Most people will have heard of Banff in one way or another. Located in Alberta, Canada, Banff is one of the oldest national parks in the world and home to the famous Lake Louise. With its unparalleled natural beauty and endless outdoor activities like hiking trails and horseback riding, Banff is an adventure lover’s dream!
With over 2,500 square miles of mountains, lakes, forests, and rivers, you could spend a lifetime here and not finish exploring it all. I visited this mountain paradise while living in Canada a few years ago, and I’ve been itching to go back ever since!
Since it is so big, it can be challenging to figure out where to stay in Banff National Park. To make it even more confusing, inside Banff national park, there are several smaller towns.
The best place to stay in Banff is Banff Town since you will be near all the attractions, tour operators and incredible restaurants! But in this post I will also talk about Lake Louise, Canmore, Calgary and Golden! That means 4 more areas to choose from, all of them with something perfect for other interests.
For each area I will also recommend Banff’s best hotels, lodges, and hostels within them for every budget to help you choose the right place for you.
Speaking of hotels, remember that since Banff is one of the most visited places in Canada, you really must book as soon as you find the best option for your vacation! Otherwise you might miss out!
- If you are in a hurry
- 1. Banff Town – where to stay in Banff for first-time visitors
- 2. Lake Louise – the heart of Banff National Park
- 3. Canmore – where to stay near Banff for hiking
- 4. Calgary – best place to stay for short visits to Banff
- 5. Golden – where to stay for those on a budget
- BONUS 1: More hotel recommendations in Banff National Park
- BONUS 2: Where to stay in Moraine Lake
- BONUS 3: Best hot springs around Banff, Alberta
- FAQs about hotels in Banff National Park
If you are in a hurry
If you want to book now and don’t want to sift through my whole post, here are my top 4 accommodation recommendations for where to stay in Banff. I have given you the best places to stay in every price range, close to Banff National Park and Lake Louise.
Fairmont Château Lake Louise
Best luxury hotel
Condo With Mountain Views
An Airbnb with amazing reviews
Moose Hotel and Suites
Best value for money
Canmore Downtown Hostel
Best affordable accommodation
To help you get a better idea of where the best areas to stay in Banff National Park or near the park, here they all are on a map.
1. Banff Town – where to stay in Banff for first-time visitors
In this beautiful town you will me amazed to see people wearing skiing gear entering the same restaurant as people in heels! Meaning you will find something perfect for you!
The town of Banff can be compared to the likes of other famous ski mountain towns, such as Zermatt, Switzerland. The giant peaks of Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade looms dramatically over Banff Avenue (the main street), which is lined with an eclectic mix of designer fashion and adventure gear shops.
It’s not an unusual sight to see a group of women in high heels entering the same restaurants as those still in their ski boots.
The town of Banff acts as the entranceway to Banff National Park and is the best place to stay for first-time visitors and those who like to appreciate nature from afar without donning hiking boots themselves.
That is not to say you can’t get out there if you choose! All the main outdoor attractions are within a short drive, and you are nearby some of the best restaurants, bars, and shops in Banff! Head to the top of Tunnel Mountain to get your first view of Banff Avenue, the Bow River, and the surrounding Canadian Rockies.
There is an abundance of hotels in Banff to choose from, but here are the best ones:
This is as close as you will get to living like royalty at Downton Abbey. With an attentive concierge, 11 (!) restaurants, a spa with a steam room, and activities like horseback riding, this is a perfect spot for a luxury getaway. Built in 1888, this is an old Scottish castle and declared a national historic site! The views from this epic hotel are also incredible, I highly recommend cocktails around the fireplace on the terrace!
Other accommodation options in Banff Town
One of the best hotels in Banff, Moose Hotel has excellent facilities, offers free parking, and is in the perfect location near Banff Avenue, Downtown Banff, and with views of the Tunnel Mountain!
Great value for money, less than a km away from Banff Avenue with an indoor pool and hot tub, High Country Inn is one of the best hotels to stay in Banff on a budget!
This modern, one-bedroom apartment is located near Banff Avenue and in the heart of Downtown Banff with an incredibly cozy feel!
Since Banff is by far the most popular place to stay in the National park, I wanted to give you some extra options for each category in case you want more choice or if you have already missed out on the options above!
