We travelled to Vancouver in March 2018 with the option to either work or travel – after being granted a 2 year working visa, getting Canadian sims, Canadian bank accounts and a Canadian Tax number… we decided not to work, and to travel for 3 months instead.
We began with Vancouver.
Vancouver the third most populated city in Canada and in my opinion is the ideal base in West Canada if you’re planning to travel British Columbia (Whistler, Squamish, Vancouver Island) and Alberta (Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Canmore and Calgary). We eventually had 4 or 5 trips back to Vancouver in 3 months, so we covered a lot of the tourist activities.
So this is my guide to the things I’d recommend doing in Vancouver, places I’d recommend eating and the place I stayed every time I came back.
ONE: Rent a bike and do the sky trail around the Science Museum, Stanley Park (all the beaches) and all around to Kitsalano Beach.
TWO: Hike Quarry Park followed by a Honey Donut in Deep Cove
THREE: Explore Bowen Island via Ferry and walk around
FOUR: Granville Market
FIVE: Watch the sunset from Sunset Beach (on a sunny day)
SIX: Hike Lynn Canyon
SEVEN: Thrift shopping in Vancouver – I’ve never seen so many decent thrift shops in one place and with Levi mom jeans as cheap as $13. This blog by Lucy Lau is a great help!
EIGHT: Capilano Bridge then hike to Cleveland Dam.
NINE: Prospect Point (across the bridge, near Stanley Park)
TEN: Take the Sea to Sky Highway to Gondola (Sea to Summit Hike) for an epic view and suspension bridge.
ELEVEN: Whale Watching (from May onwards for Humpbacks)
Where to eat, drink and grab a decent coffee:
CHEAP EAT:Mean Poutine
Why? Poutine is the signature ‘candian’ dish that everyone raves about. I tried poutine from a few places but this was by far the best. Crispy fries with really tasty toppings!
DRINK: The Beaver
Why? Honestly I didn’t really go out much drinking but when I did it was usually the Beaver because it’s linked to the hostel and often you’d meet people not staying at the hostel but were looking to make friends. Each night they have an event such as Music Bingo, Pub Quizzes and Beer Pong. When you turn up, the staff seat you with a group.
BEST BREAKFAST:Elbow Room
Why? I’m not going to tell you, the above link will offer you directions only. Please just go there and see for yourself. It’s ‘extra’.
COFFEE: 49th Parallel (and get a Lucky Donut)
Why? After trying many coffee shops, this by far was the best and the donuts were the best. Sorry Tim Horton’s.
WHERE NOT TO GO: Gastown/ChinaTown by yourself and Tim Hortons.
Where to stay?
If you’re a traveller and you want an easy start and a great introduction to Vancouver, to make friends easily and all the activities at your feet? Then stay at Samesun on Granville – it’s not at the nicest part of town but it’s super central, down the road from the city. Samesun have daily activities that are usually free plus $10 shuttle. We did some hikes by ourselves when actually it was much easier to join the tours as they take you door to door and to the best spots!