From cosy mountain lodges surrounded by snow, to epic adventures in the Canadian Rockies, this travel guide will help you plan the ultimate romantic getaway in Alberta in winter.
It’s a big year for me. This summer I’ll be getting married. Not only have we been busy planning our wedding, but there have also been plenty of conversations about honeymoons. It’s going to be a difficult decision to make, but while we’re deciding, it felt like the perfect opportunity to give some of my posts a romantic theme.
Over the last few years, I’ve been to some truly incredible places, and some of them just scream HONEYMOON. Alberta, Canada is one of them.
A romantic winter getaway in Alberta
There’s something so special about Alberta in winter. The scenery is spectacular all year round, but a layer of snow, some bright blue skies, and cosy places to stay, make winter my favourite time of year to visit.
Whether you’re planning a winter honeymoon, or fancy a romantic weekend with your other half, I’ve got plenty on suggestions. They all involve making the most of your time together, getting closer to nature, and coming face to face with some of the most mesmerising views you’ll ever see.
In terms of where to stay, I’d recommend pairing Banff and Lake Louise with some more remote spots where you’ll find some of Alberta’s picturesque lodges. More on those coming up.
I’d also recommend hiring a car for your trip. It’s great to be on your own schedule, plus some places would be impossible to reach without your own set of wheels. Added to that, you’ll feel like you’re in a Christmas rom-com, driving along the snowy Icefields Parkway together, belting out a few power ballads!
Stay in a romantic log cabin in Alberta
One of my favourite parts of planning a romantic getaway in Alberta is choosing the accommodation. From remote lodges, to charming log cabins, there are SO many cosy places to stay in during the winter.
Storm Mountain Lodge is one of my favourites. After collecting our key from reception, we drove down a snowy lane into a forest. There we discovered our adorable wooden log cabin, also covered in a thick blanket of snow.
The restaurant was cosy too, with a roaring fire and friendly service. We spent an evening munching our way through a charcuterie platter, washed down with spicy Bloody Marys.
That evening we snuggled up closer than ever, with the scent of firewood in the air, illuminated by a warm amber glow, with an occasional crackle from the fireplace. It was so romantic!
Ride the Banff Gondola for some epic mountain views
Take a ride up Sulphur Mountain to a height of 2281m on the Banff Gondola and you’ll see exactly why I adore visiting Alberta in winter. The panoramic views of the region are absolutely mind-blowing.
The journey up takes around ten minutes and tickets cost 53 CAD. Once at the top there are several walkways and platforms with different vantage points.
If you and your other half love photography, you’ll be snap happy for a long time up here! As well as the mountains, you can see endless forests, frozen lakes and of course, the charming town of Banff.
No doubt you’ll get pretty chilly, so I’d recommend popping into the Northern Lights Café in the welcome centre for a coffee or a hot chocolate. As café views go, this one is hard to beat!
Relax and unwind together in Banff Upper Hot Springs
What better way to relax after some snowy adventures than with a dip in Banff’s thermal waters. With water temperatures between 37 and 40 degrees, it’s the perfect place to head in the afternoon after a day’s hiking, skiing or snowboarding.
When I visited, it was filled with couples, enjoying the views of the snow-topped Rockies from the comfort of the warm waters. It’s also very close to the Banff Gondola, so you could easily visit both in the same afternoon.
Go for a snowy hike and see a frozen waterfall
A honeymoon in Banff is perfect for adventure lovers, and I’d recommend heading out on a few hikes during your romantic getaway. One of Banff National Park’s most popular spots is Johnston Canyon.
The walk is relatively easy, and along the way you’ll be rewarded with views of the rugged canyon, alpine forests and two spectacular waterfalls.
The waterfalls freeze completely in winter. Once you see the Upper Falls, you’ll be amazed by how large they are, and what a spectacle to see it frozen solid. You might even spot some ice climbers hanging off the edge.
Go on a romantic helicopter ride over the Canadian Rockies
Take to the skies in a helicopter and see the snowy mountains from a whole new perspective, all while cosying up to your loved one. This unforgettable trip with Rockies Heli Canada takes you over the stunning Rocky mountains, glaciers and the River Cline.
