Explore Calgary with Expedia’s Travel Guides to find the best hotels, flights, holiday packages and more!
Calgary is in the Canadian province of Alberta, about 50 miles east of the Canadian Rockies. On the one hand, the city is a big metropolis with skyscrapers dominating the skyline, as befits a city with a status of major industrial hub. On the other, it has a deep western culture heritage. Calgary is often referred to as “Cowtown”, with the Calgary Stampede rodeo happening every July with over one million visitors.
A Calgary hire car will allow you to leave the big city to explore the extraordinary natural beauty of Canada. Some of the most awe-inspiring mountainous landscapes in the world are situated within a short drive from Calgary.
Visitors arriving by plane arrive at Calgary International Airport. From the airport the AB-2S will connect you to Calgary in about 20 minutes with a Calgary hire car.
Another 20 minutes west of Calgary, and you will be at the Calgary Olympic Centre, scene of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, still used today to train young athletes. Next to it, the Olympic Hall of Fame Museum exhibits the world’s largest collection of Olympic artefacts.
Travellers with children could easily spend a full day of fun at the Calgary Zoo, which houses more than 1,400 animals. The zoo also has a botanical garden and the Prehistoric Park with lifesize roaring dinosaurs that allow children to experience how dinosaurs might have lived in Alberta. Another popular site for families is the Heritage Park (closed during winter) on the banks of Glenmore reservoir, which replicates an 1860s Calgary Wild West village.
There are plenty of options of car hire companies to be picked up from Calgary International Airport.
In one or two hours in a Calgary hire car, you can be in one of many stunning national parks in the Canadian Rockies, taking in the mountainous scenery: Kananaskis Provincial Park, Yoho National Park and the highly recommended Banff National Park, the oldest national park in Canada. In the Banff and Lake Louise area there are events on all year round. In winter you can hike, ski, ice-skate, go dog sledding with a pack of huskies or soak in a hot spring; in spring and summer there are marathons and water sports to be enjoyed.
For visitors who fancy a car crossing of Canada while admiring the scenery, Vancouver, to the west of Calgary, can be reached by car in 10 and a half hours. Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, can be driven to in less than three hours. There are also good flight connections to Ontario on the eastern side of Canada.
Drive on the right, overtake on the left. Use of seat belts is compulsory, and mobile phones should not be used except with a hands-free kit. In Alberta you are eligible to drive from age 14; elsewhere in Canada the age limit is16. Car hire companies prefer drivers of a minimum age of 21 and at least one year’s experience.
As long as the driving licence is in English or French, there is no need for an international driving licence. Always carry your ID (passport) and proof of insurance with you when travelling.
The speed limit on highways or freeways is 62mph, but in the town centre it is 31mph. When driving on country roads, beware of signs warning drivers of the presence of wild animals and slow down in those areas.
Feeling inspired to start exploring Calgary and the rest of Canada? Check out this city guide and use the Expedia search tool to help you find the best car hire, flight and hotel deals and research the best attractions and activities.
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