The regions of British Columbia and Alberta provide a variety of things to see and do. These are some of the world’s greatest whale-watching waters, rich in marine life of all kinds, and the Rocky Mountains.
British Columbia or "BC" as it is commonly known, is four times the size of Great Britain and its northern half, bordered by Alaska and the Yukon, is a pristine wilderness of glaciers, fjords, lakes and waterfalls.
A good place to begin is BC's largest city, Vancouver, a young and vibrant metropolis that is consistently voted one of the world's most attractive cities to live. On Vancouver Island the provincial capital, Victoria, is a colonial gem, with an old-world charm and a mild Pacific climate.
The province's scenery includes the coastal Inside Passage, the old-growth rainforests and big surf beaches of Vancouver Island, the vast cowboy country of the Cariboo, the orchards and vineyards of the Okanagan Valley and the Kootenay Rockies with their bears, elk and eagles.
The First Nations of the Pacific seaboard are renowned for their totem poles and longhouses and after many years of oppression the native cultures and arts are now resurgent.
Alberta and The Rockies
Alberta is home to Banff and Jasper National Parks, Lake Louise and the Columbia Icefields. It's also home to young cities such as Edmonton and Calgary, glittering with tower blocks financed by the oil industry.
Northern Alberta is an untamed wilderness of boreal forest whose highlight is Wood Buffalo National Park, one of the few places where herds of plains bison still roam, while southern Alberta is home to the Cowboy Trail with rustic homestay ranches and Waterton Lakes National Park.
The Canadian Rockies offer a range of outdoor activities with horse riding, white-water rafting, canoeing and guided walking just some of the options.
Highlights of the West
9 days exploring the main highlights of western Canada including the Rocky Mountains, the interior of British Columbia, and the buzzing city of Vancouver.
British Columbia, Alberta & The Rockies highlights
Stay on a floating bear lodge in the Great Bear Rainforest
The world's largest temporate rainforest stretches from Prince Rupert in Northern BC down towards Powell River and is best known for its large population of bears. One of the floating bear lodges offers some of the most consistent bear viewing available anywhere in North America.
Get off-the-beaten-track in Barkerville
Although somewhat off-the-beaten-track, Barkerville is well worth the journey. During its heyday in the 1860s it was the largest city west of Chicago. It's now a faithful reconstruction of a Gold Rush town, complete with hotel, saloons and stores.
Enjoy the scenery of the Icefields Parkway
One of the most spectacular drives in Canada is the 146 mile (235km) stretch between Lake Louise and Jasper. In between the glacial lakes, icefields and waterfalls, don't forget to watch out for the wildlife.
Cycle around Stanley Park in Vancouver
No visit to Western Canada's premier city, is complete without a walk or cycle around Stanley Park. Complete with aquarium, totem poles, rose gardens and sandy beaches, there's plenty to see.
Explore the Pacific Rim National Park
Spanning the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island, the Pacific Rim National Park is a rugged forest landscape which wraps around the small communties of Tofino and Ucluelet.
Our favourite places in British Columbia, Alberta & The Rockies
The small town of Banff is dominated by the towering mountains of Banff National Park. Activities include walking, horse riding, mountain biking, canoeing and rafting.
The small town of Tofino lies at the centre of Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island’s Pacific coast. It's great hiking country and is famous for the annual migration of some 20,000 grey whales close to the shore.
Great places to stay in British Columbia, Alberta & The Rockies
Buffalo Mountain Lodge
Buffalo Mountain Lodge, located on beautiful Tunnel Mountain, just a few minutes drive from the centre of Banff is an oasis amongst the mountains.
Cathedral Mountain Lodge
Constructed entirely from timber, Cathedral Mountain Lodge offers light and airy rooms, which maximise the views of the omnipresent mountains.
Fairmont Palliser Hotel
Centrally located and offering a wide range of facilities, the Fairmont Palliser Hotel has been a Calgary landmark since it opened in 1914.
Laurel Point Inn
Nestled in Victoria's downtown Inner Harbour, Laurel Point Inn is surrounded by the ocean and a lush Japanese garden. The city's bistros, shops, museums and art galleries are just a ten minute walk away.
Park Place Inn
Park Place Inn is a small, comfortable hotel nestled in the heart of downtown Jasper and within easy walking distance of a variety of restaurants and shops.
The Wedgewood Hotel is a delightful boutique property exuding European sophistication and charm, ideally located on Robson Square in the heart of downtown Vancouver,