For a taste of a wilder Canada, head to the rugged outdoor adventure playground of Vancouver Island.
Found off the coast of British Colombia, this 460km-long island offers the full spectrum of stunning scenery. It has windswept coastlines and untamed, often deserted beaches, which are idyllic in the summer and a surfer’s dream in the winter. Plus, lush rainforests, snow-capped mountains and charming cities and villages too. It’s the perfect place to get away from it all, and let the fresh sea breezes blow away the cobwebs.
If you’re searching for action and adventure, Vancouver Island is a truly thrilling destination. Here, you can hike, camp, golf, surf, fish and bird-watch to your heart’s content.
There’s a good chance you’ll spot some fascinating creatures along the way, as the island boasts one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. It’s home to black bears, wolves, elk, deer, cougars, sea otters and a large number of migratory bird species.
It’s also a fantastic spot for world-class whale watching, especially from Victoria, where you can hop on a boat trip for the chance of spotting orcas and dolphins.
If you’re not such an adrenaline junkie, head to the idyllic Salt Spring Island to tour its wineries and browse its exceptional art galleries.
And of course, no visit to Vancouver Island would be complete without a few days in Victoria, the capital of British Colombia. This fascinating city has bags of heritage charm, a fabulously mild climate and lush, flower-filled public spaces. Spend just a few hours here and you’ll see why Victoria is known as the ‘city of gardens’.
Other must-do activities for your Victoria itinerary include exploring the tide pools at Botanical Beach, going wine-tasting in the Cowichan Valley and strolling in the award-winning Butchart Gardens.