How to Experience Vancouver like a Local

A view of the city of Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Depending on who you ask, Vancouver can be many things—an incredible hike, mesmerizing street art, unforgettable night downtown, coffee on the go, a splendid dish of ramen, etc. One thing is for sure, Vancouver is worth visiting. But, you already know that—that is why you are here reading this article. However, what you don’t know is how to experience Vancouver like a local, right? 

It doesn’t matter whether you just moved to Vancouver or whether you are just planning a two-day trip to this Canadian town—you can experience it like a local. You just have to do what locals do! We will help you out with that, without a doubt. Thus, before you put on your walking shoes, give this article a read—it is full of tips on how to experience local like a pro. 

Getting Around Vancouver 

Vancouver has the best of both worlds—a metropolitan city vibe and a breathtaking nature. So, it just goes without saying that it is here, in Vancouver, where you can experience the true spirit of Canada! But, in order for you to do that, first, you have to find a way to get around this gigantic city. If you ask the locals, they will tell you to either come with your own car or rent one as soon as you arrive. 

However, even though a car is the best way to experience Vancouver like a local, it is also the most expensive way. So, if you don’t want to overspend, you can turn to other transportation options (which are also used by the locals). For instance, you can take the bus or the Skytrain, or, if the weather is nice, you can rent a bike or a Mobi bike. Don’t run away from bikes—you can explore the entire city on them, just follow the bike lanes!

 

A woman riding a bike.
Riding a bike may be your best way to experience Vancouver like a local

Eat Where Locals Eat 

No trip is complete without trying out the local food and drinks. So, again, if you want to experience Vancouver like a local, this is something you have to do. And, don’t worry, even if you are the pickiest eater in the world, you will find something here. It is a known fact that everyone, and their mothers and grandmothers, agrees that the city of Vancouver has some of the best scenes not only in Canada but in the entire world.

The food in Vancouver is diverse and delicious, and once you try it, you will want to stay here forever. Many people have—especially those from Toronto! Well, who can blame them? All they had to do to eat this tasty food for the rest of their lives was hire good movers who planned their long-distance move and an easy transfer from Toronto to Vancouver. 

But, let us go back to the food scene in Vancouver. Here, you can try anything from Italian to Chinese, from processed to organic, cheap to expensive. Because there are so many options, we decided to share some specific places you simply have to try out. And we did a thorough check—all of these places are loved by the locals. So, check out the following:  

  • Stevenson Pizza Company (for seafood pizza) 
  • Jinya Ramen Bar (for ramen, of course) 
  • Fable Diner (for comfort food) 
  • Chancho (for tortillas) 
  • Phnom Penh (for chicken wings) 
  • Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen 
  • La Mezcaleria (for Mexican food) 

Don’t Miss Out on the Beer

Yes, you have different beers wherever you go. So, what makes Vancouver’s beer different? Well, it is healthier and tastier than any other beer you have ever tried. This is because it was made from local ingredients and in local microbreweries. Thus, when you sit at one of those previously mentioned food places, be sure to order a pint. Trust us, even if you are not a beer lover, you will love these ones. 

However, if you are a beer lover, you should go on one of many beer tours (Vancouver Brewery Tour, Canadian Craft Tour, Vancouver Toonie Tour, etc.). These tours will take you to several local breweries where you will be able to try some of the best craft beer. And, you will even get a glass as a souvenir. All insider’s guides to Canada and Vancouver will advise you the same—beer tours are not only great for trying out different beers. They are also great for visiting the city’s outskirts, meeting the locals, and trying local finger food specialties. 

Two women drinking beer and laughing.
Don’t hesitate to join beer tours-locals go on them too!

Do Something Fun

As previously mentioned, Vancouver is a huge city. And as such, it is full of fun places and fun things you can do both as a tourist and as a local. But, as you are here, wondering how to experience Vancouver like a local, you are probably looking for something in between. No need to worry; we got you covered. 

First, we suggest visiting some of Vancouver’s neighborhoods. For instance, Gastown is great for enjoying Canadian architecture; Mount Pleasant is perfect for eating, drinking, and shopping; Chinatown is perfect for everything Asian. And, if you are into natural things, that is, if you prefer hiking, picnicking, and other outdoor adventures, consider going to Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Grind, The Chief Hike, Stanley Park Seawall, English Bay, etc. You will certainly have fun while visiting these.

Just before going, don’t forget to follow those essential tips for essential travels even though you are trying to act like a local. That is, be sure to do research on the place you are going to and pack your backpack accordingly. In most cases, that means packing your comfortable shoes, sun protection, and a big bottle of water. 

A rocky shore during sunset—a way to experience Vancouver like a local
Vancouver’s nature is something you should not miss out on.

And, Do Something Kind

Okay, you have been eating and drinking, and you have been neighborhood hopping and exploring the great outdoors of Vancouver. And, now, all that is left to finish your Vancouver journey is to do something kind. That is, to do something that will support the city and all its artists

A great way to show your support is to pay a visit to one of the many art galleries and studios where locals display their art. Or, check out the street performers—they are on every corner. Buy something from them and praise their work. Doing this will help them and will enrich you! And, it will help you experience Vancouver like a local. 

