Cheap Flights to British Columbia

British Columbia overview

From the twin city jewels of Vancouver and Victoria in the southwest of the province to the wilderness that dominates much of its interior, British Columbia covers a vast area occupying the western end of Canada.

Although much of BC's population inhabits the stretch along the border with the US - and most of that is concentrated along the western edge - there is certainly more to see and do than just Vancouver. Nevertheless, it would be hard to imagine a scenario where a trip to BC does not take in one of the world's most livable cities.

Vancouver is nestled in the south-west corner of Canada and is bounded by the Pacific to the west and mountains to the north. To the east, stretch out the city's many suburbs that also cover the short stretch of land to the south which gives way to the US border.

A short hop across the Strait of Georgia is Vancouver Island. Although ferries ply several routes connecting this vast island to the mainland, visitors who just can't wait have the option to take a seaplane across. Once there, head to Victoria in the south, BC's legislative capital and home to several attractions including historic buildings, museums and flower gardens.

Away from the two main cities, BC also features staggering scenery around its plentiful stretches of beach as well as rugged coastline, virgin forests and unspoiled lakes. So regardless of whether you want to ski or sail, hike or fish, eat or drink - BC has it all.

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British Columbia climate

As can be expected of an area as large as that of BC, the climate here is varied. Areas along the coast boast the most temperate weather in Canada. The relatively warm Pacific Ocean ensures temperatures remain above freezing for much of the winters that plunge most of the rest of the country into a deep freeze.Further inland, a continental climate rules with warm summers and cold winters while the areas to the north of the province (but away from the coast) feature considerably cooler climes as the summers tend to be short and the winters harsh.The areas in the mountainous east of the province feature snowbound peaks that keep their white covering throughout the year.

When to fly to British Columbia

There's not really a bad time to take cheap flights to British Columbia. High season and off season really depends on what you are into. For the beaches, the summer months are, unsurprisingly, peak. For city trips, spring and fall are lovely times to visit. In the spring, the cherry blossom adds a splash of colour to the city streets and the weather is usually pretty good. In early fall, the foliage is stunning. The rains usually set in about November-time. September and October can sometimes have blazing sunshine - an Indian summer. 

For skiers and snowboarders, the winter months are peak. 

The weeks immediately following Christmas are usually a good time to seek discounted flights to British Columbia.

Getting around British Columbia

BC is very easy to get around. The type of transportation you take will depend on the type of visit you are making. If it's a couple of days in Vancouver, SkyTrain and bus are the most economical ways of getting from A to B. The SeaBus is a memorable way of crossing the Burrard Inlet. Step on the bus at the SeaBus terminal, near Waterfront Station, and step off, 15 minutes later, at the Lonsdale Quay Public Market in North Vancouver. 

If you wish to visit Vancouver Island, you'll need to catch the ferry at Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay. BC Ferries also sail to the Northern Gulf Islands (if bound for Campbell River, Powell River or Comox), Southern Gulf Islands (for Gabriola, Salt Spring, Pender or Mayne islands), the Inside Passage (for the Queen Charlotte Islands or Prince Rupert) and the Discovery Coast Passage (summer service between Port Hardy and Mid-Coast ports Bella Bella, Shearwater, Klemtu, Ocean Falls and Bella Coola). 

VIA Rail offers three routes in BC, all special sight-seeing trips. "The Canadian" is a three-day trip that links Vancouver and Toronto, via Kamloops, Clearwater, Valemount and Jasper, Alberta. "The Skeena" takes two days, and connects Jasper and Prince Rupert, via Prince George, Smithers and Terrace. "The Malahat" is a Vancouver Island route. It connects Victoria with Courtenay via Chemainus, Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum Beach. 

While your flights to British Columbia will likely touch down at Vancouver International Airport, there are several other airports around BC. These include: Abbotsford International Airport, Victoria International Airport on Vancouver Island, Kelowna International Airport in the Okanagan, Williams Lake Airport on the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, and Prince George Airport in Northern BC. See our Airports section, below, for a full listing.

British Columbia insider information

  • If you're planning to take cheap flights to British Columbia between May and September, pencil in a hike to Tsusiat Falls. The remote falls are located on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Start at Port Renfrew and head towards Bamfield; the falls are about 25km from Bamfield. Tsusiat Falls cascade straight onto the beach, offering weary hikers a wonderful, outdoor shower. 
  • Deep Cove is a lovely little town at the entrance to Indian Arm, off Burrard Inlet on the edge of the North Shore. It's notable not least for being the place where Malcolm Lowry wrote Under the Volcano
  • The Capilano Suspension Bridge may be better known, but the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge and Ecology Centre is worth a visit. Located in Lynn Canyon Park, the suspension bridge is free to cross. Nerves of steel may be required, the bridge sways and swerves in the breeze. 
  • The town of Gibsons is where Beachcombers, the television show, was filmed. Molly's Reach, the restaurant from the series, is the place to go for hearty fare such as halibut and chips. From Gibsons, vacationers can make side trips to Gambier or Keats islands. 
  • Avalon Dairy, in southeast Vancouver, is the oldest continuously operating dairy in BC. Every September, the Avalon Country Fair takes place there. Dairy tours, a petting zoo, birdhouse paintings and raffle draws promise fun for all the family. 
  • Apex Mountain Resort, a 30-minute drive from Penticton, in the heart of the Okanagan, is an under-discovered downhill skiing resort. There are almost 70 marked runs of differing terrain and deep, deep powder. The resort also boasts cross-country skiing trails, ice skating and a beautiful alpine village. 
  • There are almost 100 wineries and more than 2,000 hectares of vineyards within a 60-minute drive of Penticton. On winery tours visitors can sample, sip and savour these wines and buy some to take back home. 
  • Joffre Lakes Provincial Park was established as a recreation area in 1988 and named a Class A park in 1996. It's an awesome area of towering peaks and deep turquoise lakes. There's a great hiking trail that takes in the Lower, Middle and Upper Joffre lakes.

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How much do things cost in British Columbia?

Cheap meal
C$ 15.04
3 course meal for 2
C$ 65.16
Imported beer (0.33 litre)
C$ 7.02
Large bottle of water
C$ 2.55
Imported beer (0.33 litre)
C$ 6.97
Bottle of beer (imported beer)
C$ 4.51
One-way ticket (local transport)
C$ 2.51
Cheap meal
C$ 16.04
One-way ticket (local transport)
C$ 2.51
Cheap meal
C$ 15.04
Bottle of local beer (0.5 litre)
C$ 2.97
C$ 3.98
Petrol (1 litre)
C$ 1.14
Large bottle of water
C$ 2.23
C$ 3.63
Taxi - fixed fee
C$ 3.23

International departures to British Columbia