|Red Deer||C$ 504|
|Lake Louise||C$ 109|
|Rocky Mountain House||C$ 504|
From the moment travellers step off their cheap flights to Alberta, this province’s majestic beauty is obvious. Endless prairies, rolling foothills, sky-scraping snow-capped mountains, sparkling lakes and untapped wilderness are what await. Alberta’s undoubted jewel is the Rocky Mountains. There are six major ski and ride resorts – Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, Mount Norquay, Nakiska, Marmot Basin and Castle Mountain Resort.
The province may have been named for a 19th-century princess, but Alberta predates her by millennia. The Drumheller Valley in Southern Alberta is the dinosaur capital of the world. The landscape has been carved and worn by time to almost a moonscape. It has the richest deposits of fossils and dinosaur bones in North America, home too to the world-famous Royal Tyrrell Museum.
Edmonton is capital, a thriving petro-city located south of the centre of the province. Its largest attraction might just be the West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America, which has more than 800 stores more than 110 eateries.
Calgary, another city with a booming oil and gas industry, is gateway to the Rockies. Each summer it celebrates its Western heritage with rodeo, chuckwagon races, agricultural shows and grandstand shows.
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.
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.
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).
(prices quotes are from London)