This impossibly scenic self-drive will bring you to the heart of Canada's natural world. Begin in the cosmopolitan streets of Vancouver before a ferry transfer sees you to Vancouver Island and the colonial delights of BC's capital city, Victoria. From here, follow the coastal routes to Pacific Rim National Park, home to incredible wildlife – including whales, and the sandy beaches of Parksville. You'll return to the mainland to stay at Whistler, one of the world's favourite ski resorts, before heading into the majestic Rocky Mountains via Jasper and Banff National Park. The Icefields Parkway is a highlight – this scenic highway takes you past glaciers, mountains and sparkling turquoise lakes.
Enjoy VIP lounge access before boarding a daytime flight to Vancouver. On arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel on the waterfront, steps away from the bustling cruise harbour and Waterfront Sky Train Station. With two days to explore, perhaps head into the surrounding countryside – soar above the fir trees on the Grouse Mountain sky ride or cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge high among the treetops. Back in the city, sample the pubs and hip cafes of Gastown, shop the boutiques along Robson Street and explore the brightly coloured markets at Granville Island.
Today you'll check out of your Vancouver accommodation and had to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal for a crossing to Vancouver Island. Take in the picturesque scenery as you sail among the Gulf Islands before arriving in Victoria, the charming capital of British Columbia. Stately buildings and manicured gardens give an air of colonial elegance, while its busy waterfront is the perfect place for people watching. Spend two days exploring the city, from the grand architecture of the inner harbour area to the Butchart Gardens, home to world-famous floral displays.
Stay: Fairmont Empress, Victoria
You'll begin a scenic drive to the Pacific Rim National Park along Vancouver's rugged west coast today. Pause along the way at Duncan – City of Totems, visit Chemainus and its thriving artist community, and take in sweeping views of the Cascade Mountains' Sawtooth Range as you traverse Sutton Pass. It's a truly spectacular drive. Arrive into Tofino for an included whale-watching Zodiac tour, cruising Claoquot Sound in search of grey whales, sea lions, orcas, porpoises and puffins. If you look overhead, you might even spot an elusive bald eagle. On your second day here, perhaps journey by water taxi to Big Tree Trail on Meares Island or visit Hot Springs Cove for a healing soak in the natural hot springs.
Stay: Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, Tofino
Today you'll board the ferry back to the mainland en route to world-famous ski resort Whistler. Between the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains lie miles of pristine ski and snowboard trails, a playground for keen sport enthusiasts during winter, and in summer you can enjoy everything from white-water rafting and hiking among the impressive scenery to mountain biking and a round of golf. Over the next two days, perhaps take the Peak 2 Peak Gondola and Peak Chair for a view across the mountains high above the trees, and back in Whistler Village, explore the pedestrian-friendly streets lined with charming chalet-style buildings, boutique shops and cafes.
Stay: Fairmont Chateau, Whistler
Today you'll drive along Duffey Lake Road and take in panoramic views of the Joffre Glacier and Mount Currie en route to Lillooet. This is the home of the Goldrush Trail and the old Caribou Wagon Road. Activities such as kayaking, horseback riding, fishing and white water rafting are on offer here, and your resort accommodation is a relaxing haven among the unspoilt wilderness.
Stay: Sun Peaks Grand Hotel, Sun Peaks
Today you'll take in the incredible scenery around Jasper National Park. Pass the gorges of the Yellowhead Highway and the waterfalls of North Thompson River, and on a clear day, see the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies – Mount Robson. On arrival in Jasper, a charming town set on the mountainside, you'll check in to your accommodation among the alpine forest. From here, explore the beauty of the park with hikes along well-worn trails or leisurely bike rides past rivers and trees. Highlights include the turquoise waters of Maligne Lake – where you can do a leisurely lake cruise – and the otherworldly hoodoos.
Head South to Banff along one of the world's most scenic highways; the Icefields Parkway. This all-encompassing drive will bring you past mountains, glaciers and sparkling lakes to the Columbia Icefields, where you can take a giant Ice Explorer bus onto the Athabasca glacier to see it up close. Then, continue onwards to visit the breathtaking Lake Louise, perhaps pausing for a stroll around its peaceful shores, before continuing on to your accommodation in Banff. With two days here at your leisure, perhaps visit the Upper Hot Springs for a soak or take the Banff Gondola up the mountain for stunning valley views.
Today, you'll make your way to Calgary to drop off your hire car and board your overnight flight to London
"This is one of the world's best self-drives. Clients love to visit Canada's stunning National Parks, and joining together the beauty of Vancouver Island with the might of the Rocky Mountains makes for an unforgettable holiday. I've even included a whale-watching cruise – definitely a highlight."
01 - 10 May 2024 from: £4,450 pp
11 May - 02 Jun 2024 from: £5,090 pp
03 Jun - 30 Sep 2024 from: £5,410 pp
01 - 10 Oct 2024 from: £5,675 pp
Valid for travel: May to October