Named time and time again among the most desirable destinations in the world, breathtaking Banff and Lake Louise need to be experienced first-hand to be truly appreciated. And the experience is even more enjoyable when shared with someone special.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day adventure, a picturesque couple’s vacation for lasting memories, or a spot to make the perfect proposal, the stunning scenery of Banff National Park offers the ideal backdrop.
Here are 11 experiences in Banff and Lake Louise to sweep your loved one off their feet, or just to share some quality time. Note: even if you’re happily single, these experiences are worth checking out. You might even find love on-mountain at Mt Norquay’s Lifts of Love speed-dating event this February!
Romance in Lake Louise
1. Skate on frozen Lake Louise
When Lake Louise freezes over each winter, it transforms into one of the world’s most beautiful skating rinks, as ranked by CNN. Framed by a thick layer of snow with the stunning backdrop of Victoria Glacier behind you, it’s the also perfect couple’s photo opportunity.
Entry is free to skate on the lake, and inexpensive skate rentals are available in-hotel at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, just behind the lake. Once you’ve returned your skates, head to the Chateau’s Lakeview Lounge for stunning views and an outstanding meal.
2. Share a scenic ride in the snow
Explore the winter wonderland of Lake Louise from a different viewpoint with the wind in your hair. For a magical way to tour the area, group and private horse-drawn sleigh rides are available to the end of Lake Louise underneath stunning Victoria Glacier. For an equally enjoyable, higher energy option, discover the local scenery with a dog sled ride.
3. Discover spectacular views and unforgettable skiing at Lake Louise Ski Resort
For panoramic mountain views and excellent ski runs, grab a lift ticket and head to Lake Louise Ski Resort. Take any of the lifts to the top of the resort and you’ll be wowed by the breathtaking scenery, with unlimited beautiful quiet spots to share a special moment with your loved one. To make it super memorable, take the Glacier Express to enjoy the views from the mid-mountain lookout, or experience a sightseeing ride up the Grizzly Express Gondola. If getting high above it all is important to you, ride the aptly named The Top of the World Chair, Paradise Chair or Summit Platter for a complete 360 degree panoramic view and the perfect proposal perch that you’ll never forget.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite from skiing or riding, head to the upscale Whitehorn Bistro for the resort’s best on-mountain dining with a view.
4. Experience Mt Norquay from day to night
Mt Norquay ski resort is known for its outstanding accessibility to the town of Banff, excellent ski runs and popular tube park. But did you know that it’s also open after dark in winter to keep the fun going into the night? If you’re a fan of staying active on your date nights, try night skiing or night tubing for an evening thrill that’s perfect for two.
Also during winter, Mt Norquay’s Cliffhouse Bistro opens for just one night per month for its exclusive Moonlight Dinner – and it’s worth the wait. Both the food and the views are sure to impress. After your meal, head to the lookout for the most spectacular viewpoint at the resort. It’s the perfect quiet place to share a special moment with your loved one.
Engagement surprise at the top of Mt Norquay in Banff National Park, January 2017
Love was in the air at Mt. Norquay Banff today! Big congratulations to Jessica and Ben! What better place to propose than in Banff National Park at 2090m/6857ft? #SkiBig3Posted by Ski Banff Canada's Big 3 on Friday, January 27, 2017
5. Discover alpine ambiance and incredible snow at Sunshine Village Ski Resort
With the longest non-glacial ski season in North America, Sunshine Village is known for its excellent snow and alpine views. It’s also home to the popular Sunshine Mountain Lodge, Banff’s only ski-in, ski-out mountain hotel – ideal for couples looking for ultra-convenient access to the slopes, and the ability to ride the first chairlift of the day, minutes after breakfast.
At the top of every chairlift you’ll find breathtaking views to share with your beloved. For one of the best, head to the top of the Divide Chair: here you will find yourself right on the Continental Divide in between two provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. What better place to tell the one you love how special they are, than overlooking endless ranges of the Canadian Rocky Mountain peaks?
