Most visits to British Columbia will start or end in Vancouver. Located between the chilly waters of the Pacific and the dramatic North Shore Mountains, Canada’s third-largest city has a setting to rival that of Sydney or Rio, not to mention a renowned restaurant scene, many fine galleries and museums, and some wonderful green spaces like vast Stanley Park, with its ancient cedars and First Nations totem poles.
Vancouver, however, is not actually the provincial capital. That honour goes to pretty Victoria on Vancouver Island. Despite the capital’s beautifully preserved Victorian-era architecture, the island’s main attraction is undoubtedly its wildlife and spectacular landscapes. Orcas are often spotted on the ferry crossing over; or from tiny Tofino, a quirky harbour town on the wild west coast that’s also the jumping-off point for the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, one of the planet’s last remaining tracts of temperate rainforest, home to black bears, wolves, cougars and one of Canada’s finest off-grid retreats, Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge.
Clayoquot is one of several remote wilderness lodges to be found in BC. Other favourites include Knight Inlet Lodge and Sonora Resort in the fjords that furrow the province’s west coast, both wonderful places to observe grizzlies up close as they fish for salmon in their natural habitat.
Back on the mainland, one the most scenic roads in the world, the Sea to Sky Highway, connects Vancouver to Whistler, Canada’s finest four-season resort, offering world-class skiing and snowboarding in winter, as well as hiking and mountain biking in summer.
For those who don’t want to drive, Vancouver is also the departure point for journeys into the Rockies aboard luxury train, the Rocky Mountaineer, regarded by many as among the most scenic and luxurious rail journeys in the world. Most routes stop in Kamloops on their way to either Banff or Jasper national park in neighbouring Alberta.
Equally spectacular but far less crowded is British Columbia’s Yoho National Park, which sits adjacent to Banff on the steep western slopes of the Rockies. It’s one of several national parks in this picture-postcard province. Others include Gwaii Haanas, where you can learn about First Nations culture in the remote Haida Gwaii islands, and Pacific Rim National Park, where hikers can tackle the West Coast Trail, a 47-mile track hailed as one of the most spectacular and challenging hikes on the continent.
Fairmont Pacific Rim
Located on the water’s edge in the heart of Vancouver, this iconic 5-star hotel offers unparalleled luxury and impeccable service, with warm and attentive staff on hand to take care of your every request. Indulge in the opulenc [...]View Hotel
Accessible only by air or water, Sonora Resort is a remote sanctuary set deep in the heart of the Discovery Islands, which lie like shards of broken pottery between Vancouver Island and the mainland coast of British Columbia. Serv [...]View Hotel
Four Seasons Resort Whistler
Located at the foot of the Whistler Blackcomb mountains, this fabulous resort is the perfect setting for a rustic adventure year-round. Guests are treated to chic accommodations, fine dining and a lavish spa, and all just a short [...]View Hotel