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Best Places To Stay In Vancouver Island: Vancouver Island Holiday Guide

     Welcome to the No.1 website for Vancouver Island vacation rentals. Escape from it all, with a relaxing getaway to Vancouver Island, a phenomenal destination, perfect for those who love the outdoors and want to spend time in nature with the option of heading into the city for plenty of fun days and nights out.

      From the best things to do, to the best places to stay, best restaurants and more, read on for all you need to know about your holiday to Vancouver Island.

     Vancouver Island lies just off the coast of Vancouver in west Canada. With its waters in the North Pacific Ocean, it is a fascinating destination with miles of diverse open terrain, ancient rainforests, rugged coastline, mountainous regions and a huge array of stunning wildlife to uncover.

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John Paul Donnelly

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Why choose Vancouver Island?

     You'll enjoy plenty of time in the outdoors, hiking the many trails whilst exploring the island's network of beautiful parks and dramatic nature reserves. Across the island, there is lots of magnificent marine wildlife to see, including humpback whales, orcas and sea lions.

     This is a place of contrasting landscapes, where much of the land was once covered in rainforests. Although only some of the rainforests remain, the island's ancient rainforests provide a lush habitat for countless endangered species, as well as bears, wolves, bald eagles and cougars.

      With so much exciting wildlife to see, Vancouver Island is a great place to enjoy whale-watching and you may even get a chance to spot a black bear if you're lucky. Beyond the many outdoor experiences, there is plenty to do and see indoors, including museums, entertainment, sports activities, galleries and other family attractions.

      If you want to relax, unwind and uncover Canada's infamous open terrain, Vancouver Island is the perfect destination packed with unique outdoor experiences alongside all the benefits of a buzzing city.

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Best things to do in Vancouver Island

      From nature reserves to beaches, historic forests, wildlife and museums, there is a great mix of cultural attractions and natural history to uncover in Vancouver Island.

      Whether you want top days out for the family, quiet hiking trails or top restaurants, here's our top picks of the best things to do and see in Vancouver Island.

Best things to do in Vancouver Island:

Best local attractions:

     For an introduction to Vancouver Island's magnificent terrain, head to one the island's most well-known attractions -the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Choose from a number of trails that will take you across the park's rugged terrain, covering waterways, rainforests, scenic coastline and awesome beaches.

     In the middle of Vancouver Island, in Strathcona Provincial Park, you'll find the wildest terrain, filled with snowy mountains, untouched wilds, lakes, waterfalls and alpine plateaus. Hike, ski, climb, canoe, cycle and ride through this tough landscape, home to all manner of wildlife including: black bears, white-tailed Ptarmigan, bald eagles, cougars, Roosevelt elks, black-tailed deer and lots more.

Clayoquot Sound RainForest

      For rainforests, Clayoquot Sound is the place to go. Located to the west of the island in Tofino, Clayoquot Sound is one of the world's landmark rainforests, renowned for its stunning ecology and picturesque sights.

      Clayoquot Sound is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and an important part of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations tribes ancestral territory. It is a staggering landscape of forests, waterways, tiny uninhabited islands, fern gardens and alpine valleys.

     Home to rare wildlife and black bears, take a cultural tour from a First Nations guide to truly learn the full history of this astounding landscape.

     From in-depth explanations of how the tribes once lived off the land to storytelling, hikes, horse rides or kayaking through the rainforest, Clayoquot Sound is a phenomenal place to visit.

Port Hardy

      Learn more about the culture of the First Nations at Port Hardy, a lively fishing port and a renowned hub for First Nations art. From totems to colourful big houses, petroglyph sandstone carvings, canoes, masks, artworks, sculptures and heritage tours, discover over 8000 years of history of the First Nations in the local area.

Cathedral Grove

      Cathedral Grove is another natural wonder where you'll find enormous ancient trees, reaching as high as 75m into the sky. Once part of a large forest of Douglas Firs, these are the trees that managed to survive a terrible forest fire 350 years ago. It is an incredible chance to get close to a unique endangered species of trees that is over 800 years old.

