Vancouver in Canada has been on my wish list for years and I was lucky enough to visit with my family last July. Known as one of the best places in the world to live with its idyllic setting, laid-back yet vibrant culture and temperate climate it's easy to see why residents are so proud of their city. A worthy travel destination at any time of the year Vancouver is clean, green, safe, a great walking city and easily accessible!
With direct flights from London Heathrow to Vancouver with British Airway we spent the first four days exploring this amazing city. It's not often you can recommend an urban environment for people who want to get back to nature, but Vancouver is truly the best of both worlds. You can spend the morning at the Vancouver Art Gallery or wandering the shops, then go hiking all afternoon, whether it's an 8km jaunt around the seawall in Stanley Park, the world’s largest city park, or a longer hike along any of the trails surrounding the city, such as on Burnaby Mountain or on Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver.
It may be a bustling city but you can relax on many of the beaches, all within easy reach. I would recommend Sunset Beach, between Stanley Park and downtown, the name says it all or visit Kitsilano where you will find Kits Beach, named one of the "top 10 best city beaches in the world" by international travel magazines, and perfect for beach volley ball. Kitsilano hosts one of the city's organic-food hubs, and has a range of restaurants to enjoy. We boarded the car ferry to Vancouver Island and took in the spectacular vistas on the drive to Tofino.
"Vancouver is one of North America’s most under-rated tourist destinations. It is a modern, travel friendly city with a unique mix of cultures. The relatively mild Pacific Northwest climate and an energetic restaurant and nightlife scene are other features that make this such an attractive city."
We had booked an 8 night stay in a cottage at Chesterman Beach, perfect for privacy and comfort right on the beach. Our wonderful three-bedroom duplex holiday home, with its own garden, faced the open ocean, was extremely comfortable and had and everything we needed for a memorable getaway. For a true taste of all the beauty the Tofino area has to offer, you need to get out on the water and my family enjoyed a fabulous day kayaking. Visiting Vargas Island Provincial Park in Clayoquot Sound you can expect to see exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities, including the chance to see Gray whales in the area around Ahous Bay. This idyllic backdrop was used in the filming of the Pirates of the Caribbean last year, with its wooden board walks and dense rainforest it really is an island paradise. But bear in mind the sea this far north is rather ‘fresh’.
We completed our holiday with a two night stay in Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia. Established in 1843 as a fort for the Hudson's Bay Company, Victoria's British ancestry is apparent in the double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages, formal gardens and tearooms. The city is now a cosmopolitan centre with a lively entertainment scene and a wonderful array of attractions.
Vancouver's mild climate offers a plethora of outdoor activities at any time of year (although in the wintertime, I recommend you use a wet suit!). Its location is a perfect hub for all you adventurers with quick and easy access to Whistler, the Canadian Rockies, Victoria, and Vancouver Island you’ll find your personal adventure here. Vancouver is also the home port for Alaska cruises May through October, so why not consider a twin centre break? Contact me to find out more about my trip…I could talk about it all day!
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