British Columbia's most-visited and most populous region, Vancouver, Coast & Mountains takes in the southwest corner of mainland BC, from the dramatic gorges of the Fraser Canyon to the white sand beaches of the Sunshine Coast, and from the rolling farmland of the Fraser Valley to the ancient forests of the Stein Valley.
The region is full of little-known delights, overshadowed, perhaps, by the area's star players: Vancouver, the province's biggest city, and Whistler Blackcomb, its best-known resort.
The Sunshine Coast is a quick ferry jaunt from Horseshoe Bay, north of Vancouver. Although it's part of the mainland, this stretch of mountain-backed coastline, accessible only by sea or air, has the quiet pace of an island. Boating among the coastal fiords, touring studios and galleries, beachcombing, golfing, hiking the Sunshine Coast Trail, kayaking, and fishing are the draws here.
At Squamish, known as The Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada, you can watch climbers tackle the Stawamus Chief (one of the largest granite monoliths in the world), check out the historic rolling stock at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park, and, in winter, see one of the world's largest gatherings of bald eagles at Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park.
Beyond Whistler, Highway 99 is a little-travelled, but highly scenic, shortcut through the Pemberton Valley to the Gold Rush town of Lillooet.
From Lillooet, you can loop back to Vancouver via Highway 12 and another of BC's more dramatic routes: Highway 1, or the Trans-Canada Highway, through the Fraser Canyon. Between Lytton and Hope, the Fraser River surges through a narrow gorge, and the road clings to the canyon walls high above the churning water. You can see the Fraser at its fastest and meanest via cable car at Hell's Gate, north of Hope, or, for an even closer look, stop at Lytton and join a rafting trip on the Fraser or Thompson rivers.
At Hope, the canyon opens up to the Fraser Valley, a fertile agriculture region just east of Vancouver. Home to several historic attractions, including Fort Langley National Historic Site, one of BC's oldest European settlements, the valley is also a top spot for foodies, with wineries, farms, and artisan producers of everything from cheese to salmon offering samples along the way. Post-picnic, you can complete the circle with a short drive back to Vancouver.
For tailor made holidays to Canada contact the experts at Bon Voyage.
Where you stay is the heart of your holiday. Location reigns supreme but do you prefer resort facilities or unique and boutique? Historic and old world or modern and shiny?
We aim to present choices across the spectrum but there are many hundreds of places to stay and not room to feature them all. Do speak to your Bon Voyage travel consultant and click the video for our take on this important topic.
We would rate the Bellagio as one of the best hotels we have ever stayed in. Fabulous, glitzy, exciting. We loved having breakfast at the poolside café... one of our best experiences ever. If it hadn't been for you we wouldn't have had the suite or cabana and we loved them. We both agreed that the hotel was the best for us and you had suggested that so well done!Leonore & Mike Rumford