3 Best Hostels in Banff, Canada – Vibrant Lakes, Majestic Mountains and Easy Access to Outdoor Adventures

Best Hostels in Banff

Located in Alberta’s Rockies, on the southwestern border of Alberta province, Banff is a small and picturesque town that enchants its natural surroundings. Situated within Banff National Park, this resort town is a popular destination spot for many tourists and backpackers who travel to explore the treasures of Canada while staying in some of the best hostels in Banff.

What makes this small town a favoured destination among travellers are the mountainous surroundings and the high number of hot springs marking the area. The peaks of Mountain Rundle and Mountain Cascade, which are part of the Rocky Mountains, dominate the skyline. The wild and apparently untouched environment allows for plenty of outdoor activities, including biking, hiking and skiing.

Our favorite hostels in Banff are:

  1. HI Banff Alpine Centre - Hostel - best for Female Solo Travelers
  2. Banff International Hostel - best for Family
  3. Samesun Banff - best for Digital Nomads

Money-saving tip: Compare hostel prices with Hostelz.com. They compare prices from Hostelworld, Booking.com and others with 1 click.

Scattered on over 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 square miles), the Banff National Park is home to various wildlife specimens, including elk and grizzly bears. Famous for its breathtaking mountain views, vibrant lakes and outdoor adventures of all kinds, this is the main reason why tourists are attracted to this area. This is, in fact, Canada’s first national park offering some of the world’s most picturesque destinations.

Read: full guide to the absolute best hostels in Canada – which is your favourite hostel in Canada?

In terms of attractions, the Banff region – although small, has many to offer. There are several mountain regions, including Mount Rundle, Cascade Mountain and Mount Norquay. There are various ski slopes you need to use, as well as mountain bike trails you can explore. Other tourist attractions are the Banff Gondola and Banff Upper Hot Springs, both of which are located on Sulphur Mountain. Lake Minnewanka is only 6 minutes from the town, offering a day-use area and various activity opportunities. Motorboat rentals, food trailers and a Lake Cruise are all available at the marina.

This guide is perfect for YOU, when you…

  • are tired of crappy hostels!
  • want a social Hostel to actually meet people
  • are happy to spend $1 to $2 more for a much better experience

Despite being such a popular nature spot, Banff also offers some modern buildings and shops that are of great use to people who decide to travel there. Namely, the main street, called Banff Avenue, has plenty of restaurants, cafés and boutiques, as well as souvenir shops that we’re sure you’re going to enjoy. Whether you’re travelling for the unique mountain terrains, the rich cultural heritage, or the tasty Canadian cuisine, we are sure that you won’t be disappointed.

Read: full guide to best hostels in Montreal and best hostels in Vancouver.

What we cover in this article?

  • cheapest hostels in Banff
  • best hostels in Banff for solo traveler
  • more hostels in Banff worth a mention
  • discounts and promo codes
  • How to book?
  • All hostel and sights on a map
  • FAQ
  • Flights
  • You can find all 5 Star Hostels here with Hostelgeeks and all guides to “Best Hostels In” here.

    Quick Introduction to Banff

    Average price for a bed: Hostels in Banff cost 24€ – 34€ per night for a bed in a dorm. A private room starts from 75€ up to 107€ per night. This is a rough average just to give you an idea.

    Prices always depend on season and holidays. Please always check exact rates on Hostelz.com or Hostelworld.com.

    Check-In and Check Out: The average check-in time is from 15:00 (3pm), while the Check-Out time is before 11:00 (11am). Hostels usually offer luggage storage in case you arrive earlier or leave later. Make sure you check if luggage storage is free or if there is an extra cost.

    Backpacking tips for Banff: Before you set out on your next backpacking journey, here are some things about Banff that will help you get the most out of your travelling experience:

