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If we love Europe will we be disappointed in Vancouver?

If we love Europe will we be disappointed in Vancouver?

May 25th, 2004, 06:30 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If we love Europe will we be disappointed in Vancouver?

We've been hooked on Europe for a number of years now and really enjoy the ambience. However, the combination of sky high air fares and a poor US dollar/euro exchange rate have prompted us to think about Canada for this summer. We visited Victoria about 10 years ago and were quite taken with it. I've read lots of positive comments about Vancouver, but am wondering is we will be disappointed. If you've done some European travelling and been to Vancouver could you comment? Or is this like comparing apples to oranges? How many nights would you suggest there? We would probably stay in a B & B there. We are quite outdoorsy so we would then want to explore some of Vancouver Island over towards Pacific Rim National Park or up towards Campbell River. For that portion of the trip we are actually thinking about camping since all of the interesting looking lodging in the scenic places seems to be quite pricy. However, if you know of any good places to stay, I'd also appreciate getting a referrral. Thanks.
julies is offline  
May 25th, 2004, 07:50 AM
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It really is difficult to compare Vancouver to any European city. Vancouver is a great city, in an incredible setting, but the whole 'feel' is different to anything European. I would recommend 3 or 4 nights in the city.

We had a similar vacation to yours last summer. We rented an RV for the camping section in Vancouver Island and we had a gread time. Try www.freedomtours.co.uk, we hired the RV and rented a Vancouver apartment from them. First class.

Our favourite part of Vancouver Island was Strathcona Provincial Park, which is a great place to camp.
Kert is offline  
May 25th, 2004, 08:27 AM
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I'm sure Vancouver is very beautiful, but if it's European ambiance you want, consider Montreal, and or Quebec City. Qucbec City looks and feels like a walled French city (except for the cars!).
zootsi is online now  
May 25th, 2004, 08:33 AM
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Every place in the world has it's own charm and ambiance. Quebec would be the closest to Europe and especially Quebec City but Vancouver is a beautiful city with lots to offer.
ginocat is offline  
May 25th, 2004, 09:32 AM
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.....gosh, you're placing quite a bit
of responsibility on our shoulders!
I hope you won't be disappointed, but
chacun à son gôut and all........

No, Vancouver isn't a European city
but if you like Seattle, Portland and
S.F. in all likelihood you'll be happy
with Vancouver. It is a West Coast
city with lots of great food, beautiful
outdoor places and a multi-ethnic

As I've mentioned on other threads,
Middle Beach Lodge in Tofino is a
great place to stay - and reasonable.
If you want to camp they own a large
campground Bella Pacifica that abuts
the Lodge property. I walked through
it a few weeks ago and it was really
lovely - very clean, nice sites, treed
and on a great beach.

If you're planning for this summer,
you'd better start phoning!
llamalady is offline  
May 25th, 2004, 01:33 PM
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Thanks much for all the thoughtful replies. We need to start making plans soon because I know everything desirable will fill up soon.
julies is offline  
May 26th, 2004, 09:23 AM
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I agree with the other posters that Vancouver will not remind you of
Europe. We have been to Europe several times and like you, we would choose Europe over any other destination if given the chance. About three years ago, we were unable to make it to Europe, so we saw Seattle, Victoria, and Vancouver instead. We had a wonderful time, but the closest thing we found to the charm of Europe was Victoria, not Seattle or Vancouver. We found Seattle and Vancouver to be similar, although Vancouver was a bit more cosmopolitan while Seattle was a bit more laid back.

You are bound to have a fantastic experience. Just don't set your expectations on a European experience.

Davelw is offline  
May 26th, 2004, 01:19 PM
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The biggest difference between Vancouver and Europe is Vancouver's youngness as a city. The oldest buildings are barely 100 years old and 90% of the city was virgin forest less than 100 years ago.

On the other hand the First Nations abotriginal people were here for thousands of years and some of the finest North Pacific First Nation artifacts are to be found in the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. In fact from the moment you arrive at the airport you will see evidence of how we Vancouverites are begining to recognize and cherish our First Nations origins.
GaryA is offline  
May 26th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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I don't think you would be disapointed with Vancouver. Downtown Vancouver is a very intense city and quite walkable. Both of these are typically attributes of European cities are they not? There are lots of good restaurants. Stay on the west side of downtown (Robson St.) and you are in the middle of the action and within walking distance of Stanley Park, which has to be counted as among the world's great urban parks. I am thinking I should go back soon myself.
Gavin is offline  
May 26th, 2004, 02:52 PM
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I love Europe and have travelled there for 20 years, and can't really think of a spot there that is like Vancouver...but boy, did I love Vancouver!

It may have been partly because it contains my favorite hotel of all time, the Wedgewood, but I also really enjoyed the cultural mix and liveliness and vibrance of the city. Its natural surroundings are incredible as well. (Grouse Mountain in the snow was a wonderful part of my too-short trip there.)

Have a great time if you choose to go...I surely did!
Amy is offline  
May 27th, 2004, 12:09 PM
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I don't mean to sound rude, but why would you expect Vancouver to compare with Europe? It is a North American city. I wouldn't expect Dallas to be comparable to Venice, for example.

If you really want a European experience then stick with Europe. But if you're open to seeing a city which is laid back in its West Coast mentality, with wonderful views and excellent cuisine, a variety of cultures and friendly people, then please do visit!
Heyblondie is offline  
May 27th, 2004, 12:15 PM
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Yes, I think you might be disappointed. IMO its just another big city lacking charm. Again, JMHO but after just one long trip to the UK (spent in England and Scotland mostly) and having traveled in the US and Canada, I was very disappointed. Hubby has traveled the world. He too, was disappointed.

