Lake Louise. Image by Mr Houndstooth
Oh Canada, you have my heart. If you’re looking for unique yet beautiful honeymoon destination, you can’t go past the Great White North. This country features the place which has put me the closest I’ve ever come to describing something out loud as ‘magical’. You know, beyond a Disney movie. You may not have heard of the Canadian province of Alberta.
And if you aren’t into the ski scene, you may not have even heard of Banff, which is located in Alberta. But regardless of your recreational proclivities, you need to know about Lake Louise – which lies in Banff National Park. Nestled amongst soaring snow-capped mountain peaks, Lake Louise is one of those emerald coloured lakes you see on your Insta feed which forces you to cock your head to one side and ask: is that even real? It’s real, my friends, and here are a few things you need to consider when planning your honeymoon there.
Where to stay
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever stayed. Located in Alberta’s Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, it was originally built as a base for hikers and skiers more than 100 years ago. From the Chateau, you can go on guided mountain tours, world-class skiing in the winter, scenic hiking – not to mention canoeing on the lake. You’re going to want to splash out for the lake view rooms but fair warning, this might be one of the most amazing places I’ve ever stayed, but it’s also one of the most expensive!
Nevertheless, waking up to the view of the emerald-coloured lake was truly unforgettable. Pro-tip: room service poutine for dinner is also not a bad way to take in the view.
We stayed during the Canadian autumn (Mr and Mrs Houndstooth are not skiers), so we were able to enjoy the lake and the hiking with relative comfort (jackets were still required). However, if you visit in the winter, the lake will be frozen and the mountains will be a rich white – it’s arguably more beautiful.
How to be romantic
The crazy thing about Banff National Park is that Lake Louise cannot lay claim to being the most beautiful lake in the area, at least not without a strong debate. Meet Moraine Lake. Yes, the turquoise waters are back and the mountains surrounding are also snow-capped (Valley of the Ten Peaks).
There’s a few hikes and trails, but we loved climbing to the top of the rugged rocks of the natural dam to take in the full view of the lake – this view is known as the “Twenty Dollar View”, as it’s the scene featured on the back of the old Canadian twenty dollar note.
Bring a backpack with some snacks and a cheeky whisky or two and you’re set for the afternoon. As a bonus, the two of you can do a spot of people watching as everyone clamours for the ultimate selfie. If you’re staying at the Chateau mentioned above, it’s a short ride on the courtesy bus. Apparently, the amazing colours peak in late June but I get the feeling it’s amazing all year round.
Lake Moraine. Image by Mr Houndstooth.
What to eat
Travelling to relatively remote or rural destinations can be a bit of a double-edged sword. You might discover unmatched natural beauty but you also might be limited in your dining options. Fortunately, this is not the case at the Chateau. There are a few other hotels and restaurants in the vicinity but we couldn’t go past the Walliser Stube, located inside the Chateau.
With options for classic Swiss, German and Alpine dishes, including an authentic Swiss Fondue, you can’t go wrong. The décor is vintage and comforting, and the vibe is relaxed luxury. The restaurant is open to the public but priority is given to guests. My tip: Go for the Classic Vienna Pork Schnitzel pork shoulder with duck fat coined potatoes. For $49 Canadian, you won’t be disappointed.
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It’s getting chilly in #LakeLouise – we’ve got the perfect way to warm up! Think black truffle cheese fondue, a choice of over 500 wines, and chocolate fondue infused with Bailey’s Irish Cream. What would you pair this view with, cheese 🧀 or chocolate 🍫? Photos by @tarynlifeup @vickiarkoff @dubrie
Where to drink
Usually, I fill the ‘where to drink’ section with an array of cocktail or whisky selections (stick with what you know, right?) but at Lake Louise, there’s a different type of beverage you need to get your hands on: tea. The Solake Agnes teahouse was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1901 as a refuge for hikers. Located high up in the mountains, the family-run tea house has no electricity or running water, receiving helicopter shipments a few times a year, and relying on other supplies to be hiked up the mountain.
We hiked for a few hours (including plenty of breaks) and spent the afternoon kicking back on the top of the mountain overlooking Lake Louise with a cup of tea in hand – a memory I’ll never forget. Wear comfy shoes though, it’s literally a bit of a hike.
Lake Louise in the winter. Image by Whitney Arnott.
Ms Zebra: As a bit of a skier myself, this sounds incredibly magical – Summer or Winter! The colour looks like nothing else you’d see. A definite destination to put on the list!
About the author Mr Houndstooth: I am a happily married man. I enjoy a fine whisky, a new suit and swashbuckling around town with my beautiful bride. Looking back on my wedding day always makes me smile, even though it began to rain just as I said ‘I do’.