Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver
Pin This
Open Media Gallery

Lions Gate Bridge, Vancouver

© Creative Commons / chispita_666

Vancouver travel guide

Urban buzz meets nature in Vancouver, a multicultural oceanside city on the edge of a wilderness of forested mountains. Amid shiny skyscrapers and diverse neighbourhoods, you can savour the craft-brew craze, browse indie stores, try out 100-plus food trucks, and enjoy the outdoors via every means imaginable.

It’s no wonder Vancouver is repeatedly hailed as one of the world’s most liveable cities, with its meld of stylish 21st-century architecture, regenerated industrial districts and laid-back beachside neighbourhoods.

The West End is chock-full of juice bars and coffee shops, with colourful Davie Street home to a large LGBT community. In revitalised Yaletown, designer boutiques and trendy restaurants fill former warehouses, and diners spill onto busy patios in summer. Historic Gastown and the adjacent Downtown Eastside are undergoing a stratospheric gentrification, with new condos, restaurants and high-end shops taking over decrepit or demolished buildings.

Wave after wave of new immigrants have given Vancouver its cosmopolitan feel. Chinatown is jammed with noodle houses, bakeries, medicine shops and a lively market. Multicultural Commercial Drive is lined with Italian cafés and delis, while vibrant Punjabi Market is a bustling South Asian hub.

Vancouverites live for the outdoors. Year-round, hordes of joggers, in-line skaters and cyclists jostle for space on the seawall, while hardcore runners pound up the lung-bustingly steep Grouse Grind trail. There are countless opportunities for rafting, mountain biking, camping and skiing; sports junkies can ride powder on three local mountains and sail in English Bay on the same day.

Visitor attractions are world class too, whether you choose to edge your way round the vertigo-inducing Cliffwalk at Capilano Bridge Suspension Park, ‘surf’ the cable-car roof on Grouse Mountain, or touch stingrays in Vancouver Aquarium.

All this comes at a cost to locals however: Vancouver’s house prices have risen astronomically in recent years. Fortunately, if you’re here on holiday, you can forget about spending your life savings on apied-à-terre (small flat) and instead check in to one of Vancouver’s many super-chic hotels.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.