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

Should you visit Banff or Ottawa?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Banff or Ottawa? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: Banff or Ottawa?


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.


Ottawa is the capital city of Canada, located on the Ontario side of the Ottawa River. A city of many ethnic populations, Ottawa is uniquely bilingual with English as the first language of the population's majority and French as a close second.  It is best known as the nation's capital, which is centered on Parliament Hill, an architectural landmark as well as the seat of government.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Sightseeing Tours in Canada, The Best Camping Tours in Canada, The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Canada, and The Best Northern Lights Tours in Canada.

Which place is cheaper, Ottawa or Banff?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Banff is $85, while the average daily cost in Ottawa is $122. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Banff and Ottawa in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Banff $38
    Ottawa $18
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Banff $76
    Ottawa $36
Compare Hotels in Banff and Ottawa

Looking for a hotel in Banff or Ottawa? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Banff

Hotels in Ottawa

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Banff Hotel Prices and Ottawa Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Banff $5.19
    Ottawa $7.22

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Banff

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Banff:

  • From Banff/Canmore: Moraine Lake and Lake Louise Shared Transfer: $81
  • Canmore/Banff to Calgary Airport (YYC) Private Transfer: $267
  • Calgary Airport to Banff - Private Transfer: $850
  • Private Banff National Park Tour with Hotel Transfers: $872
  • Banff to Calgary YYC Airport (Private Transfer with Tesla): $273

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ottawa

Also for Ottawa, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Arrival Transfer from Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier Airport YOW: $40
  • Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier Airport YOW Private Arrival/Departure Shuttle Transfer : $52
  • Private Arrival Transfer in Ottawa Airport : $52
  • Ottawa to Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier Airport (YOW) - Departure Private Transfer: $66

Is it cheaper to fly into Banff or Ottawa?

Prices for flights to both Ottawa 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.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Banff $29
    Ottawa $17
Typical Food Prices in Banff

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

  • Tea House Lunch for Two
  • Hostel Breakfast
  • McDonalds

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Banff

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

  • Banff Food Tour: Eat the Castle: $154

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Ottawa

For Ottawa, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Oh Canada Eh!? Dinner Musical : $72
  • Taste of the ByWard Market Food Tour: $79
  • Evening Taste of the ByWard Market Food Tour: $81

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Banff $12
    Ottawa $40
Typical Entertainment Prices in Banff

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

  • Hot Springs

Tours and Activities in Banff

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

  • Banff National Park Big Canoe Tour: $57
  • Private Tour: The Best of Banff National Park - Full Day: $224
  • Skybridge Adventure Golden BC from Canmore & Banff: $166
  • 1 Hour Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Tour in Banff National Park: $66
  • 2 Hour Banff Horseback Riding Adventure: $145
  • 4 Days Tour to Banff & Jasper National Park with Hotels: $2,581
  • 4 Days Tour to Banff & Jasper National Park without Hotels: $1,454
  • Banff : Day Tour : Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and Peyto Lake: $185
  • Banff Cave and Hot Springs Self-Guided Walking Tour: $9.99
  • Banff Evening Ebike Wildlife Tour: $83
  • Banff Highlights & Wildlife | Award-Winning Small Group Adventure: $82
  • Banff Highlights Tour : Gondola, Fairmont & Johnston Canyon: $77

Tours and Activities in Ottawa

For Ottawa, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.22
  • Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour: $6.43
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.43
  • Explore Canada Through Ottawa's Eyes with Walking Tours Through The City: $6.70
  • Ottawa's Hidden History: A Self Guided Audio Tour: $6.99
  • A Self Guided Audio Tour of Ottawa's Hidden History: $6.99
  • Rockcliffe Quest Experience: $7.10
  • Across the Ottawa River: A Self Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Downtown Private Investigator Quest Experience: $8.20
  • Street Art in Quest Experience: $8.20
  • Ottawa Self-Guided Audio Tour: $9.00
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Ottawa by Wacky Walks: $10

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Banff $9.35
    Ottawa $18

Sample the Local Flavors in Ottawa

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Ottawa:

  • Epic Ottawa Bar Crawl: By Let’s Roam: $12

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Banff and Ottawa, we can see that Ottawa 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 Ottawa would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Ottawa than you might in Banff.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Banff Expensive? and Is Ottawa Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Banff or Ottawa?

Ottawa has a larger population, and is about 110 times larger than the population of Banff. When comparing the sizes of Banff and Ottawa, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.