    • 15 years ago, Banff established a local bus transportation system that made it easier for tourists to navigate the area. Three routes connecting the town, including Tunnel Mountain, Banff Springs Hotel and Banff Gondola, with bus lines available approximately one hour apart.
    • There are several organised half-day tours in the region, including a discovery trip to Lake Louise and Morane Lake, Heart Creek Canyon, and a handful of private and seasonal tours available to all visitors.
    • The Canadian Dollar is the currency used here, so we recommend exchanging your money before you begin your trip. Although there are plenty of exchange offices, the rates might not always be convenient, so make sure to have some CAD cash in your pockets.
    • Travelling outside the peak tourist season, around July and August, will help you explore the region better. In addition, you can choose to visit some of the most popular spots later in the day, since early morning is usually the most crowded time.
    • Although the Banff bus system is of great help, renting a car allows you to explore the region more conveniently. It will also help you get anywhere you want on your own schedule, meaning that planning your daily activities will be entirely in your hands.
    • For the ultimate travel and accommodation experience, we advise that you consider staying in some neighboring towns. Although there are several of the best hostels in Banff you can stay at, if you’re willing to rent a car for a more convenient commuting experience, some closely-located towns might offer you a better price.

    But first, let us explore some of the best accommodation options in town.

    🎁 New to Hostels? Read our guide to staying in a Hostel for the First Time here. We especially recommend reading:

    The 3 Best Hostels in Banff are …

    Let’s jump right into the coolest hostels in Banff.

    1. HI Banff Alpine Centre - Hostel – best for Female Solo Travelers
    2. Banff International Hostel – best for Family
    3. Samesun Banff – best for Digital Nomads

    These are our favorite hostels in Banff. We want to make your life even easier, so we put all accommodations on a map for you. We even added our own tips for favorite restaurants, things to see, and more.

    Overview: Best Hostels by Traveler Type

    🦸 Solo Traveler: Banff International Hostel
    🙎‍♀️ best for Female Solo Traveler: HI Banff Alpine Centre - Hostel
    👫 For Socializing:HI Lake Louise
    👩‍❤️‍👨 Couple Hostel: HI Banff Alpine Centre - Hostel
    👨‍👩‍👦 Family Hostel: Banff International Hostel
    👩‍💻 For Digital Nomads: Samesun Banff
    🎒 For Backpackers:Samesun Banff

    1. HI Banff Alpine Centre - Hostel

    HI Banff Alpine Centre - Hostel offers a cozy accommodation experience by offering both private and dorm rooms. Located just 4 minutes away from the center of Banff town, It also boasts some of the most stunning views of the Rocky Mountains. Guests can spend their free time in the on-site café and bar, and try some local specialities in the full-service restaurant, HI Banff Alpine Center provides. And if you wish to mingle with fellow backpackers, you can also play free darts, foosball, or billiards.

    A free Wi-Fi service is available throughout the property, as well as a fully equipped communal kitchen area. You can use the free bus tickets that the hostel provides, discounted ski packages, bike rental, and rafting tickets. With all the given information, it’s no wonder that this is considered one of the best hostels in Banff.

    Location: This hostel is situated a five-minute drive outside of the town of Banff in a beautiful mountain setting. It is within 1 mile of Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies and Bow Falls Viewpoint is 20 minutes by foot from the hostel.

    The best choice in Banff for

    • Female Solo Travelers
    Book HI Banff Alpine Centre - Hostel here

    Check prices at:
    Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

    HI Banff Alpine Centre - Hostel Dorm

    HI Banff Alpine Centre - Hostel Outside Space

    HI Banff Alpine Centre - Hostel Common Space

    2. Banff International Hostel

    Situated in the very center of Banff, only 15 minutes drive away from Mount Norquay Ski Resort, Banff International Hostel offers several types of rooms, featuring private and en-suite bathrooms equipped with all the basic amenities. There is a free Wi-Fi service available all around the property and a fully equipped kitchen where you can prepare your own meals.

    The nearest bus station is only 2 minutes away, and the popular ski resorts are conveniently located. There is a 24-hour front desk, where you can book various trips and tours to help you explore the area.

    Location: This hostel is located in Banff centre. Mount Norquay Ski Resort is 15 minutes’ drive away.

    A great choice for

    • Family
    • Solo Traveler
    Book Banff International Hostel here

    Check prices at:
    Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

    Banff International Hostel Dorm

    Banff International Hostel Outside Space

    3. Samesun Banff Hostel

    Being one of the best hostels in Banff, Samesun Banff provides every traveler with an amazing opportunity to witness some of the most stunning sceneries in the town’s center. It provides spacious dorm rooms with en-suite bathrooms, all of which face towards the mountains. There is an on-site bar where you can get food and drinks and a common room where you can unwind and spend your free time.

