Situated inside the Banff National Park, a popular travel destination among Skiers, Banff is a beautiful town in Alberta, Canada.
Banff is a famous tourist destination around the globe for its picturesque mountain peaks luxurious hotels resorts as well as natural hot Springs.
The skyline of the region is dominated by Mount cascade, Mount Rundle and a fraction of Rocky Mountains as well.
If you are planning to travel to this beautiful destination, then these are some of the things that you should know about.
Banff: History, Culture, Travel
The first settlers of this place arrived in 1880s due to the transcontinental railway being built.
It is said that back in 1883, the railway workers of Canadian Pacific accidentally found a hidden location with natural hot Springs. The Hot Springs were located on the Sulphur mountain.
After the discovery Canadian government built a Federal Reserve. It expanded around 10 square miles, surrounding the series of Hot Springs.
The government started promoting the preserve for tourism. They started advertising the locality for it’s specialties such as spa and international resort. This also helped in supporting the newly inaugurated railway.
The area of the reserve was later termed “Rocky Mountain Park” In 1887. It was also expanded to 260 sq miles. The National Park System of Canada initiated from here.
George Stephen, the Chief of Canadian Pacific Railway in 1884, named the region as Banff. A series of outstanding were built along the railway line, which were then promoted as Banff Spring Hotels.
The town site was governed by the government of Canada’s national park system. In 1990, it came to be the only incorporated municipality residing inside a Canadian National Park.
If you look at the history of Banff thoroughly, you will get to know about the use of prisoners as ‘free laborers’. During July 1915 to July 1917, an Internment camp was held at Castle mountain and Banff in Dominion Park.
In 1985, Banff National Park was announced a world heritage site by the United Nations. Banff is one of the best places to see in Canada.
Customs of Banff
It’s a tourist friendly travel destination. Canadian people are known for their helpful and calm nature anyways.
Whenever you feel lost or confused, approach a local, more often than not, they’ll help you out.
Before anything, I recommend you to buy yourself some warm clothing. It’s a cold place, no matter the season, specially for those that live in nations with warmer climate.
You can choose to wear casuals during the day time, proper gear is necessary however, if you choose to go skiing. It’s less of a cultural thing and more of a safety necessity.
If you are visiting during summer than pack something keeping the temperature in mind.
One more thing I’d like to warn you about is that the rate of US dollar vs Canadian dollar can change at anytime, so beware of that.
A tip of 10 to 15 % is considered polite according to the quality of the service.
Language & Demographics of Banff
An estimate of population in the town of Banff in 2020 was calculated to be around 8224. It’s a decline from the municipal census of 8875 calculated in 2017.
In 2011, there were 7584 people residing in the town, counting both locals and immigrants. There was a steady rise of 3.5% in population of the region, leading to 7851 people in 2016 census of population.
Back in 2006, there were 6,700 people living in the municipality. There was a sharp rise of 13.2 % as found in the 2011 census when it resulted in total population of 7584.
English and French are known to be the two primarily spoken languages in Banff. Canadian English is widely used as the form of communication, its based on British English.
Climate of Banff
If you want to travel to Banff, then it is imperative for you to be knowledgeable about it’s climate.
In general Banff is known to have a subarctic climate that edges in the region of humid continental.
As you must have already heard that Canada is a particularly cold country. It’s winters are something else entirely.
The climate ranges from the lowest -13.3°c to -highest of 0.2°c during winter, approximately. Even summers are below room temperature of any middle eastern country.
The warmest that it gets in summer is about 21.6°c and the coldest is about 7.3°c. It snows throughout the year.
Annual snowfall is recorded to be around 191.0 cm.
Safety measures to keep note of in Banff
The local people maybe nice and friendly but nature is nature.
The site is located high up in the mountains, so tourists may experience high altitude sickness. The weather is usually quite cold, even the summer times aren’t really that warm, you may get sick.
It’s all about your prior experiences and/or tolerance level. Animal encounters can be a cause for concerns as well.
If you haven’t been to mountainous regions before than it’s possible that your first time might come with some nausea and fatigue.
The usual symptoms of altitude sickness range from nausea, fatigue, headaches and dizziness. Take some time off, your body will adjust to it on it’s own, given sufficient time.
I advise that in case that this is your first time, take it easy. Rather than joining for an adventure just as you arrive, take a leisurely walk instead.
It will give your body some time to adjust.
Bears and many other large animals can be found in the park. I recommend you to not hike alone. However, if you do, I ask you to make sure that you make plenty of noise, so as to keep the large animals at Bay.
How to tour around in Banff
Do you remember the fact that it is a National Park built on a mountainous region? Then it becomes quite apparent that travelling around on foot is the best way to get around in Banff.
However in times of harsher weather, there is a bus service also present that you can make use of.
Are you looking for a much more convenient mode of transportation?
Well, I got you covered. The hotel you will be staying on is most likely to provide you with a shuttle service.
Rather than walking around out in the cold, you could just make use of the complimentary shuttle service to reach your skiing destination.
