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Vancouver Island

Deserted beaches, forest hiking trails, whale-watching opportunities and bohemian communities make this island a popular escape for city dwellers.

Vancouver Island is home to both remote wilderness and cosmopolitan cities. This collection of islands off the west of Canada is known as the “final frontier” where adventure meets natural beauty. Journey into rainforests, go scuba diving in sparkling waters and visit cultural attractions dedicated to the people of the First Nations. 

Start in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Enjoy the daffodils and tulips in Butchart Gardens and take the children to the Victoria Butterfly Gardens to marvel at thousands of tropical butterflies. Climb up the steps at the Craigdarroch Castle Historic House Museum for stunning views across the city.

Drive along the Pacific Marine Circle Route to see dense wilderness and rural villages such as Metchosin. Play in the tidal pools at Port Renfrew and enjoy farm-fresh cuisine in Sooke. Cyclists will enjoy touring the diverse landscape of the Gulf Islands. Be prepared for uphill climbs and rolling country roads.

The remote north of Vancouver Island is far wilder and is home to the grizzly bear-filled Great Bear Rainforest. Go on a whale-watching tour with a qualified guide and look for orcas and humpback whales. Water lovers can scuba dive in Quatsino Narrows, while kayakers can visit Echo Bay off Gilford Island for a peaceful day watching seals.

First Nations peoples have lived in Vancouver Island for thousands of years and still have a huge influence on local culture. Visit the Alberni Valley Museum to see First Nations artifacts, take a guided First Nation canoe trip down the Campbell River and learn traditional ceremonial dances.

Fly into Victoria International Airport to reach the island or take a chartered seaplane to more remote destinations. Ferries are also a popular way to get around. Roads on the island are fully paved and designated scenic routes such as the Oceanside Route or North Island Route will take you through some of the area’s most beautiful scenery. 

Winter trips to Vancouver Island deliver all manner of cold-weather fun, from skiing to hikes in snowy forests.

*Savings based on all vacation package bookings with Flight + Hotel on from January through December 2017, as compared to price of the same components booked separately. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, stay dates and selected travel supplier(s). Savings not available on all packages.

Guide to Exploring Vancouver Island

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