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A mecca of untouched scenery and outdoor adventure awaits you on a Vancouver Island holiday. Here, you’ll find bears roaming free, whales swimming off the island’s coast, and quaint cities and coastal towns nestled amongst forests, waterfalls, tree-lined coves, beaches and mountains.

There’s so much to be explored and many gems that just can’t be missed on a Vancouver Island holiday. Visit Tofino, a town that sits on the tip of a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the sea and enveloped by untouched nature. Nearby lies the Pacific Rim National Park, made up of three units. Witness the kayakers, sand castle builders, surfers and walkers unite at Long Beach. Take to the West Coast Trail, a long backpacking trail where some of nature’s wonders offer stretches of challenging terrain. Or why not explore the stunning Broken Group Islands, with over 100 islands and islets?

Victoria: The Gateway to Vancouver Island

Victoria’s old English charm calls you to stick around long after your boat or seaplane has touched down in Victoria Harbour. Take some time to soak up the city’s many gems, from the bustling Inner Harbour, the heart of downtown Victoria, to the stunning Butchart Gardens. Wander along The Causeway, a walkway along the harbour lined with the palace-like B.C. Parliament Buildings. Head around the corner and find the floating houses of  Fisherman’s Wharf that are just waiting to be explored.

For a touch of Victorian grandeur, visit Craigdarroch Castle and discover the history of the Scottish Dunsmuir family who built it in the 1800’s.

A multi-centre holiday is the perfect way to explore Vancouver Island; visit Victoria and Tofino and make the most of the island’s abundant nature. If you want to discover more of British Columbia, head to the bright lights and city parks of Vancouver, or take to the mountains in Whistler. 

Destination Highlights

  • Explore Victoria, the historic capital city of British Columbia by bike
  • Try whale-watching and take in the majestic sights
  • Take a bear-watching tour to see black and grizzly bears in their natural habitat
  • Visit the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s three units: Long Beach, Broken Group Islands and the West Coast Trail

Great sample itineraries


Get inspired by our selection of popular itineraries for Vancouver Island holidays. With so many options for your Vancouver Islandholiday package, we recommend you talk to one of our Destination Specialists to make the perfect tailor-made holiday just for you.

Bear Watching Excursion

Whales Bears Vancouver Island Self-Drive

  • 9 Days
  • Guide Price £3,799 PP
Our incredible Whales, Bears and Vancouver Island self drive provides a sample of Canada’s most spectacular treasures. Discover picturesque Vancouver...
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Self drive holidays
a small boat in a body of water with a city in the background

Campbell River and Victoria Multi Centre

  • 8 Days
  • Guide Price £1,199 PP
Experience the incredible natural beauty, breath-taking scenery and stunning wildlife of Vancouver Island. A land of extremes, where modern comforts...
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Multi centre holidays
a body of water with a mountain in the background

Rv Trip Vancouver Island

  • 9 Days
Explore the rugged coastline of Vancouver Island with your Cruise Canada motorhome on this 8 day suggested itinerary. Starting in...
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Motorhome holidays
High Note Trail, Whistler

Calgary To Vancouver Road Trip

  • 16 Days
  • Guide Price £4,499 PP
Take an epic adventure across the great Canadian Rockies. Journey from Calgary through the Canadian Rocky Mountains to the breath...
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Self drive holidays

Our favorite hotels


Our favourite places to stay are below. We know everyone is different, so if you can’t see something you like, we'd be more than happy to help.

River Tents, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Vancouver Island
British Columbia

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

Situated on the west coast of Vancouver Island in the UNESCO Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, this unique and remote resort...
H&J Rating
Guide Price £2,999
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British Columbia

The Oswego Hotel

The Oswego is one of Victoria’s premier boutique hotels, offering a sophisticated urban stay just minutes from the inner bay...
H&J Rating
Guide Price £999
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British Columbia

Painter's Lodge

This full-service fishing lodge offers an extensive range of facilities in a stunning natural setting, fringed by sea, skies and...
H&J Rating
Guide Price £1,299
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British Columbia

Black Rock Ocean Front Resort

Set on Vancouver Island’s West Coast, this tranquil resort makes the most of the majestic surroundings whilst offering comfort and...
H&J Rating
Guide Price £1,299
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Explore Vancouver Island

Time Zone

GMT -8 hours

Flight Time

Approx 11.5 hours; Air Canada offers and indirect service via Vancouver, Calgary or Toronto. Delta also offers indirect service via Seattle.

