The Best of the West

Overview

Best of the West

This self-drive tour is one of our most popular packages taking you through the Rockies of Alberta and through British Columbia to the coastal mountain ranges and on to Victoria and Vancouver.

Discover the gigantic forests, crystal-clear lakes and snow-capped mountains of Western Canada. Visit Calgary, Banff National Park, Lake Louise and Jasper before heading through gold rush country to Whistler. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the village’s pristine lakes and alpine walking and hiking opportunities.

From Whistler it’s on to Victoria, with its turn of the century architecture, British traditions such as high tea and shops full of woollens and china. Admission is included to the Butchart Gardens , home to a 50-acre display of magnificent colour.

Your last port of call is the stunning coastal city of Vancouver. Take time to explore Stanley Park and the unique wilderness of Vancouver Island.

What’s Included:

  • 13 nights in hotels (accommodation as specified or similar).
  • Intermediate car rental with Avis for 15 days including unlimited mileage, LDW, all taxes & SatNav.
  • Gypsy guide for 15 days - your own in-car GPS tour guide.
  • Admission to Hat Creek Ranch (01 May - 30 Sep).
  • Admission to Sulphur Mountain gondola in Banff.
  • Ice Explorer Ride on the Athabasca Glacier (operates between 01 May - 15 Oct).
  • Whistler Peaks adventure ride (01 June - 30 Sept).
  • Return BC ferries fare (passenger & vehicle).
  • Butchart Gardens admission.
  • Grouse Mountain admission.
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge admission.
  • Comprehensive documentation pack.

Full Itinerary

Day 1: Calgary - Banff (75 miles)

Arrive at Calgary Airport, collect your car and take the short drive to Banff on either the Trans-Canada Highway or the more scenic 1A Highway. Once in Banff proceed to your selected hotel to check in and the remainder of the day is yours to explore at your own leisure. Overnight - Fairmont Banff Springs

Day 2: Banff

A full day to explore the Banff area. In town you'll find lots of excitement - shopping, cafes, nightlife, museums. Check out the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Banff Gondola (admission included) where you will see a panoramic view of the Bow Valley, and then take a dip in the hot mineral pools at the Upper Hot Springs. Overnight - Fairmont Banff Springs

Day 3: Banff - Jasper (185 miles)

Take the short drive from Banff to Lake Louise. Choose the Bow Valley Parkway, beside the Bow River with an option for you to take a stop at Johnston Canyon and walk along the paved footway to either the lower or upper waterfalls before continuing to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. From Lake Louise your scenic drive takes you through the spine of the Canadian Rockies along the Icefield Parkway. Stop at the Columbia Icefield for an Ice Explorer ride onto the glacier (included 01May - 19 Oct). Leaving the Athabasca Glacier, your camera should be ready to capture the majesty of the Athabasca Falls prior to your arrival into Jasper. Overnight - Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Day 4: Jasper

A free day to explore this charming mountain village close to many terrific scenic highlights. Perhaps take a tram ride up Whistlers mountain, or visit Maligne Lake,one of the most photographed lakes in the world, and enjoy a 90 minute cruise heading toward the south end of this postcard setting (Maligne Lake cruise not included). Overnight - Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Day 5: Jasper - Wells Gray Provincial Park (195 miles)

Your drive today takes you to Wells Gray Provincial Park along the scenic Yellowhead Highway with breathtaking vistas of the steep-walled gorges and crashing falls of the North Thompson River. Overnight - Alpine Meadows Resort

Day 6: Clearwater - Whistler (265 miles)

Begin the day travelling via 100 Mile House to the goldrush town of Cache Creek, where you stop to visit the historic Hat Creek Ranch (included), which literally takes you back to the days of the gold rush. Continue south to Lillooet, known as the land of the Gold Rush and along the Duffey Lake Road to Whistler. Overnight - Fairmont Chateau Whistler Meals - Breakfast

Day 7: Whistler

The day is free for you to enjoy some of Whistlers activities, from golf on one of the 4 championship designer golf courses, water activities on any of the 5 lakes or numerous rivers, to mountain top dining or just relax and enjoy some of the many fine cafes and restaurants of the village. The Peak to Peak gondola ride is included to the top of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. (Operates 24 May - 13 Oct) Overnight - Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Day 8: Whistler - Parksville (70 miles + ferry)

Depart Whistler along the scenic Sea to Sky Highway to Horseshoe Bay and board the ferry to Vancouver Island. This scenic cruise takes you through fjord like waters with mountains blanketed with virgin forests and glaciated peaks. Overnight - Tigh-Na-Mara Resort

Day 9: Parksville - Victoria (93 miles)

Head south this morning from Parksville, stopping en-route at the artist community of Chemainus and adorn the giant murals on the walls throughout the town, before visiting Duncan, the city of totems and then continue to Victoria. Overnight - Inn at Laurel Point

Day 10: Victoria and Butchart Gardens

Today is free to explore Victoria, with its turn of the century architecture, British traditions such as high tea and shops full of woollens and china. Admission is included to the Butchart Gardens with its 50 acre display of magnificent colour. Overnight - Inn at Laurel Point

Day 11: Victoria - Vancouver (45 miles + ferry)

Leaving Victoria drive north to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal for a 90 minute ferry cruise (cost included) through the Gulf Islands as you cross the Strait of Georgia to Tsawwassen, then continue to downtown Vancouver. Overnight - Fairmont Waterfront Hotel

Day 12 & 13: Vancouver

Discover the coastal city of Vancouver. Canada's third largest metropolitan centre, Vancouver is a busy port with a multi-cultural ambiance. Be sure to also see such sights as, Chinatown, Historical Gastown, the markets of Granville Island, and the famous shopping district of Robson Street. Experience Grouse Mountain Skyride and Capilano Canyon and Suspension Bridge (both included) at your leisure. Overnight - Fairmont Waterfront Hotel

Day 14: Depart Vancouver

Your tour ends with the check out of your hotel and the return your car to the airport rental office. Or perhaps you’ll decide to stay a while longer and take a cruise to Alaska.

Hand Picked By

Maria Millard

In my opinion, it's hard to think of a country more beautiful or more varied than Canada. Having travelled there extensively, I am confident that I can give youagoodreasontovisitatanytimeoftheyear. Whetherit'stakingthe Rocky Mountaineer through the mighty Rockies, visiting Alberta's prairies, or the beautiful autumn colours of New Brunswick, Canada really does have it all. Mind you, as it’s one of my favourite places, I’m biased!

Maria Millard

Additional Information

  • Date: May 2019
  • Board Basis: Room only
  • Duration: 13 nights
  • Departure Airport: London Gatwick
  • Guide Price: From £2,339pp
  • Includes flights from London, accommodation, car hire with GPS, ferries and sightseeing as indicated.
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