Alberta (Banff)

There are many places that make great honeymoon spots in Canada, but look toward the Banff region of Alberta for a wide range of activities to pique your interest. Not only is the scenery something to behold (picture clear, snow-capped mountains, waterfalls, wildlife, bright blue lakes, and beautiful glaciers), but also the numerous pubs, restaurants, and social life make it perfect for younger couples.

In the summer months, the region is full of life as visitors come from all over the world to explore its national park terrain, packed with world-class hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, and golfing.

Banff is also the perfect winter playground. It's got powdery snow, stunning mountain views, and more apres-ski options than you can count on two hands. Banff's town center (which is located within Banff National Park) is only a short 90 minute drive from Calgary and is surrounded by dramatic Rocky Mountain peaks, glaciers, and glacial lakes.

During the winter, there's no better place for snow-seekers. The area has three ski resorts -- Sunshine Village, Ski Norquay, and Lake Louise Mountain Resort -- and one lift pass allows you access to all three. Banff also is home to luxurious resorts (like the Banff Springs Fairmont and the Sunshine Mountain Lodge) as well as some of Alberta's finest dining spots and luxury spas.

What to Do

Banff shopping

  • Skiing - Whether you’re a skier or snowboarder, you’ll find world-class terrain within Banff National Park. The area’s three ski areas -- Mt. Norquay, Lake Louise Ski Resort, and Sunshine Village -- offer almost 8,000 acres of skiable terrain on a convenient tri-area lift ticket.

  • Hiking - A trip to Banff truly isn’t complete without hiking its incredible mountains. Hikers have a multitude of options, from steep mountain trails that offer rewarding views of town to easy strolls through forest, canyons, and meadows. A few of our favorite hikes feature Tunnel Mountain, Johnston Canyon, and Sulphur Mountain.

  • Kayaking and Canoeing - Banff offers a variety of kayaking experiences for all skill levels. The calm waters of Johnson Lake are perfect for the beginner, or you can find Class V+ rapids if you’re an experienced paddler. Grab a paddle with Banff Adventures or the Banff Canoe Club.

  • Biking - The Banff region is home to some of the world’s most incredible road and mountain biking. Trails range from easy to extremely difficult. We recommend starting with the Banff Legacy Trail, a scenic path that connects the towns of Banff and Cranmore.

  • Hot Springs - There are a number of incredible hot springs in the Canadian Rockies. Radium Hot Springs near Kootenay National Park is 80 minutes southwest of Banff, while Miette Hot Springs in Jasper is quite a bit farther. However, the most accessible hot springs are right in town at the Banff Upper Hot Springs, which are fed by Sulphur Mountain. Here you can pay a small fee and soak to your heart's content in this outdoor pool of mineral water, naturally heated to 104ºF. Don’t forget to bring a bathing suit!

  • Experience a Glacier - If you love these mountains, you'll want to thank the ancient glaciers that carved them out. The Columbia Icefield is the largest glacier field in the Northern Hemisphere, and a relatively short drive from Banff. Dress warmly, in layers. The icefield consists of six major glaciers feeding three rivers. You can hike in the area or even camp overnight in a nearby campground if you're so inclined. If you want to see the glaciers without all the work, a number of tour companies will fly you over the icefield, or take you by all-terrain vehicle to the center of a glacier, where you can learn how to walk on moving ice.

Where to Stay

Banff luxury hotel

  • The Fairmont Banff Springs - This landmark property, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been nicknamed Canada’s "Castle in the Rockies.” The luxury mountain resort offers unparalleled mountain views, upscale restaurants, and first-class accommodations. Plus, with a championship golf course and award-winning spa, there’s plenty of on-site activities to keep couples entertained for days on end.

  • Storm Mountain Lodge - Expect rustic elegance and ambiance in the heart of Banff National Park. Established in 1922, couples will love the historic log cabin accommodations plus delicious Canadian cuisine at the lodge. A great rustic, romantic retreat for newlyweds.

  • The Juniper - Couples will enjoy a contemporary boutique feel at this former motor lodge. The property features 50 guest rooms and suites, contemporary dining options, and cabins in a scenic mountain setting. Also close to town but still quiet and secluded.

  • Post Hotel & Spa - Nestled on the valley floor, this luxury alpine retreat in Lake Louise features about 100 rooms, private cabins with fireplaces, and Jacuzzis. With the chalet-style buildings and rustic decor, it’s like a little slice of Switzerland in the Canadian Rockies.

Where to Eat

Banff upscale restaurant

  • The Bison Restaurant and Terrace - The eclectic menu at this Banff standout features signature meat dishes like bison ribeye, duck breast, short ribs, and steelhead trout. Diners will enjoy the rustic elegance plus an emphasis on local, seasonal, and Canadian cuisine.

  • Grapes Wine Bar - A charming wine bar located at the Fairmont Banff Springs. Since 1926, this cozy spot has been the ultimate choice for a romantic meal or fine glass of wine.

  • Nourish Vegetarian Bistro and Tea House - Newlyweds can anticipate a fabulous tapas-style dining experience featuring mouth-watering menu items like hickory nachos, wild mushroom ravioli, and gourmet falafel.

  • Bear Street Tavern - Your go-to spot for some terrific pizza and drinks. Snag a table at the restaurant’s patio section for a memorable alfresco dining experience.

Getting There

Calgary International Airport (YYC) is your best bet for arrival and departure. The facility is about two hours from Banff and offers rental cars (which we highly recommend for maximum exploration) and shuttle services. If you’re not renting a car, the Banff Airporter is a great option for getting into and out of town.