This Small Canadian Town Is A Bucket List Holiday Trip That's Bursting With Festivity (PHOTO)

It's a Christmas dream come true.🎄✨

Banff Christmas Market. Right: Banff, Alberta, during the holidays.

Banff Christmas Market. Right: Banff, Alberta, during the holidays.

This small town in Alberta comes alive during the holiday season, with sparkling lights at every turn, events throughout the month, and a stunning backdrop to top it all off.

Tucked away in the Canadian Rockies sits this picturesque town, Banff, which draws in tourists any time of year but becomes truly magical when it's bursting with festive vibes.


Christmas in Banff - the most magical time of year 🎅 #banff #alberta #canada

Banff puts on six weeks of holiday celebrations that start in late November and go right up to the big day, and some even beyond.

Although this little town feels like a retreat where you can enjoy a slower pace of life, it's only an hour and a half away from the big city of Calgary.

Even without the festivals and events this town would make the ideal holiday getaway, thanks to the magical setting. You can wander down the streets of Banff taking in the views of snow-tipped mountain peaks and feel like you're on the set of a holiday Hallmark movie. You can also hit the slopes and enjoy some of the best skiing around, or go and explore all of the spectacular nature.

If you are up for some festive fun though, you won't be bored here. Whether you're in Alberta and looking for a weekend getaway during the holiday season, or want some travel inspo for years to come, take note of the festive fun (and beauty) this town has to offer.

The Banff Christmas Market

Price: $15 for adults.

Why You Need To Go: The Banff Christmas Market runs on November 24 to 26 and on December 1-3 this year and is a spectacular sight. The cheerful market is held at Warner Stables, so you can visit the horses while soaking in the holiday atmosphere. The market itself is dripping with charm and will sweep you away to a different world.

You can shop around for Christmas gifts from the vendors and eat up some of the tasty treats, all under the glow of the twinkling lights. There are over 100 vendors at the market, so you can spend a whole day here exploring.

Even if you don't have any Christmas shopping on your mind, a visit here is still worthwhile. You can listen to the live music, cuddle up next to the outdoor fire, or go and see Santa.

There's no better way to get into the holiday mood than strolling around a European-style market with a warm drink in hand and a fresh blanket of snow on the ground.

Banff Christmas Market website

In Search of Christmas Spirit

Price: Free, but you need to reserve tickets online.

Why You Need To Go: The In Search of Christmas Spirit event is 45 minutes of pure magic, where you can wander through the Cascade of Time Garden along an enchanting trail that's illuminated by light shows and sculptures.

The path of the garden winds its way around beautiful gazebos and past towering trees, all with the backdrop of the spectacular mountains that make this town unique.

This experience has sound effects on top of the light displays, all used to tell a story. The website said that "it tells the story of the wildlife of Banff National Park and their appreciation for the safe space that Banff National Park has gifted them."

Since it's an outdoor event make sure to bundle up before going!

In Search of Christmas Spirit event webpage

Hot Chocolate Trail

Price: Varies per restaurant.

Why You Need To Go: For a sweeter adventure you can take a tour of hot chocolate – which sounds like a dream come true.

Spend the day trying out different hot chocolates, from classic flavours to holiday-themed treats. There is a whole trail outlined between Banff and Lake Louise that you can follow to taste all of the sweet drinks, but get ready for a serious sugar high. There are over 20 restaurants and cafes on the map that join in on the holiday hot chocolate fun.

You might want to space it out throughout your trip though (your dentist will thank you). The event runs from November 17 to December 31, so there's no rush.

You can find the map on the Banff & Lake Louise website, and start sipping!

Hot Chocolate Trail event webpage

A Christmas Carol at the castle

Price: $26 - $38

Why You Need To Go: From December 7 - 31 you can see this iconic holiday tale come to life, at one of the most spectacular spots in the area. The Fairmont Banff Springs looks like a castle straight out of a fairytale and transforms during the festive season with their 'Christmas at the Castle' events.

There are gingerbread houses to decorate, wilderness walks where you can breathe in the mountain air, holiday crafts, and loads of other activities here to keep you in the holiday mood — and 'A Christmas Carol' to top it all off.

If you're feeling like a Scrooge then a trip here is just the remedy.

A Christmas Carol event page

Nightrise at the Banff Gondola

Price: Starting at $58.

Why You Need To Go: From November 18 until March 30, 2024, you can see this unique show on Sulphur Mountain. This event starts after dark and illuminates the sky with a multimedia show.

You can expect video projections, sound effects and lighting to give you an immersive experience, all at the top of a mountain.

Nightrise website

Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade at Banff Sunshine Village

When: December 24 at 7 p.m.

Why You Need To Go: Christmas Eve is made extra special for Sunshine Mountain Lodge guests as you can watch Banff Sunshine torchbearers light up the night with a spectacular show. The parade is on the mountain and you can watch as the torchbearers create trails of colours, glowing in the darkness.

If you want a special way to ring in the New Year, this is it.

Christmas Eve Torch Light Parade event webpage

These are just some of the special events the town puts on leading up to the holidays, so you can get a taste of the festivities. There's a bunch of other things to do, Christmas or not, in the area.

Ice skate beneath the mountains on Lake Louise, go on a horse-drawn sleigh ride or wind down in the nearby hot springs.