Vancouver, a bustling west coast seaport in British Columbia, is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities. A popular filming location, it’s surrounded by mountains, and also has thriving art, theatre, and music scenes. Vancouver Art Gallery is known for its works by regional artists, while the Museum of Anthropology houses preeminent First Nations collections.
Vancouver’s main green space is Stanley Park, 1,000 acres of forest, trails, playgrounds, pools, beaches, and the Vancouver Aquarium, all ringed by a pedestrian seawall. Its neighborhoods range from vibrant ethnic centers such as Chinatown and Punjabi Market to historic Gastown, with its famous steam clock, and Granville Island, known for its shops, bars, theatres, and big public market. Across Burrard Inlet in the North Shore is the 70m-high Capilano Suspension Bridge, dating to 1889, and the ski-and-snowboard destination Grouse Mountain, whose Skyride gondola offers panoramic views of the entire region.
Situated on the west coast of Canada, just above the United States border, Vancouver is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations and it’s easy to see why. Its location makes it the perfect place to take in all kinds of natural beauty; one day you can be on the coast searching for orcas, another skiing at Whistler, and the next in the Rocky Mountains taking in the fantastic surroundings – and maybe even spot a bear or two.
It’s not just a great spot for nature lovers; the vibrant and bustling city is consistently ranked as one of the top five most liveable cities in the world. There’s a plethora of things to do for tourists, with a number of festivals and events throughout the year, as well as a food scene to truly tantalize your taste buds and great nightlife.
We have chosen closely the best tours to make sure you never forget your journey to Vancouver.
1. Sea to Sky Gondola and Whistler Day Trip
This ten-hour trip is a great introduction to the natural surroundings of Vancouver. Enjoy hotel pick-up from your accommodation in the city before you’re whisked to the foot of the well-known Sea to Sky highway.
Here, you will take in the stunning views of Howe Sound before disembarking at Habrich Ridge, where you have 1 ½ hour to marvel at the surrounding mountains and inlets of the sound below.
The final stop is Whistler village, where the 2010 Winter Olympics took place. Here you’ll be able to explore the quaint artisanal shops and cafes.
2. Victoria & Butchard Gardens Private Tour from Vancouver
A full day private tour is a great way to treat yourself; you’ll return from this day in Victoria and Butchard Gardens feeling truly relaxed. Start the day with pick up on your doorstep before embarking on a 1 ½ hour ferry ride through the Gulf Islands.
Your enthusiastic and friendly guide will escort you to the beautiful 55 acres Butchard gardens, where you’ll find a sunken garden and a rose garden among the many pathways, flowers, plants, and trees.
Round off the day in a luxury Mercedes minivan, with a scenic ocean tour to the city center of Victoria. You can snap photos of many historic downtown buildings. Then, it’s back to your hotel in Vancouver.
3. Vancouver and Capilano Suspension Bridge Holiday Lights
The perfect tour if you’re visiting in the holiday season, a visit to the fabulous Capilano Suspension Bridge Light Show and seeing downtown Vancouver lit-up is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.
This five-hour tour includes hotel pick-up and drops off from any downtown accommodation. You’ll be whisked through the city, stopping off at many of the most famous landmarks.
Pick up some gifts at the Granville Island Market before heading to one of the city’s most magical festive attractions – the 140-meter long Capilano Suspension Bridge. Don’t worry if you’re afraid of heights; you won’t be able to see the 70-meter drop in the dark.
4. Classic Vancouver Panorama Tour by Seaplane
This whirlwind tour might be short, but it’s one of the most popular ways to see Vancouver and the North Shore mountains from above. You’ll barely be able to contain your excitement as you take off from downtown’s Coal Harbour in one of North America’s first carbon-neutral airplanes.
You’ll have a bird’s eye view of the city as you pass over skyscrapers, parks, and beaches, before landing in front of the city’s convention center amid a spray of water. The great thing about this tour is that you can schedule the flight to see the city at the time of day that best suits you.
5. Victoria Fly n’ Drive: Full Day Sightseeing Trip
Another great opportunity to experience the thrill and exhilaration of a sea-plane, this day trip offers an opportunity not only to take to the skies but to explore the British Columbian capital, Victoria.
After a 35-minute flight departing from Coal Harbour, you’ll be blown up in one of the planes from North American’s first carbon neutral airline to enjoy spectacular views of the Gulf Islands from above. After landing in Victoria, you’ll have the full day to decide what you want to do in the city.
Your return ticket to Vancouver is on a coach, courtesy of BC Ferries, on which you’ll sail out of Victoria’s famous harbor.
6. Vancouver City Highlights: 4-hour Tour
Only have limited time in Vancouver? Then this is the tour for you. You’ll be transported around the most popular sights in Vancouver in a luxurious, air-conditioned vehicle, with all seats next to a window. Your trained and knowledgeable guide will give you interesting information about the sights on the way.
Get ready to see the best historical landmarks, shopping areas, and cultural centers, including Chinatown, Granville Island, and Stanley Park. During the tour, you’ll also stop at the Harbour Centre Tower, where your entry ticket to the Vancouver Lookout observation deck is included in the tour. From there, get a fabulous 360 view of the city from above. Don’t forget to snap some unforgettable photos to make your friends and family jealous.
7. Vancouver: 2.5 hour Little Italy Walking Tour
Want to treat the foodie in your life? In that case, there’s no better tour in Vancouver than this 2.5-hour foray into Little Italy. You’ll be able to sample sweet and savory culinary delights of the city’s Italian food scene.
