According to topschoolsintheusa, Alberta is a nature lover’s paradise, with vast, pristine landscapes and breathtaking sunsets. The province’s natural attractions are the magnificent Rocky Mountains and beautiful parks, most notably Canada’s oldest national park, Banff. Alberta also has a vast prairie, but it’s the Rocky Mountains that never cease to amaze visitors. Whether driving the Icefields Parkway or hiking in one of the many forested parks, Alberta’s alpine wilderness of forests, mountains and lakes fascinates everyone. Looking for impressions as you can see on typical postcard pictures, you will find what you are looking for here. Even in Alberta’s cities, there is a great deal of green space. This includes Canada’s largest open-air museum, Fort Edmonton Park. Locals love to commemorate the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush. But it was the discovery of oil south of Edmonton in 1947 that secured the city’s future and made it one of Canada’s fastest growing metropolitan areas. Edmonton’s love affair with the past culminates in the annual July K-Days. In addition to attractions like rides and rock concerts, Edmonton residents bring the Gold Rush era to life with events like gold panning contests. However, most people think Alberta’s true gold is its stunning scenery. And that makes Alberta a very rich province indeed.
Arriving by plane
The province of Alberta is served by the national airline Air Canada (AC) as well as numerous international lines. Flights to Calgary include: Lufthansa (LH) and Air Canada (AC) non-stop from Frankfurt/M.; Lufthansa (LH) and Swiss (LX) in cooperation with Air Canada (AC) from Zurich with a stopover in Frankfurt/M. or Montreal; Lufthansa (LH) and Austrian Airlines (OS) also in cooperation with Air Canada (AC) from Vienna with a stopover in Frankfurt/M.
Frankfurt/M. – Calgary: 9 hrs 25 mins; Zurich – Calgary: 10 hours 30 minutes (pure flight time); Vienna – Calgary: 10 hours 55 minutes (pure flight time).
An Airport Improvement Fee (AIF) is payable at most Canadian airports. For Calgary and Edmonton, this is $30. For more information see Getting to Canada.
Arrival by car
Alberta’s bus company in Banff is Brewster Travel. Red Arrow buses operate between Calgary and Edmonton mainline stations several times a day. Rental cars can be found in all major cities and at Edmonton and Calgary airports. Tolls: Highway 93 in Alberta is subject to tolls. However, the fee is charged on Highway 93 in British Columbia or on Highway 16, since the access roads to Highway 93 in Alberta are in the national park. Documents: The German national driving license is valid for 6 months in Canada. However, it is recommended that you carry your international driver’s license with you. All other nationalities require the International Driving Permit.
Arrival by train
VIA Rail Canada offers train service to numerous cities. InterCity trains run between Edmonton, Jasper and other cities. The Canadian transcontinental train crosses Alberta several times a week. The route runs from Toronto/Ontario in the east via Edmonton and Jasper to Vancouver/British Columbia in the west. The Rocky Mountaineer operates between Calgary/Banff and Vancouver and between Jasper and Vancouver from April to October.
The Canrailpass and Canrailpass – Corridor are also valid in Alberta. For more information on Rail Passes, contact Via Rail Canada or CRD, or see Canada – Local Mobility.
Passport and visa regulations
Entry with children
Since June 27, 2012, children need their own travel document (passport / children’s passport) for trips abroad (also within the EU). Entries of children in the parental passport are no longer possible.
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Calgary: Stampede City
Calgary is the second largest city in the province and is located on the west side of the Great Plains in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in southern Alberta. The 1988 Winter Olympics were held here. The Glenbow Museum as well as various theaters and art galleries are located in the city. The Calgary Zoo is one of the top zoos in North America. The Calgary Stampede, held annually in July, attracts visitors from around the world. The Calgary Tower has a good view of the Rocky Mountains. A visit to the rotating restaurant Sky 360 in the Calgary Tower at a height of 155 m is the crowning glory of the day.
Pioneer city Edmonton
Edmonton, the provincial capital, owes its existence to the Klondike gold fever of 1898 and the oil boom of the 1960s. The city is spacious, extensive parks surround the North Saskatchewan River. Edmonton’s past is reflected in Fort Edmonton Park, where replicas from the pioneer days can be found. The highlight is the » K-Days «, which take place every year in July, where the gold rush days are re-enacted. The West Edmonton Mall is a massive shopping mall with over 800 stores, theaters, restaurants, nightclubs, Galaxyland indoor amusement park and World Waterpark with slides and wave pool. There is also an aquarium, a mini-golf course, an ice rink, a labyrinth, etc. The observatory of the Telus World of Science Center is a great place to observe the constellations of the stars. The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village and Elk Island National Park are just outside of town.
Winter sports in Alberta
The winter sports opportunities in Alberta are just as endless as the vastness of the snowy landscape. Unforgettable experiences in the Canadian winter include dog sledding, snowshoeing, hiking on wildlife trails and ice skating on Lake Louise. Skijoring involves standing on skis and being pulled by a sled dog or a snowmobile. If you like it more comfortable, you can sit on a snowmobile yourself. Most cross-country trails are in the Rocky Mountains along Alberta’s western border with British Columbia. A real paradise for cross-country skiers is also in Kananaskis Country south of Banff. The ski resorts in Banff National Park and Jasper National Park are legendary.
During the Ice Age, all of Alberta was covered by a thick layer of ice. The glaciers, today’s remnants of this ice sheet, are losing several meters every year due to global warming. The Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) runs through Jasper National Park and Banff National Park and offers the best access to the area’s nature trails with its beautiful lakes, forests and the glaciers of the Columbia Icefields, which include the Columbia, Athabasca -, the Dome and Stutfield Glaciers. Bus tours of the glaciers are offered; there are also guided hiking tours to the glaciers, some of which are difficult. The Icefield Center is 103 km south of Jasper and offers information about tours led by certified mountain guides.
