JOIN ME IN AN INTERVIEW WITH MAYURI KASHYAP FROM ALBERTA !
Mayuri is a Business Management professional based in Edmonton, Alberta. The resort town of Banff is four hours drive away from Edmonton. Originally from India, Mayuri moved to Canada to finish her Masters Degree and have been calling it home ever since. Mayuri works full time and encourages people to travel even with busy schedules. She blogs her travel stories and tips on tosomeplacenew.com. Her blog has series of short term itineraries and weekend getaway guides to suit travellers with hectic lifestyles. Mayuri travels with her husband Salil, who is also the mastermind behind the camera.
Which is the best month to visit Banff and why?
Banff is beautiful and unique both in summers and winters. During summers, locals and tourists can access all hiking trails, canoe in the beautiful lakes, stroll the streets of Banff Ave and enjoy the sunshine. During winters, ski, snowboarding, Christmas markets are in abundance. If you have to visit Banff once, then do that during the summer months where you can see the turquoise blue waters and when roads and all hiking trails are accessible.
Which is the most convenient and favoured transport to reach Banff?
In order to reach to Banff, you will be flying to a major city like Calgary or Edmonton – both cities have international airports. Calgary is convenient as it is located just an 1.50 hours away from Banff. Shuttle buses or car is the best way to reach Banff. To explore in and around the Banff national park, car is the best mode of transport.
How many days does one need to see Banff and nearby places of interest?
Three days should be enough to see Banff and other nearby attractions. If hiking, five days.
What are the top 3 must visit places in Banff?
Moraine Lake – Moraine Lake is one of the beautiful lakes located in Banff National Park. Its turquoise blue waters make it a perfect photographer’s delight. The best time to visit Moraine Lake is during summers. The lake is located at a high elevation of 1883 metres, so access to it during winters is closed. By May-June, the lake slowly sheds its white-wintery coat leading to blue turquoise glow. You can canoe at the lake (rent or bring your own) or hike in and around the around. You will find the Moraine Lake on our 20$ Canadian bills. There is no additional fee to enter the lake-site other then the Banff Park fees.
Banff Gondola – Not everyone who visits Banff likes to hike. But you should not be missing out the scenic views for not hiking. Here is where the Banff Gondola helps you. Gondola rides or cableway ride takes you to the summit of the Sulphur Mountain. You will skip through the hiking trails and at the viewing decks you will see the stunning Banff town, rivers, forests and the Fairmont Banff hotel. The Banff Gondola is open all year long. There is an entry fee of $55 CAD.
Vermilion Lakes – Vermillion Lakes is located just minutes away from the downtown Banff area/Banff Avenue. This lake has great views of the Mount Rundle (you can also see this mountain from most parking lots in Banff). Vermillion lakes with the mountain backdrop make for a stunning Banff landscape. During winters, you will also see Northern lights here and during summers, watch the sun go down from the lake shore. This is definitely a must visit item of Banff, close to the town and very easily accessible as well.
Which are the best places to explore near Banff?
Canmore – Canmore is like a sister city to Banff. Located just 20 minutes outside of Banff – it is a perfect resort town to unwind and relax. There are local buses and Banff; Lake Louise tourism also operates tours for sightseeing activities.
Lake Louise – The hamlet of Lake Louise makes you fall in love with Canada. This place if your picture perfect little town in the countryside. Located 50 minutes outside of Banff. There are local buses and Banff & Lake Louise tourism also operates tours for sightseeing activities.
Calgary – Considered as one of the best places to live in the world, Calgary is located 1.50 hrs away from Banff. It is a commercially important city in Canada.
Icefields Parkway – Located about 2 hours away from Banff, Icefields Parkway showcases one of Canada’s finest treasure. The Icefields Parkway joins the hamlet of Lake Louise with the Town of Jasper in Jasper National Park. It is one of the most scenic highways in the world. Brewster Canada operates tours to Columbia Icefield which is one of the major attractions here.
Where do the locals eat, drink and shop in Banff? Which is the local craft, product or souvenir in Banff?
Banff Ave is the heart of the city. If you are strolling through Banff Ave, make sure you enter one of the many candy stores or even Beaver Tail (Obama’s favorite on his recent visit to Canada/Ottawa) for a quick bite. Popular restaurants include Rocky Mountain Coffee Shop, Juniper Restaurant, Magpie and Stump, Nourish (vegetarian), Banff Ave Brewing Co.,WhiteBark Cafe, the Balkan, the Maple Leaf. It is lined with activity centres, shops and restaurants of all kinds. You will also find great accommodation options here as well.
Banff Ave has a lot of souvenir stores which are very affordable and wallet friendly. In the Banff Ave you will also find Cascade mall – where you can find branded clothing. Bear Street is another favorite with tourists and locals alike. Banff is popular for its jewels/gems, art by local artists and winter wear. Dream-catcher and beaver related souvenirs are very popular as well. During summers, every Wednesday, there is a farmer’s market which showcases local specialities – food, arts and crafts. A must visit in the summer.
Is Banff vegetarian friendly? What is the most loved local food, savory and sweet?
Yes. Nourish is a unique restaurant and also one of the most popular. Best time to visit are lunch hours. There are Indian restaurants (Indian Curry) located in the city as well which serves vegetarian dishes.
Anything with maple syrup or candies to start with! You gotta try our delicious coffee – WhiteBark Cafe. Grab bread at Rocky mountain house. Try some local beer at our bars. The Maple Leaf has the best Alberta Prime New York style steak. It is served with beer battered onion rings and mashed potatoes.
Which is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Banff?
Christmas is the most widely celebrated holiday of the year! Festivities begin as early as November. In mid- November, Christmas markets are set up. Christmas parade also occurs at this time in November. The entire town rejoices to Christmas Carols. Around this time, Canadian Pacific Rail runs through the Canadian Rockies (Banff) with food items and makes its way from Montreal to the west coast of Canada. Many ice festivals and ice sculpture competition occur in the city during winters, making Christmas all the more special.
Do you recommend any walking tours or travel photography tours in Banff to the visitors?
There are many options for guided walking tours or short hiking tours within the National Park in Banff. Banff Tours conducts both city walking tours and photography tours. Sunset photography tours are an option as well. Premium photography workshops are offered by Banff Photo Workshops at https://www.banffphotoworkshops.com/
Would you recommend any popular local apps to tourists in Banff? Any other suggestions for tourists?
Roam Transit (local transit) is a great way to explore Banff and nearby areas.
Utilise the shuttle services to access the city. Banff also has lots of activities for non-hikers. Consider visiting Cascade gardens (free entrance) or Hot Springs.