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A guide to British Columbia – panoramic scenery, captivating wildlife & the rugged outdoors

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The westernmost province of Canada perched on the Pacific Rim; British Columbia is famed for its rich wildlife, copious scenery and abundant things to see and do. Covered in dramatic landscapes from rock mountain peaks to lush rainforests and undulating river valleys, this expansive province offers travelers a varied and dynamic stay. Sprinkled with nature trails, wineries and adrenalin-fueled activities, all complemented by an aboriginal history, British Columbia is an outdoor playground that simply begs to be explored.

Rosana Brien

My Destination local expert on

British Columbia



With a view to becoming the greenest city in the world, Vancouver’s rich natural beauty is immediately obvious. An energetic city filled with life, you’ll never be short of things to do.  Head to Bill Reid’s Gallery for your fill of aboriginal art, take a relaxing stroll through UBC’s Botanical Garden or spend some time shopping in Downtown Vancouver and Kitsilano. Foodies will also love the explosive dining scene found in Vancouver. Gourmet and artisan foods are everywhere in sight, from restaurants to markets dotted all around the city.


Vancouver Island


Extending out towards the Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia, Vancouver Island is an encompassing spot. Referred to locally simply as ‘The Island’, this sparsely populated area is filled with secluded islets, wild forests and rugged pacific coastline. Also home to the capital of British Columbia - Victoria - you’ll find plenty of things to see and do. A particular hotspot for whale watching, birding and sport fishing, it is worth taking the time to explore the unspoiled wilderness and countless nature reserves here.


Lower Mainland


Also known as Greater Vancouver, British Columbia’s Lower Mainland covers the sprawling area from West Vancouver to eastern Hope; Abbotsford in the south to Whistler and the Sunshine Coast in the north. Packed full of diverse hidden treasures, here you can discover everything from fertile farmland to alpine forests, ski resorts to tranquil bays. Drive the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Highway 99) from Vancouver to Whistler to enjoy panoramic views of snowcapped mountains. Spend some time in Whistler, gliding down the slopes of one of North America’s most famous ski resorts. Finally, end your trip relaxing on the picturesque shores of the Sunshine Coast.


Thompson – Okanagan


Nestled in the central interior of British Columbia, the region of Thompson – Okanagan is filled with wineries, beaches and river adventures. Discover boating excursions on the Shuswap Lake in the east, explore the idyllic Thompson River valley in the north or visit the fascinating cities of Kamloops and Kelowna.




Starting at the Alberta border and extending to the Monashee Mountains, the Kootenays are filled with swirling lakes, hot springs and undulating river valleys. Famed for being a destination for outdoor adventures, summer and winter activities are offered by the bucket-load here. Head to the Kootenay Rockies to soak up panoramic views across the Columbia Mountains and Canadian Rockies, or, ski down their famed snow-coated slopes.


Canyons and the Cariboo


Contained by British Columbia’s interior, this diverse stretch is an area of dramatic contrasts. From the deep gorges and plunging white waters of Fraser Canyon to the softly rolling grasslands of the Cariboo Plateau, this is a fascinating part of British Columbia to explore. Make sure to visit the ranch sites to explore the Cariboo Gold Rush and soak up the gold mining history of Fraser Canyon and the Bridge River Country.


North and Central Coast


Famed for its fishing, rugged wildlife and untarnished scenery, it is definitely worth visiting British Columbia’s North and Central Coast. Running adjacent to the Pacific Coast from the Alaska Panhandle to the Queen Charlotte Straight, here you will discover an unrivaled setting of nature reserves, snowcapped mountains and scenic ocean inlets.


Northern British Columbia


Just north of Vancouver, bordering the Alaskan coastline, you’ll uncover some of the most faultless and underpopulated areas in all of British Columbia. A wilderness populated by forests, lakes and rivers, as well as endless coastal stretches, Northern British Columbia embraces its back-to-nature feel. Soak up the region’s steep First Nations’ history and make sure to look out for wild grizzly bears!



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