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Mountain Express

8 Days Self Drive Tours

Virgin Holidays' view

Timeless cowboy country and the enduring beauty of Canada’s Western wilderness contrast with the ever-progressive Pacific metropolis of Vancouver on this 8 day road trip through the Rockies. Before you reach the thoroughly modern delights of Vancouver, with its chic shopping, world-class dining scene, and memorable coastal experiences (from biking around water-framed Stanley Park to whale watching beyond the bay), you’ll pass through Canada’s past. And it all starts in Calgary — an urban enclave that may have moved with the times but has kept its cowboy culture and rodeo reputation. From ‘Stampede City’ you’ll take the highways into Banff National Park in search of the eternally quaint town of Banff. The famous wintery landscapes of Icefields Parkway beckon as you journey from Banff to the equally cutesy town of Jasper, with the glacier, Lake Louise, and Peyto Lake popular pitstops on the way to Jasper National Park. Following the old trade routes, you’ll travel along Yellowhead Highway to stay in the sports capital of Sun Peaks, witnessing some of the Rockies’ most dramatic scenes en route, including soaring Mount Robson. But Canada’s West keeps a few surprises back for your final journey, from Sun Peaks to Vancouver, with the scenery switching between sagebrush-swathed cattle ranches, Fraser Canyon’s white-water rapids, the drama of Hell’s Gate gorge, and the coastal calm of Vancouver’s rural fringes — all before modern life reappears in stunning Vancouver.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Calgary

Arrive at Calgary Airport, collect your hire car and make your way to your centrally located hotel, and pick up your Jonview Canada Roadbook at the front desk as you check-in. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to create your own urban adventure in the Stampede City, and form your first impressions of Western Canada. Overnight in Calgary.

Day 2: Calgary-Banff

Leaving Calgary behind, you will set your sights today on the magnificient Rocky Mountains. Feel the majesty of these mountains as you first travel through the foothills and then enter Banff National Park, where the craggy peaks loom larger the closer you get. After you arrive in the bustling town of Banff, the remainder of the day is free to explore its charms. Spend the next 2 nights in Banff.

Day 3: Banff National Park

The entire day is free to explore Banff and the surrounding area. We suggest you visit the Luxton Museum, a gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain or a stroll through town admiring the many shops. You may also want to try river rafting on the Bow River, or take a boat tour on beautiful Lake Minnewanka. 

Day 4: Banff-Jasper

Drive to Jasper via the spectacular Icefields Parkway, said to be one of the most scenic routes in the world. We suggest stops at Lake Louise and Peyto Lake en-route. A visit to Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park is also a must-do. Return to the road for the final stretch to the town of Jasper. Overnight in Jasper.

Day 5: Jasper-Sun Peaks

The Yellowhead Highway will take you on a route first explored by trappers and traders. You will see Mount Terry Fox as well as Mount Robson, the highet peak in the Rockies. If time permits, we suggest exploring Wells Gray Provincial Park, a nature reserve priding itself on the untamed and pristine state of its wilderness. Continue to Sun Peaks, a year-round resort catering to families as well as sports enthusiasts. Overnight in Sun Peaks.

Day 6: Sun Peaks-Vancouver

Driving past Kamloops, you'll traverse the stunning, sagebrush-covered ranch lands along the South Thompson River. This is still the land of vast herds of cattle and cowboys on horseback. Entering between the towering rock walls of the Fraser Canyon, you'll be amazed at the whitewater rapids of the Fraser River gushing far below. Over 750,000 litres of water surge through the 34-metre Hell's Gate gorge every minute, and the gondola ride over this part of the Canyon is sure to impress. Further downstream, the lush Fraser Valley opens up into the maritime basin (characteristic of the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia) as you approach Vancouver, 'Canada's Gateway to the Pacific'. Spend the next 2 nights in Vancouver.

Day 7: Vancouver

Spend a full day in Vancouver and the surrounding area. Clim aboard a San Francisco-style trolley for a fully-commented Vancouver city tour. Sightsee at your own pace as you hop on and off for any length of time, and see premier attractions, parks, gardens and galleries along the way. 

Day 8: Depart Vancouver

Return your hire car at the airport before checking-in for your onward flight.

Meals: this tour is based on a room only basis.

Please note: this is a set tour itinerary. If you have booked any pre/post or optional tour arrangements, please refer to your separate vouchers and final documents.

Dates & prices

The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes

Pre/Post Tour information

If you would like to extend your trip or make the tour part of a longer holiday, we can easily add on pre or post night stays for you. Our sales team will work with you to arrange the best connecting flights, and book any additional hotel stays or experiences. Simply tell us what you'd like and we can arrange it.

Time difference

Eastern time zone: GMT -5 hours

Western time zone: GMT -8 hours

Tour inclusions

  • Accommodation listed
  • Day 7 - hop-on/hop-off trolley tour including Vancouver Lookout admission
  • A personalised Jonview Canada Roadbook, containing essential travel information featuring overview notes of the area, local sightseeing and attractions, daily itinerary highlights, provincial maps with city guides, hotel vouchers and day-to-day route maps

Tour exclusions

  • All flights and airport transfers 
  • Travel insurance
  • Car hire and insurance, unless this has been booked by the sales consultant
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips and gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • The required Canada Electronic Authorization (eTA)
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary including optional excursions.

Dining inclusions

Room Only.

Accommodation

Accommodation is a mix of 3-4V graded properties. Please note: some tours are up to 3 weeks in duration and there may be some nights when staying in remote locations (eg National Parks) when the V rating may vary. Hotels are subject to change up until 30 days prior to departure, but you will be advised of any changes.

Visa Requirements

Under Canada's eTA programme, British citizens will need to obtain an online authorisation before flying to Canada. This entry requirement is mandatory, and can be applied for online. Please ensure you obtain your eTA as early as possible. A fee of $7 is payable for processing the application online. Alternatively you can apply for your eTA through CIBT Visas who make the process as easy as possible, and will apply for the eTA on your behalf. Please visit www.cibtvisas.co.uk/virginholidays for more information.

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