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Multicultural Vancouver, in the south-west corner of British Columbia, has one of the most stunning natural settings in the world, between mountains and sea. The city also serves as a gateway to the rest of British Columbia, with every kind of outdoor activity imaginable on offer within easy reach of downtown, winter or summer, on land or water.

Vibrant Vancouver has all the attractions you would expect of a major city, especially one that was once voted 'Best City in the Americas' by Condé Nast Traveller, including art galleries, museums, great restaurants and shops, and even a superb aquarium that houses beluga whales and sea lions.

Whereas Vancouver Island offers a taster of the rugged, wilder side of Canada. The main island is the size of Wales but has a population similar to Brighton, making quiet isolation easy to find. The island's many protected areas are home to wildlife such as whales, eagles and bears, and its forests contain some of the largest trees in the world. Original Travel visited the island recently, and can organise activities such as forest treks, sea kayaking, mountain biking, horse riding and whale or bear-watching. In the untamed wilderness of the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve - one of the best intact examples of temperate rainforest left on Earth - the extensive river system also offers outstanding fishing for silver salmon, king salmon, steelhead trout and other species.

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British Columbia Itinerary Ideas

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Gastown, Vancouver
If You Do Three Things
1
Explore Vancouver

Spend a few days exploring all that Vancouver has to offer; hike up Grouse Mountain, cycle around Stanley Park and visit the Science Museum. In the evening head to the city's oldest district, Gastown, where in amongst the historic architecture you will stumble across innumerable cocktail bars and incredible seafood restaurants.

Peak 2 Peak Gondola
If You Do Three Things
2
Enjoy the Views on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola

Joining the mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb, the Peak 2 Peak gondola offers 360 degree views of the beautiful scenery below. This gondola holds the world records for being the highest lift of its kind, 1,427 feet above the valley floor, and having the longest unsupported span, at 1.88 miles. Which means you can make the most of fantastic snow conditions in both Whistler and Blackcomb in the same day.

Black bear, Vancouver Island
If You Do Three Things
3
Enjoy Vancouver Island’s Wildlife

Take in all the wildlife Vancouver Island has to offer, which is a lot. This is somewhere humans are outnumbered considerably by other species. Head out on a boat on a whale watching trip, looking out for grey, humpback and killer whales; spot grizzly bears fishing for salmon during spawning season in the autumn; or black bears feeding on the water's edge at low tide.

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Whistler
Vancouver
British Columbia Coast
Vancouver Island
Whistler
Vancouver
British Columbia Coast
Vancouver Island
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A Note on Price

Excluding flights, a trip to Canada usually starts from around £2,000 to £3,000 per person.

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