Vancouver is constantly in the media being dubbed as one of the best places to live in the world, so is all the hype true? Out first experience of Vancouver was absolutely awful. We jumped out at the train station and managed to hike down the worst street in the city, East Hastings. Once we got over this ordeal we could really see what the fuss was about. Vancouver really has it all on your door step. Hot summer days can be spent on the beaches or in the parks but when the winter sets in you can be carving up the slopes in the mountains. Do people from Vancouver ever go on vacation?
Vancouver is often visited by Canadians as a popular weekend break and it’s easy to see why! It’s one of the few cities we’ve been to that offers beaches, amazing parks, watersports and top notch restaurants all in one place. Our top picks in the area include:
Cycling around the seawall:
This was originally a wall built around Vancouver island to stop the sea eroding away at the land. It’s now a busy cycle route though that is hugely popular with both tourists and locals. We loved how easy it was to get around on the sea wall, they had separate bike and pedestrian lanes all the way along and numerous bike locking points if you wanted to stop off at one of the many beaches or parks. Bike hire is fairly reasonable at around £15 each for a full day, make sure you wear the supplied helmet though as it’s local law to do so!
Getting across to Granville island is easily done via foot / bike on the bridges or by water taxi (much quicker!). The island is home to lots of fun attractions and activities for people of all ages. There’s parks complete with water jets for the kids and numerous restaurants and bars for the adults. There’s a huge farmers market that’s worth a visit where you can try all sorts of foods and local delicacies at reasonable prices. One thing we enjoyed on Granville island was watching the ‘Throne of Games’ production, a hilarious improv theatre show based on The Game of Thrones series. They run different shows throughout the year and it’s well worth checking out what’s on when you’re there. Prices were under £10 each.
Is this one of the scariest bridges in the world?! It often makes the ‘top 10’ lists and we have to admit, it is pretty scary! You can get a free shuttle to the Capilano park and entrance includes not only unlimited walks over the bridge but use of their newly added ‘Edgewalk’ too which takes you on a suspended walk around a canyon, some sections have a see through glass floor! It’s probably best to stay away from this place if you’re scared of heights, but if not, don’t miss it when it Vancouver!
This is one place on our world travels that we struggled to find accommodation for anything less than £40 per night. If you want to stay centrally in Vancouver, close to the train station, hustle and bustle of the shops and restaurants, you are looking at spending over £80 per night. We ended up staying on East Hastings, in east downtown, which to our naivity, turned out to the roughest area in Vancouver. It was closer to £40 a night but is definitely an area to avoid if you are uncomfortable in bad neighbourhoods.
You can find pretty much every cuisine in Vancouver, from Mexican to French and from low cost street food to Michelin starred luxury. One of our favourite places to eat was in Gastown, this area has a European feel to it and the cobbled streets are lined with unique and often quirky eateries.
As mentioned, seeing Vancouver by bike is highly recommended. However if you don’t fancy buckling up your helmet and breaking a sweat, there is convenient tram lines that run through the central areas as well as low cost water taxis to get between the surrounding islands. Unfortunately there is no subway system but the bus network is expansive. We, as always, walked everywhere.