventure
Beth, from our Boston Travel branch, recently embarked on the trip of a lifetime to Canada, the ‘land of maple’, famed for its impressive landscapes and abundance of wildlife.
"Canada’s natural beauty is unbound – from vast deep blue lakes to towering snow-capped mountains to the rich, verdant forests. There are endless opportunities for exploration, beautiful spots for relaxation, and you can do it all in a way that suits you – there’s no way you should be missing this dreamy destination.
"During my stay, I was lucky enough to stay in three different areas in the west of Canada: beginning at Banff, before moving on to Jasper, and then finishing in Calgary. In this time, I enjoyed a variety of amazing excursions and activities, soaked up incredible scenery, and, of course, tried some of Canada’s famous pancakes, topped with bacon and maple syrup!
"I stayed at a few different hotels during my trip, each serving as a great base and space to unwind after a busy day. The facilities on offer were varied, and included rooftop jacuzzis, restaurants, gyms, and indoor swimming pools; there’s the perfect accommodation available for every tourist type.
"Banff is a town set within one of Canada’s national parks, and is renowned for its stunning scenery, which is suited to a range of outdoor activities, famously skiing, but also hiking, rock climbing, canoeing and more. I was able to admire the rapids at Bow Falls and the historic Banff Springs Hotel via an e-bike tour, which is an activity accessible to all different biking abilities.
"Wanting to see the area from a different perspective, I went on the Banff Gondola. This is a short eight-minute cable car ride with incredible views of the surrounding mountains. It’s an amazing experience in itself, and there’s plenty to do when you reach the top too. As well as 360 degree views, there’s the multi-sensory Above Banff Theatre and the family-friendly Above Banff interpretive centre, opportunities for mountaintop dining, and the chance to shop for a souvenir.
"Later in my trip, I visited Calgary Tower. At a staggering 191 metres high, you’re able to see all over the bustling city and beyond, to the mountainous backdrop. If you’re feeling brave, you can even stand on a glass floor!
"Calgary is an obvious contrast to Banff and Jasper, as it’s one of Canada’s largest cities. There’s plenty to see and do – while I was there I went to the National Music Centre, Studio Bell, which offers exhibitions, unique architecture, and a great insight to the developing story of Canadian music. A 25-minute helicopter ride enabled me to admire the remarkable landscape from even higher up, as I flew between the Three Sisters Peaks, totally in awe!
"Back on the ground, I did even more exploring with Columbia Icefield Adventure. This is the largest ice field within the Canadian Rockies, spanning from the north-western tip of Banff National Park, to the south of Jasper National Park. A massive all-terrain vehicle took us around the area, and we were accompanied by a guide who was able to teach us all about the site’s history, and how it continues to evolve.
"Despite participating in a range of fantastic activities, one of the best things for me was being able to enjoy my surroundings day-to-day; whether that was just walking around a resort or driving from one place to another. Long car journeys feel so much shorter because there’s just so much to see along the way. With this in mind, my absolute top tip would be to make sure that you always have your phone or camera fully charged, so you don’t miss a good photo opportunity. Buses have USB chargers, or you could invest in a portable one.
"Having said this, it’s impossible to fully capture the natural beauty that Canada possesses in a photograph, or to communicate its brilliance in words; the only way to fully appreciate it is to see it for yourself. Of course, I couldn’t possibly fit every single activity on offer into one trip, but I am so grateful for each experience I had and would encourage anyone to go and immerse themselves in the same way I did!
"I travelled with Just You, a tour provider that specialises in solo travel. The safety and reassurance of being part of a group, alongside not having to organise anything, meant that I was able to really be in the moment and enjoy every second knowing that everything was taken care of."