Travel the world without leaving the province! If you are like us, chances are you have a long list of countries you want to see. But even if you can’t leave Canada right now, you can still enjoy the perfect Alberta road trip.
Thesehave big charm. After living in one spot for a few years, you might think you’ve seen everything there is.
But, there are are some local gems that will actually make you feel like you are in France, the United Kingdom or even Austria.
It is time to start planning the Albertan road trip of your dreams. For all of you with a case of wanderlust, you should bookmark this list!
Why You Need To Go: It is only 45 minutes away from Edmonton and is an excellent choice for anyone dreaming about visiting Paris. Francophones first settled Legal, and today you can still hear French being spoken by locals when you explore the charming city center.
While there’s no Louvre, this town is the French Mural Capital of Canada. So you still spend your afternoon looking at breathtaking art.
Here you can find 35 vibrant murals, so grab a cup of coffee and go on an art walk with your BFF. Who knows, maybe one of them would make a great backdrop for your next selfie?
Why You Need To Go: Wishing you could cross Reykjavik of your bucket list? If so, you need to plan a day trip to Kananaskis Village. Just one hour and 20 minutes from Alberta, you could find yourself soaking in a steamy pool that will make you feel just like you are at the Blue Lagoon.
For $85, you can enjoy all-day access at Kananaskis Nordic Spa, which will leave you feeling uber relaxed and pampered. Inside the 50,000 square feet Nordic paradise, there are hot and cold water baths, steam rooms, and saunas to try.
For the most relaxing results, you’ll want to alternate between the hot tubs, cool plunges and periods of rest in one of the comfy seating areas.
Why You Need To Go: Are you still saving up for a trip to Spain? While Pigeon Lake isn’t the famous beaches of Ibiza, you will find long stretches of powdery white sand and bright blue water. Dotted around the vast lake are several beachy villages.
For the perfect summer’s day, you can head to Ma-Me-O Beach and pretend you are relaxing next to the Mediterranean Sea. Best of all, unlike the long flight to Spain, it is just a short drive away, so you can come as often as you want!
Why You Need To Go: The streets of Canmore have plenty of well-known charm, but one secret spot is Le Fournil Bakery. Here, you can fill up on European-style baked goods.
Inside, you can order buttery croissants, loaves of fresh bread, and even artistic cakes that are nearly too beautiful to eat.
They even have patio tables just like you’d find lining the streets in Paris, so you can sip your espresso and eat a pain au chocolat just like you might near the Champs-Élysées.
Why You Need To Go: Half an hour northeast of Edmonton, Bon Accord actually has an old tie to the U.K. The town is named after the home of some of its first settlers, who were from Aberdeen in Scotland.
Today, this spot is famous for being the first international dark sky community, and it is a fantastic spot to stare at the stars. If you are looking for a cheap date idea, stargazing here is so enchanting.
The town is also super charming, and in the day you can visit Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm, which boast fields of colourful flowers.
Why You Need To Go: One of the best parts about going to Europe is all of the castles. But you don’t need to fly across the ocean to see majestic buildings. The Fairmont Banff Springs looks just like the historic castles you’d find in Europe, but it is much closer to home.
Inside, you can enjoy afternoon tea or even or sip wine from their cellar.
Without question, you’ll also want to explore the hiking trails in the area, that will take you to views of glistening turquoise water and towering mountains.
Why You Need To Go: It is hard not to love our very own castle, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Inside you’ll feel like you are brunching in London and having high tea with your friends.
Dining here, you’ll quickly forget you aren’t in the United Kingdom, as their tea service is fit for a king or queen.
You’ll get to sip a cup of tea and soak in the gorgeous view of Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier. Plus, you’ll get a three-layer tray loaded with mini finger sandwiches and melt in your mouth bite-size desserts.
Why You Need To Go: In southwestern Alberta’s Pincher Creek, it feels like you have magically arrived in the alpine region of Switzerland. While here, you need to hike up to Table Mountain in Beaver Mines Lake Provincial Recreation Area, where you’ll find the best lookout you’ve ever seen.
You’ll be able to stand on a steep rock cliff and see flower-covered fields and snow-covered mountains, that look just like the Swiss Alps! The entire trek is 10-kilometres long, but well worth it for the view from the top.
Why You Need To Go: This world-famous hotel looks like it belongs in the Sound of Music. But it isn’t remotely close to Salzburg, Austria. If you are looking for a break from the city, you can book a stay at the Prince of Wales Hotel.
The specular building has a cute gabled roof and a gorgeous view overlooking the village and the lake.
In the summer you’ll definitely want to go for a hike in Waterton Park to see the rainbow coloured flowers. There is no shortage of trails to pick from, and some have lookouts where you can get a great shot of the hotel, too.