    Both Banff Gondola and Banff Springs Golf Course are 2 km away, and there are a variety of other outdoor activities you can enjoy nearby, such as hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

    Location: This hostel is located on Banff National Park, just 5 minutes’ walk from Banff’s shops and bars. Recreational activities include Banff Gondola Mountain Experience just 2 km away. Banff Springs Golf Course is also just 2 km from this lodge.

    This is one of the best hostels in Banff for

    • Digital Nomads
    • Backpackers
    Book Samesun Banff here

    Check prices at:
    Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

    Samesun Banff Dorm

    Samesun Banff Room

    Best Hostels in Banff for Solo Travelers? (if applicable)

    What is seriously the best hostel in Banff for solo-travelers? The best hostel in Banff for solo-travelers is Banff International Hostel. You can read more about it here.

    Book Banff International Hostel here

    Check prices at:
    Hostelworld | Booking.com | Hostelz.com

    Banff International Hostel Dorm

    More Hostels worth a mention

    If you’re willing to indulge in a short commuting trip to reach the natural attractions Banff has to offer, you can also choose to stay in some of the following hostels:

    • HI Lake Louise
    • HI Castle Mountain Hostel
    • Dreamcatcher Hostel
    • YWCA Banff Hotel
    • HI Mosquito Creek Hostel
    • HI Rampart Creek Hostel

    4. HI Lake Louise

    Located in Lake Louise, amidst the Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park, HI Lake Louise accommodation offers several room options that will cater to your needs. There is also an on-site café, two well-equipped kitchens, as well as private storage that all guests can use.

    The fireplace in the hotel’s common room is the major gathering spot for everyone willing to meet fellow travellers. Lake Lousie can be reached within 8 minutes, while Samson Mall is only a 5-minute walking distance away. Staying here will provide you with the opportunity to indulge in a variety of outdoor activities and explore the natural beauty that surrounds you.

    Book HI – Lake Louise here

    Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld | Hostelz.com

    HI Lake Louise Dorm

    HI Lake Louise Common Space

    5. HI Castle Mountain Hostel

    Situated between Banff and Lake Louise, HI Castle Mountain Hostel offers all the convenience the best hostels in Banff offer in terms of location. The beautiful Johnston Canyon can be reached in less than 10 minutes drive, while the Rockbound Lake Trail is only 50 m away.

    There are both male and female dormitory options available, all of which have access to a shared bathroom. There is a shared kitchen area you can use to prepare your own meals, and a spacious garden where you can meet and hang with fellow backpackers.

    Book HI – Castle Mountain Hostel here

    Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld | Hostelz.com

    HI Castle Mountain Hostel Dorm

    HI Castle Mountain Hostel Common Space

    6. Dreamcatcher Hostel

    Located just under 100 km (approximately 60 miles) from the Banff National Park, Dreamcatcher Hostel accommodation enjoys all the beauty the small town of Golden provides. They offer both private, family and dorm rooms, with en-suite and shared bathroom facilities.

    The property has a large kitchen and common area, which guests can use, offering cozy seating and a warm fireplace. All popular landmarks can be reached within 40 minutes to a maximum of a 2-hour drive, which is not inconvenient if you’re renting a car.

    Book Dreamcatcher Hostel here

    Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld | Hostelz.com

    Dreamcatcher Hostel Dorm

    Dreamcatcher Hostel Common Space

    7. YWCA Banff Hotel, Banff National Park

    YWCA Banff Hotel is located in the heart of Banff National Park and less than 10 minutes’ walk from Banff town center. Rooms, which are basic in nature, do not include televisions, air-conditioning, or mini-fridges. The property does offer 24-hour reception, guest laundry facilities, free wifi, and limited first come first serviced on-site parking.

    Book YWCA Banff Hotel here

    Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelz.com

    YWCA Banff Hotel Room

    8. HI Mosquito Creek Hostel

    HI Mosquito Creek Hostel is located 20 minutes’ drive from Lake Louise in an isolated setting. This hostel offers shared kitchen facilities. Facilities are good, dorm rooms are cosy and the location is stunning. 

    The hostel gives you the true experience of Banff and wilderness living, with a wood sauna, a friendly host, amazingly fun hostel mates, a spring to jump into with friends and a campfire.

