Best Things to Do in Banff in Winter

By now everyone has seen pictures of the beautiful turquoise lakes of the Canadian Rockies. Banff and Lake Louise are the epicenter of the Canadian wilderness, and are equally worth a trip in summer or winter. Here is everything you need to know to visit Banff in winter - where to stay, the most impressive natural wonders, how to pack for your trip, and the best things to do in Banff in winter.

 

Sunflare through snow covered tree in Banff

 

Make sure you don't miss our top five tips to make the most of your visit to Banff at the end of this post!

 

Banff National Park

 

Banff National Park is one of the most popular of Canada’s national parks. And for good reason! Banff is full of beautiful glacial lakes, majestic flowing rivers, and towering snowy peaks.

 

View from Fairmont Hotel Lake Louise - The Next Trip

 

Banff National Park was formed in 1885, making it Canada’s oldest national park. The park encompasses over 2,500 square miles (6,600 square km) of beautiful Canadian wilderness. With this much space, you can definitely find your own picturesque slice of nature.

 

View of Fairmont Springs Hotel in Banff - The Next Trip

 

The Canadian Pacific Railway was instrumental in the early growth of the park, building two of the most famous Canadian hotels here, the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise. These magnificent hotels established Banff National Park as a popular tourist destination. Having a hot chocolate there on a cold day is an iconic thing to do in Banff in winter.

 

View of Banff - The Next Trip

 

Winter tourism in Banff was fairly limited until 1968, when the Banff Springs Hotel modernized and became winterized! Previously it was only open during the warmer months of the year.

 

Getting to Banff in Winter

 

Even though Banff is in the middle of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, it is relatively easy to get to any time of the year. If you don’t already live within driving distance, you will most likely be flying into Calgary, which is about an hour and a half drive away. In comparison, our drive from Vancouver, took about 12 hours. Despite the snow, there are a lot of things to do in Banff in winter which you can't miss out on.

 

Toyota Tacoma driving in the snow - The Next Trip

 

If you don’t want to drive through the Canadian Rockies in the middle of winter, there are a number of shuttle buses driving from Calgary to Banff.  Additionally, once in Banff there is a good public transportation system, and you can visit some incredible off the beaten path destinations with tours, such as the Winter Wonder Tour.

That being said, if you have your own vehicle, or a rental car, you can explore all the best things to do in Banff in winter at your own pace! Ensure that you have winter tires, as they are mandatory on all highways during the winter months until April.

 

Bow Valley Parkway

 

On of the best things to do in Banff in winter besides skiing is exploring the Bow Valley Parkway. The Bow Valley Parkway is the scenic alternative to drive between Banff and Lake Louise. The road stretches 31 miles (50 km) with many great sights along the way. It's the perfect place to start exploring Banff National Park and you can't miss out on what it has to offer.

 

View from Bow Valley Parkway - The Next Trip

 

 

Johnston Canyon

 

One of our favorite stops along the Bow Valley Parkway, Johnston Canyon is dramatically carved into the limestone bedrock with steep canyon walls, and plunging waterfalls. During winter, the falls freeze over, forming dramatic ice features. This is a very popular spot for ice walking and ice climbing and the views don't disappoint.

 

Entrance Gate to Johnston Canyon - The Next Trip

 

Frozen lower falls at Johnston Canyon - The Next Trip

 

The two main falls, Lower Falls and Upper Falls, are a relatively easy 0.7 miles (1.1 km) and 1.6 miles (2.6 km) hike from the parking lot. If you're like us and are visiting in winter, we recommend you wear good traction hiking shoes or bring ice cleats. The path can be quite slippery and difficult to master without the right shoes. The temperatures can be a few degrees cooler at the falls than in the parking lot. Bring your warm jacket to ensure you don't get cold during your hike!

 

Ice Climbers on Upper Falls at Johnston Canyon - The Next Trip

 

Morant's Curve

 

This is, not surprisingly, one of the most photographed spots in all of Banff National Park and also one of our favorite things to do in Banff in winter. And for good reason, as you can snap some epic pictures here. Canadian freight trains curve through Banff National Park, with the Bow River in the foreground and large mountains in the background.

 

Girl in Red Dress at Morant's Curve in Banff - The Next Trip

 

Finding Morant's Curve is relatively easy as it is well signed. Once you get onto the Bow Valley Parkway (driving from the North), it is a short five to ten minute drive. There is a small parking lot right across the street from the viewpoint. However, getting an iconic photo with a freight train is the difficult part. The freight trains passing through here do not run on a schedule and run at different times every day. As such, you can wait for hours and not see a train, or you may spot one in just a few minutes. Either way, make sure you're prepared and bring snacks and water, and a lot of patience.

