Banff is a small resort town in Canada’s Alberta province. The snow-capped peaks of Mount Rundle and Mount Cascade loom over the town, where you’ll discover breathtaking nature and incredible wildlife around every bend. Banff National Park is a globally renowned hot spot for outdoor activities for all ages, whether you’re a thrill-seeker on the hunt for unbeatable views, or an outdoor enthusiast looking for hiking and cycling experiences.
Soak in the town’s laid-back atmosphere as you explore its shops, chateaus, and friendly pubs. Take a gondola ride to the summit of Sulphur Mountain for panoramic views, or search for souvenirs at the boutiques along Banff Avenue downtown. From classic log cabins to thermal hot springs, nature lovers and travelers in search of authentic Canada will find there’s plenty to discover both in town and across the expanse of Banff National Park.
You can visit Banff and the surrounding areas on a Canadian Rockies Cruisetour, which will immerse you in this area’s natural wonders and culture.
The Banff Upper Hot Springs, which are one of the area’s only public springs, are fed by flowing mineral water under the surface of Sulphur Mountain. The baths provide unbeatable rejuvenation, maintaining restorative water temperatures between 80-100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ascend to the summit of Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola, where views of the town and a quaint boardwalk, cafes, and chic eateries welcome you. Take panoramic photos from the 360-degree observation deck, or learn about the culture and history of Banff at the Above Banff Interpretative Centre.
Learn more about local flora and fauna and see relics of life in Alberta at the Banff Park Museum, which was built in 1905. From stuffed bears to preserved texts, you’ll discover rich indigenous history all the way up to the quirky, Canadian cowboy days.
Of Banff’s 3,000 miles, nearly 1,000 miles are dedicated to hiking trails through spectacular valleys and peaks. For a lighter hike, take the Lake Agnes trail and grab a slice of pie at their cozy teahouse. Some trails, like the Cascades Amphitheatre or Saddle Pass, span across bridges, dense forest, and serious crests.
Maple Leaf Grille
When you visit Banff, stop by Maple Leaf Grille, an upscale log cabin featuring locally sourced ingredients. Mouthwatering burgers and truffle fries are classics, while salmon farmed from British Columbia with fresh seasonal vegetables is a delightfully local choice.
Balkan Restaurant serves classic Greek fare, like fluffy pita, spanakopita, meaty gyros, and fresh salads. Get your falafel fix here, and savor a slice of baklava after a hike in Banff National Park. Plus, weekly Greek night brings this mountain town to life with traditional Greek dance and fun cocktails.
Three Ravens Restaurant
Incredible mountain views from the clear, glass windows of Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity are just part of the charm of Three Ravens. At this fine dining establishment, savor environmentally sustainable dishes like seared Alberta bison tenderloin, pan-seared B.C. sablefish, and mushroom risotto.
Banff has only been considered a Canadian municipality since 1990, making the area we know today a very young establishment compared to the ancient falls, glaciers, and mountains that surround it.
The story of Banff goes back further than that, dating back to the 1880s when a transcontinental railroad revealed a system of hot springs. These hot springs became the foundation of Banff as a resort and spa town. Banff National Park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1985, and today, it’s a small, sleepy municipality that’s proud of its roots as one of Canada’s most popular destinations.
After your Alaska cruise—either our 7-Night Hubbard Glacier sailing on Eclipse or 7-Night Southbound Glacier sailing on Millennium—you can extend your vacation with a Cruisetour to the Canadian Rockies. You’ll stay overnight in Banff before heading to Calgary.
When on a Celebrity Cruisetour, your transportation to Banff is included. The town center is walkable, making it easy to explore the sights on foot. Individual tour providers can offer information about transportation to and from different tours you book during your visit to Banff.
The main drags for shopping in town are along Banff Avenue and Bear Street, which are both conveniently located in the center of town. Along Banff Avenue, you’ll find sporting goods stores and boutiques for men and women’s fashion. During your visit to Banff, stop by Canada’s biggest Christmas store, which is open all year.
You’ll find the Canadian dollar used most frequently during your travels to Canada. Credit cards are widely accepted, though it’s recommended you bring or exchange a bit of cash for smaller purchases. Always ask the merchant if they accept credit cards—Mastercard and Visa are most common. When tipping at restaurants, bars, or for car service, the customary amount is between 15% to 20%.
Deep in the Bow River Valley, at the foot of the Cascade Mountains, lies Banff, the picturesque home of Banff National Park, as well as populations of bears, cougars and mountain goats. Take a trip to the top of Sulphur Mountain on the Banff Gondola for spectacular views of Bow Falls, extensive forests and glacial lakes, Surprise Corner and the Hoodoos rock formations.