     As well as trails through Cathedral Grove, you'll find hiking trails all over Vancouver Island where you can explore the stunning scenery on foot, at your leisure. From waterfalls to rugged coastline, wildlife and forests, this is a incredible place to uncover on foot.

Nanaimo or Tofino Whale Watching

      Don't miss the chance to take a whale-watching tour from Nanaimo or Tofino. Vancouver Island is a hotspot for whale-watching and Nanaimo or Tofino are the best places to do it from.

     From your viewing point on a boat in the sea, you'll be able to spot humpback whales, orcas, sea lions and other marine wildlife.

Royal British Columbia Museum

      For museums, make sure you check out the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, for a comprehensive exploration of Canada's natural history, including animals, humans and plants. Charting a course from Canada's Ice Age all the way to today, you'll find more than enough to entertain the whole family.

Visit Victoria, the Capital of British Columbia

      Victoria is a beautiful city and the capital of British Columbia so you'll also find the region's Parliament Buildings here, as well as plenty of other landmarks and museums. Some of the most visited buildings in the area include: Craigdarroch Castle, Christ Church Cathedral, The Maritime Museum of British Columbia, Butchart Gardens, Inner Harbour and Hatley Castle.

      Now over 100 years old, Butchart Gardens is one of the biggest botanical gardens in the world. With over 900 different varieties of flora, six different types of gardens, entertainment, boat tours, night time illuminations and more, go on a beautiful sunny day to fully enjoy the space.

      There's always lots to do in around Victoria's main harbour. Head to Inner Harbour for entertainment, boat-watching, festivals, parks, kayaking, carriage rides and restaurants.

      It is also possible to head out to sea from the harbour to spot the killer whales, seals, porpoises, orcas and grey whales that inhabit the waters. One of the most popular ways to tour Victoria's coastline is on a fast, inflatable Zodiac boat or on one of the many cruisers moored in the harbour.

Best restaurants on Vancouver Island

     Vancouver Island has a great foodie scene so you'll find every type of restaurant and cuisine here, as well as top chefs serving lots of seafood from local waters.

      Some of the best restaurants in Vancouver Island include: Marina Restaurant, Wolf in the Fog, AURA Waterfront, Brasserie L'ecole, Restaurant, Q at the Empress, Il Terazzo and 10 Acres Kitchen.

Best places to stay in Vancouver Island

      From luxury holiday homes for families and couples to townhouses, apartments, holiday homes for large groups and holiday homes with lake views, we have a superb choice of luxury holiday rentals for you and your family.

      Browse our top picks of the best places to stay in Vancouver Island today.

Discover more top Vancouver Island vacation rentals or call to discuss the best holiday rentals in Vancouver Island to suit you and your family

Vancouver Island Holidays: Why go?

     Find out more about the top local attractions in Vancouver Island:

Which airport do you fly into for Vancouver Island:

     Victoria International Airport

When is the best time to visit Vancouver Island?

      Vancouver Island experiences some of the warmest weather in Canada. Along the coast, you'll find summers are warm and dry whilst wintertime is rainy with extremely low temperatures at intervals.

     For the best weather, plan your visit to Vancouver Island between March and May or September and November. If you're not too worried about the temperature, many people visit Vancouver Island at other times of the year.

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Our Story

In 2005, John Paul Donnelly, began his luxury villa journey. He spent three years building resorts and holiday apartments in Alanya, Turkey, along with his brother, Joe. The concept was to create the most luxurious villas on the Turkish coastline and provide clients, along with their family and friends, the opportunity to enjoy exclusive holidays together.

By 2008, after the successful development of 3 resorts, JP had well and truly fallen into the world of villa rentals. With a portfolio of 6 villas and a desire to explore new places, he decided it was time to take the villa rental business outside of Turkey. He wanted to give his clients access to beautiful holiday rentals in destinations across the globe.

The expanding villa rental company was rebranded in 2011 to 5 Star Villa Holidays, and today 5 Star Villa Holidays offers over 10,000 luxury villas around the world.

JP and his partner, Helena are currently travelling the globe, devoted to hand selecting the best villas and property management companies, and giving them their stamp of approval! 5 Star Villa Holidays' ambition goes beyond being an ordinary holiday rental company. It is a marketplace for luxurious and exclusive villas around the world.

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