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Banff Town exists as a tranquil gateway and comfort stop for exploring the Banff National Park. Sure, it has high quality restaurants, boutique shops and even a nightclub, and some people do come for those things, but for most people it’s the spectacularly mountainous scenery of the National Park which draws them. Undoubtedly, whilst many of the best places to stay in Banff have stunning views of the park, our Guru’s recommendations for the best places to stay in Banff take in a lot more considerations beside - like comfort and service etc., so it’s not all vast untended wilderness up here.
Banff is a bit of a wonderland for active folk. Its mountains and valleys range high and low, crafting a dramatic and thrilling course for skiers and mountain bikers, while the serene unsullied mountain lakes are ripe for boating, kayaking, canoeing etc..
The dense forests are home to elk, wolves and bears, and in spring, the alpine meadows are lush with flowers. There are even hot springs - they're the reason the whole park became a protected area. Discovered in 1883, during the hey-day in popularity of thermal bathing, it looked as if the whole region would be swamped by private businesses trying to ‘sell’ the new springs. But the government of the time stepped in and made the whole area a national park - Canada’s first and only the third in the world.
However, Banff is not soley about the great outdoors and the town boasts several museums, most of them born to educate visitors about the area. The Buffalo National Luxton Museum focusses on the story of this region's Aboriginal people, and the Banff Park Museum occupies an old Canadian Pacific Railway building. Banff’s old cemetery is also worth a visit to further provide a unique historical perspective on the town.
What Not To Miss:
- Take a tour of the majestic Icefields and Glaciers - described as "one of the greatest mountain drives in the world".
- Soar up Sulphur Mountain to 2281m on the Banff Gondola providing breathtaking views of the surrounding mountain ranges and even enjoy a scenic meal at the summit restaurant.
- Cruise along the Bow Valley Parkway and witness jaw-dropping scenery scattered with Canadian wildlife including bears, moose and elk in their natural habitat.
- Visit the fascinating Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies and learn about the cultural significance of the mountains through exhibitions and events.
Don't forget to book well ahead if you want to bag a bed in one of the best places to stay in Banff in either summer or winter....it's a very popular destination in both seasons!
The best places to stay in Banff
For the views
- The Buffalo Mountain Lodge is the perfect place for an active break in summer or winter. There’s a range of accommodation, but most options come with fireplaces and private balconies with spectacular views. There’s an Italian restaurant, but they also have an option serving more local style cuisine.
For a chalet or apartment
- If you’d prefer your own space and would like to stay in an apartment or chalet, we recommend you visit our online partner, Booking.com
- Calgary International Airport is approximately 140km from Banff and provides connections to North America, Europe and the UK.
- The Banff Airporter provides a frequent service between Calgary International Airport and Banff taking approximately 2 hours.
- Banff is well served by the Rocky Mountaineer railway service which provides a luxurious and memorable journey through the spectacular Canadian Rockies
- If you would like to hire a car to explore the dramatic scenery, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos
- The best times to visit Banff are June-August and December-March with the summer weather providing opportunities for nature lovers to explore the park and the winter offering exceptional snowsport.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Banff for you?
Best Hotels in Banff
Buffalo Mountain Lodge 108 rooms from $138Banff (Alberta)
Snow or sun, this brilliant located lodge is the perfect for active families to set-up camp. Fireplaces, private balconies and comfortable beds make the rooms hard to leave but we promise the great outdoors and views are worth it. Cilantro is Italian cuisine, or try Sleeping Buffalo's local cuisine.Foodies - 40 people can be sat in the Wapiti Longhouse wine cellar on site, a great place to indulge in the local cuisine and fine wines.Romantic Break - Make the most of the enchanting and romantic views with the outdoor hot tub and private balconies.Kayaking - Leisure canoeing on Emerald Lake or Lake Louise is the perfect outing, especially with a picnic from the lodge.Lively - Hip and happening.