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British Columbia travel guide

About British Columbia

One colossal mountain range after another, gigantic fjords biting chunks out of a wild coastline, and temperate old-growth rainforests hiding cougars, bears and wolves: British Columbia is nature at its best.

That said the cities are pretty special too. Clutching onto the edge of the Coast Mountains and Pacific Ocean, Vancouver may lack world-class museums, but who needs those when you’ve got beaches to flop on, food trucks to munch at and Canada’s biggest city park to play in? Not to mention an elaborate web of hiking and ski trails in the city’s backyard.

And forget what you’ve heard about Victoria replicating ye olde England. BC’s bijou capital buzzes with floatplanes, kayakers, one of the finest gardens in the nation and a resident orca population offshore.

Take a road trip past mineral hot springs and glacial lakes in the Kootenay Rockies or peach trees and vineyards in the Okanagan. Venture into Canada’s only desert at Osoyoos, home to rattlesnakes, scorpions and prickly pear cacti. Spot grizzlies in Northern BC, whose sprawling wilderness is twice the size of the UK.

The opportunity for adventure in this province is unremitting. Get out and surf Pacific swells at Tofino or ski fathomless powder in Whistler. Explore the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii archipelagos by kayak or paddle the Kicking Horse River by raft. Hike up and down ladders on Vancouver Island’s West Coast Trail or follow the wagon wheels of pioneers and bike the Gold Rush Trail north from Lillooet.

Wherever you go, unspoiled beauty will be just around the corner.

Key facts

Area:

944,735 sq km (364,764 sq miles).

Population:

4,648,055 (2016).

Population density:

5 per sq km.

Capital:

Victoria.