Banff would have to be one of the most beautiful places to explore in Canada, maybe even the world. The presence of the Rocky Mountains provides a certain serenity and calmness. As well it’s cute little boutique shops, gift shops or hidden malls creates an enjoyable experience as you tour downtown Banff. Not to mention the various and unique restaurants in the heart of this buzzing beautiful place. International cuisines are present, whether you’re craving for Korean barbecue, Japanese food, good ol’ American burgers or Mediterranean dishes; you’ll definitely never go hungry.
When we arrived at Banff, we went straight to Sulphur Mountain for the gondola ride. This mountain is probably one of the most popular attraction choices, because it showcases the true beauty of Banff. I’m not kidding you, once you’re at the top of the mountain it is truly something else. It’s as if you’re inside at one of those Canadian postcards being sold in gift shops. The picturesque view is quite breathtaking. Other than the rocky mountains greeting you at the top, there is also a chance that you’d encounter different kinds of wildlife. I personally adore the little chipmunk lookalikes that tend to roam around at the top of Sulphur Mountain (I think they’re called Gold Mantled Ground Squirrel).
Afterwards, we ended up touring and walking around Banff. As you stroll your way through downtown, you have the choice of whether you just want browse or actually buy from the numerous souvenir shops or branded stores. Let’s say you’re feeling a little peckish, there are also lots of snacking options. If you have the chance, do try and get an ice cream from Cows! Although the lineup can be tedious, I promise the ice cream is worth it in the end. Not only do they have unique flavours, but the taste of the ice cream itself is so creamy. However, if you’re not up for a cold treat, try some ‘beaver tails.’ Beaver tails are a type of dough pastries with your choice of toppings on top, in fact this Canadian company (BeaverTails) also serves other foods (poutine, drinks, and frozen treats).
Since we were only there for literally only one day (the day including 4 hrs of travel time) and one night, I was only able to go to one of the well rated restaurants in downtown. It’s called Balkan which serves traditional Greek cuisine with the promise of a friendly and welcoming dining atmosphere. Indeed Balkan did not disappoint, because as soon as you entered, the entire place was buzzing. We were happily greeted by the host and he quickly directed us to our table. In fact, we were so surprised that they still allowed us in the restaurant since we came just short of fifteen minutes before their closing time. If you love authentic Greek dishes I highly recommend Balkan! The menu is straightforward and many of their recipes have been passed down from generations (so you’re really getting a real home cooked meal). As well, our waiter was incredibly helpful because not only did he answered any questions, he was also very knowledgable on explaining the dishes they offered. Overall, Balkan had really delicious Greek food; however, do keep in mind that your main course may take a little longer especially if you’re with a big group. So if you’re really hungry, it would be wise to order an appetizer. Therefore, you can enjoy your conversations, without feeling starving.
The morning before we left, we decided to tour a little bit of the well known Fairmount Banff Springs. If you ever wanted to see what it would be like to be royalty, then this luxurious hotel is the answer. Literally called as Canada’s “Castle on the Rockies”, because that is precisely what it looks like. So if you have a bigger budget and desire a little bit of luxury experience, this hotel could definitely be treat.
Finally, after spending about an hour just touring around Fairmont and being captivated by it’s medieval-like interior, it was time to bid goodbye. If ever you feel like you want to get away from bustle of the city, Banff is great choice. Escape to the rocky mountains and enjoy the beauty nature has to offer.