Banff Tourist Questions
We thought it would be useful to collect a random selection of the top Banff tourist questions on a single page. Browse through and see if your questions have been asked by the scores of tourists that have blazed a trail to Banff before you!
If you have a question you would like to ask Banff Insider, please complete the question form at the bottom of the page. We will post your question and our response on this page.
Q: What is the best restaurant in Banff?
A: This is always a tough question, because it depends on so many factors for people. However, we will take a stab at it. If you enjoy fine dining, the best and most well-known restaurant in Banff is Le Beaujolais. Fantastic service, amazing food, and an enviable location and reputation make this a must. However, if you are not looking for fine french dining when you are in the mountains and want a truly unique Banff experience, you should try the Grizzly House. It is a rustic, fondue and hot rock, sizzling meat kind of place, with phones on every table so you can ask your fellow diners how their meals are.
To see our more in-depth review of these restaurants and others in Banff, visit our Banff restaurants page.
Q: What's the best way to get to Banff?
A: As there is no airport, you will likely need to come by car or bus. Calgary is the closest major centre with an international airport. You can get directions here.
Q: Will we see much wildlife in Banff?
A: This depends on what type of wildlife you want to see and how lucky you are. The odds are definitely high that you will see Mountain Sheep, as they tend to hang out on or near roads. There is also a high probability that you will see Elk or Deer, and maybe even some white Mountain Goats in the higher elevations. Obviously, other smaller wildlife like birds (whiskey jacks, magpies, etc.), squirrels, pikas, and so on abound. Please note that you should not approach or feed any animals. If you feed them, they may become too used to humans and Parks Canada will be forced to destroy them. Please also stay in your car - the zoom on your camera will get you close enough.
You can see a few photos of Banff wildlife here.
Q: Will we see bears?
A: Hopefully if you see bears you will only see them from a distance or in the safety of your car. Bear sitings are less common in the Town of Banff or in other relatively developed areas. Your chances of a bear siting improve the more off the beaten track you are. Please note that while most bears will want nothing to do with you, they will defend themselves or their young if they are startled and they are extremely dangerous. Do not approach bears. If you are planning a hiking trip, travel in a larger group and talk loudly so that you do not sneak up on and startle a bear. Parks Canada and Travel Alberta recommend groups of 6 or more.
Q: If you only had one day to see Banff, what would you do?
A: It is no small challenge to distill sightseeing in one of the greatest places on earth down to one day, but we'll try. From a purely sightseeing (and incredibly edible eating) tourist perspective, the absolute most bang for your travel day would be to drive on the Trans Canada highway from Banff to Lake Louise, which is arguably one of the most beautiful places on earth. Take a walk through and/or lunch at the Chateau Lake Louise before or after snapping numerous photos of the picture perfect Lake Louise. If it is summer, rent a canoe and paddle on the Lake for an hour. Drive back to Banff townsite in the early afternoon, enjoying the mountain scenery as you follow the Bow River. Once in Banff, do the Banff shopping walk to get a feel for that main mountain marche, Banff Avenue. After that, take a spin up to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel to see what all the fuss (and history) is about and then head up the Sulphur Mountain Gondola for an absolutely stupefyingly beautiful view of Banff. Then, take a pre-dinner dip in the natural mineral waters of the Banff Hot Springs, before shedding your swim suit for some nice jeans and heading out to any one of the many fine Banff Restaurants.
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