If you’re visiting Sunshine Village on Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to snap a photo with your loved one on the Love Chair and hashtag #SSVLoveChair on social media.
6. Take a scenic drive close to town
A comfortable walk from the town of Banff, head to the Surprise Corner viewpoint lookout for stunning views above Bow Falls across to the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs. It’s a beautiful spot to take in the mountain air together.
If you have access to a car, the short drive up the Norquay road takes you to a well known romantic viewpoint. Here you’ll find two iconic Parks Canada red chairs where you can sit back and share panoramic views of the town and across to Mt Rundle.
7. Stay in style and share a memorable meal
For memorable food and mountain lodge ambiance, stay to at Buffalo Mountain Lodge and dine at the Sleeping Buffalo. Enjoy a cozy romantic dinner in their quiet location on Tunnel Mountain, just minutes from downtown Banff.
Want to avoid the crowds and discover a quiet and intimate spot just a short drive from town? Head to The Juniper Hotel & Bistro, known for both exceptional dining and accommodation. Located at the start of the road to Mt Norquay, The Juniper is a popular choice for a memorable meal before or after a big ski day.
If you’re diehard foodies with a taste for quality, The Rimrock Hotel is not to be missed. Known for the most luxurious meals in Banff, the hotel’s Eden Restaurant is famous for its claim as the only five-diamond restaurant in Western Canada, and one of just four in the whole of the country. The 7-course Chef’s Tasting Menu with wine pairing is a meal you will never forget. If money is no object, you can take the experience to its greatest heights with Eden’s most exclusive offering: the Grand Degustation.
For Banff’s most iconic luxury accommodation, head to the fairytale-beautiful Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Whether you choose to stay overnight, visit for an exquisite meal, to explore the grounds of this breathtaking property, (or all of the above), a visit to the “Castle in the Rockies” is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.
8. Relax with a couple’s massage or hot pool soak
If relaxation is high on your agenda, treat yourself and your loved one to an indulgent couple’s massage. One of Banff’s newest hotels, the Moose Hotel & Suites is a popular accommodation option as well as the home of the popular Meadow Spa where you can share a decadent pampering session.
The Moose is also known for its luxurious outdoor hot pool, the perfect place for couples to share a steaming hot soak. The Banff Upper Hot Springs and Fox Hotel & Suites hot pool are also local favourites to soothe tired muscles and warm up in winter.
Insider tip: you’ll receive free access to the Banff Upper Hot Springs when you purchase a SkiBig3 lift ticket valid for 3 days or more.
Wider Banff National Park
9. Curl up at a cozy mountain lodge
Want to head off the beaten path and stay somewhere that’s extra peaceful and secluded? Storm Mountain Lodge is an ideal spot for a quiet and picturesque getaway, located on the drive between the town of Banff and the hamlet of Lake Louise.
Closer to Lake Louise, Baker Creek Mountain Resort is another popular and cozy out-of-town lodge where couples can discover perfect rocky mountain cabin ambiance.
10. Explore the wild beauty of Canada’s first National Park
What’s more beautiful than a pristine waterfall? A frozen one! Bundle up in your warmest layers (ideally ski gear) and head to one of Banff National Park’s most breathtaking locations. Located on the way to Lake Louise from the town of Banff, Johnston Canyon is known for its spectacular ice-blue frozen waterfalls. Take an icewalk tour (don’t worry – you’ll be walking on a steel walkway next to the ice, but not directly on top of it). Or you can rent a car and explore the area on your own terms. Don’t forget your camera for this one!
Two Jack Lake is another local favourite spot to experience Banff National Park’s natural beauty. Share the amazing views of Mt Rundle as you to take a leisurely walk then get comfy at the cute picnic table with some snacks from Wild Flour Café in Banff.
11. Take flight
If you’re the kind of couple whose idea of romance is a shared adrenaline rush, why not take to the skies? A scenic helicopter ride is an amazing way to see the panoramic views of Banff National Park with the one you love – or even an unforgettable way to propose.