We booked the winter heli snowshoe package, which included a stop in a hidden valley, where we snowshoed through pine forests illuminated by low golden rays, before warming up with a hot chocolate.
It was the highlight of my entire trip to Alberta. Effortlessly gliding over peak after peak, taking in the vastness of the scenery, and landing back at the heliport with some incredible shared memories.
Explore the picturesque town of Banff
Banff is a charming town, with a main street, lots of shops, bars and restaurants and a nice buzz. It’s touristy, but not in a trashy way.
I’d recommend spending a few nights in the town itself as it’s nice to be able to walk to different restaurants, and offers the perfect contrast to Alberta’s remote lodges. We stayed in Moose Hotel and Suites, a modern hotel with a rooftop swimming pool and hot tub. Another favourite in the area is Rimrock Resort Hotel, a large hotel with mountain views.
If you’re looking for a date night spot in Banff, head to Saltlik. With expert mixologists and a cosy atmosphere, it’s a great place to unwind with a cocktail and toast your new life together!
Spend a night at a luxurious 5-star hotel in Alberta
There are a couple of hotels in Alberta which are obvious choices for honeymooners. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise offers uninterrupted views over Lake Louise and the mountains, and has a fairy-tale castle exterior. It oozes luxury, and is a great option for honeymoons in Banff National Park.
Meanwhile, the Fairmont Banff Springs (located close to Downtown Banff), is similarly as castle-like in its appearance, and has the bonus of being close to the town’s action. Both hotels are luxurious, iconic and have top spas, fine-dining restaurants and epic views.
Try an adventurous winter activity in Alberta
Nothing will bring you closer to your other half than a shared feeling of fear, followed by a sense of achievement! Why not crank up the adrenaline on your winter honeymoon with a challenging new activity?
We decided to give ice climbing a go on our trip, something neither of us had tried before. We visited an area close to Canmore with Yamnuska Mountain Adventures, where we learned how to scale a frozen waterfall, using ice axes and crampons.
We finished the day on an adrenaline high, celebrating our achievements!
If you want to try something a little less challenging, I’d recommend snow tubing at Mount Norquay. You can link your tube to your other half’s, and whizz down the icy slopes together! It’s guaranteed to make you giggle, scream and want to do it ALL over again!
Enjoy a gourmet dinner in Alberta
Regardless of whether you stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise on your romantic getaway in Alberta, I’d recommend booking a table for dinner at Deer Lodge. It’s moments away from the lake, and renowned for its exceptional cuisine.
We sat by the window, enjoying the chef’s culinary wizardry with regional produce, including elk steaks and Alberta beef. All the dishes we delicious, and there was something so special about enjoying a romantic meal while looking out of a window framed with snow and icicles.
Deer Lodge is one of my favourite restaurants in Alberta for a romantic dinner, and a must-visit if you’re celebrating your honeymoon.
Ice skate together on Lake Louise
You’ve probably seen photos of Lake Louise in summer. It’s one of the most popular places to visit in Alberta, with its bright turquoise water and mountain backdrop. While you won’t see its famous colours in winter, you will get to enjoy the lake in a different way – by ice skating on it!
I’ll admit I’m more of a Bambi on skates, but I enjoyed watching everyone speed around on the ice, in front of the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
I hope this post helps you plan your romantic getaway in Alberta. Reminiscing about our trip has just made our honeymoon decision a whole lot harder! If you’re looking for other places to visit, you could also spend a few days in Jasper National Park or, as the winter snow thaws, take a trip to see Moraine Lake.
Before booking your flights to Alberta, make sure you apply for an official Canadian Government ETA. It costs just $7.50 and you can apply via this link.
Read my other posts on visiting Alberta, Canada…
Incredible things to do in Banff for non-skiers
Read this before visiting Banff in winter – clothing, driving, prices and info
Helicopter tour over the Canadian Rockies, Alberta
The ultimate Edmonton travel guide
The best restaurants in Edmonton, Alberta
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