Luxury Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Travelling Tales: Why We Should All Vacay In Vancouver, BC

“I read; I travel; I become” 
― Derek Walcott

I've always wanted to travel but unless you live a flexible, carefree (and well-paid) life, it's not often convenient to put your life on hold, pack a bag and jet set halfway across the world. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to be able to reach your dream destination. Well, that's what I thought, anyway. But this summer, my boyfriend and I did just that. We travelled.

We threw whatever caution we had to the wind and decided to experience a little bit more of what this glorious planet has to offer. I quit my job as a Junior Researcher in London and took time to plan our first big adventure together, which would see us travel down the West Coast of North America. We planned to take 6 weeks out, starting in Vancouver, BC and ending up in Los Angeles, CA.

So, this is where our journey begins. 

Vancouver is Canada's third largest city by population. Where city and nature collide, it's a unique metropolis in which will see you relaxing in 5* luxury one day and chasing bears in the snow the next. So, when (because there will be a when) you find yourself in Vancouver, here's a few things you can do to experience the city at its best.

Spend a day at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Just a short journey from downtown Vancouver is one of the city's most popular attractions. Hanging 230ft above the raging Capilano River, cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge where you can explore the Treetops Adventure suspended above the forest floor and follow the narrow Cliffwalk to previously unchartered territory along the cliffside. And when the adventurer inside you is fully satisfied, treat yourself to some homemade fudge from Capilano's Trading Post gift shop. 

Enjoy the tranquillity of Stanley Park

Stanley Park is a magnificent green oasis in the midst of the heavily built urban landscape of VancouverThe 400 hectare rainforest is home to meandering trails, beautiful beaches, local wildlife, great restaurants and cultural landmarks, including the celebrated totem poles and Canada’s largest aquarium. There are several ways to explore the park: walk (be mindful that this would take a long time), hire a bike from the entrance, ride the train or hop on a traditional horse drawn carriage tour

Say hello to the sea life at the Vancouver Aquarium 

There are so many incredible species that share our Earth with us that there can never be a dull moment when you're getting to know them up, close and personal. Vancouver Aquarium is a great day out for all the family and what's more; it's not only home to some amazing aquatic life but it is also an Ocean Wise initiative, which works to conserve our oceans, protect our underwater world and inspire others to be more mindful of how we all impact the sea.

Explore the Mountains

Vancouver is overlooked by the picturesque North Shore Mountains. Come rain or shine, the mountains offer breath-taking views and an abundance of activities. Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymore are all excellent locations to enjoy the mountains at their best (these photos were taken at the summit of Grouse Mountain). The climate in Vancouver is mild and temperate, but the region's mountains are renowned for their epic snowfalls - even during the summer months. So if you’re a snow sport enthusiast, grab your skis and snowboards because the mountains are yours for the taking.

Take a stroll around Gastown

Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, Gastown, grew from a single tavern founded by John ‘Gassy Jack’ Deighton back in 1867. Today, the district retains its historic charm and it’s a great neighbourhood to explore on foot, where you’ll find a picture-perfect collection of Victorian buildings, cobblestones, the infamous Steam Clock, and vintage lampposts. Home to a unique selection of boutique shops, thriving cocktail bars and some fantastic restaurants, there's never a dull moment in Gastown so keep your eyes peeled and you'll be sure to find some hidden gems. 

Brave the Sea To Sky Gondola in Squamish

About an hour north of Vancouver - just off the Sea to Sky Highway - is a small town called Squamish, which boasts spectacular landscapes and epic adventures. Surrounded by coastal mountains, there are two ways to reach the summit and admire the views; hike or take the Sea To Sky Gondola. The gondola takes approximately 10 minutes to reach an elevation of over 2900ft and allows you to enjoy the panoramic views without even breaking a sweat. At the top, enjoy the serenity at your own leisure; meander around the different trails to the viewing platforms, grab a bite to eat at the Summit Lodge or spend your time hiking down to the base. Or just purchase a return ticket for the gondola...

Hop over to Granville Island on the ferry

If you love to browse around quirky, independent shops, then the Granville Island public market will be right up your street. With a vast assortment of colourful stalls, art, handmade products and fresh produce, you'll stumble across items you never knew you needed. A personalised workman's apron?  We found them. Vintage sports memorabilia? It's yours forever. A handcrafted broom? Bloomin' perfect. And once you've shopped 'til you've dropped, you can grab a tasty treat from the fabulous food market and catch the ferry back over to Vancouver.

See for miles from the Vancouver Lookout

The Vancouver Lookout allows you to see Vancouver from a higher perspective. Reaching over 500ft high, experience 360° panoramic views of the city from the observation deck. But to get there, you must ride for 40 seconds in a glass elevator so if you get a bit freaked out by heights, this might not be for you. Once you purchase a ticket, it's valid all day so take full advantage and visit in the morning, at dusk and in the evening.

Take a culture trip to Vancouver Art Gallery

Art is a wonderful thing and experiencing it in another country allows you a brief look into the mind of a different culture. With only 3 floors, Vancouver Art Gallery is on the smaller side but houses some thought-provoking exhibitions. Be sure to check the website for details on the current exhibitors and let the art speak to you in ways that you never thought possible. The gallery also holds regular classical music concerts, which are definitely worth a listen if you're in town.

Ride the FlyOver Canada Simulator

If you want to experience the rest of Canada without leaving Vancouver, the FlyOver Canada Simulator gives you an 8-minute insight of other areas of beauty that the country has to offer. The simulator uses state-of-the-art technology to create the feeling of flight, where riders are suspended in front of a spherical film screen while special effects, including wind, mist and scents, allow them to truly live in the moment depicted on the screen.

Have a hockey shoot out at the BC Sports Hall Of Fame

If you know anything about Canadians, you will know that they absolutely love ice hockey. In fact, they're rather proud of all their sporting achievements, so much so that they built the BC Sports Hall Of Fame. Whether or not you're a massive sports fan, it's fun to spend a few hours walking around the museum learning a bit more about Canada's great sporting history. And if you're feeling competitive, they also have a games area where you can test your sporting ability and try your luck at a hockey shoot out.

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