For those of you who don’t already know: Already a month ago I started a 5 month solo trip which will bring me to LA, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Cuba. Currently I am in Hawaii and I started my trip in Vancouver BC, Canada. On this blog I am planning to post my experiences from the places that I visit. This first post will be about Vancouver. For the non-readers among us: I also made a movie, which you can see here.
The first thing that always comes to my mind when visiting a city for only a few days is: How can I see as much of the city as possible? In the case of Vancouver, I think I succeeded this time!
How to see the most of Vancouver in only three days:
1. Rent a bike
The first thing I did in Vancouver was renting a bike – Dutch as I am. But, even for the non-experienced cyclist I highly recommend renting a bike in Vancouver. Although there might be some heavy climbing involved and you have to conquer a bridge here and there, the city is flat to hilly, so it very easy to ride a bike there (especially when you go downhill 🙂 ) . The city has beautiful bikelines and they are well marked. There are maps available in the city (like bike shops) that show you the ‘easy’ bike routes that bring you around some of the city’s highlights. But even if you don’t have those it is a very easy transport mode to bring you from A to B without being dependent on Hop-on Hop-off busses, normal public transport or taxi’s (or Uber). In my opinion it gives you the best opportunity to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time.
If you really do not like cycling or don’t follow the fit-people trent (haha), but do want the freedom, being independent and a quick mode of transport, rent a scooter/moped ;).
2. Choose your destinations
Once you have chosen your main mode of transport it is important to know what you want to see in the city. Especially if you have a limited amount of time this is important to avoid the feeling of ‘missing out’ once you have left the city. In recommend seeing at least the following things, which I really liked:
- Stanley Park
- Lynn Valley/ Suspension bridge (Too far to cycle, take the ferry and bus )
- Jericho Beach Park
- Kitsilano Beach Park
- The bridges
- False creek area
- Granville Island
- The View from Lion’s Gate Bridge
- Lonsdale Quay Market
- Eastside Flea Market
Some others that I have not seen or done myself:
- Capilano canyon / suspension bridge (You can definitely bike to this one, using Lion’s gate bridge)
- Grouse Mountain (too far to cycle towards)
- Elizabeth Park
3. Plan your route
Now, the most important part becomes seeing everything that you want to see. In one day I started cycling around Stanley Park, and then took Burrard Bridge to bring me along the ‘coastline’ to see Kitsilano Beach Park all the way to Jericho Beach. Then I took W. 4th Avenue back, all the way to Sutcliffe Park and Cycled around False Creek. After the Science Museum I went to Eastside Flea Market on Main Street (which occurs every other weekend), where and met some young hip locals and then went into Gastown and had dinner there. It was a good day! (I also got the advice to go to the Lido for drinks at night, but I was too jet lagged for that one – but I’m passing that tip on to you ).
The next day I took my bike to the ferry and crossed the water to visit North Vancouver. At first I took the bus and visited Lynn Valley (& the Suspension Bridge there). The reason I did not go to Capilano Suspension Bridge was that I heared it is very touristy and you have to pay (a good amount of money) to get in. Lynn Valley is free, and beautiful, so that sounded like a good deal. The only thing I did not think about was the busses back from the valley towards the ferries again, specifically Lonsdale Quay. The bus goes once an hour, so I decided to walk back (around 5 miles). I liked it: I saw beautiful views from up the hill towards the lower city areas, and I loved seeing how people outside of the city center live. On the way I stumbled across an oldtimer (car) show and met a lot of locals, so that was fun! Then I ate something around Lonsdale Quay and watched the city from the other side of the water.
The final day I had in the city I first went through Stanley Park up the Lion’s Gate bridge. The view of the city was stunning, although the climb by bike can be quite of a challenge – especially when it is super sunny (advice: bring water haha). Then I went back through some streets in Stanley Park and Crossed Burrard Bridge again to bring me to Granville Island. There I went into the Gallery attached to the Art & Design University, wandered around the local shops and had lunch at one of the many food stalls. After that I took my bike along False Creek again and went into Gas Town to see the shops there. By then I’d seen everything I wanted in the city:)!
Concerning food: There are many nice cafe’s and restaurants in Vancouver, especially downtown. The most tourists have dinner around Gastown and lunch is very good around Lonsdale Quay and Granville Island. Personally I had a little bit more trouble to plan my routes and combine it with visiting the vegan/plantbased places I wanted to visit. I’ll probably make another post about that. Be aware that there are no ( or I didn’t find them) food options around Jericho Beach, so bring something or plan it in such a way that you don’t starve once you are there ;).
End conclusion: I love this city! There are so many amazing views, and the combination of modern buildings and nature, surrounded by water is just wonderful. The city is friendly, there are a lot of great restaurants and you can see a lot in only a few days.