Nestled in Canada’s Great Plains but just an hour away from the snow-covered peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Calgary is a bustling metropolis with one of the largest rodeos in the world and a vibrant cultural scene, where cowboy culture meets chic cafés.
If you know one thing about Calgary, it’s the famous Calgary Stampede, an annual event centred around a celebration of the culture of Canada’s west. While most of the city’s main events happen in the summer – the Stampede, Carifest, the Calgary International Film Festival, and many more – winter is also a great time to visit the city, with top-rated skiing in the nearby Rocky Mountain resorts. Just make sure to pack extra warm clothes, as temperatures can drop below -20°C.
In addition to its festivals, Calgary is an all-round fun place to visit. Having grown by leaps and bounds during the oil boom of the early 2000s, the city is now home to a diverse populace and offers a mix of cuisines, activities and sights to suit every taste and budget. Check out the history of Canada’s prairies at the Glenbow Museum, catch a glimpse of the Rocky Mountains from the Olympic Tower, or visit them yourself on a day trip to Banff National Park. Don your best Stetson hat and book your flight from Zurich to Calgary with SWISS today.
What currency is used in Canada?
Canada uses the Canadian dollar, abbreviated to CAD or using the dollar sign ($). If you are travelling with euros or US dollars, try to have these changed as soon as you arrive, either at an exchange bureau or a bank. US dollars are sometimes accepted at businesses, though each business is free to choose its own (usually unfavourable) exchange rate, so acquire local currency as soon as you can, either by exchanging or withdrawing it from local ATMs. Most businesses in Calgary will also be happy to accept major credit cards.
How should I get around Calgary?
While Calgary is a fairly extensive city, with neighbourhoods spread over a large area, the major attractions are clustered around the rather compact city centre, which is quite walkable. In winter, the Plus 15 network is an excellent way to beat the bitter cold: a network of raised, heated walkways that crisscross the city centre 15 feet above the ground. For longer trips, the city has three tram lines (locally called LRTs) and several bus lines that will take you around the city.
When is the best time to visit Calgary?
The city’s extremely cold winters and the summer festival season make summer a favourite time to visit Calgary. The city’s hotels, parks and restaurants fill up with Calgarians and visitors eager to take in some sun before the return of cold weather in a few months, with temperatures that can easily sink below -20°C during cold snaps, especially when wind is taken into account. However, a winter visit will allow you to take advantage of the opportunities for skiing on the pristine Rocky Mountain slopes just outside the city.
Explore Calgary’s vibrant attractions
Calgary’s most famous festival, the Calgary Stampede, is the country’s most extravagant display of cowboy culture. With rodeos, barbecues, and more Stetson hats per square mile than anywhere else in the world, the attractions are endless. See the tepee village set up by native groups or a traditional blacksmith competition, or just enjoy the non-stop concerts and nightlife.
History and museums of Calgary
During the rest of the year, you can get a taste for Calgary’s wild west beginnings by visiting Heritage Park Historical Village, where you can travel back in time to ride in a stagecoach or visit a fur trading post. A more modern alternative is the Glenbow Museum, with galleries of European and indigenous art, as well as gemstones and an exploration of the city’s history.
Other attractions of Calgary include:
- Fort Calgary
- Calgary Zoo
- Eau Claire Market
Calgary's outdoor activities
The snow-capped mountains on the horizon seen from Calgary are another main draw. Favourite attractions for tourists include vantage points like the Calgary Tower or the Olympic Tower from where you can view the mountain peaks and the surrounding cityscape. Or get a closer look by heading to Banff or Jasper National Parks, which begin just an hour outside of the city. With aquamarine-blue lakes in the summer and perfect skiing in the winter, they make for an unforgettable escape. Or go in the opposite direction to the Alberta Badlands, a must-see for any dinosaur enthusiasts in the group, as its barren rock formations are home to the country’s best fossils.
Calgary has something for everyone
Whether Calgary is your ultimate destination or a stop on your way to the Rockies or elsewhere, there is plenty to enjoy in this young, energetic city in the prairies. Book your flight from Zurich to Calgary today!
Experience Calgary cuisine
From its humble meat-and-potatoes roots as Canada’s Cowtown, a reference to the historic importance of the cattle industry, Calgary’s culinary scene has advanced by leaps and bounds. That’s not to say that you can’t find a good barbecue, especially during the Stampede season. But alongside these options are innovative gourmet chefs using local ingredients, and a diverse array of international and fusion cuisine. Head down to the Kensington neighbourhood for upmarket dining and craft beer, or to the other side of the Bow for an endless variety of eateries in the city’s centre.
Enjoy Calgary’s patio season
For a chilly North American metropolis like Calgary, patio season is an important part of the year: the months between May and October when weather allows bargoers to head to the open-air terraces to enjoy their beverages. In Calgary, this time of year also coincides with a festive season that includes celebrations such as the Calgary Folk Music Fest, Carifest (a Caribbean festival), the Calgary International Film Festival, and the famous Calgary Stampede. Luckily for visitors at any time of the year, there are plenty of excellent choices on offer. Calgary itself has a thriving craft beer scene, with dozens of breweries in the city. And with wines from neighbouring British Columbia rounding out the deal, what’s not to love?
Shop ’til you drop in Calgary
With a young, innovative population that’s always on the hunt for the next big thing, there’s plenty to be found on offer in Calgary. For chic and relaxed, head to the Kensington neighbourhood, while 17th Avenue is your place to be for the latest trends. The Calgary Farmers’ Market is a feast for the eyes and a sure place to find something unique, or just spend a pleasant morning.
Zurich - MontrealFlight duration: 08:20 hrs total, Frequency: 5 x daily
Departure ZurichTerminal: 1 / 3Counter opening time: 24 h prior to departure
Airbus A330-300Height: 16.80 mLength: 63.70 mSeats: 236
Crew:Pilots: 2Cabin crew: 11
Transit Pierre Elliott Trudeau (YUL)Arrival: 15:10Transit time: 5h 45m
Montreal - CalgaryFlight duration: 04:39 hrs total, Frequency:
Arrival CalgaryDistance to city centre: 17 km