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Honeymoon in West Canada

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Jan 5th, 2012, 12:26 PM
  #1
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Honeymoon in West Canada

Hey everyone - I'm a bit new to all this so be gentle!

My finance and I are getting married on 5 May 2012 and we're flying out to Canada for our Honeymoon on 8 May 2012.

I've done a bit of research (but not loads, hence this new topic!) and the plan thus far is to fly into Calgary from London Heathrow, then spend around 16 days making our way down to Vancouver seeing as many of the highlights the west has to offer as we can, then for our final 5 days we want to find a luxurious, relaxing spot somewhere on the coast (not a million miles from Vancouver) where we can chill before travelling back to Vancouver for our flight back the UK on 29 May 2012.

Any advice on the best routes to take from Calgary to Vancouver would be much appreciated as well as the best and most exciting places to see on the way! Also any help on the last 5 days of the trip would go down a treat as I'm not sure where the best place to go would be?

As for us, we're in our mid twenties, we like good food, nice hotels, beautiful scenery and jaw dropping moments! I've heard Canada should deliver this in spades so we're very excited.

We're not doing this on a shoestring budget...it's our honeymoon! So any advice would be much appreciated...

Thanks in anticipation.
Urbmeister1 is offline  
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Jan 5th, 2012, 01:02 PM
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Find luxury hotels in Canadian Rockies at Perfect Escapes. The best hotel deals at four-star and five-star hotels in Canadian Rockies, Alberta. ... LXR Luxury Resorts;

http://www.perfectescapes.com/Luxury..._Rockies_.html

Fairmonts all tyhe way for me although I prefer the Pan Pacific in Vancouver there is also a nice Fairmont waterfront
and a fourseasons.com

When I did this last www.carrentals.com out of Calgary for me Banff Lake Louise maybe up fo Jasper if time then on to Vancouver.

classic.mapquest.com directions distances for route.

Congrats and Have fun!
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Jan 5th, 2012, 08:16 PM
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Congratulations!

Your easiest and quickest bet to travel from Calgary-Vancouver is just to take Highway 1 (aka the Trans-Canada Highway). It's your best route through the mountains.

On the way, I suggest the following:

1) Canmore and Banff. Banff National Park is world-famous, and has excellent restaurants, the hot springs, a gondola that gives you amazing photo opportunities, etc. The Grizzly House on Banff Ave. is a great fondue place (albeit with ridiculous 70's style decor). The Balkan is a restaurant on Banff Ave with outstanding Greek food. While in Banff, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is unbelievable, but the rooms themselves are ridiculously pried and outdated. I would suggest staying at the Rimrock Hotel in Banff instead, and hit up the Banff Springs for high tea or dinner at the Banffshire Club. Canmore is a small town that is about 20 minutes out of Banff (closer to Calgary), but the whole town is ski chalet-style, and there are lots of cute shops and cafes. Hotels are just as nice as Banff, but being outside the national park makes them a little more affordable.

2) Cheesy road trip stops through Golden and Roger's pass. These include the Enchanted Forest in Revelstoke (http://www.enchantedforestbc.com/), there's some kind of gold rush historical town or tourist attraction along the way, lots of fruit stands, etc. Really fun!

3) You also could detour slightly into Kelowna/Vernon (the Okanogan area) to check out some of the cute little towns and some nice resorts on the beautiful lakes. Prepare to see lots of orchards, mini golf/go karting, etc.

4) In Vancouver, see Granville Island, Stanley Park, etc. but also be ready for lots of shopping downtown! There are some phenomenal restaurants and some outstanding hotels downtown. Costs are high, but you pay for location (especially near Robson).

5) For your five days extra, I would highly recommend you take the ferry across to Vancouver Island and stay in Victoria or a smaller town up island (like Ladysmith, Nanaimo, etc.). Sidney is a charming town near the airport with lots of second-hang bookshops and fish and chips shops. Victoria has a lovely waterfront, great shopping and restaurants, and is really sweet. Plan a day back to Vancouver. There is a Fairmont hotel here (the Empress) that is right on the water.

Hope this helps! My fiance and I are getting married in July (we live close to Calgary), and we are doing the same drive for the week after our wedding!

P.S. I forgot! Make sure you also see Lake Louise as you're leaving Banff!
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Jan 7th, 2012, 07:54 AM
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For your final 5 days, you said you want "luxurious, relaxing" and "on the coast" and I also thought "Vancouver Island" as already suggested. But what came to my mind was the Tofino area: The town is charming and the area is unique and gorgeous - ancient temperate rainforests with giant trees, huge expanses of driftwood strewn beach (Pacific Rim National Park), whale-watching, tidepools, etc. The Wickaninnish Inn is famous and luxurious (you indicated budget isn't a concern) but there are other options, e.g. Pacific Sands Beach Resort, etc.

I don't know if time will be an issue as you indicated "not a million miles from Vancouver". The ferry and drive would take up a sizeable chunk of a day each way (but are both scenic).
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Jan 7th, 2012, 01:18 PM
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Wow thanks for this guys, that's really helpful.

@ Mat54 - The Wickaninnish Inn looks fabulous! That's a great shout, thank you!

@ cdnroadtripper - Firstly, congratulations and thanks for the itinerary suggestions, how long would you recommend staying in Lake Louise for? Or is it a place that can be visited in a day? I've read elsewhere that it's a very small place and not a great deal to do on an evening - being in our twenties we kinda want some nice restaurants, bars etc...

Have you been to Kamloops before? My initial thoughts were this: -

Land in Calgary and drive straight to banff, then head north to Lake Louise / Yoho, After that drive North to Jasper (I'm yet to look into what's to do up there!) then head south to Kamploops and Kelowna before arriving in Vancouver. then from the advice above it seems Victoria is worth a visit with the last few days in Tofino.

