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

Should you visit Calgary or Ottawa?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Calgary and Ottawa can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Where Should I go: Calgary or Ottawa?


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.


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 Family-Friendly Tours to Canada, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Canada, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Canada, and Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in Canada.

Which place is cheaper, Ottawa or Calgary?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Calgary is $155, 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 Calgary and Ottawa in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Calgary $73
    Ottawa $18
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Calgary $146
    Ottawa $36
Compare Hotels in Calgary and Ottawa

Looking for a hotel in Calgary 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 Calgary

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: Calgary Hotel Prices and Ottawa Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Calgary $13
    Ottawa $7.22

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Calgary

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Calgary:

  • Transfer in private minivan from Calgary Airport (YYC) to Calgary Downtown: $138
  • Private Transfers during Calgary Stampede: $73
  • Private Transfer: Calgary Airport to Downtown: $111
  • Private Transfer from Fernie to Calgary International Airport: $76
  • Private Transfer from Calgary to Calgary Airport YYC in Luxury Van: $128
  • Private Transfer from Calgary Airport to Sunshine Village : $60
  • Private Transfer from Calgary Airport to Calgary Hotels: $63
  • Private Calgary to Banff One-way Transfer in Luxury Car: $298
  • One-Way Private Airport Transfer from Calgary to Calgary Airport: $79
  • Lake Louise: Calgary to Lake Louise Private Transfer 1 Way: $474
  • Departure Private Transfer: Calgary to Calgary Airport YYC in Business Car: $108
  • Canmore to Calgary Airport | Private Transfer: $182

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ottawa

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

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Calgary or Ottawa?

Prices for flights to both Ottawa and Calgary 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
    Calgary $31
    Ottawa $17
Typical Food Prices in Calgary

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

  • Bread, Chips, Cheese

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Calgary

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

  • Light Brunch & Food Tour at Calgary Farmers' Market WEST: $81

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: $82

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Calgary $16
    Ottawa $40
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)

Tours and Activities in Calgary

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

  • 2-Hour Private Walking Tour of Calgary's Highlights: $300
  • 6-Hour Private City Tour Drive to Calgary Tower: $694
  • Afternoon tour to Banff from Calgary: $244
  • Banff Area & Johnston Canyon 1-Day Tour from Calgary or Banff: $119
  • Banff Explorer Tour w/ Moraine Lake & Lake Louise | Private: $327
  • Banff Tour with Gondola & Lake Cruise - roundtrip from Calgary: $269
  • Best of Calgary Metropolis Driving Tour: $145
  • Bow River Trail: a Smartphone Audio Walking Tour: $5.96
  • Calgary City Highlights Bike Tour, E-Bike Upgrade Option | 3-Hour: $100
  • Calgary City Sightseeing Tour: $163
  • Calgary City Tour : $178
  • Calgary Downtown: 2-Hour Introductory Walking Tour: $21

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: $3.21
  • Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour: $6.42
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.42
  • 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
  • Street Art in Quest Experience: $8.20
  • Downtown Private Investigator 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
    Calgary $11
    Ottawa $18

Sample the Local Flavors in Calgary

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

  • Calgary Brewery and Wine Tours at Award Winning Venues: $83
  • Calgary Brewery Tour: $89

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 Calgary and Ottawa, we can see that Calgary is more expensive. And not only is Ottawa much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Ottawa would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Ottawa 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 Ottawa.

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

Which is Bigger, Calgary or Ottawa?

Calgary has a larger population, and is about 26% larger than the population of Ottawa. When comparing the sizes of Calgary 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.