 

Snowy Winterland View from Morant's Curve Banff - The Next Trip

 

We visited the Morant's Curve twice during our stay in Banff. While we did not get to see a full freight train, we did see a small locomotive and snow plough come through Morant’s Curve.

 

 
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Lake Louise

 

Lake Louise is another one of the quintessential Canadian Rockies “must-sees” that should be at the top of your list any time of year. It is definitely at the top of our list of things to do in Banff in winter. You might know the lake due to its striking blue waters. In winter, the lake is covered in ice and snow, but it is no less beautiful.

 

Ice Hockey Game at Lake Louise - The Next Trip

 

Instead of canoeing, you will find the lake turned into a hockey rink, an ice castle, and the perfect place to snowshoe and cross-country ski.

 

Ice Castle at Lake Louise - The Next Trip

 

Girl Twirling at Ice Castle Lake Louise - The Next Trip

 

Girl Twirling at Ice Castle Lake Louise - The Next Trip

 

Lake Louise is easily accessible by car and is a 40 minutes drive away from Banff. If you're planning to visit during the holidays or on weekends, make sure you get there early in the day. It can be very busy and the parking lot fills up quickly. Also be sure to check the weather before you plan your trip there as it can be dramatically different from Banff.

 

Girl Jumping at Lake Louise - The Next Trip

 

Vermilion Lakes

 

The Vermilion Lakes are actually less than 2 miles from the town of Banff, and yet they feel like they are a million miles away! You may have seen pictures of beautiful reflections of Mount Rundle at any time of the year, and this is where the pictures were taken from!

 

View at Vermillion Lakes - The Next Trip

The great part about going to Vermilion Lakes in the winter is that there is almost no one there. We spent a few hours one afternoon at Vermilion Lakes. During our time we only saw a handful of other people out enjoying the beautiful weather. This makes Vermilion Lakes easy to schedule into your itinerary any time of day and a must add to your list of things to do in Banff in winter.

 

Couple standing on frozen vermillion lakes - The Next Trip

 

 

Girl throwing snow at Vermillion Lakes Banff - The Next Trip

 

If you are feeling adventurous, Vermilion Lakes is a great place to test the waters, quite literally, and take a polar dip.  There are a few areas of the vast lake that are not covered in ice, if you are in need of a refreshing dip! Just be sure to have a warm car waiting for you.

 

Girl doing Polar Dip at Vermillion Lakes Banff - The Next Trip

 

Where to Stay Near Banff


We were hosted by  the Grande Rockies Resort and had a wonderful time at the resort. We are excited to share our stay with you. As always, all of the opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support us!

 

Girl twirling at Grande Rockies Resort Canmore - The Next Trip

 

Canmore is a great place to base your adventures of Banff National Park, as accommodation, food, and all other essentials are easier to come by and more affordable in Canmore compared to Banff and the entire town is less busy. We stayed in nearby Canmore, at the Grande Rockies Resort.

 

Driveway at Grande Rockies Resort Canmore - The Next Trip

 

Sunrise at Grande Rockies Resort Canmore - The Next Trip

 

Our stay was in a one-bedroom suite which was perfect for our time in Banff National Park as it allowed us the room to relax in the evenings by the fireplace and make a delicious home cooked meal.

 

Kitchen at Grande Rockies Resort Canmore - The Next Trip

 

Fireplace at Grande Rockies Resort Canmore - The Next Trip

 

If you're looking to explore the trails around Canmore, the Grande Rockies Resort has fat tire bikes and snowshoes that can be reserved for free. We took the fat bike on a spin and it's incredibly smooth to ride in the snow and such a fun thing to do in Banff in winter. They also have a wonderful indoor swimming pool, indoor-outdoor hot tub, and heated indoor parking!

 

Fat Bike driving in Canmore - The Next Trip

 

What Should I Pack for Banff in Winter?

 

The weather can get properly cold in the Canadian Rockies during the winter. During our visit the nightly low temperatures reached -18C (0F), but -30C (-22F) would not be unheard of. Since you will be exploring the best things to do in Banff in winter, you should be fully outfitted in winter gear from head to toe with a toque (Canadian warm winter hat), scarf, warm jacket, gloves, warm pants, and winter boots. If you are spending a few hours outdoors a very worthwhile investment are the glove warmer packets! We used these each day outside, and they easily lasted the whole day.

 

Girl standing on frozen lake with backpack and suitcase - The Next Trip

 

 

The Next Trip Top 5 Tips for Things to Do in Banff in Winter:

 

1) Prepare for the cold

This is winter in the Canadian Rockies, and as we already mentioned it can get really cold! Even if you already live somewhere that has cold winters, it pays to be prepared for your trip to Banff. Often when we travel we spend a lot more time outdoors, so be sure to pack all warm clothing and hand warmers!