Calgary International Airport is where you arrive at first. From there on, you could go to your pre planned resort through a rental car quite easily.
You could also take a ride on Banff Airporter, that can take you from the airport to your hotels directly. Convenient isn’t it?
Foodie tour & Best restaurants in Banff
If you are a non-vegetarian, I got a great news for you!
Banff restaurants specialize in exotic types of meats. From elk, bison, trout to venison, many Canadian specialties can be relished in here.
However, worry not if you are a vegetarian! There are some really good vegetarian restaurants that you can find around the area as well.
One of the hidden gems for vegetarians to explore is Nourish Bistro. There are many informal diners available in downtown Banff, which are quite popular among the locals.
Some of the places that you should check out are, Block Kitchen and Bar, which is famous among it’s regulars for providing a cozy and intimate experience. Another popular casual diner is The Grizzly House which is quite renown among the locals for it’s delicious fondue.
While these were some of the more casual experiences, that’s not all that the place has to offer.
If you are craving an upscale dining experience for a special occasion, that can be arranged as well.
Why not mix an incredible view along with a fine dining experience? Three Raven Restaurant & Wine Bar gives you an incredible vantage point that overlooks alpine sceneries as well an elegant dining experience.
Perhaps you’d like to visit an AAA diamond award winning restaurant, named Eden, which is famous for its innovative recipes. They provide an inventive blend of French and Canadian recipes. You can enjoys the views of Spray valley from here as well.
If you find yourself desiring some delicious local cuisine in an upscale environment, then Sleeping Buffalo Restaurant & Lodge maybe your answer.
Best hotels in Banff- Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmount Banff Springs, The Rimrock Resort Hotel, Stoneridge mountain resort, Post Hotel and Spa, Royal Canadian Lodge Banff and Solara resort & Spa.
Travel isn’t mean for only those who can easily afford everything. With proper planning and budgeting, even people like us, with financial restrictions, can enjoy their time travelling.
Let me tell you how you can save your money while travelling in Banff.
Outdoor Camping can be a good way to save some of that hard and money. Rather than spending ridiculous amount of sum on expensive hotels, how about outdoor camping?
The region is quite cold, so of course it is only feasible during the warmer months.
Advance Booking of tickets and making prior reservations can save you some as well. The extra sum that you would otherwise have to spend to catch that last minute rush, can be spent on something you need.
If you are going to Banff specially for skiing, why not purchase a pass that allows you to enjoy three sliding points at a discount.
If you buy individual tickets of these spots, it can be quite a burden on your wallet. Big 3Season Pass, lets you entry into Lake Louise, Mount Norquay and Banff Sunshine Village.
Best months to visit Banff
Its usually known that best months to visit Banff are December to March and June to August. It’s usually a pretty cold region, so if you want to enjoy the natural scenery, I recommend visiting in warmer times.
During warmer months, weather is better tolerable for tourists, and the hotel prices are decently affordable as well.
If you want to travel here for skiing, well, then that’s a different matter entirely. For those looking for a good skiing experience I recommend visiting at the peak of winter.
Although it will probably be colder than anyplace you’ve been, but it will be worth it.
Banff is known as an all-rounder travel destination for the various kinds of things to do available in any season.
Don’t let the cold weather fool you, keep a sunscreen with you. UV exposure can be high in this area.
Things to know before you go Banff-
The Banff town resides inside Banff National Park, so to visit here obviously you need a park access.
This pass can be bought online. Alternatively, you can buy this pass at the gate of the park or the Lake Louise visitor centre as well.
Bond National Park is located in mountainous region filled with wilderness and wildlife. the area is known to be frequented by large animals.
Some of the hotspots of large animal activity are as follows. Banff Springs Golf Course, the bow Valley Parkway, Lake Minnewanka area as well as Lake Louise ski resort.
Canada is known for its colder weather. Bond National Park the sides in mountainous season so the cold can be quite harsh. you will need as many layers as you can bring with.
Do not forget to put on sunscreen as well the cause lower temperature does not mean that you cannot be harmed by sun. In high altitudes UV radiations are usually higher as well.
The best time to visit the town where eyes as but your priorities of the visit
If you are looking for skiing then the height of winter is the best time to visit bond.
If you are looking for enjoying the natural scenery of the wilderness an valleys then the warmer months are the best travel seasons.
Visit Banff Sunshine Village – best for Hiking, Skiing and recreation
Tour Banff Gondola- best for Hiking and Sightseeing
Check out the Moraine Lake- free services such as Park and gardens, hiking and sightseeing
Lake Louise Ski Resort- Skiing, Hiking and Recreation
Mount Norquay- Skiing
Now that you know, are you ready to go?
Whenever you travel to somewhere I recommend you to make a complete plan of where you’re going to stay and what are the places that are under your budget.
While the major attractions of any place are a must see, why not checkout some of the hidden gems that are rarely visited as well?
Alright my friends, have fun, happy travels!