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9 Charming Small Towns In Alberta To See If You'd Rather Be In Europe This Summer

At least feel like you crossed the pond!
Staff Writer
9 Small Towns In Alberta  To See If You Rather Be In Europe This Summer

Travel the world without leaving the province! If you're like us, chances are you have a long list of countries you want to see. But even if you can't leave Canada right now, you can still enjoy a taste of Europe much closer to home. We've gathered up nine charming small towns in Alberta that'll make you feel like you're on a European adventure!

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These small towns have big charm. After living in one spot for a few years, you might think you've seen everything there is. 

But, there are are some local gems that'll actually make you feel like you're in France, the United Kingdom or even Austria.

Together with your friends, you could feel fancy and enjoy afternoon tea, just like in London. Or, you could feel like you've crossed the pond by filling up on French baked goods like croissants and brioche, at Le Fournil Bakery.

For those seeking something more adventurous, the hike up Table Mountain would be perfect. It boasts an unbelievable lookout, and it will give you some serious Swiss Alps vibes.

It's time to start planning the Albertan road trip of your Euro-dreams. For all of you with a case of wanderlust, you should bookmark this list!

Legal

Why You Need To Go: It's only 45 minutes away from Edmonton and is an excellent choice for anyone dreaming about visiting Paris. Francophones first settled Legal, and today you can still hear French being spoken by locals when you explore the charming city centre.

While there's no Louvre, this town is the French Mural Capital of Canada. So you'll still spend your afternoon looking at breathtaking art.

Here you can find 35 vibrant murals, so grab a cup of coffee and go on an art walk with your BFF. Who knows, maybe one of them would make a great backdrop for your next selfie?

Kananaskis Village

Why You Need To Go: Wishing you could cross Reykjavik off your bucket list? If so, you need to plan a day trip to Kananaskis Village. Just one hour and 20 minutes from Calgary, you could find yourself soaking in a steamy pool that will make you feel just like you're at the Blue Lagoon.

For $85+, you can enjoy all-day access at Kananaskis Nordic Spa, which will leave you feeling uber relaxed and pampered. Inside the 50,000-square-foot Nordic paradise, there are hot and coldwater baths, steam rooms, and saunas to try.

For the most relaxing results, you'll want to alternate between the hot tubs, cool plunges and periods of rest in one of their comfy seating areas.

Ma-Me-O Beach

Why You Need To Go: Are you still saving up for a trip to Spain? While Pigeon Lake isn't the famous beaches of Ibiza, you'll find long stretches of powdery white sand and bright blue water. Dotted around the vast lake are several beachy villages.

For the perfect summer's day, you can head to Ma-Me-O Beach and pretend you're relaxing next to the Mediterranean Sea. Best of all, unlike the long flight to Spain, it's just a short drive away from Edmonton, so you can come as often as you want!

Canmore

Why You Need To Go: The streets of Canmore have plenty of well-known charm, but one secret spot is Le fournil Bakery. Here, you can fill up on European-style baked goods.

Inside, you can order buttery croissants, loaves of fresh bread, and even artistic cakes that are nearly too beautiful to eat.

They even have patio tables just like you'd find lining the streets in Paris, so you can sip your espresso and eat a pain au chocolat just like you might near the Champs-Élysées.

Bon Accord

Why You Need To Go: Half an hour northeast of Edmonton, Bon Accord actually has an old tie to the U.K. The town is named after the home of some of its first settlers, who were from Aberdeen in Scotland.

Today, this spot is famous for being the first international dark sky community, and it's a fantastic spot to look up at the stars. If you're looking for a cheap date idea, stargazing here is so enchanting.

The town is also super charming, and in the day you can visit Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm, which boast fields of colourful flowers.

Banff

Why You Need To Go: One of the best parts about going to Europe is all of the castles. But you don't need to fly across the ocean to see majestic buildings. The Fairmont Banff Springs looks just like the historic castles you'd find in Europe, but it's much closer to home.

Inside, you can enjoy their fine cuts of meat or even sip wine from their cellar.

Without question, you'll also want to explore the hiking trails in the area that will take you to views of glistening turquoise water and towering mountains.

Lake Louise

Why You Need To Go: It's hard not to love our very own castle, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. Inside you'll feel like you're brunching in London and having high tea with your friends.

Dining here, you'll quickly forget you aren't in the United Kingdom, as their tea service is fit for a king or queen.

You'll get to sip a cup of tea and soak in the gorgeous view of Lake Louise and the Victoria Glacier. Plus, you'll get a three-layer tray loaded with mini finger sandwiches and melt in your mouth bite-size desserts.

Pincher Creek

Why You Need To Go: In southwestern Alberta's Pincher Creek, it feels like you have magically arrived in the alpine region of Switzerland. While here, you need to hike up to Table Mountain in Beaver Mines Lake Provincial Recreation Area, where you'll find the best lookout you've ever seen.

You'll be able to stand on a steep rock cliff and see flower-covered fields and snow-covered mountains, that look just like the Swiss Alps! The entire trek is 10-kilometres long but well worth it for the view from the top.

Waterton Park

Why You Need To Go: This world-famous hotel looks like it belongs in the Sound of Music. But it isn't remotely close to Salzburg, Austria. If you're looking for a break from the city, you can book a stay at the Prince of Wales Hotel.

The specular building has a cute gabled roof and a gorgeous view overlooking the village and the lake.

In the summer, you'll definitely want to go for a hike in Waterton Park to see the rainbow-coloured flowers. There's no shortage of trails to pick from, and some have lookouts where you can get a great shot of the hotel, too.

We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment and obey any local laws.

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