- Royal Canadian Lodge – With beautifully classical decorated rooms, this Banff hotel includes an on-site restaurant and lounge so that you can rest after a full day exploring the city!
- Best Western – This hotel has a great indoor swimming pool and offers an incredible breakfast! It is also close to Banff Town so if you are not digging scrambled eggs, sausages and waffles, you can easily walk to town and check out all the amazing restaurant options!
- High Country Inn – This is a cozy yet amazing 3-star hotel with incredible amenities such as an indoor pool, a sauna, and a hot tub. Perfect if you are looking for a hotel where you can relax, right?
- Tunnel Mountain Resort – Boasting panoramic views of Banff, Tunnel Mountain Resort is just beautiful! If you stay here, you will enjoy an on-site fitness center, a sauna, and a terrace where you can check out the beautiful town filled with snow!
- Elk + Avenue Hotel – In case you are looking for cheap accommodations to save some money and spend it on other things, this is an incredible option. This property boasts cozy yet spacious rooms perfect for you and your pet. Yes, this hotel is indeed pet-friendly!
- The Rundlestone Lodge – Located right on Banff Avenue, this contemporary mountain lodge has an on-site restaurant, an indoor pool and a beautiful open fireplace where you can enjoy a delicious hot chocolate after a long day in town!
2. Lake Louise – the heart of Banff National Park
If you’re like me and are constantly seeing photos on Instagram of a bright, turquoise blue lake, surrounded by lush green pine trees, set to a background of dramatic Canadian rocky mountains… You have to visit Lake Louise Village.
Known for its unbelievably beautiful waters, Lake Louise is a must-visit spot inside Banff National Park, so why not stay there? Just 60 km (40 miles) northwest of the town of Banff in Lake Louise, you will find a small collection of shops (including an excellent bakery), the Lake Louise ski resort, an abundance of hiking trails in the summer, and the unmissable Lake Louise ice carving competition held every winter. (Yes, there’s more to Canadian winters than just Whistler!)
Although it doesn’t have a busy main street, Lake Louise is perfect for anyone who wants to truly experience Banff National Park has to offer. If you stay in Lake Louise, the hikes will start right from your doorstep. With the ability to start on the popular trails early in the morning, you’ll be able to beat the crowds!
So, if you think Lake Louise is the perfect area for you, here are the best hotels in the neighborhood:
Probably THE best place to stay in Banff National Park is undoubtedly the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. A Banff and Lake Louise icon, its location right on the lake is unbeatable. With its famous view of the Canadian Rockies plus all it offers, there’s nothing more to ask of this incredible 4-star resort. Looking for a romantic escape in Lake Louise? Fairmont Chateau is the best hotel in Banff for you!
Other accommodation options in Lake Louise
A typical log cabin with open fires, this mountain resort hotel is the perfect cozy escape and one of the best Lake Louise hotels!
The perfect hostel for those who want luxury facilities on a budget in Lake Louise. Cheap shared rooms available
Enjoy a full kitchen, 2 bedrooms, and free parking with this adorable A-Frame home in Lake Louise
3. Canmore – where to stay near Banff for hiking
If you love mountains but don’t enjoy the crowds, Canmore is the best place to stay for you! After just a 20min drive southeast of Downtown Banff, you will leave the boutique Banff streets behind and arrive in an authentic mountain town. If you don’t have access to a car, don’t worry! Banff’s local bus #3 runs to Canmore!
Prices in Canmore generally get you more bang for your buck than in hotels in Banff which means it has the best places to stay in Banff if you are on a budget but still want to be close to all that Banff has to offer. Canmore is my personal favorite place to stay when I visit Banff.
Similar to Banff, you can’t help but notice the enormous rocky mountain that dominates the landscape of Canmore. The best thing about staying in Canmore is that you are right in the middle of not just 1 but 3 incredible national and state nature parks and surrounded by even more ski resorts in winter!
Being right on the boundary to Banff National Park to the North, you will also find Kananaskis state park to the east and Kootenay National Park to the west.
Listen to the Bow River flow through Canmore below while you dip in the luxurious pool or relax in a hot tub with a panoramic view of the Canadian Rockies. If you’re looking for one of the best Banff hotels to stay in, you’ll never want to leave this high-class hotel with an on-site bar, restaurant, and fitness center!
