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Banff Travel Tips

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Located within the Banff National Park and surrounded by the Canadian Rockies, Banff is a town designed for the outdoorsy lifestyle. The mountains provide a constantly changing landscape, with great powder for the ski season, beautiful, green vistas in the summer, and stunning colors in the fall. Pack a sense of adventure, prepare for splashing about in lakes or skimming down snowy mountains, and you’ll be all set for the Banff experience.

 

Best Time to Travel

 

Beloved by winter sports fanatics, Banff has one of the longest ski seasons in the business, with slopes open from late November until May. Plus, with 3 ski resorts across a vast area of national park, powder hounds will have plenty of room to play without crowds. December offers World Cup racing and festive fun. If anything, tourism heats up in the summer, from June until September, when the mountains transform into a paradise for hiking, biking and canoeing.

 

Not to Miss

 

The annual Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival occurs in November, just before the start of the ski season, and fires enthusiasm ready for the opening of the pistes. Bringing together filmmakers, authors, explorers, and athletes, it’s a cultural celebration of mountain adventures, which is now world-famous. Though the festival tours various countries, there’s nothing quite like the atmosphere at the Banff Center as films premiere and the snow starts to fall – and it will definitely make you excited about hitting the slopes.

 

Getting around

 

The closest airport to Banff is Calgary International Airport, located about a 90-minute drive away from the town. Calgary receives flights from across North America, as well as some destinations further afield. Banff is well connected with shuttle services, buses, and taxis, or you can hire a car. The ski resorts are fairly spread out: Lake Louise is a 40-minute drive north, while Sunshine resort is 20 minutes west. The town itself is quite sprawling too, so having your own transport can make journeys easier.

 

Cuisine

 

Traditional pub grub, barbecue grills, and decadent fondues form the heart of Banff’s après-ski dining, and whether you’re at a ski resort or in town, there are plenty of places to satisfy your appetite. When you’re in the mood for something a little different, you can choose from classy fine dining in upmarket hotel restaurants or fast food joints. There’s a good selection of international cuisine, from spicy Vietnamese to classic Italian. Many of Banff’s restaurants are family-friendly, with children’s menus and meal deals.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

As a major tourist resort destination, both the workers and visitors in Banff make up a cosmopolitan, young crowd, with lots of seasonal staff from all over the world. This makes it a very laid-back and casual place, with liberal attitudes - the legal drinking age here is 18, as opposed to 19 in much of the rest of Canada. When it comes to tipping, the etiquette in Banff is pretty similar to North America as a whole – about 15-20% in restaurants.

Fast Facts

 

Population: 9380

Spoken languages: English, French

Electrical: Canada runs on 120V, 60 Hz current

Phone Calling Code: +1 403/587112