Our Vancouver Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help planning your trip to one of the most popular destinations in Canada. No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from the airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need? We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips.

It’s all compiled in this Vancouver Travel Essentials. After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip in Vancouver, British Columbia.

  • When is the best time to travel to Vancouver?

    When is the best time to travel to Vancouver?

    Vancouver has an oceanic climate, with average temperatures ranging from 3ºC in winter to 20ºC in summer.

    • The rainiest time of the year is between October and April, with an average of 15-20 rainy days per month.
    • Snowfall can be expected between November and February.
    • June-August is peak tourist season, with hotel and flight prices rising accordingly.
    • April-May and September-October are great times to visit, you’ll avoid the peak season’s throngs, and flight and hotel prices are more affordable. The weather is pleasant, but pack a jumper and a raincoat, just in case.
  • Vancouver basics

    Vancouver basics
    • Languages: Primary: English; Secondary: Chinese
    • Plug types: A and B
    • Electricity: 120 V
    • Currency: Canadian Dollar (C$)
    • International dialing codes: +1 604
    • Emergency telephone number: 911
  • How to get to my hotel in Vancouver?

    How to get to my hotel in Vancouver?

    Vancouver International Airport

    Vancouver International Airport is the primary airport serving Vancouver. It’s one of the largest airports in Canada. It’s located on Sea Island in Richmond, roughly 10 km southwest of the city center. Vancouver Airport features 3 passenger terminals in which you’ll find a good choice of dining and shopping options as well as facilities including banking and currency exchange services. There are several transfer options to reach Downtown Vancouver:

    • A taxicab takes around 20-30 minutes. Taxi ranks can be found on Level 2 of the Domestic and International Arrivals Area.
    • Many Vancouver hotels provide free shuttle buses. The pick-up areas are outside of Arrivals Level 2 International Terminal and outside the Arrivals Level 1 Domestic Terminal.
    • The Canada Line rapid transit rail can take you to Downtown Vancouver in around 30 minutes. Follow the signs marked Canada Line to reach the station.
    • Car rental agencies can be found on the ground floor of the multi-storey parking a short walk from the terminals.

    If you come by train to Vancouver

    Pacific Central Station is the main railway station in Vancouver. Served by Via Rail, Amtrak and Rocky Mountaineer lines, it’s home to a few dining and shopping option. From here, you can get anywhere in the city by SkyTrain, bus, taxi or rental car.

    photo by Bob Linsdell (CC BY 3.0) modified

  • How to get around Vancouver?

    Travel tips

    How to get around Vancouver?

    Downtown Vancouver is compact and easily walkable. It covers a 5-sq km area that can easily be explored on foot. You’ll find, within walking distance, many landmarks and attractions such as Stanley Park, Vancouver Seawall, and the Roedde House Museum, just to name a few. The city center also hosts a great choice of dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment options. For longer journeys, a good choice of public and private transportation services is at hand.

  • TransLink

    • TransLink is in charge of public transportation in Vancouver. It operates SkyTrain, bus and SeaBus networks, which cover the entire city.
    • A single ticket is valid for up to 90 minutes.
    • Day passes are available.
    • Tickets and passes can be purchased in SkyTrain, SeaBus, and West Coast Express stations. You’ll also find TransLink tickets and passes at over 500 authorized retailers including 7-Eleven, Shoppers Drug Mart and London Drugs outlets throughout the city.

    photo by Tim Adams (CC BY 3.0) modified

  • Hop-on hop-off buses

    Hop-on hop-off buses
    • Vancouver Trolley Company runs 2 hop-on hop-off routes in Vancouver.
    • The Park Route and the City Route have a total of 29 stops.
    • Each tour lasts 1.5-2 hours.
    • The Park Route tour stops by Stanley Park Pavilion, Vancouver Aquarium and English Bay Beach, just to name a few.
    • The City Route tour stops by Science World, Yaletown and Chinatown, just to name a few.
    • Each hop-on hop-off bus is equipped with headphones offering multi-lingual descriptions of the sights along the road.

    photo by Joe Mabel (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

  • Taking a taxi

    Taking a taxi
    • Taxis can be hailed down on the street in Vancouver.
    • You can easily find cab stands outside hotels and near the main attractions and shopping areas.
    • You can also directly call popular companies such as MacLures Cabs (604-831-1111), Garden City Cabs (604-233-1111) or Black Top & Checker Cabs (604-681-3201), just to name a few.
    • Most taxis accept the payment of the fare by credit card, but it’s better to ask the driver before you get in.
    • It’s common to give a 10-20% tip to the taxi driver.

    photo by S S (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

  • Cycling around Vancouver with Mobi

    Cycling around Vancouver with Mobi
    • Mobi is the name of Vancouver’s bike sharing scheme. It’s run by the city and features over 200 docking stations.
    • You just need to register on your computer or download the Mobi app on your mobile phone.

    photo by Wakasui (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

  • What are the main annual events in Vancouver?

    What are the main annual events in Vancouver?

    CelticFest Vancouver

    • What: The CelticFest Vancouver is one of the biggest Celtic festivals in Canada. It celebrates 5,000 years of Celtic history and culture through music and dance performances, and loads of food. It’s held during the week around St. Patrick’s Day.
    • When: Mid-March
    • Where: Various venues throughout the city

    Vancouver International Wine Festival

    • What: As its name implies, the Vancouver International Wine Festival offers wine lovers a place to discover and sample wines from all around the world. The festival features many events including educational seminars, wine tastings, wine lunches and dinners.
    • When: Late February
    • Where: BMO Theatre Center

    Vancouver International Film Festival

    • What: The Vancouver International Film Festival is one of the most attended film festivals in North America. It showcases over 300 movies from over 70 countries. Workshops and events involving famous actors, directors and producers are held during the festival.
    • When: Late September
    • Where: Vancity Theatre and 6 other movie theatres throughout Vancouver