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  • Cityscape From the mountains to the sea
  • City life The great outdoors

Part city, part outdoor recreation centre, Vancouver, is not for couch potatoes. The Canadian coastal metropolis is bookended by mountains and the Pacific Ocean, creating natural temptations anywhere you turn.

By skis, sailboat, hiking trail or bicycle, Vancouver has plenty to explore. The capital of ecotourism, residents and visitors alike spend plenty of time outside in massive Stanley Park, on the harbour or hiking the snow-capped mountains. As well-rounded as a soup dumpling inside one of the excellent dim sum restaurants, the hip, young city is also a culinary destination, with a focus on ultra-local ingredients and a thriving microbrewery scene. No wonder residents of Canada’s third-largest city have one of the longest average lifespans on the continent.

Do go/Don’t go

Vancouver can be quite rainy, which makes for excellent snow conditions from December through April. Summer months, from June through August, are the driest points in the year.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is a major West Coast hub, and operates flights to major cities around the world, including New York (www.united.com), Los Angeles (www.aa.com) and London, via British Airways (www.ba.com) and Air Canada (www.aircanada.com).
  • Boats Vancouver is very connected on the rails. Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) runs a line from Seattle each day. The West Coast line runs all the way up from San Diego. VIA Rail Canada is the best way to travel within the country. The regional line travels to Winnipeg, and onto Toronto, after a line change.
  • Automobiles Driving is recommended for anyone who wants to easily head out to hiking trails or ski slopes, or to explore British Columbia.