The city of Vancouver, often voted the most desirable place in the world to live, sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Its compact centre is a modern melting-pot of cultures but the mountains and float-planes still make it feel like a frontier town. It is both hip and happening yet relaxed and manageable.
You pass through on your way from the airport to Whistler or on the return journey, so it could not be more convenient. To think of Vancouver only as a stopover location is not really doing it justice. Most will spend a morning or afternoon shopping on Robson Street - clothes and CDs in particular are so much cheaper than at home - but it is worth digging deeper.
The old warehouses of Granville Island have been converted into a warren of markets, studios, galleries, shops and eateries. If you enjoy sushi, you will not believe how fresh and affordable it is and if not, the choice of other restaurants is remarkable. Stanley Park is home to totem poles, bike paths and the Aquarium. If you are already missing the snow you can take a run with a view at Cypress or Grouse Mountain above the city.
A 2 night Vancouver add-on starts from just £75 pp.
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