Other accommodation options in Canmore
Traditional country inn with outdoor pool and a convenient location within walking distance Downtown Canmore
Great central, social hostel with huge communal kitchen and free wifi
Luxury corner condo with incredible mountain views, beautiful decor – plus, it also has free parking!
4. Calgary – best place to stay for short visits to Banff
You may be wondering: “What is Calgary doing in a “where to stay in Banff” list?”. Hear me out 🙂
If you don’t have a lot of time to spend visiting Banff, you may want to consider a stay in Calgary instead of a hotel in Banff. Calgary is Alberta’s most populous city, so don’t expect hikes right from your doorstep.
However, after driving just 1.5-hours down the Bow Valley, you will arrive in Banff and be greeted by the glorious rocky mountains, including the Sulphur Mountain!
The Calgary airport is the biggest flight hub close to Banff, meaning it is filled with places to stay if you want to fly in and fly out, with only time for a day trip to the national park. Connecting to Vancouver and need a place to stay? Check out our Vancouver accommodation guide here.
If you think that you’ve heard of Calgary but are not sure why, it’s probably because of the Calgary Stampede, held every July. The Calgary Stampede is the world’s largest outdoor rodeo so if you’re planning on visiting while it’s on, make sure to book early, as the best hotels in Banff sell out fast!
Here are some of the best hotels and Airbnbs I have selected for you in Calgary:
The funky designs of Residence Inn and its perfect location, within walking distance from the Calgary Tower, will have you feeling right at home. Admire the view from the terrace or indulge in a delicious breakfast after your trip to the mountains and keep yourself entertained before your flight in the onsite bar, fitness center, or business center.
Other accommodation options in Calgary
5. Golden – where to stay for those on a budget
Whilst it’s not technically in Banff National Park, Golden is a great alternative to the regular tourist spots.
Lying on the border between Alberta and British Columbia, Golden is the gateway to some of the best skiing in the world. Golden is a more real Canadian mountain town. You can look forward to a more authentic country experience as well as cheaper prices and more space here.
Staying in Golden will give you access to 5 world-renowned ski resorts in winter and endless hiking opportunities in summer. On your 1.5-hour drive into Banff, you will pass Yoho National Park, this one is a hidden gem that is 100% worth a visit! If you manage to get passes for Lake O’Hara, do not miss a minute, as this is one of my favorite hikes of all time, and just a handful of people are allowed in to experience this protected area each day.
This luxury wooden mountain lodge gives you extreme comfort and unbeatable views from its many cozy living spaces, patios, and huge glass windows looking out over the rocky mountains, including Sulphur Mountain! All this, plus a delicious home-cooked breakfast, spa bath ensuites, and a hot tub, are all wrapped up in this traditional Canadian log cabin-style lodge.
Other accommodation options in Golden
|👑 Luxury price:||$280|
|💵 Mid-range hotel:||$150|
|💰 Accommodation prices:||High|
|📍 Best Area:||Banff Town|
|🛎️ Best luxury hotel:||Fairmont Château Lake Louise|
|💵 Mid-range hotel:||Moose Hotel and Suites|
|👛 Best budget hotel:||Canmore Downtown Hostel|
BONUS 1: More hotel recommendations in Banff National Park
Banff National Park is a marvelous place that really does have something for everyone! That is why I decided to give you some more hotel recommendations for specific interests. So if you are looking for something other than the best areas, in this section you can find the ideal hotel for you!
Unique places to stay in Banff
There are many incredible options to stay in Banff, but I’m sure you would love to have a unique stay! Here are 3 options that will make your vacations unforgettable, weather you pick a cosy cabin or a boutique hotel.
- Rimrock Resort Hotel – If you are looking for a celebrity treatment, this Banff hotel is the place to stay. With a spa and wellness center what makes Rimrock Resort Hotel unique is its location, just 500m away from the Banff Gondola it overlooks the Canadian Rockies, including the Sulphur Mountain!
- Coast Canmore – Located in an area full of parks, restaurants and mountains this hotel in Canmore not only has top amenities but also offers activities like horse riding, happy hour, and even golfing!
