If you're itching to experience the lifestyle of a Swiss skiing village, but don't want to fork over the cash for a trans-Atlantic flight, consider Banff. Thanks to its location in the heart of the Canadian Rockies near the southeastern border of Banff National Park – Canada's first national park – taking trips here will decrease not only your flight time from the U.S. but also your expenses (although only marginally). Banff caters to intrepid explorers who prefer to end the day in a nice hotel rather than roughing it at the campgrounds (though, there are plenty of those, too). Opportunities for adventure abound, so pick your sport: Ski down Mount Norquay, hike to the massive, free-standing limestone pillars known as the Hoodoos, "scramble" up the face of the Stoney Squaw Mountain or bike along Healy Creek. When you are exhausted, retreat to your cozy (and warm) resort, and replenish yourself with a hefty helping of bison meat.
From rags to riches, Calgary has experienced its very own Cinderella story. First founded as a Rocky Mountain outpost for the mounted police, this Canadian cow town went from honky-tonk to high-end with the discovery of oil in the early 1900s. Over the next century, shimmering office buildings replaced mom-and-pop businesses. By 1988, the city's reputation as a commercial powerhouse (along with its ideal location near the snowy Rocky peaks) earned it the honor of hosting the Winter Olympics. Since then, Calgary has been riding high.
Best Places to Visit in Canada