Vancouver Canada is a densely populated city surrounded by breathtaking vistas, nestling between the Pacific ocean and the spectacular North Shore Mountains. It is a bustling, multicultural metropolis where nature can be viewed anywhere, leading to a laid back atmosphere, making it one of the top cities in the world for livability. Tourism has grown in the past few years, as the city not only makes a great base for exploring the mountains, but has also made a name for its cultural and epicurean highlights against stiff competition from Toronto and Montreal.
The North Shore Mountains
Just a half an hour drive away, the beautiful snow-topped mountains that dominate Vancouver are packed with outdoor activities. Visitors can hike the mountains or go skiing in the winter season and mountain biking and kayaking are popular in the spring and summer. Hikes for visitors of all abilities can be done around the mountains, taking in some of the oldest trees is North America, spectacular waterfalls and incredible vistas of the city below.
Stanley Park is a peninsula (nearly an island!) in northwest Vancouver that is the pride of the city. Covering over 1,000 acres, this green space has enough wonder and activity to cover a day trip, including biking trails, beaches, beautiful gardens and forests. It is also home to Vancouver Aquarium, home of over 80,000 animals including the very popular three toed sloth! The giant outdoor pool is popular in the summer months, when you can also attend outdoor concerts by huge names in the evenings. Stanley Park is often named as one of the greatest parks in the world, and it’s an essential port of call when visiting Vancouver!
Things To Do
Try a Craft Beer
Alongside the usual Canadian cuisine, Vancouver has carved a name for itself as one of the top destination in the world for craft beer. The independent, artisan world of individually crafted beers has taken off in the city. The Craft Beer Market in the Olympic village is a good place to start, with over 140 beers on tap and fresh local food to accompany your brew. Vancouver Craft Beer Week runs in late May and showcases some of the more unusual beers bottled in the city. Try a craft pub or social house to try out the local hoppy flavours.
Where to Stay
Most tourists stay in the Downtown area, close to the main attractions and the waterfront. This is where you will find most of the higher-end or branded hotels. The West End by Stanley Park is also a popular place to stay, and The Sylvia hotel is a great, friendly spot to stay with incredible views of the bay area.
Yaletown is a cheaper yet hipper choice of area for backpackers or travellers on a budget. Lined with boutiques, pubs and cafes, the streets of Yaletown will instantly feel like home. The OPUS is an achingly hip spot with an iPad in every room, or the Howard Johnson hotel is a no-frills spot in a brilliant location.