Banff, a Canadian town with apopulation of 9,386, could easily be merely another dot on the map.
It’s a sleepy hollow in the middle of nowhere.
So why was this little settlement merely namedone of the top destinations on the rise by Trip Advisor ?
For years, travelers have been coming here toexplore Banff National Park, which was declared a World Heritage Site by the UN in 1984.
The town is watched over by four towering mountains Rundle, Sulphur, Norquay and Cascade and the resort town is one of Canadas most popular tourist destinations, with around three to four million people visiting every year.
In fact, many Millennialsdecide to stay here and work for a season.
Waiters, storekeepers and even bar administrators are often people who will greetyou with an Australian or British accent.
Sound like fun? It is.
I was luck enough to visit this summer, and here are my eleven reasons the next trip “youre planning to” must be to Banff 😛 TAGEND
In the winter, Banff is the epicenter of all things skiing and snowboarding.
There are three ski resorts within the national park Sunshine Village, Mt.Norquay and Lake Louise Mountain Resort and many places where you can get the party started with a properaprsskisession in the town itself.
Canoeing isa wonderful way to work out, get some sunshine and take up the nature all at once.
TheVermilion Lakes are your best bet if you want to stay relatively close to the center of town.
Banff Canoe Club sitsquietly between Bow Avenue and Wolf Street.
All the streets in the area have animal names, like Moose, Lynx, Caribou or Bear Street.
Lake Louise is another great alternative, if youre willing to go on a 40 -minute drive first.
But, it’s a lovely scenic drive.
While there, you could also have delicious afternoon tea in Chateau Lake Louises luxurious Lakeview Lounge.
Its hard to believe, but those views will get even more beautiful when accompanied by English scones, miniature custard tarts and strawberry-topped shortbread.
Banffwas made for wildlife spotting.
All those street names I merely told you about? Theyre based on animals that live in the area, wandering freely from majestic mountain to crookedcreek, day and night.
No one can guarantee you will see any of these stealthy beings, but if youre patient( and careful ), you could be going home with an amazing bear selfie.
I wasnt especially luck in my animal adventures, but I still got to see a woodpecker, a coyote as it ran from me in horror and countless prairie puppies, like the cute guy in the photo above.
Banff ishome many pristinefishing places, but my top tip would be Lake Minnewanka.
Its nameactually means water of the spirits in Nakoda, one of the local indigenous languages.
Its the perfect fishing place for novices and experts alike.
The lake isabout five miles from the town of Banff, and it’s the largest lake in the entire national park.
Im not sure youll be able to catch any spirits, but I hear the lake is full of trout and Rocky Mountain whitefish.
5. Sulphur Mountain Gondola
Sulphur Mountain, which quietly watches over the town of Banff, is a fairly special place.
It used to be home to a meteorological observatory built in 1903, which you can still watch( and peek inside) on top of Sanson Peak.
The peak is named afterNorman Bethune Sanson, the research facilitys employee who tirelesslyhiked up to it to check therecording equipment for almost 30 years.
In fact, he made the trip more than 1,000 periods while working as the park meteorologist until 1945, when he turned 84.
What a human!
Nowadays, you can simply take the gondola up to see the spectacular views.
But if youd rather follow in Sansons footsteps, theres a wide trail you can follow from the Banff Hot Springs to the summit.
6. Foodie Paradise
Banff is a wonderful place got to go and get a little wild, so dont miss a chance to explore the place by night.
My favorite place to have a drinking and watch life go by was by farPark Distillery.
Its quite the new kid in town, as it had just been opened when I visited, and all of its three levels were completely packed.
When you take a proper look at the menu, it quickly becomes clear why.
The cocktails are delicious and carefully crafted.
The Sazerac knocked me off my feet( although I was sitting down ), and the food is cooked on an open campfire in the kitchen.
7. Gorgeous Sunsets
You can find incrediblesunsets all over the world, andits just one of those things that never get old or stops being romantic.
There are a few great sundown watching places in and around Banff, and three are really great alternatives in particular.
The first is going up Mount Norquay, which is a little far away from the city, but definitely worth it.
The second is hiking up Tunnel Mountain, which will take you less than 45 minutes from the centre of Banff.
If you do either of these, dont forget to bringing a headlamp for your trip back down.
You never know in this neck of the woods.
The more low-key alternative is to go down to Vermilion Lakes and watch the sun go down from the docks.
Bring insectrepellent, though. Those little buggers love to bite.
8. Peyto Lake
Peyto Lake is just a short drive from Banff, and it’sone of those places that will construct you wishes to sob withhowgorgeous it is.
Just look at how turquoise that water is.
Thats not Photoshop, my friends; thats reality.
Its actually that shade of blue.
It get pretty crowded at thetop near where my photo was taken, but there are loadings of routes leading up and down the mountain.
They’ll construct you feel like youre alone in this beautiful world, and this is just your backyard.
No big deal.
9. Horseback Riding
Few things will construct you feel as invincible as looking at the world while sitting on horseback.
I didnt actually have time to try this out in Banff myself, but there area few companies that will allow you to unleash your inner cowboy in the area.
For those who would rather sit back and relax, there is the option of a horse-drawn carriage ride, which could be fairly romantic with the right person sitting beside you.
10. Banff Upper Hot Springs
I wholly fell in love withBanffUpper Hot spring when I realized that they let you rent vintage-inspired bath suits from the 1900 s, like the one Im wearing in the photo above.
How cool is that?
After relaxing by thispool full ofwarm water with incredible mountain views, I felt like a Hollywood starlet on summertime vacation.
In my opinion, thats one of the best impressions ever.
11. The Great Outdoors
Last but not least, Banff is the perfect place for outdoorenthusiasts.
Whether you’re intotrekking, biking or climbing, you will find a million things to doin this beautiful Canadian mountain paradise.