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Galiano Island/Canada

Introducing Galiano Island

Named after a Spanish explorer who visited in the 1790s, the bustling ferry end of Galiano is markedly different to the rest of the island, which becomes ever more forested and tranquil as you continue your drive from the dock. Supporting the widest ecological diversity of the Southern Gulf Islands – and regarded by some as the most beautiful – this skinny landmass offers a bounty of activities for visiting marine enthusiasts and landlubbers alike.

Once you've got your bearings – ie driven off the ferry – head for Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park for trails to beaches, meadows and a cliff carved by glaciers. In contrast, Bodega Ridge Provincial Park is renowned for its eagle, loon and cormorant bird life and has some spectacular drop-off viewpoints.

The protected waters of Trincomali Channel and the more chaotic waters of Active Pass satisfy paddlers of all skill levels. Gulf Island Kayaking can help with rentals and guided tours.

If you're without a car, or you just want to stretch your legs, you can explore the island with a bike from Galiano Bicycle.

Fuel up on food and local gossip at Daystar Market Café, a funky hangout that serves hearty salads, thick sandwiches and fruit smoothies. Alternatively, down a pint or three at the venerable Hummingbird Pub, where pub grub on the patio is always a good idea.

Among the places to sleep on the island, sophisticates will enjoy Galiano Inn, a Tuscan-style villa with 10 elegant rooms, each with a fireplace and romantic oceanfront terrace. Adult, sophisticated and soothing, it's close to the Sturdies Bay ferry dock. Those craving a nature-hugging retreat will likely enjoyBodega Ridge, a tranquil woodland clutch of seven cabins at the other end of the island. Each has three bedrooms and is furnished in rustic country fashion.

The main clutch of businesses and services is around the ferry dock at Sturdies Bay and includes a garage, post office, bookstore and visitor info booth.