Throughout october, discover Vancouver with the series EASY IN VANCOUVER. You will learn where to sleep, where to eat and what are the must-do in the bigget city of British Columbia ! Today, read a short presentation of Vancouver, and how to get to the city. Thanks to this bit of information, you’ll visit Vancouver peacefully.

Read this in FRENCH or in POLISH

EASY IN VANCOUVER | General information

Easy in Vancouver

Vancouver is the biggest city in British Columbia, a south-western province in Canda, by the pacific ocean. Thank to its geographic position, Vancouver, and more generally BC, have maybe the nicest climat in the whole country. Therefore, I want to abolish the first myth about Canada – no, it’s not -50°c everywhere ! In the contrary, in winter, the temperature in Vancouver rarely descends below 5°C. During my stay in BC (january 2015-may 2015), it was often nicer and warmer there than it was in France.

GENERAL INFORMATION | Short presentation of Vancouver

Krotko o Vancouver

Country: Canada
Province: British Columbia
Official name: City of Vancouver
Language: English
Population: 603 500 inhabitants (8th largest city in Canada)
Time Zone: UTC-8:00
Currency: Canadian Dollar (1 cad =0,68 euro / 1euro=1,46 cad)
Date of foundation and founder: 6 april 1986 by Wiliam Van Horne

GENERAL INFORMATION | How to get to Vancouver ?

Greater vancouver map

Getting to Vancouver is as easy as getting to any city. You can take the plane, the car, the bus, the train, the bike or your feet ! More seriously, I’ll give you a little bit of advise concerning your trip to Vancouver that I learned from my own experience.

FROM EUROPE: If you are coming from Europe, you are very likely to take a plane (pretty obvious so far). As i was coming from Paris, I chose to fly with Lufthansa and Air Canada with a change in Frankfurt. If you buy your tickets at least 2 or 3 months in advance you can find both way flights for around 800€ to 1000€. If, like me, you have a hard time getting to action and you wake up only a month before your flight, you are very likely to pay around 1400€. I checked my flights on kayak.com to check what flights were the cheapest (usually Lufthansa combined with Air Canada). About that, I have two very important things to tell you. First, be sure (if you have a change in Frankfurt, or any other airport) to have at least 2 hours between your flights. I know that usually 1hr is enough, but in my case it wasn’t, and I ended up missing my flight. So don’t hesitate to call the airline and organise your trip with 2 hours in between flights. Moreover, if you buy your tickets with a particular airline, but which includes a flight with another one, be prepared that you will have to print a new ticket right before boarding to your second flight. For example, I was travelling with Lufthansa (= I bought ALL my tickets on their website), but I had a flight from Frankfurt with Air Canada. As both airlines don’t use the same type of tickets, I had to print an Air Canada ticket at the gate before boarding. But, in order to do so, you have to be in front of the gate more than half an hour before departing. I was there 20 minutes before departing, so unfortunately I couldn’t get on the plane although it had not departed yet. So, to sum up: 2 hours in between your flights and don’t forget to get very early at the gate if you have a print a new ticket (don’t go shopping or anything) ! Otherwise, trust me, it’s not going to be so easy to get to Vancouver anymore…

Aéroport de Vancouver

Just for the anecdote, Vancouver airport is very famous for its particular design that looks more like a park or an aquarium than an airport ! (Source: soocurious)

FROM THE US OR MAINLAND: If you are travelling from the mainland or the US, you can easily take the car (or the train if there is one). Roads are fast and easy. I have never had the opportunity to travel with the train, so I can’t tell you how much it costs or how comfortable is the ride. On the other hand I traveled by car from Vancouver to Seattle. In itself, the journey is not very long, something like 3 hours, but there is often a huge traffic at the border. It can be extremely long (over one hour or more), especially if you don’t have a visa to Canada or ESTA for the states. Before taking on a car trip, you may check for approximative wait lines at the border here.

FROM VANCOUVER ISLAND: This is a trip I did several times during my exchange semester at the University of Victoria. As its name implies, Vancouver Island is an island, and you can travel from there only by plaine or ferry. The choice depends on your budget and on the time you wille spend in Vancouver. If you need a fast transport and you don’t mind to pay a lot, you can take the seaplane from downtown Victoria straight to downtown Vancouver. The flight costs around 100cad (less if you buy your ticket in advance or fly outside the peak hours). A slightly cheaper option (valid especially if you change planes in Vancouver) but a bit longer is to take a flight from Victoria Airport straight to Vancouver airport. This option costs around 60cad to 80cad (again, it varies according to peak hours and days). It takes longer because getting from the airport from downtown Victoria or Vancouver takes approximately 1 hour with the bus. Therefore, If you spend only one week-end in Vancouver taking the regular plane is not worth it. Finally, the last way to get to Vancouver from Victoria is to take the ferry with BCFerries. It costs 16,5 cad (around 11€) from Victoria to Vancouver. The travel by ferry takes 2.5 hours but you have to add 1 hour of getting from downtown Victoria to the ferry and again one hour to get to downtown Vancouver. Although it’s long, I recomment this type of travel if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on transport and have at least 2 or 3 days there. I’ve taken this ferry many times, and I always liked it, the view is great (when the weather is nice) and if you’re extremally lucky you might see whales (never happened to me unfortunately).

Ferry de BC Ferries

This is what the ferry looks like, it doesn’t show on the picture, but it’s huge !

Congrats, you’ve finished to read the first article in the EASY IN VANCOUVER series ! Don’t hesitate to tell me what you thought of this one and the serie !

I wish you a great day