The ultimate winter travel guide to Banff, Canada, I’ll tell you where to stay, what to eat and how to burn it off!
Believe it or not, my recent visit to Banff & Lake Louise marks the sixth installment of my travel series, What to Eat & How to Burn it Off. In case you missed it, we’ve already covered New Orleans, San Diego, Vail, Miami and Utah.
Tucked along the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff National Park has been on my travel bucket list for years. With Canada celebrating it’s 150th Anniversary as a Confederation, the National Parks of Canada are free to enter in 2017 so it seemed like the perfect time to check Banff off my list!
The town of Banff is an idyllic village surrounded by jaw-dropping mountains, pristine waters and endless miles of green space. To get there, you’ll want to fly into Calgary, a short hour and 15 minute drive away. More to come on what to eat, see and do in Calgary soon.
Home base for my Canadian adventure in Banff was Buffalo Mountain Lodge located just a 3 minute drive from the center of town.
The newly renovated guest rooms were the perfect balance between modern and cozy. My favorite daily routine was returning to the room after a long day and starting a wood fire.
While I anticipated the breathtaking landscape and natural beauty, perhaps what surprised me most about Banff was the incredible food scene. Hands down, this trip offered some of the best eats I’ve experienced to date for this travel series.
To start your day of exploration, I highly recommend grabbing a breakfast sandwich at Wild Flour Bakery, trying the avocado toast at Juniper Bistro or enjoying the breakfast buffet Sleeping Buffalo (located inside the main lobby of the hotel.)
In fact, Wild Flour Bakery supplies the organic artisan bread used in the avocado toast I ordered at Juniper Bistro.
Lunch in Banff & Lake Louise is typically based around whatever activities you have planned to enjoy the great outdoors. Fortunately, I quickly discovered that there is no such thing as a bad meal in Banff.
Whether it was the Asian bao buns at Mt. Norquay’s Lone Pine Pub or the hearty comfort food at the Fairmont Lake Louise’s Alpine Social, each bite we tasted was better than the last.
For an incredibly unique fine dining experience, dinner at Three Ravens Restaurant & Wine Bar is not to be missed. Offering stunning views of Banff and the Canadian Rockies, be sure to dine before the sun sets for the complete experience.
Consistently ranked one of Banff’s top rated restaurants, the menu is creative, inspired by the local land and bursting with inventive flavor combinations. It was truly an experience I’ll never forget.
Fortunately, despite the endless array of outstanding food, it was not difficult to find ways to burn it off in Banff & Lake Louise! During my short visit I was able to downhill ski, snowshoe, ice skate and hike.
For downhill skiing and tubing, you can’t go wrong with Mt. Norquay. Ideal for people of all skiing abilities, this mountain is family-friendly and offers a wide range of beginner, intermediate and black diamond runs.
After you’re done skiing, be sure to take the lift up to Cliff House Bistro for a quick bite or simply to take in the views. While it only offers black diamond ski runs down, you can ride the lift back down if you’re not an expert skier.
For another fun way to burn it off, grab a pair of ice skates and hit the frozen lake at Fairmont Lake Louise. There is just something invigorating about ice skating in the great outdoors that simply doesn’t compare to an indoor skate park.
While you’re there, be sure to sign up for a snowshoe tour with the Fairmont’s own Heritage Mountain Tour Guides. Mike, pictured above, gave us a brief history of snowshoeing and helped us learn how to avoid falling and stay safe while out in the wild landscape.
Snowshoeing is the ultimate workout for people of all fitness levels because if you can walk, you can snowshoe. Our three hour hike was a major calorie burn but left us feeling rejuvenated and energized from all of the fresh mountain air.
Admittedly a gym rat, there is something so unique and exhilarating about outdoor exercise that fills my heart with joy.
No matter what the season, be sure to add Banff to your travel plans sooner than later. You won’t regret it.
As always, if there are any other destinations you’d like to see me feature, be sure to let me know! Afterall, not all those who wander are lost.
Disclosure: Banff Lake Louise provided my meals, activities and accommodations during my stay.