In general, the climate is cool and continental, but there is great variation. The north gets approximately 1,900 hours of sunshine each year, compared to 2,300 hours in the south. Average January temperatures range from -24 degrees Celsius (-11 degrees Fahrenheit) in the north to -8 degrees (17F) in the south. July has an average temperature of 16 degrees (60F) in the north to 20 degrees (68F) in the south. Sometimes summer temperatures can soar to 40 degrees (104F) but this is rare. Travellers taking cheap flights to Alberta, southern Alberta in particular, may be lucky enough to experience the chinook winds. Air funnelling through the mountains produces foehn winds that can warm up winter days dramatically.
When to fly to Alberta
The high season in Alberta really depends on what you intend to do there. Most travellers - bound for the cities - take cheap flights to Alberta during the summer months. The winter months are, unsurprisingly, peak season for skiers and snowboarders.
In the cities, winter is generally off season, while the Rockies are at their busiest.
Getting around Alberta
Given the size of Alberta, renting a car is the best option. Once travellers have disembarked their cheap flights to Albera, renting a car is quick and easy. In the cities, taxis and public transportation are readily available.
Edmonton has the Edmonton Transit System, made up of buses and light rail. Calgary has buses and C-Trains (the LRT).
Alberta insider information
- A bonus for travellers taking cheap flights to Alberta is no Provincial Sales Tax. It's the only province without the sales tax. There is a 4 per cent Tourism Levy on hotel rooms and GST on most purchases is 5 per cent.
- Jasper National Park is a little wilder than Banff. Not only does it have the highest mountain in Alberta (Mount Columbia at 3,747 metres), it has the only sand-dune ecosystem (Jasper Lake dunes) in the Four Mountain Parks. It also has the last fully protected range in the Rocky Mountains for caribou and the most accessible glacier (the Athabasca) in North America. The town is smaller than Banff too, lending it a more intimate air.
- Calgary is known as the Heart of the New West. There are several festivals throughout the year including the International Jazz Festival, Greek Festival, Folk Music Festival, Dragonboat Festival, One Yellow Rabbit High Performance Rodeo and Global Fest.
- About a 25-minute drive from Brooks, the Dinosaur Provincial Park has been the site of dinosaur excavations for more than a century. Hoodoo landforms and desert ecosystem complete with cacti add to the appeal of this Unesco World Heritage Site. The visitor information centre serves as the field station for the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology.
- Kanananaskis Country is a stunning mountain park. It boasts a greater range of activities than in the national parks, such as skiing, hunting, golfing, dogsledding, horseback riding, and off-roading (ATVs, snowmobiles).
- Waterton Lakes National Park adjoins Glacier National Park in the U.S. Together they make Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, the world's oldest peace park.