    Book HI Mosquito Creek Hostel here

    Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld | Hostelz.com

    HI Mosquito Creek Hostel Dorm

    HI Mosquito Creek Hostel Common Space

    9. HI Rampart Creek Hostel

    HI Rampart Creek Hostel is located 90 km north of Lake Louise in a wilderness setting. This is an amazing hostel in the middle of nowhere where you get to truly experience nature. No running water, no showers and only outhouses but that will not stop you from enjoying your stay. The hostel manager is really friendly and will provide you with lots of information around the area and places that you could visit. There is an outdoor sauna that’s available for use. The indoor communal area is clean and quite cozy too.

    Book HI Rampart Creek Hostel here

    Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld | Hostelz.com

    HI Rampart Creek Hostel Dorm

    HI Rampart Creek Hostel Kitchen

    With this, we finish our list of the best hostels in Banff and its surrounding area. So, pack your warm clothes and skis, re-read our list of backpacking tips, and rest assured that you’re prepared for the ultimate adventure experience in the most scenic area in Canada.

    What about the cheapest hostels in Banff?

    Of course, there are always cheap hostels. But how do you actually find them? When you are traveling on a shoe-string budget and you want to save every dollar, there are ways to find the cheapest places in Banff.

    1. Open Hostelz.com with a full list of all hostels in Banff
    2. add your dates
    3. Order the listings by price

    Simple as that.

    Hostelz.com is a price comparison site for hostels. They list every single one in the world and tells you exactly which website is cheaper to use.

    Another smart Tip: Check what is actually included, and what is excluded. Take a closer look at the location, too. A further location might mean more costs in transport.

    Any Discounts?

    You can find all our hostel discounts worldwide here. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the freshest hostel discounts directly in your inbox. We even have special discount codes we only share in the newsletter.

    It is completely free to join!

    How to book?

    The most popular booking platforms are Booking.com and Hostelworld.com. On both platforms, your credit card is 100% protected and the booking 100% confirmed.

    We included some handy links to each of the recommended hostel. Just click on the hostel name. The link will lead you to check prices and availability.

    Read: Step-by-Step guide on how to book with Hostelworld

    We recommend booking your hostel as early as possible! All of Banff best hostels are popular; especially in high-season. To make sure you end up in those stylish and good hostels, secure your room/bed as soon as you have your travel dates fix.

    The coolest Hostel App you need comes as well from Hostelworld. It gives you super cool features like you can contact your hostel mates beforehand, ask questions, and make plans together. Find more details in our review of the app.

    Download the Hostelworld App here

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    Scan the QR Code with your Smartphone to download the Hostelworld App from the App Store - like a real Hostel Geek!

    The best way to find hostels: Hostelgeeks website and Hostelworld App

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    Our Favorite Hostels in Banff put on a map + sights

    Let us have a look at the map. Below, we list all three best Banff hostels on a map.

    Personally, we love to plan our trips with a map having all sights and potential hostels on it. We thought this map will help you with planning your trip too.

    In Banff we absolutely enjoyed:

    • Fairmont Banff Springs
    • Cave and Basin National Historic Site
    • Banff Gondola
    • Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
    • Cascade of Time Garden
    • Bow Falls
    • Banff Upper Hot Springs
    • Banff Visitor Centre

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    Flights to Banff?

    The closest international airport is in Calgary. It’s about a 90-minute drive (145 km or 90 miles) from the Calgary International Airport to Banff. Flights from across Canada and around the world connect Calgary and Banff with travellers from every corner of the globe.

    We use Skyscanner and Omio.com to find cheap flights and good connections all over the globe.

    Skyscanner has a bunch of cool features like Multi-City Trip. Instead of doing this research step-by-step, Skyscanner offers this flight planning tool.

    Our Step-by-Step Guide to Skyscanner

    review of Skyscanner flight searches

    Alright, this is your answer to where to stay in Banff, Canada.

    We did the leg work for you and bring you more hostel guides to destinations:

    Over to you

    Do you have any questions left, maybe doubts? Then please leave it in the comment below. We are very keen to help you - and actually you would even do us a favor!

    Your question will help us to improve this Banff guide.

    Last note: Our commitment

    This is a genuine article to help you travel a bit smarter, and find the best place on a budget! We will never recommend you any place we haven’t evaluated or are not convinced by. We are constantly updating all our guides to keep them as fresh and accurate as possible.

    Safe travels,
    The Hostelgeeks

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