We adored our visit to Vancouver a few years ago – the stunning scenery, the friendly locals, the whale watching – and it elicited a desire to explore even more of the incredible Canadian landscapes. We would return in a heartbeat. Disclosure: this post was commissioned by e-visa.co.uk (an online visa bureau).
Vancouver had always been our travel Avalon – a mystical dream that we never thought we would ever turn into reality.
With family connections there that have threaded us to this beautiful Canadian city for decades, when we were invited to a wedding there a couple of years ago, practically within a breath of receiving the invite, we were investigating flights.
One of the things we needed to research was what visas we would need to visit Canada – long gone are the days where I panic on the flight about whether I should have organised a visa in advance. (I wish I was joking, but it’s something that when I first travelled I always forgot to think about.)
Did you know if you are planning to travel to Canada in 2019 or 2020 and do not possess a Canadian or US passport, and you also hold the nationality from one of the visa-exempt countries, you are required to apply for an eTA beforehand? Most travelers choose the eTA because it is cheaper, easier, and faster to apply for than a visa. For the visa, an appointment has to be made at the Canadian consulate, while the eTA Canada can be applied for in a few minutes online
Travelers that do not have this travel permit cannot check into flights to Canada, and are barred from entering the country. Even if the flight to Canada is only meant for a transit to another country, an eTA is required; even if you remain in the airport during the layover period.
Once you’ve sorted out the admin of the trip, there are so many amazing things to do in & around Vancouver. And this was only the tip of the Canadian iceberg.
As it was August, and a peak travel season, we spent a few days in the city centre at the beginning and end of our trip, as well as a sweet little escape to the leafy suburbs of North Vancouver. Alas, the hotel that we stayed in at the beginning and end of our trip has been turned into private luxury apartments since we visited – which is a shame as the city view was rather spectacular including the smoke-misted harbour to the left of our balcony …
Our favourite, absolutely must-do, have to revisit Vancouver places and activities were…
- Taking wing on a breathtaking seaplane flight around Vancouver harbour
- Spending an afternoon wandering around the immense Stanley Park, soaking up the vitamin D.
- Pootling up the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler, and enjoying an (unintended) spa date with Lady Gaga.
- Watching a pod of Orcas frolic in the wild (and crossing into America to do so.)
- Wandering along the waterfront several times. We even spotted a black squirrel or two just gambolling along, clearly on squirrel errands (not pictured – they are super fast.)
- Brunching on the famous Four Seasons lobster egg benedict.
- Toasting the sunset from the Top of Vancouver (a revolving restaurant.)
- Traversing the Lynn Canyon Park suspension bridge (we decided to visit the quieter Lynn Canyon rather than the famous Capilano suspension bridge.)
- Discovering a cheeky Chihuly display (a lovely nod to the Gardens in nearby Seattle.)
- Zooming over the Canadian countryside on the 3D FlyOver Canada ride.
- Goggling at some of the magnificent waterfront architecture before sampling some of the many tidbits on offer in Gastown.
Everyone that I know who has been to Vancouver has loved it, and we can totally understand why. With a striking harbour ringed by deep blue mountains (not to mention a grizzly bear or two), the stunning Sea To Sky Highway scattered with rushing waterfalls up to Whistler, the buzzing foodie scene, our sweet local guides who kindly gave us a snow globe with our hotel building in, and an open offer to visit again, we may just have to take them up on it.
The team at e-visa.co.uk kindly sponsored this post (sharing my own personal experience in Vancouver) in order to keep our wanderlust strong and the travel fund topped up for future fun and blog posts. To learn more about the eTA meaning, click the link.
We definitely want to revisit Canada as soon as possible! Which part of Canada intrigues you?