Banff 5-Day Itinerary – Detailed Events & Places to Go

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Banff is a beautiful and scenic Canadian town that attracts thousands of tourists every year. It is rich in experiences, delicious food, and captivating history.

Thus, you need this Banff 5-day itinerary to exhaust what the town has to offer fully.

Table of Contents

Banff 5-Day Itinerary

This itinerary will provide you with all the spots in Banff that you should visit for an optimal tourist experience.

Plan for visiting Banff for 5 days
Visiting Banff for 5 days

Some of these spots are easy to miss if you had no prior knowledge of them.

If you want to travel conveniently, consider renting a car with which to move around.

You can also opt for the town shuttles if you are on a budget. At other times, walking could also be applicable.

This itinerary is perfect for families, couples, and people traveling solo as well.

Day 1

This day will be full of adventure and learning new things about Banff. So, buckle up and anticipate an interesting day!

Family Option

This will be a perfect day for family bonding. Activities you ought to include in your day’s itinerary include the following.

9.30 am – 11.30 am: Tour Banff National Park

What better way to start your family exploration of Banff than taking a tour of its national park?

The bus to the park takes off at 9.30 am, so you want to make sure you are set by then.

Banff National Park in winter
Banff National Park

You will catch breathtaking views of the Plain of Six Glaciers on your way to the park.

Also, you will spot wildlife along Bow Valley Parkway, the likes of black bears, grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, and elk.

12.00 pm – 4.00 pm: Visit Farm and Fire

Work up your appetites for an afternoon of delicious food with natural flavors.

There is a variety of dishes to sample, all of them made with natural flavors.

Additionally – You will be impressed to learn that ingredients for the foods are obtained from local Canadian farmers. Besides the food, there is live music to lighten the mood even further.

4.30 pm -7.00 pm: Explore the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum

Learn about the history of the town and the First Nations Culture at the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum.

The museum provides information about native people and their significance in the development of Banff.

Single/couple Option

To have an unforgettable first day of your visit to Banff with your partner, include the following activities.

9.00am – 11.30am: Johnston Canyon Icewalk

Start the day energetically with a nice walk and soak up mountain air at the Canyon Icewalk. To get there, take a modern minibus from downtown Banff.

The 2.7 km hike will leave you refreshed and excited to explore more of Banff with your significant other.

If you go during winter, a guide will give you hacks for hiking during the season. You will also learn a lot about the Canyon and how it was formed.

12.00 pm – 2.00 pm: Gondola Cabin

You will have a memorable afternoon at the Gondola Cabin whether you are going solo or with your partner. The 8-minute ride is the real definition of a thrill.

The cabins have large windows through which you will catch the breathtaking 360-degree views of Bow Valley, Banff, and Rockies mountain ranges.

The cabin will drop you at the summit of Sulphur Mountain where you can sit for a while sipping hot chocolate.

2.30 pm – 5.00 pm: Sample Liquor at Park Distillery

If you like the occasional drink, then there is no better place to wind up the adventurous day you’ve just had than the park distillery.

Here, you will get to relax the evening away, sampling different types of alcoholic drinks. Remember to drink responsibly, though.

Day 2

The second day of exploring Banff promises exploration, adventure, and relaxation.

Family Option

The whole family is bound to have an unforgettable experience this day. Dress warmly, and prepare to have lots of fun!

9.00 am – 11.00 am: Visit the Cave and Basin National Historic Site

This place is a perfect learning avenue for the whole family. It holds ten-millennia worth of information and exhibits about the Indigenous People of Banff.

Besides interactive exhibits, you will also enjoy short films and an amazing view of the Rocky Mountains. Also, you will be delighted to learn that entry is free for people under the age of 17.

12.00 am – 4.30 pm: Drive through the Legendary Icefields Parkway

Driving through the legendary Icefields Parkway is a perfect way to hang out with the family.

Banff Icefields Parkway road
Banff Icefields Parkway

In what is one of the most exciting road trips on earth, the 230 km drive stretches from Lake Louise to Jasper.

You will get to enjoy captivating views of beautiful landscapes, Athabasca Falls and Peyto Lake.

You will also pass by Banff National Park and spot moose, bears, and caribos. You can rent a car or a tour van for this expedition.

Single/ Couple Option

Banff is the perfect place for couple and solo travelers. On day two, ensure you take advantage of the most romantic spots in town.

9.00 am – 11.00 am: Ice Climbing at Yamnuska Mountain

Ice climbing at Yamnuska Mountain is an adrenaline-filled activity, which is a perfect way to start the day.

Yamnuska mountain Banff
Yamnuska mountain

For this, you will need tools such as axes and crampons to facilitate the climb.

If you and your partner are beginners, there are guides that are willing and prepared to show you the ropes. Even so, it is a very beginner-friendly exercise.