2) Stay Hydrated

We noticed that our skin was very dry during our stay in Banff. This is partially due to the cold and dry air outside and the hot dry air inside from the building heaters. Another important factor is that we tend to drink less water when it is cold outside! Packing a thermos with some warm water, tea, or broth on your outdoor adventures is a great way to stay hydrated and warm at the same time!

3) Cook your own meals

While there are some fantastic restaurants in both Banff and Canmore, as they are located in a small remote resort town, they are priced accordingly! The easiest way to save a large amount of money on your trip to Banff is to cook a few meals in your hotel room. Our one-bedroom suite at the Grande Rockies Resort was perfect for us to cook some of our meals ourselves!

4) Hit the slopes

While we didn't have enough time on our trip to get some skiing and snowboarding in, this is a fantastic area for winter sports. Banff Sunshine and Lake Louise are by far the biggest and most popular ski mountains with tourists. Smaller Norquay is nearer to Banff, and can be a great alternative to escape the crowds.

5) Have a flexible schedule

This is the number one mindset to have to enjoy your trip to Banff in the winter. Winter weather is unpredictable, and can be rather unfriendly towards winter travelers. On our trip we encountered multiple road closures, rain, snow, and sunshine. You never really know what the weather conditions will be, but you just have to be able to roll with it. That being said, it's great to always have a secondary plan in the back of your mind if your first plans don't work out due to weather.

 

Save this post to your Canada travel Pinterest board for when you compile your list of things to do in Banff in winter or plan your next vacation!

 

Best Things to Do in Banff in Winter. These are our top places to see in Banff, where to stay, and what to pack.

 

Best Things to Do in Banff in Winter. These are our top places to see in Banff, where to stay, and what to pack.

Best Things to Do in Banff in Winter. These are our top places to see in Banff, where to stay, and what to pack.
Best Things to Do in Banff in Winter. These are our top places to see in Banff, where to stay, and what to pack.
Best Things to Do in Banff in Winter. These are our top places to see in Banff, where to stay, and what to pack.
Best Things to Do in Banff in Winter. These are our top places to see in Banff, where to stay, and what to pack.
Best Things to Do in Banff in Winter. These are our top places to see in Banff, where to stay, and what to pack.

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Explore Banff National Park with Winter Wonder Tour

Banff National Park is a dream to visit in winter! In case you didn't know, Kyle is from Canada (read about our story here), and we love exploring Canada. Read about our Canada East Coast adventures here. However, we have not visited the Canadian Rockies in winter until now. The snow-covered mountains and trees make for the perfect fairy tale getaway. There is no better way to start off your romantic trip than with the Banff Winter Wonder Tour. The tour takes you to some of the main highlights of Banff National Park in winter. Hence, it provides you with a quintessential Canadian experience along the way!

 

Snowshoeing at Lake Minnewanka Banff - The Next Trip

 

All of the below locations and activities were included within the Banff Winter Wonder Tour, which we enjoyed on a beautiful sunny afternoon. We were taken between all locations by coach bus. This allowed us to heat up after each outdoor activity and leave our belongings in a safe space when we didn’t need them. Take a seat as we take you through all of the tour activities!

 

Disclaimer:  Our tour was provided by Brewster Sightseeing and we loved it. As always, all of our opinions on our experience and how many Canadian treats you should eat are completely our own. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support us!

 

Views of Two Jack Lake

 

The first stop of the tour is a viewpoint of Two Jack Lake. The lake is named after two local Jack’s who used to work in the area and frequent the lake. Two Jack Lake is relatively unknown compared to some of the most famous nearby lakes. However, it is no less beautiful!

 

Two Jack Lake Banff National Park in Winter - The Next Trip

 

The sun reflecting off the frozen lake is magical!

 

Snowshoeing at Lake Minnewanka

 

Lake Minnewanka is a large glacial lake in Banff National Park, and was one of our favorite stops on the tour! It is very popular in the summer, but equally as beautiful in the winter.

 

Showshoeing at Lake Minnewanka with Pursuit Collection - The Next Trip

 

Here we went on a short snowshoeing walk through the forest and along the lake. It had snowed the night before, so there was fresh snow everywhere. As a result, it was a lot of fun bounding through the deep snow. As the lake was entirely frozen and covered in snow, we even walked out onto the ice!

 

Snowshoeing at Lake Minnewanka Banff National Park in Winter - The Next Trip

 

Bettina tried using some old-style snowshoes made with a wooden frame and dried caribou hide webbing. However, as they didn’t have the metal ice picks on the bottom like modern snowshoes do, it was slippery! Luckily, she didn't fall!

 

Old Snowshoes at Lake Minnewanka - The Next Trip

 

Old Snowshoes at Lake Minnewanka - The Next Trip

 

Cave & Basin National Historic Site

 

The Cave and Basin National Historic Site is an interactive place to learn about the birthplace of Canada’s national parks, as well as local history and culture.

