It’s often difficult to decide where to go on your next journey. What to expect, will it be worth the effort, rewarding, memorable and above all, will I enjoy it. In truth, everyone is different and has distinctive expectations. But one thing is definite, The City of Vancouver is an awesome destination. Go to Vancouver and feel revitalised.
Originally called Gastown, the City of Vancouver is an absolutely beautiful city offering visitors a variety of adventures, attractions, delicious cuisine and stunning surroundings. The aboriginal peoples belonging to the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tseil-Waututh tribes are believed to have inhabited this area as far back as 8,000 to 10,000 years ago.
Getting to Vancouver is the easy part, there are direct flights from a number of UK hubs and many flights with connections at more affordable fares. Air Canada and British Airways offer direct flights from Heathrow, the flight duration is approximately 9 ½ hours. From the Vancouver International Airport you can use the SkyTrain on the Canada Line which will have you in the city under 30 minutes.
For a more private transfer use Aerocar Service. Selected as the exclusive sedan and limousine provider at the Vancouver International Airport. You can choose a ‘meet and greet’ service, which you will need to book in advance, or simply walk out the terminal building and grab a cab ‘curb side’.
Where to stay in Vancouver
Vancouver offers great boutique hotels. We found the Opus Hotel in Yaletown, really slick with great restaurants in the neighbourhood. In Coal Harbour the Loden Hotel offers quality accommodation in a fabulous location. The Listel Hotel is known as “Vancouver’s most art-full hotel” and is close by Stanley Park and Robson Street. Vancouver’s only luxurious Relais & Chateaux property, the Wedgewood Hotel, has been awarded the number 1 ‘Top City Hotel in Canada’ by Travel and Leisure World’s Best 2016.
Vancouver’s luxury hotels are world-class. Conveniently located on Canada Place the Fairmont Pacific Rim exudes luxury. A really beautiful hotel offering exceptional service and quality accommodation. Another quality 5-star hotel to consider with a contemporary Asian influence is the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver. This property is simply extraordinary, offering incredible vistas with modern finishes and quality luxurious guest rooms. Fittingly located across the road from the Vancouver Art Gallery is one of Vancouver’s finest hotels, the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. The hotel was opened in 1927 and transports customers back in time while embracing modern technology.
Good value downtown Vancouver hotels worth considering are the St. Regis Hotel which offers easy access to the SkyTrain and the cruise ports. The Landis Hotel and Suites offers guests a choice of executive, deluxe and penthouse suites with kitchen facilities. These suites are ideal for family groups or those seeking additional space.
Getting around Vancouver
Public transport in Vancouver is efficient, clean, safe and affordable. A Translink Day Pass will afford you access to bus, SeaBus and SkyTrain routes. The public transport links many of the city’s main attractions including; Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain, Stanley Park and Granville Island.
Vancouver is a great city to walk or cycle around. Pedal power is a groovy way to explore the city. Cycle City Tours offers escorted tours of the city and its highlights. Their story-teller guides offer a unique and exciting way to learn about the city and all it has to offer. City Cycle Tours offer bike hire including kids’ bikes and accessories.
What to do in Vancouver
Capilano Suspension Bridge
Visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge for an exhilarating walk across the gorge. The swaying suspension bridge stretches 137 metres (450 feet) across the canyon.
Then explore the forests from atop the elevated suspension bridges. Finally test your nerve with a thrilling Cliffwalk.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge outing offers guided nature tours every hour. There is lots for the kids to do including the Kids’ Rainforest Explorer program or playing in the treehouse. All the attractions on-site are included in one general admission. You can catch a free shuttle from Canada Place all year-round.
The Vancouver Lookout offers 360º panoramic views over the City of Vancouver, the Pacific Ocean and surrounding mountains. Perched up over 160 metres (550 feet) high this is the perfect place to take in the beauty of this magnificent city. Your ticket is valid for the whole day so you can head back to catch the stunning sunset views later in the day. The Vancouver Lookout is located in the downtown Harbour Centre.