Jasper: Starting point for excursions
The small town of Jasper, nestled in a valley in the Rocky Mountains off the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93), is an ideal base for exploring Jasper National Park, Pyramid Lake, Miette Hot Springs, Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake. Pyramid Lake is located about 7 km north of Jasper on Pyramid Mountain, which has a wonderful view of Jasper from the top. Maligne Canyon, located about 12 km northeast of Jasper, is a popular destination for hikers. Maligne Lake is 30 miles southeast of Jasper and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Fishing and boating are popular activities here. Drive about an hour northeast of Jasper to Miette Hot Springs. While bathing in the thermal water of the hot springs you can admire the mountain ranges of the Rocky Mountains. The Glacier Skywalk in Jasper National Park offers a spectacular view over the Sunwapta Valley. At a lofty height of 280 m on the arched viewing platform with a glass plate under your feet, visitors have an unobstructed view of the Sunwapta Valley. This attraction departs from the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Center on the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93) 40 miles south of Jasper. Despite the name of the viewing platform, there are no glaciers to be seen. At a lofty height of 280 m on the arched viewing platform with a glass plate under your feet, visitors have an unobstructed view of the Sunwapta Valley. This attraction departs from the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Center on the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93) 40 miles south of Jasper. Despite the name of the viewing platform, there are no glaciers to be seen. At a lofty height of 280 m on the arched viewing platform with a glass plate under your feet, visitors have an unobstructed view of the Sunwapta Valley. This attraction departs from the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Center on the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93) 40 miles south of Jasper. Despite the name of the viewing platform, there are no glaciers to be seen.
Alberta’s fascinating national parks
Banff National Park, Canada ‘s oldest national park, is 130 km west of Calgary in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Of particular note are Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, turquoise lakes surrounded by the Rocky Mountain ranges. Whether by car, on horseback, on foot, on skis or in snowshoes, on a bicycle or by boat, the options for getting around here are just as diverse as the leisure opportunities. Bird and wildlife watchers, stargazers, nature lovers, amateur and professional photographers, skiers, anglers and hikers will all find what they are looking for in Banff National Park.
Jasper National Park is located north of Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains. Rivers, roads, hiking trails and horseback riding trails criss-cross the dramatic mountainous landscape, dotted with turquoise lakes. Park visitors will spot moose, bear, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and hear the call of wolves and coyotes as they make their way through this natural paradise. Wildlife watchers should keep a safe distance from the animals.
Other national parks in northern Alberta: Elk Island National Park (bison, deer, elk and birds) and Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada’s largest national park, located in both Alberta and the Northwest Territories. The last remaining herds of bison in the world find shelter in the vast area of Wood Buffalo National Park. The park is considered to be the largest light protection area on earth. In winter, the skies above the national park become a magnificent stage for fascinating natural phenomena such as the Northern Lights and the Milky Way.
On Alberta’s southwestern border with the United States is Waterton Lakes National Park, which together with Glacier National Park in Montana forms the world’s first international peace park, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. During a boat tour you can enjoy the wonderful view of the lake landscape.
Fossils and dinosaurs around Drumheller
The small town of Drumheller sits in a 120m deep glacial valley where thousands of years of wind and water erosion have carved out the surrounding badlands and exposed millions of years of the Earth’s zoological and geological history. Fossils, petrified wood, and strange land formations are common in this environment. Not far from the city begins the 47 km long dinosaur trail, the Dinosaur Trail, with fossils of the prehistoric giants. The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, south-west of Drumheller, has replica dinosaurs in their natural setting and fossils are also on display.
Ancient buffalo hunting site
About 250 km south of Calgary and about 23 km west of Fort Macleod is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump with an interesting documentation center – a well-preserved buffalo hunting site used by the Native Americans for thousands of years. From the cliffs you have an unforgettable view over the prairies.
Arts and crafts include pottery, ceramics, sculpture and paintings. Near Edmonton International Airport (YEG) is the Premium Outlet Collection shopping center with 100 stores. There are shuttle connections between the terminal and the shopping center.
Shop opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-9pm. Shopping centers have i. Generally open until 9 p.m. on weekdays.
There is no separate sales tax (other than the state’s 7%).
Nightclubs, cabarets, pubs and the famous Beer Parlor (Beer Palace) provide a varied entertainment program in Edmonton.
The province’s beef is world famous. It is prepared in a variety of ways and served with onions, mushrooms, green peppers, rice, sauces and beans. Popular beef dishes include stew (diced beef stew, vegetables, and bread chunks in a rich gravy). Mincemeat (chopped candied fruit and spices) is stuffed into pies and served with ice cream, whipped cream or rum sauce as a traditional Christmas dish. Dessert ingredients are wild berries and nuts. Clover or lucerne honey is often found on the breakfast table and is also used to sweeten. Beverages: Spirits are sold in liquor stores, beer is available in most hotels. Liquor stores are closed on major holidays and election days. There are no prescribed closing times, some shops close at 11:30 p.m., others at 6:00 p.m. The minimum age for purchasing alcohol is 18 years.
Everything from top-class hotels to motels and holiday homes to hostels is represented. There are two top 2000 room hotels in Banff National Park.
There are many campsites, but the facilities are a bit simpler in the north. Here, too, you can rent campers and other fully equipped vehicles from several companies. For more information see accommodation in the main entry Canada.
Best travel time
Warm in summer from May to September, cold in winter. Lots of snowfall in the Rocky Mountains. Evenings can get cold in spring and summer.
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