 

Cave and Basin Natural Hot Spring Banff - The Next Trip

 

The site includes access to an underground natural hot spring, which is protected to preserve the habitat of the Banff Springs snail. This minuscule snail has adapted to live in the harsh environment of the natural thermal springs. The snail lives in just five of the nine Banff hot springs, and is considered ‘at risk’ or endangered.  Additionally, there is only one hot springs open to the public (the Upper Hot Springs) to preserve these little Banff Spring snails.

 

Bow Falls

 

These waterfalls on the Bow River are located very close to Banff town center. The viewpoint here allows you to see the beautiful ice-covered falls in the winter, as well as the nearby merger of the Bow and Spray rivers.

 

Bow River Banff National Park

 

We also enjoyed a cup of warm hot chocolate and a traditional Canadian sweet, Nanaimo Bars while taking in the beautiful Bow Falls!

Banff Gondola on the Winter of Wonder Tour

 

The last stop on the tour is at the Banff Gondola. The gondola climbs 2,292 feet (698 meters) to the top of Sulphur Mountain. On your way to the top you will have glimpses of the town of Banff and the mountain views that await.

 

View from Sulphur Mountain Banff Gondola - The Next Trip

 

The eight-minute journey to the top is totally worth it when you arrive to magnificent views like these!

 

View from Sulphur Mountain Banff Gondola - The Next Trip

 

At the top of Sulphur Mountain, the Winter Wonder tour includes a delicious sampling of a traditional Canadian snack. We tried bannock with maple butter and a cup of hot apple cider. Both the bannock and apple cider were freshly made upon our arrival. As a result, they were absolutely delicious! So much that we even had seconds!

 

Canadian Treat Bannock - The Next Trip

 

After our snack we had an hour of free time. You could take photos, walk the boardwalk to nearby Sanson’s Peak, or explore the gondola summit.

 

View from Sulphur Mountain Banff Gondola - The Next Trip

 

Igloo at Banff Gondola - The Next Trip

 

 

After our time at the summit, we took the gondola back down to the mountain base. The coach bus drove back to the town of Banff, and we said goodbye to our excellent tour hosts. The Banff Winter Wonder tour is a wonderful way to spend your afternoon exploring Banff National Park in winter and complete with outdoor winter activities, historical facts, classic Canadian treats, and most importantly all those iconic Canadian Rockies views.

 

Alpenglow Festival

 

The Alpenglow Festival was not specifically included in our Winter Wonder Tour, but we wanted to highlight it as it is a must see if you’re in Banff on a winter weekend. During the festival you can enjoy an evening of more amazing views and live music at the top of Sulphur Mountain. It happens every Friday and Saturday night between the end of January and April.

 

Alpenglow Festival at Banff Gondola - The Next Trip

 

Alpenglow Festival at Banff Gondola - The Next Trip

 

The festival is included within a Banff Gondola ticket, and provides a warm and cozy atmosphere at the top of Sulphur Mountain. Inside the gondola summit there is the Glow Bar Lounge, with live music, signature drinks, and tasty treats.

 

Alpenglow Festival at Banff Gondola - The Next Trip

 

If you feel like venturing out onto the rooftop, don't worry about the cold! You will be rewarded with a heated igloo, where you can eat a delicious s’more after roasting it yourself on the firepits! Our roasted s'mores were perfect! We enjoyed a relaxing Friday night at the Alpenglow Festival and can highly recommend it as an evening out on top of the town of Banff!

 

Alpenglow Festival at Banff Gondola - The Next Trip

 

 

Pin this post to your Banff and Canada board to help plan your next trip!

 

Explore Banff National Park with Winter Wonder Tour 17

 

Explore Banff National Park in Winter with the Winter Wonder Tour! Go snowshoeing at Lake Minnewanka, take a ride up the Banff Gondola, and enjoy this Canadian Rockies destination!
Explore Banff National Park in Winter with the Winter Wonder Tour! Go snowshoeing at Lake Minnewanka, take a ride up the Banff Gondola, and enjoy this Canadian Rockies destination!
Explore Banff National Park in Winter with the Winter Wonder Tour! Go snowshoeing at Lake Minnewanka, take a ride up the Banff Gondola, and enjoy this Canadian Rockies destination!
Explore Banff National Park in Winter with the Winter Wonder Tour! Go snowshoeing at Lake Minnewanka, take a ride up the Banff Gondola, and enjoy this Canadian Rockies destination!
Explore Banff National Park in Winter with the Winter Wonder Tour! Go snowshoeing at Lake Minnewanka, take a ride up the Banff Gondola, and enjoy this Canadian Rockies destination!
Explore Banff National Park in Winter with the Winter Wonder Tour! Go snowshoeing at Lake Minnewanka, take a ride up the Banff Gondola, and enjoy this Canadian Rockies destination!

