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Banff In-a-Day

An easy intro, suitable for all

Banff, Canada

Say you’re already in Calgary and you only have one day to spare, try this one-day Banff itinerary.

It's not ideal, but even in a day it's possible to get a feel for Canada's Rockies as Banff National Park and the town of Banff are only a ninety-minute drive from Calgary.

Coffee & A Hike

With time precious, drive straight to town and park in a downtown lot or on a side street where parking is free. Then stroll up and down Banff Avenue, the main downtown street, to get a feel for the place. A coffee stop at Evelyn’s Coffee Bar is never a bad idea and they have good picnic items for later on.

After that head out on an easy introductory hike: The Bow Falls Loop is ideal, but Tunnel Mountain is even better for its fantastic views, so long as you don’t mind a bit of strenuous activity. Or, for views without any real effort, ride the Banff Gondola.

Victorian Banff

Though expensive, lunch or afternoon tea in a lounge at the Banff Springs Hotel is a very civilized way to get a sense of Banff’s history. There's more of this back in town at the modest, but entertaining Banff Park Museum.

Banff Avenue

This brings you back to Banff Avenue with all its shops, restaurants and bars (see Eat Banff); or, to fully unwind at the end of the day, try the Banff Upper Hot Springs – open daily until at least 10pm.

Banff Gondola & Sulphur Mountain

A pricey route to great views

Banff Springs Hotel

Iconic 5-star Gothic hotel ($$$$) + dining (b,l,d; $$+)

Banff Upper Hot Springs

Soak in the shadow of the Rockies

Bow Falls Loop

Best easy hike from downtown: 1.5hrs/Easy/5km

Evelyn’s Coffee Bar

Banff's answer to Starbucks (b,l,d; $)

Tunnel Mountain

Best hike from downtown for views: 2hrs/Moderate/5km

Text © Christian Williams

Image by Stuart Madden