Introducing British Columbia
Canada’s third-largest province; bigger than any US state except Alaska; more than four times the area of the UK: it’s not hard to find superlatives about the vastness of British Columbia. But although visitors are moved by the sheer enormity of the towering mountains, dense forests and uncountable kilometers of crenulated coastline, it’s often the smaller details that make a trip here magical. From Zen-calm ferries sliding across glassy inlets to quirky island communities, where fresh-caught seafood beats five-star restaurants, BC is much more than Canada’s most scenic province. History fans can indulge in some fascinating aboriginal and colonial heritage in places like the Bella Coola Valley and Nelson, while outdoors types can enjoy a whale- or bear-watching trek on the Queen Charlotte Islannds.
Challenging the province’s nature-hugging tag, cosmopolitan Vancouver is a fascinating mélange of international fusion, mixing cuisines and cultures from Asia and beyond, while vibrant smaller communities like Victoria and Kelowna are increasingly driven by their student-backed populations, ensuring they don’t just rely on the past. With the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games just around the corner, it’s worth recalling that BC has also long been a hotbed of activity. Olympic co-host Whistler is a world-renowned ski and snowboarding resort; Vancouver Island’s west coast is a surf dudes’ capital; and hikers, cyclists and kayakers can be kept blissfully occupied around the region for weeks.
But the province’s jewel-like natural setting will frame everything you do here. Adjust your camera setting to ‘panoramic’ and shoot life-enhancing images of snow-crowned mountains, shimmering lakes, sparkling waterfalls, lush rain forests and tree-covered islands. And when you finally return home, you’ll remember just what Mother Nature is all about.
Best places to stay in British Columbia
The Pacific Northwest's Best Trips
Discover the freedom of the open road with The Pacific Northwest’s Best Trips. We’ve selected 33 amazing road trips through the Pacific Northwest, from two-day escapes to week-long adventures, and packed them full of expert advice and inspirational suggestions. Whether you want to cruise along the coast, explore volcanic remnants or sample regional wines, we’ve got the trip for you.
Summer in Vancouver, land of the lotus eaters
It’s early August in Vancouver and across a pristine city beach - driftwood-strewn, tide pool dotted, hemmed by forest and twinkling in the sun - dashes a runner dressed only in white laced running shoes. A second follows, wearing just a bright red baseball cap. Another appears, then another and another.
Canada - British Columbia (Chapter)
This is the British Columbia chapter from Lonely Planet's Canada guidebook. Coverage includes: Vancouver & around, Lower Mainland, Burnaby, Richmond & Steveston, Sea to Sky Highway, Squamish & around, Garibaldi Provincial Park, Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Gibsons, Roberts Creek, Sechelt, Powell River, Vancouver Island, Victoria, Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, Parksville & Qualicum, Port Alberni, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Tofino, Ucluelet, Denman & Hornby Islands, Comox Valley, Campbell River, Strathcona Provincial Park, Southern Gulf Islands, Salt Spring Island, North & South Pender Islands, Saturna Island, Mayne Island, Galiano Island, Fraser & Thompson Valleys, Ec Manning Provincial Park, Fraser River Canyon, Kamloops & around, Okanagan Valley, Osoyoos, Oliver, Penticton, Kelowna, Big White Ski Resort, Vernon, The Kootenays & the Rockies, Revelstoke, Mt Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park, Golden, Yoho National Park, Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park, Kootenay National Park, Radium Hot Springs, Fernie, Kimberley, Cranbrook, Rossland, Nelson, Cariboo, Chilcotin & Coast, Williams Lake to Prince George, Barkerville & around, Wells Gray Provincial Park, Chilcotin: Highway 20, Bella Coola Valley, Prince Rupert, Haida Gwaii, Prince George, Stewart-Cassiar Highway and Alaska Highway.
British Columbia destination guides
Young metropolis with snowcapped crags, city-hugging beaches and easygoing hipster hangouts.
World’s best slow travel
Vacations are always too short, even if we have the luxury of more than a few weeks a year. So we feel the urge to cram in more sights and activities than is feasible. We spend two days in a city, when two weeks would probably still leave us wanting more. However, there is an alternative.
Vancouver to Victoria and Butchart Gardens Tour by Bus
Explore Victoria's highlights on this small-group day trip from Vancouver. Enjoy a 1.5-hour cruise to Vancouver Island and then take a sightseeing coach tour of downtown Victoria, followed by free time to explore at your own pace by foot.
Vancouver to Whistler by Train Rail Tour
Ride the rails from Vancouver to Whistler on the spectacular Whistler Mountaineer train, passing through some of the world's most rugged fjords and mountains. The day trip to Whistler includes free time to explore Whistler Village, one of North America's most popular ski resorts and host of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
British Columbia’s capital charms
When Winter Olympic host Vancouver hogged the international spotlight in 2010, many people around the world believed they were seeing images of British Columbia’s capital.
Sights in British Columbia
Activities in British Columbia
Tours in British Columbia
Restaurants in British Columbia
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
With a population approaching 350,000 when you add in the suburbs, this picture-postcard provincial capital was long touted as North America's most English city.