Best places to stay in Banff for couples
Traveling with your significant other? I can only imagine you want to stay in a hotel where you will be able to enjoy each others company to the max! Check out these incredible options:
- Lady MacDonald Country Inn – This is a bed and breakfast is overlooked by the Canadian Rockies and offers majestic views of the mountains. After a couples massage, you can enjoy the rest of the evening beside the rock fireplace in the parlor.
- Sunshine Mountain Lodge – This ski resort is located in Banff Town where you will have everything you need for your stay. Sunshine Mountain Lodge is the perfect place to have an incredible time with your partner since it offers multiple restaurants, an outdoor hot pool, ski storage and spa services like couples massage!
- Banff Ptarmigan Inn – In case you are looking for something on a budget, I’m sure this is the perfect place for you! This is a highly rated hotel for couples where you will have convenient amenities and leisure services within walking distance of many area attractions, parks and ski areas!
Where to stay with family in Banff National Park
Looking for a place where you will be comfortable with your whole family? There are many hotels here with incredible amenities for every member of the family! Check these options:
- Fox Hotel and Suites – This is a contemporary hotel perfect for families that are looking to have an incredible time at Banff, Alberta. Fox Hotel offers a free shuttle to downtown as well as family rooms with board games and puzzles to enjoy an evening with your folks!
- Pocaterra Inn & Waterslide – Yes, the name does not lie. This hotel features an indoor pool with a waterslide for the little kids and a sauna for the adults in the family that want to have a quick relaxing moment after a day exploring the city – or just taking care of the little ones!
- The Hidden Ridge Resort – With spacious rooms, this resort not only has very convenient family rooms, but also a kitchen and a fireplace. The Hidden Ridge Resort is an absolute gem hidden away at the top of the mountain.
Where to stay in Banff with a dog
Sometimes traveling and leaving your dog behind is hard, so if you are looking for pet friendly hotels, here is a list with incredible hotel options:
- Baker Creek by Basecamp – With incredible views of the Rocky Mountains and easy access to Bow Valley Parkway, this hotel will be the perfect place to stay with your dog thanks to all the open spaces of this property!
- Canalta Lodge – With an on-site coffee shop, the Canalta Lodge is located just 5 minutes away from Downtown Banff it has a beautiful fireplace area where you can enjoy with your little friend!
- Dorothy Motel – This hotel has incredible amenities and services, you won’t believe it is a budget hotel! The rooms have garden views where I’m sure your dog will enjoy those beautiful views!
BONUS 2: Where to stay in Moraine Lake
Moraine Lake is set in the rugged Valley of the Ten Peaks, just 14 kilometers away from Lake Louise so if you stay here, you will be surrounded by mountains like the Sulfur Mountain, waterfalls, and rock piles, creating a scene so stunning it almost seems unreal (perfect for a romantic getaway, as well).
I decided to add this incredible lake as a bonus because even thought Moraine Lake is only open during summer months from June to October, it is a incredible place where 4 months are enough to experience the fantastic hikes, such as The Rockpile Trail, which will take you to the famous “Twenty Dollar View.
There is only one option to stay in Moraine Lake and that is Moraine Lake Lodge. This is an incredibly cozy lodge that not only has pretty comfortable rooms, but also offers free guided hiking programs and free canoeing on the lake! How awesome is that? Moraine Lake Lodge also has internet access as well as an on-site restaurant that serves fine regional cuisine for breakfast and dinner.
Even if it is only for one night, I highly recommend staying here if you want to experience Moraine lake without the crowds. In summer it’s common for the parking lots to fill up well before sunrise, meaning the only way to see it without thousands of other tourists is by staying the night.
BONUS 3: Best hot springs around Banff, Alberta
One thing that becomes quite clear when you visit Banff is that it is located in a geothermal area and is one of the best places in Canada to relax in some natural hot springs. While I was traveling around Alberta, I discovered quite a few different options for soaking away the world’s troubles. Here are the best ones to visit:
1. Banff Upper Hot Springs
If you’re looking to enjoy a soak in some springs close to the center of Banff, look no further than the historic Banff Upper Hot Springs with panoramic views of the Rockies. These pools were actually opened just one year after the national park, and they couldn’t have chosen a better location for one of the country’s oldest hot springs.
2. Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
The famous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel castle in the mountains that I mentioned earlier also offers day passes to their incredible springs. If you’re looking for an ultimate luxury pamper day, this is the place for you. Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel will have you forgetting your hiking aches in a matter of seconds!