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Fun Times at the Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy is well known for extreme tides and the rock formations that result from the tidal erosion. The thing about tides is, they kind of just happen without regard to your travel plans and when you plan to be near the water. We had a bit of a late start leaving Halifax (which you can read about here) and so missed the low tide in the morning when we arrived at Hopewell Cape on the Bay of Fundy in the afternoon. (You can learn about the technical aspect of the tides here and check out the tidal timing here.) Luckily for us, there are two high and two low tides each day, that’s semidiurnal for those in the know.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

We arrived just after high tide and walked around to the various viewpoints to take pictures. The views were good, but not quite the awe-inspiring vision we had in mind and saw during our online research.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

With the two high and low tides each day there is about six hours separating each extreme. The tides here are considered the highest in the world. Twice each day 160 billion tonnes of water flows in and out of the Bay of Fundy. The tides peak at around 16 metres (50 feet) which is as high as a five-story building!

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Having seen the bay at high tide which meant that a few walkways were barred off and covered in water, we expected the landscape to change dramatically at low tide. We had planned ahead and knew we would have a bit of a wait, and so enjoyed a picnic in the afternoon sun while the tides were changing.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

A few short hours later we headed back to the viewpoints on the Bay of Fundy and were awestruck at how much everything had changed. Where did all of the water go?

 

Low Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

The tide movement is even more spectacular when you compare high and low tide moments next to each other.

 

High Tide

 

High Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

Low Tide

 

Low Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

High Tide

 

High Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

Low Tide

 

Low Tide at Bay of Fundy

 

We were able to walk around the newly exposed seafloor and take pictures as the sun began to set in the distance.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Shop Bettina's Look:

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

The extreme tides here are very special to see and you won’t believe it until you see it yourself!

Not far away from Hopewell Cape is the village of Alma, which experiences the extreme tides right in its harbour.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Fisherman here definitely are aware of the tides and store their boats on stands! How they got the boats on the stands in the first place is beyond me.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

We really enjoyed our evening drive along the Bay of Funday and south to Saint John as the setting sun brought new views around each bend in the road and revealing the beauty of the Canadian Maritime Province.

 

Fun times at the Bay of Fundy

 

Bettina was especially smitten with the fields of daisies.

 

Field of Daisies New Brunswick

 

Field of Daisies New Brunswick

 

Field of Daisies New Brunswick

 

We arrived in Saint John late in the evening and needed to leave fairly early for our long drive back to Boston. Even though it’s not usually our strong suit, we managed to get up early in order to take a short walk around the city before heading out.

 

Sunrise in Saint John

 

Sunrise in Saint John

 

Morning Walk in Saint John

 

We enjoyed walking around the Saint John harbour the most. There is no doubt that the waterfront would be buzzing with life on warm summer afternoons or any time after 8am, which is when we were there.

 

Morning Walk in Saint John

 

We even spotted Theodore Tugboat on vacation from Halifax this summer.

 

Theodore Tugboat in Saint John

 

Our drive back to Boston was fairly uneventful. We wanted to leave with lots of extra time as border waits and holiday traffic can be unpredictable. We spent a grand total of 2 minutes waiting in line to cross the border, and stopped at the nearest gas station to fill up the car where we met this friendly Canadian ready to celebrate the Fourth of July!

 

Dog with Hat and Glasses in Convertible

 

Would you go on a trip over Fourth of July to get more use of your day off? Or would you fear you’re missing out on celebrations at home? Let us know in the comments below!

 


 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

Arriving in Nova Scotia was a highlight for us, as we had now reached all three of the Maritime Provinces.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

We started our day in Lunenburg, a UNESCO world heritage site, and home to many colourful buildings. It was, unfortunately, a bit of a cloudy and grey morning, but you wouldn’t know it looking at all of the colourful houses!

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

A few more houses in case you didn’t get the idea.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

Lunenburg is full of old and historical buildings. The Bank of Montreal branch made us feel like we were transported back in time or landed in a Harry Potter movie.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

The town has a rich history of agriculture, fishing, and ship-building. You may have heard of, or at least seen the most famous ship built here, the Bluenose, featured prominently on the Canadian dime. The commemorative replica, the Bluenose II, was docked in Lunenburg during our visit.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

We left Lunenburg relatively soon (not completely unrelated to me being freezing cold and the views being quite grey). In the hope for more sunshine, we drove to Peggy’s Cove and were amazed by the views! It was at this point that Nova Scotia completely stole our hearts.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

Seeing the Peggy’s Point Lighthouse from a distance was simply breathtaking.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

Once we actually arrived at Peggy’s Cove we loved walking around and exploring the small fishing community.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