Charming Villages in Austria for a Cozy Winter Vacation

A charming village in Austria.

Austria is known for its idyllic landscapes, beautiful architecture, and enchanting Christmas markets. In addition, this beautiful country is also a haven for those who like to practice winter sports in Europe. Massive snowfalls, however, transform practically all Austrian villages into fairytale settings right out of the movie Frozen from November to March. Unfortunately, most tourists visit only popular cities like Vienna, Salzburg, or Innsbruck. For this reason, we have prepared an article about those charming villages in Austria where you can go for a cozy winter vacation whether you want to practice winter sports or not. By visiting these villages, you will discover the authentic Austrian spirit and realize just how beautiful this country truly is. So let us proceed in our journey to discover the charming villages that you have to visit when in Austria.

Hallstatt

This tiny village, found on the shores of the lake with the same name, is one of the most beautiful villages in Austria. The Salzkammergut mountains surround Hallstatt and give it a picturesque view that you would never believe to be true. Moreover, this village is so unique and valuable that it became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Over 2000 prehistoric graves were found near Hallstatt village, suggesting that this area might be the cradle of Austrian civilization. In addition, the many 16th century buildings around the local market square will make you take an architectural trip back in time. However, besides admiring the beautiful surroundings, you can also have some fun. For instance, you can go hiking, cycling, or cruising on the lake. And, you can have a taste of the famous Austrian pastry, Schaumrollen.

Picture of the village of Hallstatt.
Hallstatt is one of the most charming villages in Austria for a cozy winter vacation.

St. Gilgen

If you want to visit one of the most charming villages in Austria for a cozy winter vacation, you should visit St. Gilgen. This village, located 20 minutes from Salzburg, is bordered by Wolfgangsee Lake and the Zwölferhorn mountain. And, even if this village is small, there are lots of attractions to be seen here. For example, “The Sound of Music” was filmed here, so you can visit some places that appear in the film. In addition, you can take a cable cart ride to the top of the Zwölferhorn mountain or visit the Mozart house. The Mozart house is not, as one might imagine, where Mozart resided, but rather where his mother was born. Nonetheless, the Mozart house is worth a visit, as is a Wolfgangsee Lake cruise or experiencing the local food. The famous Austrian spaetzle noodles are a must when you come to St. Gilgen.

Mayrhofen

Mayrhofen is another pretty village that is close to a big city. It is located in the Zillertal Valley, just around one hour away from Innsbruck by car or train. The village becomes a ski resort during the winter, but the good part is that it is not very popular among tourists. So, if you like to practice skiing, you can do so here and avoid the crowds. In addition, you can take the cable car to the top of the mountain Ahornbahn and see the Ahorn Lake that sits at 2000m. Also, you can swim in an outdoor swimming pool or take a steam train ride to nearby Zell am Ziller, where you can slide down the alpine toboggan Arena Coaster. Or, you can explore the valley further and visit Hintertux Glacier. There, you can explore an incredible ice cave known as the Ice Palace, or you can ski some more at the local resort where skiing is possible all year round.

Sunset over a mountain in Austria.
The mountain villages in Austria offer breathtaking views.

Durnstein

This village of Lower Austria is said to be the jewel of the Wachau Valley. Durnstein is a historical village alongside the Danube river that will enchant you with its beautiful architecture. For example, the Blue Baroque tower of Durnstein Abbey. This abbey is a former Augustine monastery from the 15th-century, restored in the 18th-century in the Baroque style. In addition, you can also visit the ruins of a 10th-century castle where Richard Lionheart was imprisoned. And, if you decide to visit this beautiful Austrian village, you don’t need to pack a lot of items with you. In the narrow, cobblestoned streets, there are many modern stores where you can get anything you need. As a result, it is best to keep your valuables at home and ensure their safety by renting a storage space for them. It will help you travel lighter and more comfortably

St. Wolfgang

St. Wolfgang is another of the charming villages in Austria that you can visit for a cozy winter vacation. You can find this typical Austrian village on the banks of lake Wolfganesse, surrounded by breathtaking mountains. It has beautiful streets, flower-decorated buildings, and a magnificent 14th-century church that adds to the picturesque setting. This church is famous for being the site of a previous church built in 976 by Saint Wolfgang, Bishop of Regensburg. Also, the church serves as a destination for a pilgrimage that takes place every year from St. Wolfgang’s grave. Besides viewing historic buildings in the village, you can go on a train ride. The Schafbergbahn train will take you up the mountain for more than 1700 meters, from where you can admire the beautiful view of the village. Or, you can take a boat ride along the Wolfgangsee and admire the village from the lake.

Church tower and lake in St. Wolfgang, Austria.
The charming villages in Austria are just as beautiful in summer as they are during winter.

Final words

Austria is more than simply the birthplace of the Viennese waltz and the home of the famed Habsburg emperors. It is one of the most beautiful countries in the world that becomes more and more beautiful when you take the time to explore it. And, the best way to get to the true heart and soul of Austria is to visit its little villages. There, you can meet the friendly locals, taste the delicious Austrian cuisine, and learn about the country’s history. Austria is an ideal winter holiday destination, whether you want to explore it on your own or have a memorable family trip. So make sure to visit the charming villages in Austria for a cozy winter vacation.

