On arrival in Calgary, we've arranged a hire car for you to pick up at the airport. This means you can explore at your own pace: it’s the best way to see Canada. Check into Hotel Arts for the night. The hotel is located just steps from the Peace Bridge and makes the ideal base for exploring this vibrant city.
On leaving Calgary, you have a choice of taking the Trans-Canada highway or the scenic 1A Highway, which winds through the mountains and canyons of the Rockies. It takes around two hours to get to Banff, where you’ll spend the next two nights in the upmarket Rimrock Resort Hotel. It’s well-located for the bars and restaurants in Banff’s bustling centre, and a five-minute walk from the gondola and hot springs.
Immerse yourself in the beauty of Banff, Lake Louise and the surrounding national park. We recommend taking a ride on the Banff Gondola, for panoramic views of the Bow Valley. When you reach the top of Sulphur Mountain, take a dip in the highest hot springs in Canada. Banff itself offers plenty of attractions, including the Canadian Ski Museum West, artisan shops and quirky cafes.
After breakfast, take a leisurely drive along the scenic Bow Valley Parkway. Be sure to stop off at Johnston Canyon and walk along the paved footway to either the lower or upper waterfalls. From here, head to Moraine Lake Lodge, your hotel for the night. As lakefront settings go, this one is spectacular. The lake is a remarkable shade of iridescent turquoise, the perfect backdrop for a sundowner or two.
Today, our itinerary takes you along the spine of the Canadian Rockies. Drive past glaciers, cascading waterfalls and shimmering emerald lakes on the picturesque Icefields Parkway. Stop off at Peyto Lake, a mirror-like expanse of turquoise water. At Columbia Icefield, you can take an Ice Explorer across the great Athabasca Glacier. You’ll overnight in Jasper, ready to explore Jasper National Park the next day. In the evening, we've arranged a wildlife tour where you may spot bear, elk, coyote and beaver.
It's all aboard the Rocky Mountaineer for a scenic rail journey to Kamloops in British Columbia now. Leaving Jasper National Park, the train follows the Yellowhead route which passes towering Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. The journey then follows the mighty Thompson River, the route of early fur traders, before arriving in Kamloops, where you'll spend the night in a hotel.
Back onboard the train, it’s time to wave farewell to Kamloops. The journey follows the path of the Thompson River, through Ashcroft and Rainbow Canyon, where the cliffs have pink, green and grey hues. Continue through Fraser Canyon, where you’ll witness the torrential waters flowing through Hells Gate. The last leg takes you through the scenic Fraser Valley, arriving in Vancouver late afternoon.
Today you’ll enjoy the best of Vancouver on a personalised tour of the city. The friendly, well-informed guides will take you around downtown and the buzzing neighbourhoods of Chinatown, Gastown and fashionable Yaletown. In the afternoon, you can head to Stanley Park to see its famous totem poles, or pick up last-minute souvenirs at Granville Island Market. End the day at LookOut Tower, watching the sun set over the city.
There’s time to explore Vancouver at your own pace today. You could visit Coal Harbour Walkway and Vancouver Aquarium in the West End and Gastown, the city's more historic districts. Or see famous works by BC artist, Emma Carr at the Vancouver Art Gallery. To round the holiday off, grab a cocktail or two in a hip downtown bar before sampling Vancouver's legendary culinary scene.
Today your Canada itinerary comes to an end. It's time to say farewell to Canada, and head to Vancouver International Airport in time for your flight home.