I was worried Peggy’s Cove would be an over-hyped tourist destination, but we found the place surprisingly undeveloped, and almost magical. Walking around the village you can get a real sense of the simple life of the people that lived here (before all the tourists arrived) and the struggle of living right on the wild Atlantic Ocean.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

Peggy’s Point Lighthouse is clearly the star of the show here.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

We could have walked around the lighthouse for hours. Even though there were a few tourists there, the place felt calm and we enjoyed watching the waves break on the rounded rocks.  Peggy's Cove is exactly what we thought Nova Scotia would be like and we highly recommend you visit.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

Shop My Style

 

My necklace is by GLDN and my purse is from the cutest Chicago online boutique called White Elephant Designs. I linked a similar one below.

 

 

After some delicious mint chocolate ice cream sorbet, we were on the road again, pointed North towards Halifax - the capital of Nova Scotia.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

We saved our exploring of the city for the next day, so sought out a restaurant for dinner and can highly recommend the seafood at Five Fisherman. Our selection for the evening included local Mussels, PEI oysters, a shrimp cocktail, brussels sprouts and some lobster mash for good measure.  We also dared each other to take ever-increasing dips of wasabi on our shrimp. There were no winners. 😀

Also, if you are still keeping score, we were now three for three on the seafood and ice cream challenge.

 

The next morning we were greeted with sunshine as we walked around the Halifax waterfront and explored the city.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia 35

 

As we walked around the waterfront, we came across a few very Canadian food booths. We'll leave it up to you to guess whether we had Beavertails, Poutine, or Cow's Ice Cream for breakfast.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

The city has a large number of historical buildings, almost all of which have a view of the harbour as the city is situated on a hill overlooking the bay.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

If you have more time to spend in the city there are also a number of museums dedicated to the extensive history and culture of the area.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

As we were preparing to head back out on the road, we had one last ‘attration’ to see. Every day (other than Christmas) at 12 noon, a canon is being fired from Citadel Hill as a tribute to Halifax’s history as a major stronghold for the British. We drove up near Citadel Hill just before noon and waited.

 

East Coast of Nova Scotia

 

Now, we knew it was going to happen, and when it was going to happen (give or take a minute) and we still jumped out of our skins. It was LOUD! And with that we were off with a bang heading West!

 

Have you been to the East Coast of Nova Scotia? Have you ever tried Beavertails? Let us know in the comments below!


 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

After a day of driving, we were ready to tour Canada's most densely populated province: Prince Edward Island. Manhattan this is not, as its capital Charlottetown, is home to about half of the 150,000 people that call this island home. Most people arriving in Prince Edward Island will begin their sightseeing about 12.9km away as they cross the Confederation Bridge from New Brunswick.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

We stopped at the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre just before you begin the drive across the bridge to get the best views and can highly recommend it.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

From here you can walk around on the sandy beach and dip your toes in the (frigid) waters of the Northumberland Strait. Fun fact: The Confederation Bridge is the longest bridge in the world over ice-covered waters, and it even cuts cool patterns in the ice! (see these pictures here).

 

Confederation Bridge - A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Confederation Bridge - A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Driving around PEI we were immediately at ease and got a sense of the relaxed pace of island life.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

The province is mostly rural, containing lots of sprawling fields and farms. Summertime is a great time to visit PEI as lupins are in full bloom around the island in vibrant colours of purple, pink, and white!

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Of course, Bettina couldn’t resist a picture or two amongst the flowers (while trying not get to stung by a bee)!

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Shop Bettina's Look

 

Her necklaces are from GLDN and she wears them almost every day.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Arriving at to the entrance gate of Prince Edward Island National Park, we were getting our wallets out to pay the entrance fee, where the friendly park ranger informed us that *unfortunately* due to it being Canada Day, the entrance was free!

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

We quickly spent all the money we saved though as we came across Richard’s, an island-favourite fish shack serving up delicious lobster rolls and fish and chips.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

It was possibly the freshest fish and chips we had ever eaten and we would go back any time!

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

We strolled around the beach a little bit but left for Charlottetown soon as the dark clouds rolled in.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Charlottetown is a very quaint, historic town, and easily walkable. We really enjoyed wandering the streets,  checking out the many boutiques, historical houses, and waterfront path.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

As we were walking along, minding our own business, we came across a formed crowd around a blue waterfront building. It was Cow's Ice Cream!

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Cow’s has been scooping up old-fashioned ice cream with some very clever names for decades and is considered one of the world’s best places to get ice cream. On a summer day by the ocean who can resist ice cream? This was the second day of our road trip and so far we were two for two on having seafood and ice cream each day.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

How about some Wowie Cowie, Caramel Moocchiato, Cowconut Cream Pie, or a classic Cownadian Maple? There’s just too many good ones.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Bettina couldn't resist spending some time talking and posing with the locals also.