Currency

CAD - Canadian Dollar

Visa Information

Ensure you have a valid ETA prior to travel

Language

English

Health Info

No vaccinations required

Vancouver Island has something for you. Whether you have always wanted to view bears, whales or spot bald eagles, Vancouver Island has some of the most varied wildlife. With plenty of outdoor activities for all ages from zip lining, fishing trip to surf on one of the many beaches. Here are a few things to do we recommend.

a small boat in a body of water with a city in the background

Visit Victoria

No visit to Vancouver Island should be without a stay in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. We love the old English charm, visiting the capitol building and staying at the Fairmont Empress overlooking the harbour. Make sure you have afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress, and sample the Empress cake. Drive out to Butchart Gardens for a leisurely stroll around the beautiful gardens and marvel at the Japanese Garden.

Orcas

Whale watching

Nothing is more spectacular than whale watching from Vancouver Island, where around 250 orcas live in the waters off the northeast coast and every year over 20,000 grey whales arrive having migrated from the Gulf of Mexico. Head to Telegraph Cove, Tofino, Port NcNeill or Johnstone Strait to join a whale watching tour. For a day you won't forget, you'll see these magnificent creatures spout, breach and hunt.

a boat on a body of water

Outdoor adventure

Vancouver Island offers the best environment for outdoor activities. You'll find hiking trails, biking trails, fishing, snorkeling and plenty of wildlife viewing. Go rafting and snorkel with salmon from Campbell River or take a guided fishing trip from Painter's Lodge. Maybe it's golfing you're looking for, Vancouver Island offers an array of golf courses from Victoria up to Campbell River.

a flock of birds sitting on top of a sandy beach

Wildlife viewing

From watching sea otters play in the kelp beds off the shores of Vancouver Island to watching bears feed on the shorelines on mussels, you'll never be short of wildlife. Cruise through the waters of Tofino and Clayoquot sound, this area is renowned for spotting sea lions, humpback whales and other marine life. We recommend heading out to a wilderness lodge to be able to get up close with nature and view the incredible wildlife.

a man smiling for the camera

“One of the most memorable ways to reach Vancouver Island is by seaplane from Vancouver, as the views are incredible. If you prefer to travel over water, combine your ferry transfer with a whale-watching excursion.”

 

Aveenash
Destination Specialist
a woman smiling for the camera

“Tofino and Ucluelet are the perfect places to surf, enjoy the unspoilt beaches and, the highlight, go bear-watching”

 

Val
Destination Specialist

Events & Festivals

Festivals and events are wonderful to include during your Vancouver Island holiday, offering a glimpse into the country’s authentic culture and traditions.

Pacific Rim Whale Festival

Each March, as the weather starts to get warmer on Vancouver Island, migrating Pacifc Gray whales make their way back to the waters that border Tofino, Ucluelet and the Pacific Rim National Park. It’s estimated that around 20,000 whales make the journey to the island after spending the winter in the water around the Baja Peninsula. The annual event marks the beginning of the whale-watching season and is welcomed with the Pacific Rim Whale Festival, which sees whale-watching, family-friendly activities, talks by guest speakers and workshops being held in Tofino, Ucluelet and the Pacific Rim National Park.

Feast Tofino

Each Spring, usually between April and May, Tofino hosts its annual Feast Tofino festival. A collaboration between local chefs, fisheries, foragers and farmers, the festival celebrates the local and sustainable fisheries in the area, with events including the Dock Festival, where you can feast on seafood samples and meet local and regional chefs, an all-you-can-eat Boat to Tailgate party, and an outdoor dinner.

 

Tofino Lantern Festival

Hosted in Tofino Botanical Gardens by the Raincoast Education Society, the Tofino Lantern Festival is a lively celebration with handmade lanterns, live music, dance performances and delicious food. There’s also lantern-making workshops that run in the week leading up to the festival. 

 

Local Cuisine

Get a flavour of the local culture through your palate during your Vancouver Island holiday. Here are a few of our favourite dishes.

Nanaimo Bar

Originating from Nanaimo, a city on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Nanaimo bars are a popular sweet treat throughout Canada. There are many variations but the bars typically consist of three layers: a biscuit and coconut crumb base, a layer of custard flavoured buttercream, and a topping of chocolate ganache.

Our Vancouver Island destinations

Types of Vancouver Island holidays

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