If you want to find somewhere in Canada, have you been to Montreal? Incredible city with lots of charm and incredible attractions. Again, JMHO.
audra is offline  
May 27th, 2004, 03:18 PM
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julies- I sure do understand what you are saying. We are going to Canada for exactly the same reasons, but we're finding it may actually cost us as much as if we'd gone to Europe (more than Eastern Europe). I know we will have a great time, but I can't get as excited about it as if I were headed to Europe.
GMT2272 is offline  
May 27th, 2004, 05:52 PM
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The only people I've met who were disappointed while visiting here were 'indoorsy' types.
They expected to spend their time visiting Galleries, (there are some but with the exception of Native Art are uninspiring) Museums, (the Anthropology Museum is a gem others are forgettable) and the Theater-which here is IMO hackneyed and forgettable.
If access to the outdoors and all that's to do on the Sea and in the Mountains-all from a thriving multi ethnic metropolis (albeit a small one) replete with fine restaurants and a plethora of accomodation-doesn't interest you I suggest New Jersey-something for everyone-just not very much of it
Sam_Salmon is offline  
May 27th, 2004, 08:36 PM
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I just thought I'd try to get some feedback from people who have been both places. I guess what I am trying to find out is if Vancouver is just another big, modern city, but with a great natural, scenic backdrop. It is a dilemma, and if we visit I am trying to figure out how many days we would need to wander around the city, which is one of the things we most like to do. We visited Montreal and Quebec City a number of years ago and know they are more European. We have visited San Francisco and enjoyed that, but haven't been to Seattle or Portland. We liked Victoria when we were there, and in fact put the general area on our need to come back and do further exploring list because we liked the mix of culture, water-based activities, and mountains. However, that was ten years ago and since then we have been taking trips to Europe. We have figured out how to travel there quite cheaply, and vacations have been the same or less than vacations at home in North America. Usually we have been able to find good airfares and until the last 2 years have been able to rely on a strong dollar. Not so this summer. If we visit the Vancouver area should we really focus more on a hiking and nature vacation with maybe just a day or two in Vancouver? Or, wouldn't that do the city justice? thanks again.

By the way, I am finding out that even with a strong US dollar against the Canadian dollar this is not exactly a cheap area to visit. Airfare will be cheaper, but lodging seems quite high.
julies is offline  
May 27th, 2004, 09:12 PM
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BC means 'Bring Cash'
Some outstanding prices for local hotels have been reported here by people using Internet bidding sites but I have no details.
Sam_Salmon is offline  
May 27th, 2004, 09:46 PM
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Look at http://www.betterbidding.com and http://www.biddingfortravel.com for tips on how to use Priceline and Hotwire for cheaper prices on nice hotels in Vancouver.

This is what Vancouver is like for me. I have the choice of about 25 different reasonably priced ethnic cuisines for my workday lunch within a three-block walk. Walk another three blocks and maybe it would be up to 40 or 50 - I don't really know because I stop counting after a while. Near my home in a residential area, I would probably have to be happy with 20 or so different ethnic choices in a three-block radius, rising to about 50 if I make that an 8-block radius.

I go to reasonably priced community theatre and classical music events all the time - with prices in the $0 - 15 CAD range. We regularly go for walks along Spanish Banks and Jericho Beach and Granville Island and the False Creek seawall (not so much Stanley Park, although that is probably even more beautiful, just not quite as convenient for us). I like taking the Seabus and the Aquabus for two or three dollars whenever I feel like it. If we want to go into deep woods for hiking, it's about a 10-15 minute drive. Most people I know are at least bilingual, some know many languages. If I really want to visit a stone church, I can even do that (and I have for some Shakespeare productions or classical recitals). Of course Vancouver is not the same as London or Copenhagen or any European city. It does have some similarities to San Francisco. But chacun à son goût. I think if someone is worried about Vancouver not being what they want, I'm not sure I'd recommend spending the money or time. Just wait until you can go to somewhere you really want to go.
WillTravel is offline  
May 28th, 2004, 02:10 AM
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Of course, everyone's feelings about this will differ, but I spent five full days in Vancouver, using one day as a "nature" day and one day to visit Vancouver island, and I felt as if I didn't have enough time to do the city justice. It's not quaint, but it's very "alive"!

For background, I've been travelling to Europe (mostly), Asia, and South America from one to three times a year for twenty years; I live in a large (East Coast) city. I do tend to like to stay in one place for at least a week wherever I go; walking around city neighborhoods has always interested me, and Vancouver lends itself to that quite well.

And if you can get a deal on the Wedgewood....go for it!
Amy is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 11:45 AM
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I've been to both and think you have to approach them as very different types of holidays. The advantage of the west coast is the unbeatable beauty of the land and sea. Both Victoria and Vancouver are nice but compared to European cities are small. And here I do have to add in a plug for the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, esp the native exhibits, fabulous, and they let me take pictures.

Obviously where BC wins hands-down is the scenery. Go camping on the west side of Vancouver Island, walk through the ancient trees, go whale watching... See if you can rent a place on one of the Gulf Islands...

Alternatively, go to the East Coast. PEI, Nova Scotia... I have only ever heard fantastic things from people who visited Newfoundland. The east coast should also be cheaper, and you might be able to wangle a stopover in Montreal.
Junetravelfall is offline  
Jun 1st, 2004, 01:41 PM
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I'm going to slightly disagree with a few posts here, simply because although Vancouver isn't comparable to Europe in most cases, I found Austria to be extremely similar as far as natural scenery.

Vancouver is better than Europe in the sense that you have beautiful surroundings and lots to do and decent food and restroom facilities.
Shaenee is offline  

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