 

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

After exploring the old town, we made our way to the Beaconsfield Historic House but were a bit late to check out the museum.

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Instead, we followed the crowd and walked over to Victoria Park to take in some live music, views and festivities before heading out of the city to our next hotel. It was Canada Day after all!

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

A Scoop of Prince Edward Island

 

Have you been to Prince Edward Island and sampled some Cow’s ice cream?


 

New Brunswick in June

Kyle and I decided to make the most out of July 4th - and spend it in Canada! 🙂 All joking aside, July 4th was the perfect time for us to go on a slightly longer trip as we could use the holidays as our day off and could save some PTO. Never having been to Canada's East Coast before, we decided to fly to Boston using the Southwest Companion Pass and drive north to explore the Canadian Maritime provinces - starting with New Brunswick.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

We got to Boston late on Friday evening and left the city heading North early the next morning. Having a 7 hour drive ahead and not knowing whether the border crossing was going to add additional travel time, we tried to get out as early as possible.

Of course, we couldn't hit the road without our mandatory stop at Starbucks...

 

New Brunswick in June 55

 

...and some ice cream at Gifford's Famous Ice Cream. I went for the raspberry sorbet and must say it was really delicious.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Once we drove past Portland, civilization began to wane and we were more and more surrounded by trees and nothing else.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Very much to our surprise, we didn't see a single sign indicating that we were about to leave the United States and cross an international border into Canada. until about 1km away. If you weren't paying attention as to where you were driving, you could be in for quite the surprise! I was even more excited when we finally arrived in Canada and were greeted by familiar moose signs. Most people don't know this but New Brunswick is the only Canadian province which is officially bilingual and as such, all signs must be in English and French. "Attention" works out quite nicely for the French and English moose among us. 🙂

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Just before sunset, we arrived in Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick, and wandered around to explore the historic old town. Fredericton is a quaint Canadian city and definitely has a European feel to it.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Shop My Look

 

My purse is from a Chicago-based online boutique called White Elephant Designs.

My necklace is from GLDN and was a birthday present. I've been wearing it almost every day since.

 

 

New Brunswick in June

 

I enjoyed walking around the old streets, reading about some Canadian history, and watching everyone and their mother gather in the town square, getting ready for the Canada Day celebrations.

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

New Brunswick in June

 

We still had a two-hour drive ahead of us until we reached our final destination for the day and hit the road again, but not before stopping by a Tim Hortons and getting an espresso to keep us awake for the rest of the drive.

 

New Brunswick in June 56

 

New Brunswick in June 57

 

It was long day of driving but we were sure happy to be back (home) in Canada!

 

New Brunswick in June

 

Have you been to the Canadian East Coast? What was your favourite Province? Let us know in the comments below!

 


 

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver

At least once every winter season, we like to enjoy some fresh white powder. Snow, obviously! The crisp winter air and blue skies together with fresh snow are the perfect conditions to go skiing (or in my case snowboarding). In reality, it isn’t always this exciting, especially when you plan a ski trip and find out that there’s no snow. (We had to hike ourselves up the mountain last winter in Switzerland, though we didn’t complain about the view.)

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 65

 

Or when it hits you that you need to get up really early, jump into your cold skiing outfit, make your way to the ski resort, and stand in line to get into a jam-packed gondola.

Let me tell you, all the hassle is totally worth it once you’re up there.

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 66

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 67

 

Cypress Mountain greeted us with the most beautiful views of Horseshoe Bay. This is the coastal mountains of British Columbia in their full glory. I’m blown away every time I get off the lift and have a view out over the Pacific Ocean all the while sliding down a slope.

If you get up early enough, you can get the entire slope to yourself and can take up all the space you would like to cruise down the hill. As a skier, I couldn’t get downhill fast enough and back on the lift. As a snowboarder, I have a slightly different approach and like to sit down every once in a while to enjoy the view (in other words, catch my breath).

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 68

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 69

 

The snow conditions were just perfect. Fresh, light powder, glittering in the sun, making trees look like fairy tales. Who could resist soaking up the winter sun here for a minute or two?

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 70

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 71

 

On the hill, the winter sun can be quite warm (and the reflection of the snow makes it a sunscreen mandatory zone) but on the lift, it can get windy and cold fast.

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 72

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 73

 

A few runs and hours later, we decided to get a hot chocolate in the hut and relax a bit. After all, we had come here early, enjoyed a few runs having the slopes to ourselves, and didn’t mind the crowds slowly taking over.

Warmed up and newly motivated, we decided to explore the other side of the resort, Black Mountain, and make our way down runs we hadn’t been on before. By the end of the day, the morning clouds and fog had disappeared completely, leaving us with the most astonishing views of the sun setting over Vancouver Island and the Pacific Ocean.

