You fly to Calgary, where you will be met on arrival and transferred to the hotel.
Today we start our spectacular journey from Calgary across the gently rolling prairies of Alberta and soon the amazing slate-grey, snow-capped peaks of the Rockies come into view. Our hotel for the next three nights is the three-star superior Banff Park Lodge, in the spa resort of Banff. With its wood-panelled interior, cozy fireplace and excellent indoor pool, our hotel is an easy 5-minute stroll into the centre of this attractive small town.
This morning our breathtaking journey is along the Icefields Parkway, one of the most spectacular roads in the world, with stunning mountain vistas. Our first stop is famous Lake Louise, completely encircled by high peaks, perhaps the most photographed view in the Rockies. We then take in Peyto Lake, one of the world’s most beautiful azure-blue glacial waters. Finally we see the Columbia Icefield, the largest in the Rockies, covering an area of over 200 square miles with depths of over 1,000 feet. We’ll ride on a giant ‘Snocoach’ (weather permitting) across the Athabasca Glacier for a closer inspection of the massive crevasses before returning to Banff.
Today we have a free day. Why not take a leisurely ‘float’ trip on the Bow River or a dip in Banff’s relaxing hot springs. There are also helicopter trips on offer, or perhaps a ride up to the top of Sulphur Mountain at 7,500 feet on the Banff gondola. Several walks commence from the peak and there’s also a restaurant with an open-air terrace. Also very popular is afternoon tea at the magnificent Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, built in the style of a massive Scottish baronial castle.
This morning we set off on what is one of the world’s greatest train journeys! Boarding the Rocky Mountaineer you’ll be led to your assigned comfortable reclining seats, with plenty of legroom and large panoramic windows. The train begins its spectacular two-day 585-mile journey following the wide Bow River valley before crossing the Continental Divide at Kicking Horse Pass. Next come the famed spiral tunnels, an engineering marvel built 100 years ago, and as we follow the Columbia River we cross the dramatic 500-foot steel span of Stoney Creek bridge. The excellent on-board commentary highlights the intriguing history of the towns en route and the building of the railway itself. Meals in SilverLeaf Class include excellent hot meals served at your seat on each day including complimentary snacks, tea and coffee, non-alcoholic drinks, plus beer and house wine with lunch, all served at your seat (bar service at extra cost). Upgrade to the excellent GoldLeaf Services and their impressive Dome carriages. Our overnight stay is in a range of medium-class hotels in the town of Kamloops.
We continue our journey to Vancouver. Following the Fraser and Thomson River canyons, passing the Jaws of Death Gorge, Avalanche Alley and Hell’s Gate Canyon, we criss-cross the river many times as we travel through some of British Columbia’s most scenic country. We finally reach Vancouver during the afternoon after our once-in-a-lifetime journey. Our hotel for the next two nights is the three-star superior Coast Coal Harbour Hotel in downtown Vancouver, close to the main shopping areas and the harbour front promenade.
Vancouver regularly features as one of the world’s most naturally beautiful cities: the blue of the Pacific Ocean with its picturesque harbour, the glass skyscrapers reflecting the sunlight and the lush coastal mountains form a stunning backdrop. This morning we tour the city stopping at Stanley Park, with its famous collection of totem poles and Prospect Point, which offers lovely views. The afternoon is at leisure - there’s plenty to see and do in this sophisticated city. A popular, easy walk starts from Vancouver’s waterfront pedestrian promenade to the huge expanse of Stanley Park. The path continues along the seashore and offers stunning vistas across the bay until you reach English Bay’s sandy beach, a lovely spot to watch the sunset.
This morning is at leisure. Those returning home will transfer to the airport at the appropriate time for their flight, arriving next morning.
You arrive back in the UK.