Canada is home to the friendliest people in the world – seriously, the locals here are so polite!
I spent my time in Vancouver, exploring the city’s corners. I then spent a week road tripping around Vancouver Island, home to some of Canada’s vast nature and wilderness. I finished with a week skiing in Whistler, one of the best ski areas in the world! Before travelling, you’ll need to get an ETA (Visa) to enter Canada, these are quick and easy to obtain online.

Getting around Vancouver is pretty easy. When you arrive, buy a Blue Compass Card that you can top up; these can be purchased from the ticket machines. Vancouver has an underground line, buses and trains that are included on this card. Walking around though is the best way to take in the city. Navigating Vancouver is easy as it’s a grid system. If you are exploring Vancouver Island, then you’ll probably need a car.

Accommodation in Vancouver is like any western city, you can expect to pay a lot for hotels and even some hostels. You can find hostels for around £20 a night. I used Air BnB to find a hostel style house which was around £15 a night. It was just what I needed for my time there. If you’re checking out Vancouver Island in the summer, then I would camp.

Eating out every night on your travels, most of the time, isn’t an option. Head to the supermarket to save money. Although, in Vancouver there are many options to eat out cheap. You can find many pizza joints, cafes, street food etc.. that provide good food at a fraction of the cost.

Vancouver is a beautiful place to visit all year round. In the winter months it can be very wet and cold, but there’s many festive activities to keep you happy! Skiing can be done in Vancouver or 2hrs away is the huge Whistler resort. In the summer Vancouver you can enjoy many of the beaches and the best mountain biking areas in the world!

Here’s some of my top places in Vancouver and on the Island:

Stanley Park - hire a bike out and take a ride around the park, then continue around to Vancouver harbour.

Jam Cafe - you’re guaranteed to cue outside to get a table, but it’s well worth it!!!

Gastown - this is the trendy part of town, here you’ll find many restaurants, shops and cafes. Check out the Steam Clock.

Capliano Suspension Bridge - this is a must visit in winter, they light the place up and it looks incredible!

Vancouver Canucks - one of Canada’s most popular sports, go watch a game.

Vancouver Island - here’s a quick list of must see places on the island: Hot Springs (Tofino), Fisgard Lighthouse (sunrise), Sooke Ruins, Wolf In The Fog (restaurant), Little Qualicum Falls (sunrise), Cameron Lake Trestle, Sky Couch Ucluelet, Long Beach (surfing)

Vancouver Island 5 Day Itinerary

Here is my 5 day itinerary for Vancouver Island. I recommend hiring a car to get around to make life easier.

Day 1

Catch a morning ferry from Tsawwassen Swartz Bay to Vancouver Island. You can get a ferry from Horseshoe Bay but you'll have to travel further to Victoria after and also the journey isn't as picturesque!

Drive to your accommodation in Victoria. I stayed at Oak Bay Beach hotel, which has an amazing heated pool on the coast.

Explore Victoria or explore the hotel pool and bar ;) Check out Sidney-by-the-Sea for a great sunset location out of Victoria.

Also have a look at Butchart Gardens, especially at night time when it's all lit up.

Day 2

Wake up early before the sun has risen and drive to Fisgard Lighthouse. Check out the sunrise over this amazing view

Next drive to a place called Smoke Ruins. It's pretty close and worth going to see. It will all be gated off but if you walk around the fence to the left and around the back, there is an opening to let you in. It's a group of old ruins covered in amazing graffiti set on top of a huge river.

Sombrio Beach is the next destination. When you get to the car park head down the beach. You need to try and get here for low tide. Then walk left up the beach for around 25 mins until you get to the amazing gorge on the left with a waterfall at the end.

Head up to Westwood Lake now and take a short walk around. Try walking along some of the fallen trees in the water, if you dare!

Finally head to the north of the Island where you'll be staying in or around Nanaimo. If you have time, head to Neck Point Park for sunset.

Day 3

Wake up early again and get to Westwood Lake Park for sunrise, it's pretty close so you won't have to drive far.

While you still have some low morning light, drive to Little Qualicum Falls. Here the golden sun shines through the trees and looks incredible. Walk around the trails to get better views of the power river and falls.

This is a must! If you don't like heights then it's not for you. Drive to Cameron Lake Trestle, you'll have to park on the side of the ride by the train track. Then walk along the old track for around 45mins until you get to the huge bridge.

Very close to Cameron Lake is Cathedral Grove, which you can check out on the way.

Finally to end your day you should head to The Sky Couch Platform in Ucluelet. This isn't well known among tourists, so you'll probably get it to yourself if you're lucky!

Stay in Tofino and go for a meal at Wolf In The Fog, the food takes a twist from normal and taste great!

Day 4

If you're a surfer, then wake up in the morning and check out Long Beach.

Today you will be visiting the Natural Hot Springs near Tofino. You need to book this in advanced as you need to take a boat to get there. It's well worth it. If it's the right season you might even see some whales in the sea.

Drive again to the north of the island and stay Mount Washington.

Day 5

If you love skiing and it's the right season then you can check out Mount Washington for a day of skiing. If not, or there isn't any snow then have a look at some of the trails to hike. There are also other trails nearby like Paradise Meadows Trail.

Catch a ferry the next day back onto mainland. Or continue your journey up towards the north of the island. Towards the north at the right time of the year you can also find some great whale watching areas.

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