A passionate local guide will lead you through the neighborhood, where you’ll stop for nine – yes, nine – separate tastings, including pizza, pasta, and a number of desserts. Not only will you experience delicious food, but you’ll also meet the men and women behind the family businesses which have been serving Little Italy for years. For Italian food lovers, this tour is not to be missed.
There is a similar tour available for the historic district of Gastown.
8. Seattle Sightseeing Tour from Vancouver
Only a 2 ½ hour hop over the border from Vancouver, it would be foolish not to add another stamp to your passport by visiting Seattle, the home of grunge music and Starbucks.
Deluxe bus transportation is provided for the whole trip. You’ll be assisted by an experienced guide who will not only regale you with lots of information but will help you with the border crossing.
Once you’re in Seattle, you’ll take a guided tour through the city, where you’ll visit the first ever Starbucks Coffee shop, Pike Place market, and learn a lot about Seattle’s legendary music scene. There’s free time in the afternoon before heading back to Vancouver in the evening.
9. Victoria Helicopter Tour in a Hurry
As the name suggests, this tour is great for those who are a little short on time. After a pick-up from any hotel in Vancouver, you’ll be ushered onto a helicopter, which will whisk you over to Victoria in the blink of an eye as the spectacular Gulf Islands pass thousands of meters below.
You’ll have five hours to spend at your leisure in Victoria, where you can admire the British Colonial architecture or wander around some of the exquisitely landscaped gardens. If you’re taking a break from a busy trip, have a stroll around, find a coffee shop, and people watch.
After your five hours are up, you’ll return to Vancouver with an exhilarating journey in a seaplane, before being dropped off at the door of your accommodation (not in the plane, of course).
10. Private Full-Day Best of Vancouver’s City and Distillery Tour
One strictly for the adults, this nine-hour tour gives you an opportunity to not only see the best that the city has to offer, but also to explore and indulge yourself at the three recently-opened craft distilleries in the city.
After you are picked up from your accommodation in the morning, you’ll see Stanley Park – complete with native totem poles – Chinatown, Granville Island, and Queen Elizabeth Park. After lunch (your knowledgeable guide will have some great restaurant recommendations), take part in the tasting tours offered by all three distilleries.
You’re sure to love it, and you’ll be able to think about how you can recreate the cocktails on the journey back to your hotel.
11. Vancouver Whale Watching Safari
Much better than Sea World, this safari will offer you a high chance of seeing captivating orcas in the wild. Enjoy pick up from your accommodation, which will drop you at the covered speedboat where you’ll spend three to six hours attempting to spot a range of wildlife.
As well as orcas, keep your eyes peeled for sea lions, eagles, dolphins, grey whales, and many more aquatic animals to make this an unforgettable trip. As well as this unforgettable sea safari, a visit to Granville Island is part of the trip; it’s one of Vancouver’s favorite shopping hotspots.
12. The Gulf Islands: Kayak Outing with Seaplane Experience
After enjoying the city’s great food scene, you’ll need to do some exercise to work off all those calories. A great way to do this is with a kayak tour. You a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the Pacific coastline and see some of the native wildlife such as seals, dolphins, and otters.
Enjoy hotel pick-up from any Vancouver accommodation and the thrill of a seaplane, which will zip over the Gulf Islands. You’ll head back to them later in the kayak, taking in some of the most diverse coastal water in the world. Your knowledgeable guide will make sure that even beginner kayakers are able to handle the boat.
This wonderful experience will be topped off with a picnic on a deserted beach.
13. From Vancouver: Banff National Park Rocky Mountain Tour
This incredible multi-day tour may be on the pricey side but it’s worth every single cent. It’s better if you have a lot of time; although it’s a three-day tour, there’s a day either side for travel to and from Banff National Park.
During your three extraordinary days in the park, you’ll visit the Vermillion Lakes, travel over a glacier in an ice explorer truck, and take the Skytram Gondola in Jasper.
Your travel, driver, and knowledgeable guide, plus entrance fees to the national parks, are all included in this trip of a lifetime.
14. From Vancouver: 4-Day Rockies Summer Adventure Tour
This four-day tour of the Rockies is perfect for those who like to travel slow. The itinerary isn’t chock full, meaning you get to spend more time soaking up the atmosphere of each location and really getting to know it.
As well as deluxe coach transport, you’ll be provided with three nights of accommodation, a knowledgeable guide, wine tasting, and the highlight – a campfire and marshmallow roast.
The picturesque, electric blue of one of Canada’s most famous lakes, Lake Louise, awaits you, which you’ll be able to view from the gondola above. This is a great summer tour of the Rockies that won’t break the bank.
15. Vancouver Nature Hike and Bike including lunch
Perfect for cyclists of all abilities, this action-packed day will see you travel 50 kilometers south of Vancouver’s downtown by bus, before putting on your helmets and tackling Lynn Canyon Park forest and Pitt Meadows.
Combining five kilometers of hiking with 20 kilometers of cycling, your tour guide will lead you over a 50-meter suspension bridge (not for the faint-hearted), to the best spots for panoramic views of the canyon, and through a 1,000-year-old forest.
Enjoy your complimentary, fresh picnic lunch and a free bottle of water along the way – perhaps in one of the stunning meadows or in the shadow of the Golden Ears and Pinecone Provincial Park mountains.