Boasting mountains, sea, culture, art and so much more, many cities claim to have it all, but few can back it up like Vancouver. Famously livable, just visiting this highrise city - surrounded by staggering natural beauty - is a thrill. Offering all of the creature comforts of an ultra-modern, worldly metropolis - even downtown has a hint of mountain-freshness to its air - and part of Vancouver's appeal is how easily you can swap the skyscrapers for whale-filled oceans and mountain-punctured skies. Head up to the Vancouver Lookout Tower for the ultimate 360-degree views of the city glistening, amid the beautiful embrace of the beckoning wilderness beyond.
But what to see first? Art lovers might choose the Vancouver Art Gallery or the Contemporary Art Gallery. Nature lovers might rush for the ferry to visit Vancouver Island - where they can encounter grizzly bears, whales and orcas. Culture vultures, on the other hand, will probably head for the sights and sounds of Canada's biggest Chinatown. From steaming dim sum for lunch to Chinese apothecaries offering herbs to soothe any illness, it’s all here thanks to the migrant workers of the 19th century.
The one-of-a-kind treasure of Stanley Park brings wild wonder and natural beauty to this cosmopolitan city's doorstep, and the pine-tree clad park offers isolated trails and amazing views. Wander the Seawall that encircles it - a 20-mile coastal path, full of joggers, whizzing skaters and wandering couples. Grab a bike and cycle between Coal Harbour and Kitsilano Beach. You can top up your tan on the shore, as you soak in the glorious views of the mountains and cityscape from the sands.