A Travel Price Comparison for Colorado Denver vs. Vail for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Denver or Vail?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Denver or Vail, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Denver

The capital of Colorado, Denver is commonly referred to as "The Mile-High City" because it is at an elevation of 5,280 feet (1,600 meters) above sea level. It also sits where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains, giving a beautiful backdrop for this metropolitan city. The city is the largest in the Rocky Mountains with a population of more than 600,000 and nearly 3 million in the metropolitan area. Denver is a cosmopolitan city with cowboy roots. It's cultural scene is thriving, and the outdoor recreation in the area is superb. Denver is a rapidly growing city but with change comes challenges. Urban sprawl is a problem and the city's infrastructure has reached its limits. Still, efforts are in place to maintain the character and personality that Denver is known for.

Vail

Vail is one of the premier ski resort areas in the United States. Located in central Colorado, Vail is not far from Denver and situated in the heart of the Rockies. Here you'll find a quaint mountain town designed around tourism, especially for the winter, although plenty of visitors come in the warmer months, too.

High-end hotels, condos, and other accommodation options are surrounded by shops and restaurants that are all somewhat expensive compared to other costs in the United States. Because of this, Vail is definitely not considered an “affordable” travel option for many. However, good deals can be found if you look around and do some research.

Which city is cheaper, Vail or Denver?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Denver is $174, while the average daily cost in Vail is $233. 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 Denver and Vail in more detail.



Accommodation

A hotel room in Denver is about $138 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $278 in Vail For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Denver $69
    Vail $139
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Denver $138
    Vail $278

Food

The price of a meal in Denver can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $34 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $14 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

Vail food costs typically run travelers around $60 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Denver $34
    Vail $60
Typical Food prices in Denver

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


  • Sushi Dinner (for 2)
    $61

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Denver

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

  • Small-Group Food Tour in Denver: $69
  • Haunted Denver Walking Food Tour: $73
  • The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show - Denver: $77
  • Walking Food Tour - Best of Union Station & LoDo: $79
  • Denver Cooking Classes-Local, seasonal, and hands on menus: $97

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Denver is $81 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.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Vail than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $16 on transportation in Vail on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Denver $81
    Vail $16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Denver

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Denver:

  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Aspen hotel or address - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $1,592
  • Private Transfer: Denver International Airport (DEN) to Aspen: $1,321
  • Aspen: Private Transfer to or from Denver Airport: $1,279
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Avon/Vail Valley - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $858
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Breckenridge - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $809
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Aspen hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $796
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Keystone resort - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $672
  • Round trip transfer in private minivan from-to Denver Airport (DEN) to Vail city: $582
  • Private Transfer: Denver International Airport (DEN) to Vail: $576
  • Vail: Private Transfer to or from Denver Airport: $557
  • Private Denver International Airport Transfer to Vail or Beaver Creek: $450
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Avon/Vail Valley - Arrival Private Transfer: $429

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Vail

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

  • Shared Transfer from Vail or Beaver Creek to Denver Downtown: $99
  • Private Departure Transfer to Vail Airport EGE: $128
  • Private Eagle County Regional Airport Transfer to Beaver Creek: $190
  • Private Eagle County Airport Transfer to Vail: $210
  • Transfer in private minivan from Vail city to Denver International Airport (DEN): $291
  • Private Transfer: Vail to Denver International Airport (DEN): $576
  • Private Airport Transfer Service - Vail Hotels to Denver Int'l Airport: $600

Is it cheaper to fly into Denver or Vail?

Prices for flights to both Vail and Denver 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

Denver's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $42 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.

Sightseeing expenses in Vail, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $106 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Denver $42
    Vail $106

Tours and Activities in Denver

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

  • 1.5 Hour LoDo Walking Tour in Denver: $25
  • Astrophotography Experience in the Colorado Rockies: $200
  • Best of Denver Tour: $64
  • Best of Denver Tour: $22
  • Bike and Brew Tour: $60
  • Breckenridge Ultimate Full Day Mountain Tour from Denver: $115
  • Capitol Hill History & Ghost Tour: $22
  • Craft Beer Tour in Lower Downtown Denver: $53
  • Denver Ghost Hunt: Mile High Ghost Tour: $12
  • Denver Ghost Tour: $23
  • Denver Guided Sightseeing Tour on Motor Scooters: $112
  • Denver History and Highlights Small Group Tour: $35

Tours and Activities in Vail

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Vail.

  • Listen to a Tour Guide While you Drive between Vail & Denver: $3.75
  • 2-Hour Small-Group Guided Segway Tour: $89
  • Vail Segway Tour from Vail Village: $89
  • Dillon Marina & Shopping Tour: $267
  • Glenwood Adventure Park Tour: $350
  • Fall Leaves Tour from Vail: $373
  • Glenwood Hot Springs Tour: $377
  • Blackhawk-Central City Casino Tour from Vail: $377
  • Aspen Independence Pass Day Tour: $545
  • Historic Mining Town Tour: $693

Alcohol

The average person spends about $4.25 on alcoholic beverages in Denver per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Vail, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $7.83.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Denver $4.25
    Vail $7.83

Sample the Local Flavors in Denver

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

  • Haunted Denver Ghost and Pub Walking Tour in Lower Downtown: $26
  • Haunted Denver Ghost and Pub Walking Tour - South Broadway (SoBo): $27
  • 3-Hour Brewery Walking Tour: $49
  • Craft Distillery Bus Tour: $71

Sample the Local Flavors in Vail

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

  • Vail Valley Brewery & Wine Tour: $377
  • Palisade Wine Tour from Vail: $779


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Denver and Vail, we can see that Vail is more expensive. And not only is Denver much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Denver would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Denver 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 Vail would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Vail than you might in Denver.

Budget Your Trip

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Denver vs. Vail Travel Comparison

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