Canada’s westernmost province blends the best of a Pacific coastline with a rugged mountain hinterland. From glaciers and ski resorts to hot springs and beaches, British Columbia offers stunning nature and lots of outdoor adventure. It’s a wild and rural province, where snow dominates the peaks all year around, and it’s easy to spend days in national parks without encountering another person. Victoria is the provincial capital, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, close to the border with the United States. Vancouver is by far the largest city and is positioned along the Pacific coast.
British Columbia is a huge province, larger than all but 30 of the world’s countries. It’s split into seven distinctive regions. Northern British Columbia is rugged and wild, a place of untouched wilderness and seemingly endless forests. Bordering Alaska on two sides, this is British Columbia at its untamed best. The North and Central Coast region is similarly wild, as the remoteness has helped to preserve indigenous culture and it remains a region that’s far off the beaten track. Fraser Canyon is the big highlight of Canyons and the Cariboo, an interior region with national parks and dramatic scenery. Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland are the urban hubs, home to the vast majority of the British Columbia population. The cities have preserved a tranquil feel, and there’s plenty of waterside charm to uncover. With quiet beaches and luxury resorts, these regions also offer a classic holiday atmosphere. Vancouver Airport is easily the largest in the province. Smaller airports can be found in Victoria, Abbotsford, Cranbrook, and Kelowna. These are very convenient as distances are long in British Columbia. Most visitors get around with a hire car although there are some historic rail routes through the mountains. The region is an outdoor playground and attracts millions of visitors to its hiking and biking trails, winter slopes, and coastal attractions.
The world-famous skiing resort of Whistler is located in Lower Mainland, where the Rocky Mountains provide a wonderful backdrop to an urban landscape. The southern, inland regions of Kootenays and Thompson-Okanagan are dominated by nature. Ski slopes lead down to alpine lakes, deep valleys offer hiking trails, wineries and beaches run along the rivers, and nature is relatively easy to discover.