Banff and Jasper are two of Canada’s most popular destinations, but which offers the experience you’re looking for? We compare the pros and the major differences between Jasper vs Banff so you can decide for yourself!
Jasper and Banff are two of Canada’s beloved tourist destinations: Both are located in Alberta, and both mountain towns offer some of the best sights and experiences in the Canadian Rockies.
Wondering what makes each of these popular destinations unique? Read on for things to do in Jasper and Banff, the best places to stay, and much more.
Where Should You Go, Banff or Jasper?
When it comes to Jasper vs Banff, where you decide to go depends on what you want to do. Whatever destination you choose depends on what type of vacation you’re interested in. While they might be similar in a lot of ways, they offer two very different vacations.
Go to Banff if you’re looking for:
- Skiing 🎿
- Winter activities ⛄️
- Nightlife 🕺🏽
Banff is also closer to Calgary International Airport.
Go to Jasper if you’re looking for:
- Relaxation 🛀🏼
- Smaller crowds 💆🏻♀️
- Summer mountain activities 🏔
While Banff is closer to the city of Calgary, you can access Jasper via rail. If you’re heading down from Edmonton, you can get a train ticket for less than $100.
Let’s dig a little deeper into this:
Jasper and Banff: Best Skiing & Snowboarding
If you’re travelling for winter sports, particularly skiing or snowboarding, both Banff and Jasper are great picks.
When it comes to Jasper vs Banff for better ski hills, Banff wins. There are more ski hills to choose from in Banff, including more of a variety. If you’re in Banff National Park you have access to some of the finest ski hills around, including Sunshine Village, Lake Louise, and Norquay.
Banff and Jasper: Where to Stay
When it comes to accommodations, both Jasper and Banff offer everything from luxury hotels to comfortable mid-range lodges. Some of the best places to stay in Banff and Jasper offer hot springs and experiences to make sure their guests can enjoy the stunning surroundings.
The Fairmont Banff Springs is an icon of the Banff area and is a great resort for luxury travellers. It has everything from a spa to must-see views. But you’ll be looking at a room rate of over $400.
In Jasper, you’ll find the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. This is also a beautiful luxury hotel, but you can find rooms closer to the $250 price range for a room. The Jasper accommodation is less of a hotel and more of a mountain lodge with cabins and a remote vibe, making it a more ideal option for a quiet vacation.
When it comes to the non-luxury hotels, Banff hotels tend to all be a little pricier, but if you’re open to quiet and relaxing instead of the nightlife, you’ll find cheaper hotels in the Jasper area.
Jasper and Banff: Best Eats
When it comes to Banff versus Jasper for food, Banff’s popularity gives it a headstart. Not only does Banff has a bustling restaurant scene, but it’s known for its nightlife. Here are some of the best places to go if you’re looking for a night out in Banff:
- Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon is a great Banff spot for live music, good food and lively atmosphere.
- Dancing Sasquatch is where you can dance the night away in Banff.
That’s not to say that Jasper doesn’t have some great places to eat. In fact, two of the local favourites include:
- Jasper Brewing Company is a great brewery with an informative tour and delicious eats and drink.
- Evil Dave’s Grill is a local favourite serving fusion food in a relaxed and casual environment.
Jasper and Banff: Scenery and Activities
The scenery is where Jasper really shines. While both places are located in gorgeous settings, Jasper National Park Of Canada is bigger than Banff National Park (and less frequented) with over 10,000 square kilometres of preserved land. And it’s gorgeous. From the Athabasca Falls and Glacier to Maligne Lake and Canyon, there is so much to see and do in Jasper.
But, as beautiful as Jasper is, a lot of their outdoor activities are closed during the winter months. Meaning if you’re headed to the area during the middle of winter, you might want to go to Banff. Those looking for an easy hike should hit up Johnson’s Canyon, and if you want a relaxing afternoon we recommend spending it at the Banff Hot Springs or a trip up the gondola.
If you’re looking to truly visit nature and want to experience all the area has to offer, Jasper is the summer pick while Banff is great for winter.
Need some more mountain inspiration?
- Whistler Blackcomb and Whistler Village Guide
- Hit the Slopes at These Undiscovered Ski Resorts in Canada
- The Ultimate Guide to Mont-Tremblant Quebec
Ready to book? Find the best flight to your destination of choice below. 👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