Vancouver effortlessly combines the excitement and vitality of a modern city with the invigorating appeal of the great outdoors. From spring’s abundance of cherry blossoms and summer’s sparkling waterfront days, through to the city’s fall cultural festivals and the snowy winter wonderland on the mountain peaks, Vancouver offers its visitors year-round pleasures. This laidback city sits right on the edge of spectacular natural landscapes so you can be at one with both urban chic and back to nature in Vancouver.
Start with a waterfront breakfast at Granville Island Public Market and end with a sunset cocktail on a mountain-top patio. In between, paddle out on a kayaking adventure, and shop a neighbourhood or two. There are stunning views of temperate rainforest and majestic peaks reflected on glass skyscrapers; this place sparkles with sophistication and energy. And, incidentally, don’t just take our word for it. Vancouver consistently finishes in the world’s top three cities in which to live according to the Economist’s Global Liveability Report.
Vancouverites value balance in their life: work and play, culture and adventure, wellness and indulgence – all are celebrated here! Spend time in the city centre and you’ll be surrounded by laidback locals as you discover colourful, unique downtown neighbourhoods like the beachside West End area, hip Gastown, upscale Yaletown, and historic Chinatown. There’s something for everyone from dazzling gallery shows, live performances, and endless nightlife options, through to festivals that celebrate art, culture, cuisine and sport.
Sightseeing options take you from city to nature; you can find yourself cantilevered high above temperate rainforest at Capilano Suspension Bridge, cruising the water surrounding downtown or taking a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus to explore Stanley Park, Granville Island and more.
Nature is ever present: mountains, just 20 minutes from downtown, loom over the city; and the fresh scent of the forest is everywhere. Steps from your downtown hotel, you can start with a leisurely cycle around Stanley Park’s seawall or a hike through urban rainforest. Get to know the region’s wilder inhabitants with a whale watching excursion, or visit Grouse Mountain’s Refuge for Endangered Wildlife to see the resident grizzly bears. Stand-up paddle boarding along the shoreline and beaches, and hiking the local mountains are experiences not to be missed. And you haven’t left the city.
With a thriving dining scene, Vancouver’s chefs use the best of what’s in season and fresh from the ocean, combining them with traditional techniques and multicultural influences. For the ultimate in culinary sightseeing, try the ‘Taste of the West Coast’ tour which brings together a nature sea safari excursion, dining at Doc Morgan’s restaurant on Bowen Island and ends with an exciting seaplane flight back to downtown Vancouver. The city’s cocktail scene is legendary and you can enjoy internationally-acclaimed wines from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, beers from the city’s growing ranks for craft breweries or something stronger from one of the spirit distilleries.
From artisan markets to international designers, Vancouver will please even the most ardent shopper. Downtown’s Robson and Alberni streets offer well-known brands and exclusive international labels, while Gastown is home to some of the city’s hippest new ateliers and galleries. Just over the bridge from downtown, South Granville brings together art and designer fashion or explore another of Vancouver’s friendly and unique neighbourhoods: Yaletown with its interior décor stores and patio-lined streets, Kitsilano for wholesome yoga-inspired outlets, and Main Street where independent and vintage shops vie for your custom.
Being environmentally aware comes naturally to Vancouverites: if you love the outdoors as much as the locals, you understand the need to protect it. As the city that founded Greenpeace and is home to renowned environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki, the City of Vancouver has pledged to become the world’s greenest city. From the highly-accessible transit system and a compact, walkable downtown; to sustainable restaurant choices, and hotel policies, this is a city that takes protecting the environment seriously.
We love this place and it just happens to be perfectly located within a Western Canada adventure taking in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Vancouver Island, the stunning scenery of Alberta and British Columbia, and the Pacific Coastline. What a happy coincidence!
For tailor-made holidays please contact your Canada Expert at Bon Voyage at (0800) 316 3012.
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.