11.30 am – 2.00 pm: Lake Louise and Moraine Lake Sightseeing

Banff is such a beautiful town- there are captivating views all over.

Lake Moraine Banff
Lake Moraine

Lake Louise and Lake Moraine are among the destinations with beautiful views. You will see the scenic Castle Mountain on your way to Lake Louise.

When you get here, it is advisable to wander along the shoreline and maybe even take aesthetic photos for memories.

At Moraine Lake – You will see the rugged valley of the Ten Peaks viewpoint, a sight to behold. You can snack during the scenic stops.

3.00 pm – 6.00 pm: Relax at the Sky Bistro

Sky Bistro is a dining sanctuary and is, without a doubt, one of the most romantic spots in town.

In fact, it was voted the most romantic restaurant in Canada in 2019.

Not only will you have an unforgettable dining experience with your romantic partner, but you will also enjoy amazing scenes down below.

Day 3

This day will be a perfect fusion of learning and fun. Open your mind and loosen up for the most interesting day!

Family Option

The day will be filled with exciting outdoor activities for the whole family.

9.00 am. – 11.00 am: Go Skiing at Sunshine Village

The whole family will have an amazing time at this world-class establishment skiing the morning away.

Thirty minutes drive from downtown, Sunshine Village boasts 3000 skiable acres and 12 chair lifts. After skiing, you all can relax at the lodge with a hot chocolate to keep warm.

11.30 am – 2.00 pm – Relax at the Banff Upper Hot Springs

Located just south of downtown Banff, the Upper Hot Springs is a perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon with the family.

Banff Upper Hot Springs visit
Banff Upper Hot Springs

The water is heated geothermally to about 37 – 40 degrees Celsius, which keeps you warm during winter.

If it is summer season, you probably wouldn’t want to stay in for too long.

3.00 pm – 5.00 pm: Got to Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Head down to the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in the evening and tap into your creative potential.

The center is a learning organization situated close to the majestic Rocky Mountains. Here you will learn about and experience different forms of art, including readings and live music.

Single / Couple Option

Create memorable moments alone or with your significant other by visiting the following places.

9.00 am – 11.00 am: Hike the Via Ferrata at Mount Norquay

Via Ferrata stands for “Iron Path” in Italian.

Via Ferrata in Banff
Via Ferrata Banff

It is a hiking trail where you’ve got to use man-made elements such as ladders, chains, planks, and suspension bridges to climb Mount Norquay.

The challenges you face along the way make the experience even more interesting.

12.00 pm – 3.00 pm: A Kananaskis River Whitewater Rafting Tour

Raft the afternoon away with your significant other at the pristine Kananaskis River.

The adventure is nothing short of adrenaline-pumping. You will also enjoy some sightseeing as the Rockies are adequately within sight.

As you navigate the exciting periodic rapids, you are bound to spot wildlife such as bears, eagles, and deer.

4.00 pm – 7.00 pm: Sunset at Vermillion Lakes

Watching the sunset with your lover is such a romantic experience.

Vermillion lakes view
Vermillion lakes in Banff

Watching the sunset together at Vermillion lakes is even more unforgettable.

This place is as peaceful as it is beautiful, and as such, there is no better place to end the day.

You can catch some drinks and relax by the lake watching the sky. What’s more, Mount Rundle lights up as the sun goes down, which is a sight to behold by itself.

Day 4

Fun and adventure await you on this day! Wake up in good time, pack some lunch, and expect to have a good time.

Family Option

The whole family is bound to enjoy today’s activities, which include the following.

9.00 am – 12.00 pm: Do a Lake Minnewanka Cruise

Go on a cruise with the family and enjoy the fresh morning air at Lake Minnewanka.

Lake Minnewanka view
Lake Minnewanka

There is a family-friendly Junior Explorer Cruise well-suited for the kids.

If at all you don’t need a guide for the cruise, you have the option of renting a canoe or a kayak.

You are sure to spot some wildlife during the adventure. During the return cruise, you can stop by Lake Minnewanka Cruise for a picnic lunch.

12.00 pm – 2.00 pm: Athabasca Glacier and Columbia Icefield Adventure

A guided tour for the family is a fantastic way to spend the day. The icefield is beautifully scenic.

Also, you get to see Sunwapta Valley as you walk across Glacier Skywalk. The tour is done using the Ice Explorer vehicle, which is very convenient.

Giant Glaciers at Athabasca will blow your mind, and so will the views of the spectacular valley below.

3.00 pm – 7.00 pm:  Experience the Milky Way/ Northern Lights At Two Jack Lake

Banff is one of the best places to see the milky way because of its minimal light pollution.

Also, it is known to have pretty clear skies, especially if the weather is fair. Thus, it is advisable to check the forecast to ensure it’s not a cloudy or rainy night.