3. Radium Hot Springs
Located in a little canyon, just off the Banff – Radium highway, Radium Hot Springs is the best choice for those on a budget or looking for a quick dip to break up a road trip. Since the springs are located in a rocky canyon, the springs are protected from the wind and are the best choice to enjoy a soak in stormy weather.
4. Lussier Hot Springs
These are possibly my favorite springs in Canada and are a bit of a secret. Although they are located a bit further from Banff, they are worth it! After driving 17km down a dirt road that seemingly leads to nowhere, you will find the small parking lot and a set of stairs that leads down to Lussier Hot Springs. A local favorite, these springs are completely natural and completely free. You will find 3 different pools leading down to the coldest one, right next to the flowing river. Step out of the pool and into the river for a super cold plunge if you dare!
FAQs about hotels in Banff National Park
🏡 Where Should I Stay in Banff?
Within the area of Banff National Park, there are several different towns where you can stay. The town of Banff (a town within the national park of the same name) is the best place to stay for first-time visitors. Lake Louise and Canmore are two more towns that are good alternatives.
🏔️ Is it Better to Stay in Banff or Canmore?
If you are looking for high-fashion boutiques and more fine dining that you can eat, Banff is the town for you. Alternatively, if you want something budget-friendly and away from the crowds, Canmore is a great choice just 20 mins away.
🚣 Is it Better to Stay at Lake Louise or Banff?
Staying in Lake Louise means being away from the crowds and being closer to the start of many of the most popular hiking trails in Banff National Park. If you are looking for a more happening area with shops, bars, and restaurants, the town of Banff will be more suited to your needs.
📅 What is the Best Month to Visit Banff?
Summer is the busiest month when you will find the best weather and the most crowds. Banff National Park is also a trendy spot to visit in the winter months for its world-famous ice festival and countless ski resorts scattered throughout the park. The months of spring or autumn are the best time to visit if you’re looking for the least crowds, but the weather can be a bit more unpredictable, and snow may still be present on the hiking paths.
🚗 How Do I Get to Banff?
The closest airport to Banff is Calgary International. Calgary is a 1.5-hour drive to Banff national park. Many hotels offer airport transfer services but renting a car will give you much more freedom for your adventures. If you are road-tripping from Vancouver, the drive will take you 10 hours, and I highly recommend going via the Icefields Parkways – one of the most scenic roads in the world.
🎿 Where is the best place to stay in Banff for skiing?
Lake Louise is the best place to stay inside Banff for skiing, but if you don’t necessarily need to be in Banff and prioritize the best resorts, Golden has some of the best skiing in the world! Plus you’ll have the best ski resorts in this area, just check out Golden Acres Mountain Lodge!
🚴♂️ Where should I stay in Banff without a car?
🌆 Which town is the best to stay outside of Banff?
Canmore is the best place to stay outside of Banff in case you want to be outside the National Park but still within a 20 mins drive from Banff!
So there you have it, I have talked about a wide selection of different areas to stay in and around Banff and Lake Louise, Canada, as well as the top hotel, lodge, or hostel for each price range within them. Just remember that since Banff is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in western Canada, Banff Hotels do tend to book out in the high seasons of summer and winter. Make sure to book as far ahead in advance as you can to get your top pick!
I’ve talked about so many great options already, but here are my absolute favorites:
- Fairmont Château Lake Louise – the most iconic hotel in the whole of Alberta
- Peaks Hotel and Suites – a new hotel in Banff with sleek modern design and views of the Tunnel Mountain!
Don’t forget to visit one of the springs near Banff I talked about. If you’re thinking of heading to the secret spot I mentioned, renting a car is the best way to get there. Check out this guide for things to know before renting a car in Canada.
Whether you’re visiting Banff National Park, spending a week enjoying nature in Canmore lodge, having a luxurious holiday in a Banff mountain resort, or zipping in and out from one of the numerous Calgary hotels, I hope I helped you answer the question, where to stay in Banff and that you found an excellent choice in one of these Banff Hotels.
I’m sure that you love your time there as much as I did. Please leave me a comment if you want to know more or if you have already visited Banff, what was your favorite activity? I’ll make sure to add it to my list for the next time I visit.
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