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Beautiful Vancouver, City of Sea and Mountains

The wonderful natural scenery surrounding Vancouver is immediately visible as you fly into the city's airport or cruise into the bay. This Pacific jewel, surrounded by sea and mountains is distinctive from any other major city in North America. It is hardly surprising that Vancouver is one of the most popular places to visit anywhere in the world.

As soon as you arrive in the city you will become aware of British Columbia's Pacific Northwest Coast First Nations heritage - carvings and other artwork are amongst the most popular souvenirs. You will also notice the lush gardens and natural vegetation. Lawns are greener and hedges are thicker - all because of the generally mild coastal climate. Rainfall is comparatively high in the winter months but the compensation is that the city has relatively little snow compared to other Canadian destinations.

Stanley Park, to the west of downtown Vancouver offers great opportunities to photograph both the city and the ocean. It is a great place for walking and cycling for visitors and inhabitants alike. It also houses an aquarium and a great collection of totem poles. Across the Lionís Gate Suspension Bridge from Stanley Park, North Vancouver provides excellent views from the other side of the harbor. Further north, Grouse Mountain is Vancouver's nearest ski resort but it is a place to visit all year round. Take the gondola up the mountain to get views of the city's skyline. Nearby, there is also the amazing Capilano Suspension Bridge leading to an attractive nature area. You can also take a ferry to Vancouver Island or fly by seaplane to Victoria, capital of British Columbia.

Whether you drive, walk or use the city's excellent transit system some of the best areas for shopping and eating are:

  • Gastown in downtown Vancouver with its fascinating steam clock ringing on the hour
  • Chinatown, the focus of one of North America's largest Asian communities
  • Granville Island, further out from central Vancouver with some fascinating shops and dining/drinking venues

If you have a long enough stay you can drive or take a tour out of the city to Whistler, a world-famous ski resort that hosts major events in winter. Off-season there is still plenty to do and there are good eating and shopping facilities and the Canadian Rockies to view. The coastal drive is worth the trip in itself.

Vancouver is a great place because of the unique relationship with its scenic surroundings. It is also a great departure port for cruises to either Hawaii or one of those Alaska Cruises and we recommended at least one full day before or after a cruise to get the best of the city. Surrounded by sea and mountains, Vancouver is a wonderful city to visit!

Parc Guell

Barcelona

Second city of Spain and major Mediterranean port, bustling Barcelona incorporates a delightful historic mix of Roman remains, medieval quarters and 20th century avant-garde art. See:
Barcelona - Capital City of Catalunya,
Barcelona - Las Ramblas,
Barcelona - Sagrada Familia,
Barcelona - Parc Guell.


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