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Banff, Alberta

Banff, Alberta is one of Canada’s most iconic destinations.  Set in the majestic Rocky Mountains, it has been a favorite of global travelers for over 130 years.

The town area is approximately four square kilometers (1.5 square miles) and is surrounded by towering mountains, stunning lakes, and endless forests. 

Banff also offers visitors great accommodations, food and shopping but it is the natural beauty that keeps bringing people back.

Fast Facts

  • The Town of Banff is located in the Banff National Park, Canada’s oldest national park and the third oldest in the world.  It was the established in 1885.
  • Banff National Park covers over 6,600 square kilometres (2,500 square miles). Over 96 percent of the Park remains wilderness.
  • Banff was intended to be a tourist destination from its inception in the late 1800s. Now, more than 3 million people visit  Banff and Banff National Park every year.
  • At an elevation of 1,383 metres (4,537 feet) above sea level, Banff is the highest town in Canada and home to 8,000 residents.
  • This area of the Canadian Rockies was designation a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

Getting Down to Business

Tourism drives Banff’s economy.  Canada’s national parks fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government and it limits the space available for commercial development. 

According to the Town of Banff’s local government, commercial space in the townsite is capped at 353,000 square meters (3.8 million square feet), or about 10% of the total area of the townsite.

Additionally, commercial activities must be consistent with the purposes of the town as set out in the Banff Incorporation Agreement. To find out more about opening a business in Banff, click here.

Recreation and Outdoors

While Canadians know Banff as a four-season vacation destination, many people think of Banff for alpine skiing. However, Banff is home to famous hot springs and attracts visitors who enjoy hiking, biking, camping and non-motorized water sports on some of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

Of course the ski fanatics can chose from resorts at Sunshine Village and Norquay, or travel further north in the national park to Lake Louise.

A gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain is a vacation favourite. For those seeking gentler pursuits, a walk along charming Banff Avenue provides endless mountain scenery and numerous shops and restaurants to enjoy.

Arts, Culture and Social Scene

Banff is a vibrant community with abundant cultural activities, festivals, and concerts.  It is home to the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, as well as museums, art galleries and photography studios.

Banff nightlife offers great Canadian-inspired menus in numerous restaurants and pubs, as well as a choice of cozy cafes and international cuisine options.  The town is small enough that most hot spots are within walking distance.

Whether it is a winter wonderland or a hot, sunny summer day, there is always something fun happening in Banff.

Getting to Banff, Alberta

Banff is located on the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1), approximately 125 kilometres (78 miles) from Calgary, the largest city in Alberta. Numerous shuttles, buses, limousines and car rentals are available from Calgary international airport.  The drive from Calgary to Banff takes you from a city of over 1 million people to the rolling foothills of the Rocky Mountains and straight into the heart of the Rockies, with some peaks around the Town of Banff reaching close to 3000 metres (9,800 feet).