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Vancouver lake side midday

Compare the best Vancouver holidays

Vancouver frequently tops the polls as the best city in the world in which to live. The city is surrounded by water and snow-capped mountains, and features great restaurants and shopping, a diverse cultural offering, plenty of natural beauty and a wonderland for skiers on the doorstep.

Why go?

It's not hard to see why Vancouver holidays are popular too, with holidaymakers just as in love with the city as its residents...

The city sits in the province of British Columbia, on the western coast of Canada, just a whisker above the United States border and protected from the Pacific Ocean by Vancouver Island. Pine forests stud the region and soaring mountains back the stunning skyline of the city.

Holidays in Vancouver are mostly about sightseeing and skiing. Sporty types love the on-piste action at Grouse Mountain, also known as The Peak of Vancouver. It's the city's premier skiing destination, with tubing, sleigh rides, zip lines and plenty more fun besides for those who can't or won't ski. World-renowned Whistler is less than two hours from the city. Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, and the legacy of the event has further boosted the winter sports prowess of the area.

There's plenty to explore in the city itself after landing at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), following a flight time from the UK of approximately 10 hours.

Wherever you decide to base yourself - and there are plenty of excellent hotels to choose from - you'll be well placed to discover lively and varied districts. Take historic Gastown, the original settlement in Vancouver, and so called after the Yorkshire man who opened the first saloon in the area.

Vancouver's Chinatown is Canada's largest and a captivating and colourful district in which to spend a few hours. West End is on the downtown peninsula, on English Bay, and is neighboured by acres of green space at Stanley Park. South Main, or simply SoMa, is an emerging and trendy district, while Commercial Drive, which is known by locals as 'The Drive', is a shopping and dining hub. Granville Island is a former manufacturing peninsula and now a major tourist centre, with shops and restaurants to attract visitors.
Vancouver's attractions include Vancouver Aquarium, the 230ft treetop walk on Capilano Suspension Bridge, Science World, the Victorian Roedde House Museum, VanDusen Botanical Garden, and Vancouver Art Gallery.

Whale watching trips from Vancouver are also popular with visitors from March to October when the chance of seeing grey whales, orcas and humpbacks is the highest.

Vancouver is a melting pot of cultures and only half of the city's residents speak English as their first language. This has created a varied and interesting culture and cuisine, and wherever you go in Vancouver, you'll taste excellent food, dance in great clubs, enjoy pleasant weather, and benefit from a rather high quality standard of living.

Vancouver holidays also offer the chance to escape to the wilderness of Alaska, as the city is a starting point for many cruise holidays that are heading northwards.

Every kind of holidaymaker will fall for the charms of lovely Vancouver and there is plenty to do for families, couples and groups.

When to go?

The best time to go to Vancouver depends on the type of holiday you're after...  

Vancouver enjoys a mild climate, with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing in winter and rarely climbing above 25C in summer. It is wetter between October and February.

What's on?

From supper and Shakespeare, to smooth tunes and sparklers, Vancouver's annual events are certainly varied...  

Dine Out Vancouver; January/February: Be in the city in winter to join in the celebration of Vancouver's restaurants and take advantage of offers in a plethora of eateries.

Bard on the Beach; summer: The great William Shakespeare is celebrated every year on Vancouver's waterfront at Vanier Park. See Shakespeare plays as you've never seen them before - with a backdrop of mountains and sea.

Vancouver International Jazz Festival; June/July: The cream of the jazz world performs at venues across the city during this event. It's impossible to not drift away and move with the music.

Celebration of Light; July/August: You probably didn't think that musical fireworks could be your thing, but there's no escaping the magic of this spectacular event. English Bay experiences a symphony of light and sound during the international competition.

Bright Nights in Stanley Park; winter: You'll never look at your Christmas lights in the same way again after visiting this winter wonderland in Stanley Park. The Christmas lights display is simply amazing, and the whole family can tuck into roasted chestnuts and a great big dose of holiday spirit.

What to do?

Whether you're travelling with toddlers, visiting as a couple or planning on a group party, there's something for everyone here...

Babies and toddlers: Youngsters who like to put their tiny paws all over things will love both the Vancouver Aquarium and Science World, where interactive exhibits capture short attentions.

Romance: When the snow cloaks the top of Grouse Mountain, take a romantic sleigh ride through the pine-dotted forests and snuggle up with a hot chocolate by a log fire.

Relaxing: There are numerous parks and beaches on which to find a spot to sit and unwrap your picnic as you drink in the sights of Vancouver.

Active types: One of the best ski destinations within British Columbia is within sight of Vancouver, so strap on your snow gear and hit Grouse Mountain for all kinds of winter fun.

Free and cheap: Hop across the water to Granville Island. A former industrial zone that has had a makeover in recent years, this city island bops to a different beat. Catch street performers, tour the lively market, see artists hard at work and keep an eye on the calendar for one of the cracking events that regularly takes place at the water's edge.