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 74

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 75

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 76

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 77

 

If you’re thinking about hitting the slopes in Vancouver, here are a few tips on where to go. All of the listed ski resorts offer detailed snow and weather reports on their websites as well as live views, which can be very convenient when deciding if it’s worth getting out of bed early.

Vancouver has three popular local mountains.

  • Grouse Mountain is closest to the city and offers beautiful views of downtown Vancouver. It’s easy to reach with public transport but can get quite busy and you need to take a gondola from the base to reach the ski resort. It is the smallest of the three local mountains. Unlike some of the large ski resorts I’m used to in Europe, they offer night skiing which allows you to walk around the city during the day and still enjoy a few rides after late into the night. Due to the close proximity to the city, Grouse Mountain is definitely the best choice for people who are only in town for a few short days.
  • Cypress Mountain is only a very tiny bit further away and for those without a car, you might want to look into Cypress Coach Lines. The views are equally as breath-taking as from Grouse Mountain but the skiing area is larger with two different mountains, thereby offering a wider variety of runs for all skill levels. There is night skiing on both mountains. I personally like Mount Strachan best for views of Horseshoe Bay during the day and Black Mountain for night skiing as the runs are well-lit.
  • Mount Seymour is the third of the local mountains and is the furthest east of the three. Just like on the other mountains, the views out over the city are amazing. To get there, you would need to drive or take the Mount Seymour Shuttle bus. Similar to Grouse Mountain, they offer a nice variety of easy runs as well as night skiing.

If you are a true ski aficionado, the local mountains may seem a bit tame and crowded. If you are in town longer and have the time to drive north to Whistler, you won’t be disappointed. Whistler is one of the largest ski resorts in North America and has everything to offer that a winter-loving heart would desire. The resort encompasses two mountains, Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain, which are connected with a Peak 2 Peak Gondola. You can spend an entire day skiing and still won’t have seen every run there is.

Skiing on Cypress Mountain, Vancouver 78

What is your favourite skiing region?


 

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Brunch in Fort Langley, Canada

As some of you know, we went back to Canada to celebrate Christmas with family. After a wonderful holiday season with way too much food, we decided to celebrate the last day of 2017 *drum roll* - with more food! Given my love of sleeping, breakfast wasn't to be - and so brunch it was!

I found possibly the cutest little restaurant in Fort Langley which looks remarkably similar to my dream house - shabby chic, lots of light, lots of white. To enter the restaurant, we first walked through a boutique which leads to the black and white tile room with mirrored tables.

Brunch in Fort Langley, Canada 86
Following the mirrored tables is a kitchen bar area with yummy desserts on display and a large and beautiful Christmas tree which made my heart skip a beat!

Brunch in Fort Langley, Canada 87

 

Brunch in Fort Langley, Canada 88

 

Off to the right, we headed into the French shabby chic barn room with a classic chandelier that mentally transports you to the French countryside.

 

Brunch in Fort Langley, Canada 89

 

Brunch in Fort Langley, Canada 90

 

We caught a glimpse of yet another dreamy room which I would call the Swiss Chalet room - walls out of wood panels and the decoration white as snow. I'm so taken by this Little White House, I could move in right away!

 

Brunch in Fort Langley, Canada 91

 

Completely in love with this place within the first 10 seconds, I couldn't wait to have a look at the menu and discovered that they offered a wide selection of coffees and teas, together with French-inspired brunch items. Like every good morning, I started with a delicious latte.

 

Brunch in Fort Langley, Canada 92

 

The first thing that jumped out at me on the menu was a description of their high tea spread! Who could resist having a proper high tea in a setting that transports you right back to a charming European farmhouse!?

We decided to reserve high tea for another day and instead ordered everything from eggs and bacon to soup, salad, and crepes - and it was all delicious!

 

Brunch in Fort Langley, Canada 93

 

If you think about going, make sure you make a reservation as they don't have a lot of tables and the Little White House was (unsurprisingly) busy with food lovers and fellow Instagrammers looking for their next hip place to write about.

 

We decided to walk off our plentiful breakfast and enjoy the crisp winter air together with the last rays of sun in 2017.

We visited the local cranberry store where everything is cranberry - jam, pies, salsa, hot sauce, everything ...

(I'm wearing my new coat from Ever New which I love! They are currently only in Canada but their parent company Forever New ships to the U.S.)

 

Brunch in Fort Langley, Canada 94

 

Admired more Christmas decorations ...

 

Brunch in Fort Langley, Canada 95

 

And did some reflective pondering - and window shopping - in the final hours of 2017.

 

Brunch in Fort Langley, Canada 96

 

The perfect end to 2017!


 

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