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December 30, 2011

Winter's Best: Banff & Lake Louise Off-Season Travel Guide

Ice climbers on a frozen waterfall in Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park (Heather Hansen)

Banff National Park is easily Canada's most-visited park, drawing over three million visitors a year to gape in wonder at its Rocky Mountains magnificence. Together with adjacent Jasper National Park, threaded by the stunning Icefields Parkway, these two parks accounted for 40 percent of visitors to Canada's national parks in the past year. It's a gem, but certainly not one that remains undiscovered.

Go in winter, however, and you'll almost feel like you've got the place to yourself. It can be bitterly cold, with the mountains, rivers, and lakes in the grip of snow and ice, but this is a season of countless chilly delights. Here are some of my favorite activities for a winter vacation to the Banff area.

Read's vacation guide for going to Banff, Alberta

Icefields Parkway, True to Its Name
The 143-mile-long Icefields Parkway, running between townships Lake Louise and Jasper, remains open throughout the year, although services in winter are limited and the road is liable to closure. However, with the right driving equipment (or by signing up with a local tour company), you can discover a road free of tour-bus gridlock. The famous scenic byway is flanked by over 20 glaciers and seven sprawling icefields, breathtaking mountain vistas around every turn, and vivid frozen waterfalls (perfect for ice-climbing!) lining the route.

Read's vacation guide to the Icefields Parkway

Continue reading "Winter's Best: Banff & Lake Louise Off-Season Travel Guide" »

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Related Topics: Canada Travel · Trip Ideas

May 19, 2011

Top Five Montreal Musts

By awayblog

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Hotel Nelligan (Hotel Nelligan)
(Hotel Nelligan)

5. Hotel Nelligan
The luxurious boutique hotel is conveniently located in the historic district of Old Montreal, a quaint area of cobbled streets and some of the oldest architecture in North America. Keep warm from the harsh, yet beautiful, Montreal winters in one of their 59 suites. Blazing fireplaces, down comforters, red brick walls, and glass showers add the extra something that has made Hotel Nelligan a staple since its opening in 2002. Charming boutiques run rampant in Montreal, as do small dining establishments with to-die-for menus and unmistakable European charm. Other boutique hotels worth mentioning: Place D’Armes, Hotel St Paul, The Gault, and The Chateau Versailles.  

4. Montreal Jazz Festival
Local Montreal residents love their jazz, as do the thousands of visitors who flock to the French-speaking city across the border, especially in late June and early July during the renowned Montreal Jazz Festival. Since its first showing in 1980, the festival has been a major tourist draw for the city. In 2004, the festival earned a Guinness World Record for the largest jazz festival in the world after the 25th Anniversary event brought in nearly two million attendees.

Parc Mont Royal(aechempati,Flickr)
Mount Royal Park (aechempati/Flickr)

3. Mount Royal Park
Mount Royal Park is the lung of Montreal, sitting proudly atop the majestic cityscape of one of Canada's hippest cities. Mount Royal is capable of transforming itself to cater to any visitor, for any season—hiking, biking, paddle-boating in the warmer summer months, and sledding, ice skating, or snow shoeing in Montreal’s snowy winters. Make your way to the Chalet lookout; from here, on a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of Vermont in the States.

Continue reading "Top Five Montreal Musts" »

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Related Topics: Canada Travel

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