Sightseeing Tours in Vancouver

by BootsnAll on December 9, 2010

by BootsnAll | December 9th, 2010  

There are dozens of ways to see the city of Vancouver.

If you’re on a short time frame, have trouble getting around on your own, or just prefer to get the inside scoop from a knowledgeable guide, one of the city’s many sightseeing tour options might be for you.

From walking tours to scenic plane rides, boat cruises to carriage tours, here are some of the best organized tour options in Vancouver:

By bus

Big Bus

The Big Bus operates a hop on/hop off service from April 15 – October 15 and makes 22 stops as it travels around downtown Vancouver from 9 am to 6:30 pm. If you stay on for the whole tour, it’ll take 90 minutes, but feel free to hop off at various points throughout the city; the $37 ticket is good for two consecutive days.

Vancouver Trolley Company

Tour the city on a motorized trolley hop on/hop off tour that costs $38 for one day or $45 for two days. The loop takes two hours and makes 30 stops, including Granville Island, Yaletown, Chinatown, Gastown, Canada Place, and six stops in Stanley Park. The fee also includes a free ticket for the Granville Island Ferry.

Vancouver Sightseeing

Vancouver Sightseeing offers several tours: the basic tour,  covering city highlights, is $74. The tour takes about four hours and stops at  Stanley Park,  Granville Island, and The Lookout. They also run tours to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain, and the resort community of Whistler.

Landsea Tours

Landsea Tours offers a four-hour city tour that stops at Stanley Park, Granville Island, and either Vancouver Lookout or Queen Elizabeth Park (depending on time of day) and goes through  Gastown, Chinatown, Robson Street, English Bay Vancouver Harbour and more. The cost for adults is $69. They also offer a three hour bike tour for $49

By water

Fully narrated Harbour Cruises last one hour and go past Stanley Park, Lions Gate Bridge, the cruise ship terminals, historic Gastown, the North Shore mountains and more, offering beautiful views of the Vancouver city skyline and surroundings. Cruises are offered April 23 to September 30 at 11am, 12:15pm, 1:30pm and 2:45pm. Adult tickets are $29.95 per person, and there is a cash bar on the boat.

For a cheaper way to see Vancouver from the water, check out False Creek Ferries and the Aquabus, which both travel up and down False Creek from about 7am to 9pm, departing every 15 minutes. Tickets costs between $3.25 and $6.50, depending on departure and arrival points, and tickets can be bought on the boat. For a longer ride, try one of the mini-cruises offered  by Aquabus. Cruises range from 25 to 40 minutes and cost $8-11.

By air

West Coast Air and Harbour Air offer aerial tours of Vancouver ranging from $99 to $549 per person  depending on length of the flight and what you get to see. The basic $99 Vancouver Panorama flight last 20 minutes and goes over downtown Vancouver, Horsehoe Bay, English Bay, False Creek, the North Shore mountains, and Stanley Park. Some of the flights can be combined with day trips to Victoria or activities such as whale watching.

By bike

City by Cycle offers half-day tours of Vancouver, going through Stanley Park,  Yaletown, Granville Island, Gastown and more. Tours include bike and helmet rental and cost $79 per adult. Custom tours are also available.

On foot

Intrepid Urban Adventures

Intrepid, known for its small group cultural tours, offers guided walking (and bike) tours of Granville Island, Gastown, and Chinatown, ranging from two to five hours and costing $25-$75.

By carriage

For a tour that’s a little less conventional, try a horse-drawn tour of Stanley Park. Tours are offered from March 15 to October 31 and cost $28.99 (for adults) for a one hour tour. The tours depart from 9:30am to 4 pm, 5 pm, or 5:30 pm (depending on date) from the horse-drawn tour kiosk at the Coal Harbour parking lot, just off the Georgia Street entrance to Stanley Park. Sights along the tour include the Rose Garden and the Lions Gate Bridge. Private tours are also available.

More of a do-it-yourself kind of tourist? You can easily – and cheaply – see a great deal of Vancouver via a public transit sightseeing tour.

Photos by: antefixus21, miss604, Ivan Lian

Related links:

Transportation in Vancouver

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{ 6 comments }

Mary December 9, 2010 at 6:24 pm
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I will definitely use this information during my trip. I’m thinking the hop on hop off bus is the ticket.

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Julie Ovenell-Carter December 18, 2010 at 9:54 pm
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Mary, don’t rule out public transit! Have a look at this post too: http://www.whygocanada.com/vancouvers-best-public-transit-sightseeing-tours.html

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maison espagne December 29, 2010 at 1:06 am
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I always try to use “Carriage” (horse-drawn) for sightseeing…Because it gives you a chance to see and feel the culture of that particular destination from so closely…

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Julie Ovenell-Carter December 29, 2010 at 2:36 am
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Agree that they’re slow and up-close-and-personal–not to mention romantic!

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Mathly December 29, 2010 at 11:35 pm
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When I was there each moment I enjoyed over there..I reached there through Alaska Airlines it was so cheap just 60$ and my family was very happy to be there..Vancouver is one of Canada’s most expensive cities and the Tax is around 12%..however it has great weather, cafes, and is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

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Vancouver Girl March 11, 2011 at 9:08 pm
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Vancouver has so many places to go sightseeing. I definitely recommend a horse carriage ride around Stanley Park.

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