A Travel Price Comparison for Canada Banff vs. Calgary for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Banff or Calgary?

Should I visit Banff or Calgary? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Banff

Nestled in the pristine and gorgeous mountains of the Alberta Rockies is the popular town of Banff. This town sits right in Canada's Banff National Park and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.

While the surrounding nature may give the impression of a quiet, little town, Banff is typically crowded with tourists. The beauty of this area is irresistible for travelers from all over the world. This may not be the place for solitude or even an authentic, country experience, you'll still find an unforgettable vacation.

Calgary

Calgary is the largest city in Alberta and, located at the edge of the prairie and foothills, it is a gateway to the Rocky Mountains. If you're headed to Banff or Jasper, this is likely to be your first stop. It's also Canada's fourth largest city and worth a few days visit. Calgary's economy is diverse, but includes energy, financial services, film and television, transportation, technology, manufacturing, and much more.

Which city is cheaper, Calgary or Banff?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Banff is $73, while the average daily cost in Calgary is $133. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Banff and Calgary in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $33. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Banff the cost is $66 on average.

The average price for accommodation for two people in Calgary is $126. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Banff $33
    Calgary $63
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Banff $66
    Calgary $126

Food

In Banff travelers spend around $25 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.

In Calgary travelers spend around $27 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Banff $25
    Calgary $27
Typical Food prices in Banff

Some typical examples of dining costs in Banff are as follows:


  • Tea House Lunch for Two
    $35
  • Hostel Breakfast
    $29
  • McDonalds
    $5.03

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Banff

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Banff.

  • Lake Louise & Moraine Lake Evening Tour with Dinner: $123
  • Deluxe Evening Tour to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake with Dinner: $129

Typical Food prices in Calgary

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Calgary:


  • Bread, Chips, Cheese
    $8.79

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Banff is $4.50 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.

The average price of local transportation around Calgary is $11 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Banff $4.50
    Calgary $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Banff

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Banff:

  • Alberta Transfer: Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, Calgary and Kananaskis: $63
  • Private Departure Transfer: Banff to Calgary International Airport: $433
  • Private Transfer: Banff to Calgary International Airport (YYC): $340
  • Private Transfer: Banff to Calgary by Sedan: $339

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Calgary

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Calgary:

  • Private Arrival Transfer from Calgary International Airport to Calgary Downtown: $29
  • Private Departure Transfer: Calgary Downtown to Calgary International Airport: $29
  • Private Airport Transfer: Calgary International Airport (YYC) to Calgary: $39
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Calgary to Calgary International Airport (YYC): $39
  • Transfer in Private Car from Calgary Airport (YYC) to Calgary Downtown: $41
  • Transfer in Private Car from Calgary Downtown to Calgary Airport (YYC): $41
  • Private Calgary Airport - Calgary City Round-Trip Transfer: $59
  • Transfer in private minivan from Calgary Airport (YYC) to Calgary Downtown: $59
  • Transfer in private minivan from Calgary Downtown to Calgary Airport (YYC): $59
  • Calgary Airport (YYC) to Calgary hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $60
  • Calgary hotel or address to Calgary Airport (YYC) - Departure Private Transfer: $60
  • Shared Arrival Transfer: Calgary Airport to Alberta Hotels: $63

Is it cheaper to fly into Banff or Calgary?

Prices for flights to both Calgary and Banff change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Entertainment

Banff's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $11 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.

Calgary's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $13 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Banff $11
    Calgary $13
Typical Entertainment prices in Banff

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Banff are as follows:


  • Hot Springs
    $5.76

Tours and Activities in Banff

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Banff are as follows:

  • The Sights of Banff GPS-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $4.84
  • Listen to a Tour Guide as you Drive between Banff and Calgary: $4.84
  • Listen to a Tour Guide as You Drive between Sunshine Village and Calgary: $6.44
  • Listen to a Tour Guide as You Drive & Walk with our Discover the Rockies Package: $8.86
  • Returning in 2021 is the Banff Guided Walking Tours: $32
  • Wildlife on the Bow River Big Canoe Tour: $43
  • Winter Tour: Banff and Its Wildlife: $63
  • Summer Tour: Banff and its Wildlife: $64
  • Banff Photo Night Tour: $66
  • Snowshoeing Tour to the Paint Pots: $69
  • From Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Sightseeing Tour: $69
  • Banff Clue Solving Adventure - Treasures of Banff: $69

Typical Entertainment prices in Calgary

Here are a few typical costs in Calgary for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Stampede Admission (for 2)
    $24

Tours and Activities in Calgary

Here are a few actual costs in Calgary for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Discover Downtown Calgary GPS-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $4.84
  • Calgary's Beltline District GPS-Guided Audio Walking Tour: $5.63
  • Listen to a Tour Guide as You Drive between Calgary and Lake Louise: $6.44
  • Private Tour with a Local: $29
  • Mohkinstsis Winter Walking Tour of Calgary's Indigenous History: $34
  • Mohkinstsis Walking Tour - Explore Calgary's Indigenous History: $34
  • Winter Lake Louise/ Emerald Lake 1 Day Tour: $104
  • Winter Banff/ Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary 1 Day Tour: $104
  • Winter-Banff/ Sulphur Mountain One Day Tour: $104
  • Small Group Winter Lake Louise and Yoho Snowfun 1-Day Tour from Calgary or Banff: $115
  • Samll Group Winter Banff Discovery 1-Day Tour w/Hot Springs from Calgary/Banff: $115
  • Drumheller & Horseshoe Canyon 1-Day Tour: $118

Alcohol

The average person spends about $8.11 on alcoholic beverages in Banff per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Calgary may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $9.52 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Banff $8.11
    Calgary $9.52

Sample the Local Flavors in Calgary

Also in Calgary, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Calgary Bar Crawl: Cruisin' Calgary: $12


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Banff and Calgary, we can see that Calgary is more expensive. And not only is Banff much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Banff would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Banff and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Calgary would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Calgary than you might in Banff.

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Banff vs. Calgary Travel Comparison

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