Flights to Alberta
Alberta is a province in Canada and is situated towards the west of the country with British Columbia sitting between Alberta and the Pacific Ocean. To the east are the prairies and the province of Saskatchewan.
Alberta is one of Canada’s most popular provinces for visitors and it appeals for many reasons – the Rockies and the cities of Calgary and Edmonton are the major attractions though.
Alberta features two international airports – Calgary and Edmonton. Although Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta, Calgary airport (airport code: YYC) actually handles more flights and passengers, and is usually the more popular entry point for visitors to Alberta.
From South Africa there are numerous airlines offering flights to Calgary and these vary between one or two connections/stops depending on the airline. Airlines with one stop flights from Johannesburg to Alberta include Lufthansa, South African Airways and BMI. Lufthansa and SAA flights go via Frankfurt whilst BMI is via London. Two stop flights are available with Swiss, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, American Airlines, British Airways and United Airlines.
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The Tourist Attractions of Alberta:
Edmonton is the capital city of the province of Alberta, though it’s the second city in terms of size. Edmonton is often overlooked in favour of Calgary, though this probably has more to do with the proximity to the Rockies than most other things as both are attractive cities.
Edmonton is most famous for having the largest indoor shopping mall in North America, West Edmonton Mall. Over 900 stores, plus an amusement park, cinema, hotel, restaurants, skating rink, casino, nightclubs and more will keep you entertained for days! The mall really comes into its own during the winter as winters can be quite harsh in this part of Alberta.
Calgary’s most famous attraction in the Calgary Stampede, held in July every year over a period of ten days. The city goes ‘Stampede-mad’ and usually around 1 million tourists arrive. It’s quite a spectacle though, even if you’re not into rodeos and the like!
Other attractions in Calgary include the Calgary Tower. It’s not the tallest tower in Canada by any means, but on a clear day the views out to the Rockies are quite spectacular.
The Canadian Rockies
The most accessible and popular parts of the Canadian Rockies are located within Alberta, and Calgary makes a great starting point from which to travel into the Rockies. There are a great many attractions within the Rockies, the main attraction of course being the amazing scenery!
The must-sees include:
Banff – the famous and historic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel; riding the Banff Sightseeing Gondola for spectacular views of the Rockies and Banff town, and skiing in the winter.
Lake Louise – the most incredible blue water awaits you at Lake Louise, and another grand hotel – the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. There’s world-class skiing here and the Sightseeing Gondola for the summer months.
The Icefield Parkway and Columbia Icefield – the Icefields Parkway is nothing more than the main highway through the National Parks, except this isn’t quite true! You’ll see some of the most spectacular scenery in the world on your journey towards Jasper.
The Columbia Icefield is well worth stopping for. This is a huge glacier which you can actually journey onto if you take one of the tours from the visitor centre.
Jasper – another beautiful National Park with yet more stunning scenery, plus the small town of Jasper.
When Should You Visit?:
Alberta is a great destination to visit at any time of the year – there are excellent ski resorts here and travelling around on the main highways is usually not a problem in the winter as the roads are well looked after, but the cold temperatures might be an issue for you!
Summers can be lovely in Alberta though the weather can also be very changeable (as it can be in the winter too). The average high temperature in Banff in July is 22C.