5 Reasons For A Ski Trip To Europe!

If you are a skier or snowboarder, there are at least 5 reasons for a ski trip to Europe. The Alps have a special mix of landscapes, style, glamour and après ski. And when you add the world-class ski terrain in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and France, it can’t be beat!

Olympiaregion Seefeld
Olympiaregion Seefeld

A European Ski Vacation blends skiing or snowboarding with the culture, history and alpine views only available in Europe. It’s a unique alpine experience – thermal baths for après ski relaxation; Italian cappuccino in Italy (after skiing in from Switzerland); drinking beer in Munich after skiing all day on nearby mountains. A European ski vacation is the perfect blend of travel experience and incredible skiing!

Here’s 5 reasons for a ski trip to Europe:

Why Europe?

Why not? If you haven’t been to Europe, you have to go (ski season or any season). Almost everything is different – time zone, language, food, and money, electrical outlets too. And now add the ski specific differences in Europe – over 4,000 ski areas; huge terrain; great snow; efficient lift systems and super long top of the mountain to bottom of the valley runs.

Skiing in St. Moritz, Switzerland
Switzerland

When To Go?

Generally speaking, most ski areas in Europe open at the end of November and close later in April, with some exceptions.

January tends to hold the best deals for European ski resorts and is less busy than peak holiday times. Most resorts have fewer visitors and are more peaceful. Fewer skiers on the slopes means shorter lift lines! Prices are much higher at peak times such as Christmas and New Year, and during school holidays around Christmas, Easter, and particularly with the now popular February Reading Week.

If you are going on your ski/snowboard holiday during late March-April (with longer and nicer days), you’ll greatly reduce the risk of poor skiing conditions by skiing at a higher altitude resort. Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France; Zermatt, Switzerland; Cervinia, Italy all come to mind. Zugspitze, near Munich, is a glacier and is skiable from early autumn until late spring. It has the highest elevation (2,100m) and is the most snow guaranteed mountain in Bavaria.

Skiing in Val D'Isere, France
France

Where To Stay?

There’s a wide range of places to stay from traditional Alpine chalets and guest rooms; to charming historic hotels; to fully equipped apartments. Deluxe and moderate accommodations are available at or near most ski resorts in Europe. Austria and Italy are known in particular for their great hospitality and value. If you’re after luxury, there’s no shortage of first-class trips with transportation, boutique hotels and inclusive experiences! A few top Europe luxury ski areas include Gstaad, Switzerland; Courchevel, France; and St. Anton, Austria.

Modern ski resorts, (purpose-built ski resorts) are of course built specifically for skiers and boarders. Purpose-built ski resorts are situated at higher elevations and have more consistent snow conditions. They offer ski in/ski out and true slope side lodging. The list of resorts includes the well known Val D’isère, and many other less known like Peyragudes, France (in the Pyrenees), St Johann, (Tyrol, Austria) and Geilo (Norway).

Historic Alpine villages provide both true alpine ambiance and the quintessential Europe experience along with skiing. Walk cobblestone streets; eat delicious local cuisine and stay in centuries old chalets. The nearby slopes are typically a short shuttle, train or cable-car ride away. Think Kitzbühel, Austria; Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy; and St. Moritz, Switzerland.

What To Do? (When You Are Not Skiing)

Many European resorts offer a combination of spas, boutiques, bars, restaurants and other off-mountain activities. Cities near resorts offer city shopping, dining and sightseeing—perfect for a day away from the slopes. As an example, skiers in Seefeld, Austria can take a quick 20 minute train ride down the mountain to Innsbruck. Or do it in reverse – stay in the city and travel up to the slopes. Munich is the perfect springboard to the nearby mountains of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Nearby Wallberg or Alpspitze are great options too. You can ride all day, and then enjoy Munich beer and it’s beer halls by night!

Stay in Munich for A Ski Trip To Europe
Munich

Ski Terrain, Passes and Guides

Europe is home to literally thousands of miles of groomed and off-piste terrain, and several resorts are interconnected by lifts and trails. A multi-resort ski pass like the Dolomiti Superski Pass offers 700 miles of Italian Alpine terrain spread over a dozen resorts. The world’s largest ski area, Les Trois Vallees in France, includes Meribel, Courchevel, Val Thorens and 5 more resorts. The Milky Way Ski Area straddles both France and Italy and let’s you ski and snowboard across actual country borders (and have a French pastry or Italian cappuccino).

A local ski guide is a very worthwhile extra. An experienced local can take you through little known ski terrain, keep you safe and will have local knowledge on lunch spots and après ski parties. A ski guide in Europe packs a ton of value and can go for as little as 200 euros per day.

And at the end of your European ski holiday, you can still have more Europe! Add on a trip extension to an iconic city like Vienna, Frankfurt or Amsterdam, rich in history and culture. Europe ski vacation anyone?