What I'm not sure of is how long to spend in each place?

Also does anyone know if the roads are safe in May? I've read a few conflicting reports about weather conditions at that time of year so any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks again guys, I've never considered seeking advice on a forum before but I'm a convert! It's fab!
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Jan 7th, 2012, 01:27 PM
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Also, what's Calgary like? Is it worth staying a night?
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Jan 7th, 2012, 07:04 PM
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You're getting conflicting reports about the roads in May because the conditions can vary from year to year. If there is a lot of snow fall during the winter, it may take some time to melt/clear. It can also snow (a little or a lot) in May. Spring snow storms are not uncommon.

The road to Moraine Lake (a very popular destination in Banff park near Lake Louise) is closed during the winter and usually opens in late May. You'd have to check with park staff closer to your arrival to see if it will be open while you're visiting.

What types of activities do you want to do during the day. Are you into hiking/outdoor activities or just casual sight seeing from places easily accessible by car?

Many of the hiking trails will not be open in May as they will still be snow bound. The hiking season usually starts end of May/beginning of June and some of the higher trails aren't accessible until July. Some of the lower elevation hikes may be open and there's better chance of that in Kananaskis Country (a very large multi-purpose area between Calgary and Banff park):

http://tpr.alberta.ca/parks/kananaskis/flashindex.asp

Lake Louise Village is a small collection of hotels and a small strip mall. If you're looking for night life, stay in Banff or Canmore and make daytrips to Lake Louise.

Calgary is a large city offering all the amenities/activities you'd expect from one (museums, theatre, night clubs, sports etc.). There are a number of activities that may appeal, but I'd need to know more about what you're interested in to be more helpful on that topic.

http://www.visitcalgary.com/
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Jan 8th, 2012, 11:56 AM
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Oooh, May is going to be the tail end of winter in the Rockies (the lakes will still be frozen, there will be snow at higher altitudes), but it's going to be late spring in Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

I would highly recommend Tofino as a

Victoria is nice, but you're coming from the UK, and Victoria will be the most like the UK in terms of architecture, greenery, and geography. Spend your relaxation time in/around Tofino - it's not a million miles from Vancouver, but it's definitely the most honeymoon-worthy destination for your time. Simply a jaw-dropping gorgeous part of Vancouver Island that cannot be replicated elsewhere where you'll be. That part of the coast is enchanting - ancient rainforests, undeveloped coastline, lush greenery, incredible wildlife, etc. It's primal.

Also, I like the Okanagan as a mid-way stop (Kelowna, Penticton, Naramata, Osoyoos) because it's completely different than anywhere else you'll be visiting. The mountains around the Rockies and the scenery around Vancouver will be impressive, but the Okanagan Valley breaks it up by offering a change in geography and climate - it's semi arid there and there are massive lakes with hillsides dotted with wineries and orchards. It's a very beautiful part of the province, especially if you love wine-tasting and visiting wineries. Hint, hint.
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Jan 9th, 2012, 10:44 PM
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I would endorse most all of the comments made above. However, Western Canada is huge and it can take a long time to get from place to place. Check out mileages and driving times on mapquest.com or maps. Google.com. On both sites go to “get directions” and put in some test to/from locations to get mileages and estimated time. You’ll have to be judicious to squeeze your itinerary into 16 days.

As others have said, be prepared to experience winter in the Rockies … major roads should be in fair shape by May, but there will still be snow many feet deep beside the road. But even in mid or late May it is possible to run into a snow storm at the higher elevations. Down near Vancouver it will be mid spring (though could be rainy).

Here is one of the better trip reports for that region that I’ve ever seen … may give you some ideas.
http://safaritalk.net/topic/7604-can...ind-of-safari/

Don’t miss the Icefields Highway. It is simply spectacular. You would drive half its length from Lake Louise to the Icefields and back in 1 day, or one way from Lake Louise to Jasper in one day, thence continuing to Kamloops. (Kamloops itself is a ... well, lets just say, its very nondescript.)

I would heartily recommend staying a night or two at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (very expensive). You may not want to stay longer … its relatively isolated and nothing else to do unless you like outdoor activities. But the mountain and lake setting is fantastic, and the restaurants in the Chateau are quite good.
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Jan 14th, 2012, 05:46 PM
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Hmmmmmmmmph... with three solid weeks, and allowing for the 5 days of 'chill' at the end, I think I would stay a night or two in Calgary, and then drive north to Edmonton (300km) for a couple of nights, and THEN set out westward to Jasper, and from there south along the Icefields Parkway (pending road conditions).

A night or two in the Lake Louise area as mentioned above... and then westward. Note: when you get to Kamloops, BC... tiz quite scenic to continue west on Hwy #97 and then south on Hwy #1 toward Hope, BC.

The hustle and bustle of Vancouver won't be far off beyond that, but the downtown area is compact-ish, and flat, given water on most sides, and it makes for quite a pleasant urban setting.

Consider day trips from Vancouver to Grouse Mountain and/or Whistler.

You might not even need to keep your vehicle once you arrive and get settled in Vancouver (esp. considering some $40-ish-per-day valet parking costs at hotels) Maybe a few days in the city and then take the bus to Victoria, which is a far more laid-back spot which may suit the 5 days you want at the end.

Hope this gives you more to consider.
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Jan 15th, 2012, 05:24 PM
  #11
 
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If you are from the UK please consider that we drive on the right hand side of the road here which along with possible bad weather and unfamiliar geography can make driving more stressful and exhausting so at the very least allow yourself lots of time . You might want to consider the train to Vancouver as as well: it is very relaxing and considered one of the best train rides in the world.

www.viarail.ca
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Jan 16th, 2012, 01:07 PM
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Banff! Banff! Banff! Gorgeous.
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