With sweeping vistas of the Rocky Mountains in its backyard and commanding views of turquoise lakes fed by nearby glaciers, Alberta is what the Canadian great outdoors is all about. With a plethora of national parks scattered around the southwestern part of the province there are endless hiking opportunities and great chances of glimpsing wildlife in their natural habitat.
Situated in southwestern Alberta, Waterton Lakes National Park is where the prairies meet the mountains. It is nestled right on the border just north of Montana's Glacier National Park. Together, these two parks formed the first ever International Peace Park to better preserve and protect the shared ecosystem.
I flew down to Calgary with my good friend A and spent the last four days in Banff National Park. We initially booked a campsite at the Two Jack Main Campground, but the forecast was calling for rain overnight and we didn't want to pack up a wet tent in the morning. Plus it was cold. Instead, we headed back to Calgary to spend our final day of our trip out west.
Banff National Park is the birthplace of national parks in Canada. It is nestled in the Rocky Mountains and features mountainous terrain, alpine landscapes, glaciers, ice fields, turquoise glacial lacks and an abundance of wildlife. Basically all the great things you'd want while camping and hiking.
Presqu'ile is the French word for peninsula. It is situated along the north shore of Lake Ontario near Brighton and features one of the larger wetlands along the lake. It contains forests, marshes and sand dunes, leading to diverse vegetation, ecosystems and habitats for the flora and fauna in the park. It also features a long sandy beach making this an ideal spot to swim, hike, and camp.
Charleston Lake is located in South Eastern Ontario, just north of the St. Lawrence River. The rocky lake and surrounding forest area are an extension of the Canadian Shield, one of the largest and oldest geologic continental shields in the world. The shores as well as the islands of this lake are a mix between private property and the provincial park. Nevertheless, it is one of the best provincial parks in Ontario that is relatively close to Toronto for fishing, swimming, boating and camping.
Located along the east coast in Maine, Acadia National Park offers a variety of hikes that weave their way up and around mountains, through wooded areas and along a rocky coastline, all the while providing sweeping views overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Acadia is one of our favourite parks in North America. This trip marked our third visit in the past three years. We visited last year during the same time and the year before in the fall. The hiking (and views) never get old.
Vienna is often referred to as the City of Music and was once home to many famous composers, including Mozart and Beethoven. It is also referred to as the City of Dreams and is regarded for its high quality of life, which may have something to do with its famous Viennese coffee houses and cake, and has been ranked the most liveable city in the world for the past decade. The city centre is free from skyscrapers, dotted with historic buildings, and is great for walking around.
Nestled within the Alps, this charming Austrian city offers breathtaking views of the mountains. Salzburg is also well known for its charming architecture (the historic centre of Salzburg is included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site), being the birthplace of the classical composer Mozart, and for the filming of (one my favourite movies of all time) The Sound of Music. The hills really are alive with the sound of music.
Prague has been a political, cultural, educational and economic centre of central Europe for many centuries. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Holy Roman Empire, Czechoslovakia and now the Czech Republic. For that reason it is home to a number of historic sites and monuments. The historical centre in Prague with all its charm, beauty, and cobblestoned streets has been included as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.