A town or a national park – confused?
Banff is a small resort town located in the heart of a large nature preserve of the same name – which of course creates much confusion. It’s nice to see how the town manages its affairs harmoniously within the park, as much as possible. You can find diverse accommodations, restaurants, shops, and even clubs, god forbid, but it still maintains a small-town character, and the Park’s management prevents it from expanding into a city or a larger commercial center.
The Park’s management also tries to dictate minimal impact on the environment, as much as possible, and so the town has meticulous construction rules and strict limitations to preserve the ecosystem. Banff prides itself on its impressive recycling rates, and for similar reasons it is incredibly friendly for pedestrians and bicyclists. Only people working in town are allowed to live there, and local businesses are required to arrange accommodations for their employees. Really? Really.
The story behind Banff
Banff’s story (and the Banff National Park) starts with the laying of the railroad in 1880. About three years later, three railroad workers have discovered the local hot springs (see additional details below), which quickly became a tourist attraction and created the need for additional services for visitors. From that point on, and especially since the town became accessible by highway, it quickly became a tourist center.
Banff itself was established in 1885. The easiest way to get to Banff is by driving independently. The closest airport is in Calgary (about 90 minutes by car). If you don’t want to drive, some companies run regular daily shuttles between Calgary airport and Banff, for about $50.
- Banff Aspen Lodge
- Banff Hot Springs
- The Old Spaghetti Factory
- Bruno’s Cafe & Grill
A pleasant hotel in the center of Banff, offering elegant rooms for a sane price. Two outdoor hot tubs (don’t worry, there’s an outdoor fireplace to keep you warm). Most rooms have balconies overlooking the view.