Banff is highly regarded as one of the most picturesque towns in Canada and it`s easy to see why! Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is surrounded by breathtaking views in every direction. Booming with activities, eateries, and a ton of different sights, this tourist mecca can get overwhelming in a hurry. This guide will fill you in on everything you need to know to make the most of your time in Banff!
For information on currency, vaccinations, best time to travel, budget tips, and more visit our page on Traveling Canada.
How To Get There
Banff is located along the Western edge of Alberta, about a 1.5 hour drive from Calgary. Although Calgary is the closest international airport, many people fly into Vancouver and hop in a rental car for a scenic road trip across British Columbia. Keep in mind that Banff is about a 12 hour drive from Vancouver so you will want to plan accordingly.
Best Time To Travel
Depending on what type of activities you`re interested in, you can plan to visit Banff at any time of year. From amazing hiking and mountain biking in the summer months to skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, the options are endless! The fall is one of our favorite times to visit because of the beautiful colors and smaller crowds. Prices drop significantly late in the fall and don’t rise again until June, so if you’re looking to save a boat load of money – travel during that window.
Average Daily Budget
Your average daily budget in Banff will completely depend on where you stay and what you choose to do. If you plan to camp or stay in a hostel, do mostly free activities and bring your own gear you can visit for relatively cheap. If you decide to stay at a high end resort and spend your days on the ski hill or taking helicopter rides through the Rockies, you`re budget will raise substantially.
Daily budget when staying in a hostel, bringing your own gear and doing mostly free or cheap activities: $130 CAD ($97 USD) per person per day.
- Accommodation: $35 CAD ($27 USD) per night for a single bed in a hostel or a campground
- Transportation: $15 CAD ($11 USD) per person per day
- Meals: $55 ($42 USD) CAD per person per day
- Attractions & Rentals: $25 CAD ($17 USD) per person per day
Daily budget when staying in a high end resort, renting a car, skiing, and taking expensive tours: $320+ CAD ($248 USD) per person per day.
Rent a Car: Renting a car in a larger city (Calgary or Vancouver) and driving to Banff is a great option. It will typically cost you $40-50 CAD ($31-38 USD) per day. However, if you are under 25 the price is substantially higher. Inquire about coverage and unlimited kilometers beforehand to avoid getting surprised with fees upon arrival.
Bus: There are many different shuttles that run withing the town of Banff as well as to and from the Calgary Airport, Canmore, and Lake Louise. This makes it super easy to get around even if you don`t want to rent a car.
Taxi: The local taxi company has decent prices and they run 24/7.
Campervan: If your into the campervan lifestyle, renting a campervan from Cozy Campers in Calgary would be an epic adventure and allow a ton of flexibility! Rates vary during the winter months so be sure to check their website for up-to-date prices and availability.
Agoda is perfect for finding everything from hostels and B&B`s to 5 star hotels. You can search by map or by price and they typically have free cancellation.
Budget: $25-45 CAD ($20-35 USD) per night. Dorm room (single bed), Airbnb rooms( double occupancy), or a campsite (double occupancy).
Mid range: $75-175 CAD ($58-136 USD) per night for 2 people. An older hotel, Bed & Breakfast, or Airbnb.
- Get a hotel or B&B with breakfast included
- Book your ski lift ticket a few days in advance online to save 18-20%
- Stay somewhere with access to a kitchen and cook your own meals
- Bring your own gear if you plan to do biking, skiing, floating down the river, etc.
- Take advantage of all the FREE trails and things to do in Banff!
- A tip of 18% is customary for restaurants in Canada