Whisk yourself away on holiday to British Columbia, the incredible West Coast province bursting with energy and action-packed activities, spectacular scenery, enchanting wildlife, buzzing cities and out of this world experiences.
If you are looking at British Columbia holidays, then Vancouver is one city you have to include in your itinerary as it is one of the most diverse and multi-cultural cities in the world, and perfect for a city break. Every inch of the city is bursting with life, world-class shopping districts, restaurants, nightlife, beaches, wildlife, and sightseeing. Vancouver is one of the few cities in the world where you can both ski and sail on the same day. Sample Dim Sum in Chinatown, shop 'til you drop on Robson Street, relax on trendy patios in Yaletown and wander through the historic cobblestone streets of Gastown. We love Granville Island Public Market for a quirky day out. It displays a myriad of stalls, showcasing unique products and gastronomic delights, all fresh from the oven, sea or field. Tantalise your taste buds with an Edible Canada Tour and learn about the products on offer, taste the local delicacies and watch the professionals at work. This really is 'foodie' heaven!
Victoria is BC's capital and a quaint Victorian town perched on the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island. Most commonly paired with a Vancouver city break or a scenic island fly drive. Victoria is one of the best places to embark on a thrilling whale watching tour to meet some of the local marine life.
Vancouver Island is bursting with marine and wildlife for you to discover on your holiday. One of our favourite things to do when driving from the south of Vancouver Island to the north or west is to pull into Qualicum Beach for a bite to eat at the Shady Rest Pub which is right on the shoreline. Here you can sit out on the deck on a sunny day and enjoy your lunch, and you may even be lucky enough to see the local sea otters, seals and dolphins swim past with the Coastal Mountains as a backdrop. Campbell River is where to head if you would like to see a grizzly bear! Include a stay at the Knight Inlet Lodge on your travels where you can see grizzly bears in their natural habitat in the 'salmon capital of the world'.
Whistler is an easy and spectacularly scenic 1.5-hour drive from Vancouver airport. The pedestrian village of Whistler is quaint, with everything that you need and a generous choice of restaurants, bars, cafes and nightclubs to keep the evenings lively, if you have any energy left over from a fun-filled day in the mountains. The best way to see both mountains is aboard a scenic ride onboard the Peak2Peak Gondola, which unveils over 50km of alpine hiking trails, interpretive walking trails and jaw-dropping views.
One of the world's most popular ski destinations in the winter, the slopes and trails turn into Whistler Mountain Bike Park, with something for every level of rider, and you can ride or learn at Whistler from mid-May to mid-October. Find out more about skiing in Whistler.
The Okanagan Valley is known as the main wine-growing region in Western Canada, but is also a perfect holiday destination in British Columbia's green expansive countryside that gets extremely hot in the summer months.
Things to do
Popular things to do in British Columbia
Breathtakingly suspended 230 feet above and 450 feet across the Capilano River, Capilano Suspension Bridge takes you into towering evergreens, serene trails and the Treetops Adventure attraction. Seven suspension bridges, some reaching as high as 100 feet, take you high into the treetops for this adventure. Located on Vancouver’s North Shore this makes an excellent day out for the whole family.
Departures: Daily (Except Dec 25)
Vancouver’s destination for lovers of food, art and culture, offering local, seasonal products you will see Vancouver’s top chefs shopping for their menu’s. Around 20 tastings are included within this tour from duck confit, cheeses, melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts, world-class coffee and chai to name but a few.
Duration: 2 hours
Departures: Selected Departure dates between Jan 2 - Dec 30
See Vancouver from a vintage double-decker or retro open-top bus. Explore at your own pace over two days, with over 28 localities around the city where you can hop on or hop off, including a free ferry ride over to Granville Island. This flexible Dual Pass allows you to enjoy the incredible views from the top of the Harbour Centre Tower
Departures: Daily (Except Jul 10 & Dec 25)
Valid for 2 days
Departing from individual hotels across the city, you’ll enjoy a narrated tour picking out all the major downtown attractions and districts. The tour stops in Stanley Park before heading over to Cleveland Dam and Capilano Suspension Bridge in the North shore Rainforest. The tour includes a stop on Granville Island with its public market.
Duration: 5 hours
Departing Vancouver you’ll enjoy the 95-minute ferry ride to Vancouver Island. You’ll experience the exhilarating scenery and picturesque charms of historic Victoria ‘Capital city of British Columbia’. An insightful commentary is provided by the driver and admission to spectacular Butchart Gardens is included. You’ll have free time to wander the quaint streets of Victoria and the Inner Harbour.
Duration: 13 hours
Departures: Daily between May 1 to Oct 15
Embark on an exciting whale watching excursion on the new Explorathor. Your trip will take you through the Gulf Islands region and a professional wildlife guide will explain all there is to know about the majestic killer whales, porpoises, sea lions, seals, bald eagles and other wildlife.