Ideally you need at least a full day to enjoy the activities and attractions on Grouse Mountain . It’s just a thirty minute drive from Vancouver by car or use the Grouse Mountain shuttle service. In the winter enjoy skiing, snowboarding and other activities. The Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife gives you the opportunity to see Grey Wolf. In the summer months get up early and enjoy breakfast with the Grizzly Bears. Here’s a first; from the top of the world’s only wind turbine with an inside a clear glass viewPOD , enjoy a meal and a few drinks while taking in the awesome panoramic views.
Granville Island is renowned for its vibrant, artistic, entertaining and cosmopolitan vibe. Wander around the Public Market where the best fresh produce is on display. Where better to sample the taste and variety of the local cuisine. There are fine restaurants, galleries, speciality shops, theatres and loads of activities and entertainment for everyone, young and old.
Vancouver Foodie Tours offer excellent daily tours of the market. The guides make the market come alive with insightful information, a bit of history and VIP tastings at some of the finest food shops in the market.
There comes a time on every trip when you need to just go and chill out. Sit back and watch the world go by while you recharge the batteries and take stock. Stanley Park is the ideal place for such a moment. For the more active, the park is a wonderful green area to go walking, cycling or jogging along the many tracks or the famous Seawall.
Stanley Park is a stunning 400 hectare urban park offering stunning views over English Bay, Vancouver Harbour and the surrounding mountains. Chill out on Third beach or head to the Teahouse Restaurant Stanley Park for a sunset like no other and try the ‘Fire Grilled Prawns with lemon tarragon caper sauce’, delicious. Don’t forget to visit the Vancouver Aquarium which is truly awesome.
There is only one thing to say about the FlyOver Canada experience, Do It. Nothing can prepare you for this amazing virtual tour around Canada. Get strapped in and hoisted up in front of a giant screen. The virtual trip takes you across Canada showcasing the mesmerising beauty that this country has to offer. Breath-taking and exhilarating, it’s simply a ‘must do’.
Board a Sea Vancouver Zodiac and explore the coastline for unforgettable views of the city and the mountains from the sea. The zodiacs offer a fun, refreshing and alternate way to explore the city.
Sightseeing by helicopter is a fantastic way to get a real ‘birds eye’ view of the City of Vancouver and the surrounding area. BC Helicopters offer a variety of trips to choose from. The Vancouver City Tour is awesome.
What’s Left to see
There is just so much left to see. There are great museums and galleries. The Vancouver Art Gallery has exciting exhibitions throughout the year. The University of British Columbia’s – Museum of Anthropology – is home to an amazing collection of Northwest Coastal art and other archaeological artefacts from around the world. Learn about the history of Vancouver at the Museum of Vancouver. Visit the Vancouver Maritime Museum and the Burnaby Village Museum. The Vancouver restaurant and bar scene deserves a posting focusing just on what is on offer in this great city. So watch this space.
When to visit Vancouver
Anytime, is a good time, to visit Vancouver. The city is blessed with a mild climate and offers something special all-year round. The climate is influenced by the warm Pacific Ocean currents and protected by the surrounding mountains. Vancouver receives its rainfall in the winter time. Summer temperatures average around 23°C (74°F) while winter temperatures reach around 6°C (43°F) during the daytime. It rarely snows in the City of Vancouver.
So if your not sure where to go for your next holiday, consider Vancouver. The Economist, consistently ranks Vancouver as one of world’s top five, ‘most liveable cities’. Visit and see why, you are sure to be enthralled.
With unsurpassed natural beauty, loads of activities and attractions, a scrumptious food scene, a vibrant culture and a fascinating history, Vancouver is an awesome destination.
Next planned stops include a visit to Vancouver Island, some great lodges and retreats in the great outdoors. Then it’s an incredible rail journey on the spectacular Rocky Mountaineer.