- 05 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- 30 annual festivals in Edmonton
- 1,600 sq km of hiking trails in Banff National Park
Alberta is undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking places on earth, as vast as it is varied in landscapes and experiences. The rugged beauty of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, turquoise lakes, boreal forests, rushing rivers, rolling grasslands and prairies sets the scene for your authentic adventure.
Touch the top of a mountain then soak in natural hot springs. Dust off a dinosaur bone on a dig in the Canadian Badlands. Saddle up and herd cattle on a working ranch. Immerse yourself in all things western at the annual Calgary Stampede. Stay in a fairy-tale alpine castle, rustic backcountry lodge, or camp out in a tipi. Hike endless scenic trails in the summer and spot deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep or bears. Return in winter to ski Alberta's famous deep fluffy powder at any of six Canadian Rocky Mountain resorts. Travel by dogsled and see the splendour of the Northern Lights.
- Soar to new heights by helicopter then hike pristine alpine wilderness.
- Ride the open range, sleep cozy by a campfire and see how frontier living - the cowboy way - lives on in Alberta.
- Ski or snowboard in feather-light powder at the Rocky Mountain resorts in Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.
- Be a part of the team on an overnight dog sled excursion with Snowy Owl Dog Sled tours.
- Touch towering frozen waterfalls as you walk through a snow crested canyon .
- Shop at West Edmonton Mall - North America’s largest shopping complex covering the equivalent of 48 city blocks, with the world's largest indoor amusement park, permanent bungee tower, wave pool and its own hotel.
- Rodeos, parades, chuckwagon races, music and the best ten days in Calgary are during the annual The Calgary Stampede.
- Explore over a million artifacts and thousands of works of art to discover Alberta’s humble western beginnings to energy resource boomtown at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary.
- The architecture of Edmonton's new Art Gallery of Alberta is mind bending, matched only by its permanent and travelling exhibits.
Arts & Culture
- Step back and experience “How The West Was Once,” at Heritage Park Historical Village
- Visualize chasing thundering herds of buffalo while exploring Plains Indians culture at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site.
- The Bar U Ranch National Historic Site is a living tribute to the history of ranching in Alberta
- The Mountie’s horse needs a groomer, dress the part and spend the day learning the skills to be one at the Fort Museum of the North West Mounted Police and First Nations Interpretive Centre
- Experience the life of a Blackfoot Plains Indian while camping in their tipi at The Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park
Nature & Wildlife
Accommodation & Relaxation
- Relax and unwind in therapeutic Rocky Mountain mineral hot springs.
- Watch the helicopter disappear and breathe in the crisp mountain air as you prepare for a ridgetop heli-yoga class.
- Stay in an historic "castle" in the Rockies at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Play the signature golf course. Enjoy haute cuisine. Indulge in a rejuvenating spa treatment at the hotel's Willow Stream Spa.
- Search and learn about wolves on a week long horse trek with Holiday on Horseback.
- Alberta is a four season destination. Summer months, expect the sunrise before 6 AM with sunset over the mountains as late as 10 PM. In December however, expect the sunrise shortly after 8 AM, setting before supper hour.
- Warm summer weather happens June through to September. Daily July temperatures in the cities average 24 C but can cool to 8 C in the evening. June is the wettest month with as much as 70 mm of rain. The Rocky Mountain parks see average daily temperatures of 21 C, dipping at night to 7 C. Banff receives 55 mm of rain during the summer months.
- September marks the coming of fall with the aspens turning bright yellow. Daily temperatures begin to dip from the teens in September to single digits in October, with the evenings still above freezing.
- Winter can be very cold both in the mountains and the prairies, dipping on occasion to -30 C. Christmas in Calgary and Edmonton sees normal daily highs of -3 C dipping to -14 at night. Banff can expect much the same temperatures but with over two metres of snow falling between October and May, making for one of the longest ski seasons in North America. Southern Alberta is notorious for strong, warm winter “Chinook winds” that rush down from the mountains raising the temperature more than 15 C in an hour leaving the region in daily temperatures above freezing for a few days at a time.
- Spring temperatures in Calgary and Edmonton rise dramatically from the winter months. March has highs of 5 C but by May the average is 16 C.
- Discover local weather . Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada’s Canadian Climate Normals Website.
Area: 661,185 sq km (255,303 sq mi)
Capital City: Edmonton
Largest City: Calgary
Total Population: 3.8 Million
Official Languages: English & French (English predominant)
Provincial Motto: “strong and free.”
- Ski and snowboard season runs from early November until May, with best snow conditions January through March.
- Banff and Lake Louise are tops on the list, summer or winter. More than the great outdoors, they host arts, cultural and culinary events year round.
- Wildlife viewing is best from spring until fall. Early morning and dusk are optimal viewing times.
- Golfing is best from late May until the snow flies in October. Summer in northern Alberta means playing until 11 p.m.
- Hike, cycle, camp, paddle and ride in comfort in Alberta from May until October but always be prepared for cool evenings.
- Plan your vacation to Alberta around festivals, celebrations, competitions and concerts.