Duration: 4 hours
Departures: Daily between Apr 1 - Oct 31
Experience the ultimate off-road adventure as a 4X4 vehicle takes you to new heights in comfort and style. Sit back and enjoy the ride as you journey 6,000 feet up Blackcomb Mountain to the Horstman Glacier and ending up at the Crystal Hut with the most spectacular patio in Whistler. Sing along with the live entertainment while aromas of cedar-planked, maple-glazed wild BC salmon fill the air.
Duration: 4 hours
Departures: Daily between Jun 13 - Sep 12 (Except Wed & Sun)
Take a guided ride on an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) through the Hidden Valley between Whistler and the Blackcomb Mountains. Experience spectacular views of surrounding valleys, glacier peaks, forest canopy and the unique local wildlife. This tour is a perfect introduction to ATVs for first-time riders and a great mix of easy riding and spectacular scenery.
Duration: 2 hours
Departures: Daily between Jun 1 - Oct 31
*minimum age of 16 years to drive, minimum age of 6 years to ride as a passenger.
Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains support a population of up to 50 black bears plus many other wildlife including black-tailed deer, coyotes and a variety of birdlife. Travel in comfortable 4 x 4 vehicles that traverse the ski hills, walk to bear feeding sites, daybeds and where bears have hibernated during the winter. This tour gives a great insight into the habits of these wonderful creatures.
Duration: 3 hours
Departures: Daily between May 15 - Oct 15 (weather permitting)
*There is a minimum age requirement of 10 years.
Not to be missed is the 3-kilometre gondola linking Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. The Guinness World Record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola provides an unparalleled perspective of British Columbia's rooftop providing incomparable views of the spectacular mountain and its stunning Valley.
Departures: Selected dates between May 25 - Oct 12
Discover the mountain ecology that combines adventure and excitement with education. Ride on a series of cables and suspension bridges, and explore the hidden beauty of Fitzsimmons Creek and the picturesque forest valley between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Tours run regularly throughout the day, and in almost all weather conditions. This tour is perfect for families and those who have never zip lined before.
Duration: 2.5 hours
View grey whales, humpback whales, transient orcas and a myriad of other marine wildlife and discover the beauty of Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Travel in a large cruising vessel with indoor and outdoor seating with superb viewing from upper and lower decks. Commentary is also given by an experienced and knowledgeable crew.
Duration: 2 hours
Departures: Daily between Mar 01 to Oct 31
An exhilarating round trip of 50 to 80 kilometres in search of orcas, humpback whales, minke whales, grey whales, porpoises, harbour seals and other marine wildlife. You will ride aboard a custom-built Zodiac boat that offers high speed with extraordinary stability giving you an exhilarating, safe and intimate whale watching experience. A certified Marine biologist will provide information on these wonderful creatures.
Duration: 3 hours
Departures: Daily between Apr 1 to Oct 31
*A minimum age of 5 years is required.
Popular British Columbia holiday ideas
Top tips for visiting British Columbia
Top Tip 1
• Hire a bike and cycle around the beautiful Stanley Park in Vancouver. Stop off at English Bay to watch the sailboats drift in and out of the harbour at sunset.
Top Tip 2
• Take the scenic drive to the beautiful mountain village of Whistler which is an outdoor playground offering the very best hiking and mountain biking opportunities in the summer and fantastic skiing and snowboarding in the winter. Here you can visit some places that are really off the beaten track.
Top Tip 3
• Be adventurous and paraglide or zip-line in Grouse Mountain in the summer.
Top Tip 4
• Visit the Okanagan Valley, Canada’s beautiful wine region, and soak up the summer rays; this region receives some of the best sunshine.
Top Tip 5
• There’s so much to do in British Columbia for foodies! In Vancouver, visit the world’s third-largest China town and Granville Island to wander around the Public Market. Taste some of the local delicacies - Granville is famous for its freshly caught seafood.
Top Tip 6
• Take a day trip to Victoria and Vancouver Island. A short ferry ride across the Strait of Georgia will take you to the magical capital of British Columbia, Victoria. Stroll along the Inner Harbour towards Fisherman's Wharf and see the charming floating shops and houses.
Top Tip 7
• British Columbia is the best place in Canada for spotting wildlife. Look out for Orcas and Harbour seals on Vancouver Island, or take a tour around the Great Bear Rainforest, one of the largest remaining tracts of unspoiled temperate rainforest left in the world.
Top Tip 8
• Alaska’s Inside Passage is a unique add-on to any holiday itinerary. Travel from the North of British Columbia and drive down the coast, admiring the amazing scenery and old-world charm as you go.
If you’d like more information about booking your British Columbia holidays, then call one of our dedicated team who will help you plan the trip of a lifetime!