EXPLORING VANCOUVER AND VANCOUVER ISLAND

The city of Vancouver – buzzing with culture and a fabulous food scene – is surrounded by ocean, mountains and old-growth forest, with stunning Vancouver Island just across the Georgia Strait. Here are a few ideas for your stay, whether you only have time for the must-see sights, or can explore Greater Vancouver and beyond.

TopTen

Two Days in Vancouver


Day 1

Morning

Take a stroll around Canada Place to view the harbor. Jump on the SkyTrain at landmark Waterfront Station to explore the award-winning Science World. Afterwards, sit for lunch in hip Gastown.

TopTen

The striking sail-like silhouette of Canada Place, built for Expo ‘86, is instantly recognizable.

Afternoon

Check out either the much-loved Vancouver Art Gallery or the captivating Bill Reid Gallery), then window-shop on bustling Robson Street. Afterwards, treat yourself to dinner or cocktails at one of the swanky downtown eateries (see Royal Dinette).

Day 2

Morning

Hire a bike to explore the green lungs of the city, Stanley Park, and visit its mind-blowing Aquarium. Follow the Seawall as it snakes around the edge of the park to take in views of Burrard Inlet and English Bay, and then ride the Aquabus to Granville Island.

Afternoon

Delight in the local produce and handmade wares at Granville Island Public Market and, if you have the energy, cycle on to the museums in Vanier Park, or head to Sunset Beach.

TopTen

Granville Island Public Market sells an enticing array of fresh local produce.


Seven Days in Vancouver and Vancouver Island


Days 1 and 2

Follow the activities in the two-day Vancouver itinerary.

Day 3

Take the SeaBus from Waterfront Station to Lonsdale Quay and its market in North Vancouver. Don’t miss the West Coast rain forest and the dizzying views from the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Afterwards, return to the city, where 20 minutes from downtown, Northwest Coast First Nations art and culture is celebrated at the unparalleled Museum of Anthropology at UBC. Combine your visit with a walking tour of the campus.

Day 4

Set off on the 75-mile (120-km) drive to Whistler on the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Hwy 99), taking in adventure-sports paradise Squamish and the small town of Brackendale en route.

TopTen

Sublime mountain scenery can be found in Whistler, just a short drive from Vancouver.

Day 5

Explore Whistler Village and ride the gondola up Whistler Mountain where you’ll find picturesque hiking trails and the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola to Blackcomb Mountain for superb alpine sightseeing. Drive down to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver for the ferry to Nanaimo.

Day 6

After exploring Nanaimo’s Old Quarter, make a beeline to provincial capital Victoria. Here, take in the city’s Inner Harbour and the outstanding Royal British Columbia Museum.

Day 7

Dedicate your final day to the great outdoors. Hike in old-growth rain forest at Goldstream Provincial Park, try a whale-watching tour, or head to the Gulf Islands.

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