Watch the stars from Two Jack Lake for an optimal experience.

Once in a while, the beautiful northern lights or the Aurora Borealis make an appearance.

If you are lucky, you will catch them in what would be a memorable experience for your family.

Single/ Couple Option

Banff is the perfect destination for people in love, or those that appreciate their company.

Banff at night view
Banff at night

Take advantage of all the romantic spots in town, and create a stronger bond.

9.00 am- 3.00 pm: Hike cascade mountain

Cascade Mountain is nothing short of majestic.

If you want to start the day on a high, then hiking this mountain is exactly what you need.

You should not be in a hurry for this – take the time to admire the view, and take pictures for the Gram.

Cascade mountain view
Cascade mountain

The background also makes for a wonderful background for couple selfies.

The mountain stands at 2998 meters above sea level, and you would cover 18 km to and fro.

Note that you don’t necessarily require exquisite mountaineering skills for the adventure.

3.30 pm – 6.00 pm: Dine at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel

Wind up the day at the elegant Fairmont chateau hotel.

The food here is amazing, and the service deserves five stars. As the hotel is adjacent to Banff National Park, you will spot wildlife as you enjoy dinner with your partner.

Day 5

Bring your best foot forward on the last day! Purpose to have fun and activate your adventurous and curious sides.

Family Option

Ensure every bonding moment counts on the last day of the trip. Purpose to capture every cute moment to keep the memories alive!

9.00 am – 12.00 pm:  Go to Golden Skybridge

Golden Skybridge is Canada’s highest suspension, a perfect place for you and your family to wake up to.

Golden SkyBridge faqs

It is 426 feet above a large canyon and offers amazing views of the Columbia Valley and the Rocky and Purcell mountain ranges.

There are activities for both kids and adults. Activities for adults include ziplining, walking trails, axe throwing, and ropes course. There is a play area for the young ones.

1.00 pm – 5.00 pm:  Enjoy S’Mores and Live Music at the Alpenglow Festival

During winter in Banff, the Alpenglow festival takes place.

Your visit to the town will not be complete if you and your family do not take part in it.

The name Alpenglow is derived from the way the tops of the mountain where the festival takes place turn reddish in the evening.

Local musicians entertain the crowds. There is also food, s’mores, and outdoor fires.

Single/couple Option

Savor every moment on the last day of your visit to Banff. There is something for solo travelers and couples alike.

9.00 am – 11.30 am: Ride an e-bike to Banff from Johnston Canyon

The last day of your visit should be memorable.

Johnston Canyon Banff view
Johnston Canyon in Banff

Achieve this by riding an e-bike from Johnston Canyon to Banff, a stretch of about 26 kilometers.

This adventure begins with a guided hike to Johnstone Canyon.

Optional – You can take a shuttle instead. At Johnston Canyon, you will learn a lot about the history and geology of Johnstone Canyon.

Unlike normal bikes, an e-bike does not require you to exert yourself that much, so you will hardly sweat it out.

12.00 pm – 3.00 pm:  Enjoy a Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride at Banff Mountain Meadows

What better way to spend a romantic afternoon with your significant other than a horse-drawn sleigh ride?

A staff member will guide you to your sleigh ride. The ride comes with warm wool blankets to enable you to get cozy with your partner.

The guide will entertain you with stories about the meadows. Also, you might spot some deer or elk during the ride. Finish the adventure with a well-needed hot drink at the stables.

Banff snowing
Banff in winter

3.30 pm– 6.00 pm: Sunsets and Stars Evening Walking Tour

There are remote trail locations in Banff where you and your lover can take a nice, relaxing evening sunset walk.

You will be able to watch the first stars come out and admire a stunning mountain sunset together.

As the darkness creeps in, headlamps and lanterns light up the place. You will also be able to watch the nocturnal life come to life.

Where can you stay in Banff?

There are many nice places to stay in Banff, especially since it is a tourist hotspot.

Banff Accommodation options
Where to stay in Banff

There are accommodation options for all budgets, so you will be sure to find a place that perfectly suits your needs.

Budget Friendly Accommodation in Banff

Luxury Accommodation in Banff

Or search for more…

Frequently Asked Questions

Other important information you should know includes the following.

How do you get around in Banff?

If you want convenience, then you could rent a car. If not, you can make use of shuttle buses which are always available for transportation to different places.

Which are the best months to visit Banff?

The best time to visit Banff depends on whether you want to go during peak time or not. If the former, then June to August are the best months to visit as the weather is at its best. If you don’t like crowds, then consider visiting between April and June.

Final Thoughts

Banff is a perfect destination if you are looking to relax and get away from monotonous normalcy.

It offers a perfect blend of fun, adventure, and learning opportunities. Whether you are traveling alone, with your significant other, or with family, this Banff 5-day itinerary will guide you to make the most out of the town.

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