The Rocky Mountaineer
Vancouver, Seattle, Whistler, Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff and, of course, the Canadian Rockies – explore western Canada’s top scenic quarters by luxury train, with various itineraries to choose from, including the legendary east-to-west route from Vancouver to Banff and, in between, the awesome Canadian Rockies. This iconic journey crosses the national park along unique spiral tunnels, so the train can ‘climb’, whilst full-length dome windows and reclining seats provide a comfortable, front-row view of the sublime scenery.
Wedged between mountains and the ocean, Vancouver offers the usual city attractions, such as shops, restaurants, theatres and museums, plus a large dollop of additions in a spectacular setting. Discover beautiful woodlands, oceanfront beaches and open green spaces, including Stanley Park, and for more strolls and bike rides, follow the wonderful 18 kilometre paved trail that winds around the city. Travel by cable-car to the top of Grouse Mountain for panoramic views or ferry across to Vancouver Island, an unspoilt wilderness teeming with wildlife and a paradise for outdoor activities, including whale, seal and bear-watching, kayaking, horse-riding, fishing and hiking.
British Columbia promises amazing wildlife in pristine environments, its showpiece being Great Bear Rainforest, with the planet’s biggest temperate rainforest, glacier-topped mountains, immense granite cliffs and zigzagging fjords. Resident creatures include marine gems such as Sea Otters, dolphins and whales, while the estuaries bring Bald Eagles and Grizzly Bears with one thing in mind – fresh salmon. With luck you’ll spot the elusive, white-coated Kermode Bear, unique to the rainforest. A hotspot for marine-life is Tofino on Vancouver Island, where Grey Whales stock-up as part of their migration to the Arctic Ocean (from March to May) and ‘resident’ Grey and Humpback Whales loiter around between June and November.
Outdoor Adventure & Ski
Canada is a natural paradise for open-air adventures and our selected resorts of Whistler, Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise all offer a brilliant line-up. Visit in autumn for hiking, biking, fishing and scenic drives through gloriously golden landscapes or in winter when the slopes transform into world-class slopes of deep-powder snow for sensational snowsports. Spring is the best time for tours of the Canadian Rockies and its jaw-dropping sights, including the Columbia Icefield, while the summer is perfect for fast-paced action – rock-climbing, summer bobsleighing, cross-country biking, 4x4 tours and white-water rafting are just a few activities to get the adrenaline pumping.
The Canadian Rockies
The UNESCO World Heritage List features the Canadian Rockies and its seven parks, including Banff and Jasper. The natural splendour is simply spellbinding, with jagged mountain peaks, glaciers and icefields, lakes and waterfalls, Alpine meadows, huge cave systems and plunging canyons.
Straddling the British Columbia/Alberta border, this incredible glacial field is a giant, which you can tour in-depth thanks to a specially adapted vehicle. Expect to be dazzled by the show-stopping setting and keep an eye out for passing wildlife, including moose and bears.
A highlight of Banff National Park, Lake Louise promises truly eye-popping scenery, the waters of the lake being an impossibly turquoise shade, especially in summer. Wrapped in a breathtaking mountain backdrop, it’s little wonder the region has captured the hearts and imaginations of writers, artists and tourists for the last hundred or so years.
Take the stunning ‘Sea to Sky Highway’ from Vancouver for around two hours and you’ll arrive at North America’s premier ski resort, Whistler. Standout attractions include two fantastic mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb, boasting over 8,000 acres of skiable slopes and some 200 marked trails, not to mention a long ski season from November to May.
Black & White Adventure
For a truly astonishing and unique eco-safari experience in the wilds of rural western Canada and the Arctic, the Black & White eco-adventure is inspired by the hues of the creatures you'll encounter on your journey: some are coloured in shades of black and others are snowy white. In the UNESCO-protected biosphere reserve and rainforests of Clayoquot Sound, there are opportunites to view - at close quarters - Black Bears, Orca and Grey and Humpback Whales, while in the Arctic area of Churchill, Manitoba the possibility of viewing up close magnificent Polar Bears, inquisitive Beluga Whales and Arctic birds is very real indeed.
The Kids' Market at Granville Island's Public Market features specialist shops and play zones to delight children of all ages and the Kidding Around programme, offered by Four Seaons Resort Whistler, will keep children occupied and offers dinner, arts and crafts, movies, games and bedtime stories
British Airways and Air Canada direct from London Heathrow to Vancouver and Calgary.
Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow to Vancouver.
From London Heathrow to Vancouver: 9 hours, 30 minutes. London Heathrow to Calgary: 8 hours, 50 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Electronic Travel Authorisation - From March 15th 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA). Exceptions include US citizens and foreign nationals with a valid visa. This new document is required for most International arrivals to Canada, with the exception of the USA. Guests can apply now for an ETA. First, answer a few questions to make sure that you need an ETA and then apply for one online. The ETA is electronically linked to your passport and is valid for five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. To apply you must have a valid passport, credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express or a pre-paid Visa, MasterCard or American Express) and an email address to complete the online form. The ETA is currently $7. This process has been in place for outbound travellers to the US for quite some time (non-Canadians) and is very simple. For some countries, such as the Netherlands and the UK, only an ETA will be required, but for many other visitors (i.e. Mexico and South America), they will also require a Visa. Please visit www.canada.ca/eta.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit Insect and tick bite avoidance.
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCDO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: Foreign Travel Advice. Additional sources of information include: Public Health England, The National Travel Health And Network Centre, Foreign And Commonwealth Office and your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.