9 Charming Small Towns In BC To See If You'd Rather Be In Europe This Summer
Are you suffering from a severe case of wanderlust? Even if you can't leave the country right now, you can leave your neighbourhood to discover local gems only a short drive away. Instead of flying to another continent, we've gathered up a list of nine small towns in B.C. that feel European and have a ton of charm.
We are sure we aren't the only ones dreaming about going on a multi-country Euro-getaway. But until you can make it happen, these local spots will make you feel like you've been transported across the globe.
Have you always wanted to see Florence, Naples and Rome? You can spend the afternoon eating ice-cold authentic gelato as you roam an ornate Italian garden filled with sculptures and blossoms here in B.C.
Or you could drive to Oliver, which is a wine-lovers paradise. Here you can go on a boozy tasting tour at a castle just like you'd see in Ireland.
If you love desserts as much as we do, you'll want to head to Langley City. Not only do they have a shop that makes the best hand-crafted Belgian chocolates, but you can also feel fancy at their Parisian cafe.
Why You Need To Go: It is hard not to fall in love with this spot, especially if you have a sweet tooth. Its charming boutiques makes you feel like you've taken a trip to multiple countries.
Into Chocolate Candy & Confections is a chocoholics dream. They specialize in hand-crafted Belgian chocolates. Without a doubt, you'll want to devour some of their chocolate truffles or their melt-in your mouth Nanaimo bar fudge.
Another not to miss shop is Little White House & Co that feels like a trip to France. Inside the Parisian cafe, you browse for whimsical items for your home.
Or you can enjoy a leisurely afternoon tea nibbling on mini cakes under a sparkling chandelier and sip champagne. It is a fun spot to dress up and feel fancy with your friends.
Why You Need To Go: You don't need to fly to Italy or Portugal to enjoy that wine tasting tour you've been dreaming of. Did you know that Oliver is Canada's wine capital?
For a relaxing weekend, you can head to the sunny Okanagan Valley. Here you can see the endless rows of grapevines just like in Tuscany.
There is no shortage of wineries to visit with some of our favourites being, Jackson Triggs Okanagan Estates, Oliver Twist Estate, Rust Wine Co., and Burrowing Owl Estate.
But for the ultimate European experience, you need to see Road 13 Vineyards that looks straight out of a storybook. You'll quickly fall in love with the majestic castle-like building that even has a drawbridge.
Harrison Hot Springs
Why You Need To Go: To pamper yourself, you'll definitely want to check out the Harrison Hot Springs. Within the world-renowned Harrison Hot Springs Resort, you can find five different mineral pools.
It is a beautiful spot to treat yourself and relax in the water near a cascading waterfall. The steamy pools of turquoise water are almost like a trip to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.
You can easily spend the entire day here, alternating between the different areas or lounging on the patio.
Why You Need To Go: One trip to Abbotsford is never enough, as there are so many charming spots to discover with your BFF. For example, Seaside Pearl Winery is a hidden gem.
The building looks like it could be in a fairytale with its church-like structure. Inside, you can enjoy a budget-friendly afternoon wine tasting on the gorgeous patio overlooking the bright green grapevines.
We are also in love with Ivana TeaHouse, where you can feel like you brunching in England. They sell a multi-tiered tray of sweet and savoury bites like finger sandwiches, scones and mini desserts fit for a queen.
Why You Need To Go: No visit to Brentwood Bay would be complete without seeing The Butchart Gardens. This over 100-year-old garden is like a trip to Disney's Epcot, but for plants.
Inside it is divided into multiple themes where you can see millions of plants and blooms in every shade in the rainbow.
If you long to see Italy, you'll want to see their Italian garden with ornate bronze statues and ponds. While there, you can even get authentic Italian gelato in the most delicious flavours.
There is nothing more refreshing than a scoop fo their sparkling peach, or wildflower honey and lavender on a hot day.
Just a short walk away; you could then be in a rose garden just like you'd find Western Park in Spain. The flower wonderland is overflowing with 2,500 rose plants, with some of them sculpted into arches that you can walk under.
Why You Need To Go: Do you find yourself liking all your friend's travel photos of the sandy beaches in Greece? Even if you can't escape the province, we have a nearby waterfront paradise just as spectacular.
There is no shortage of beaches to pick from like Chesterman, Wickaninnish, Cox Bay and MacKenzie. Each spot is unique, such as Cox Bay is where you want to go surfing, while MacKenzie Beach has calm water ideal for paddleboarding.
But our favourite is Long Beach, where you can find a 16 kilometre stretch of white sand and bright turquoise water. This spot is so beautiful that when you share photos with your friends, they might not believe you are still in Canada.
Why You Need To Go: If you love Paris, then you need to visit Austria. Just like the City Of Lights, you can find castles, eye-catching cafes and rich history. But one thing that sets Austria apart from Paris is they produce the famous Swarovski crystals we all love.
Even if you can't make it to Vienna to visit their glittering stores, you can enjoy a similar experience at a hotel in Canada. Did you know the patriarch of the Swarovski crystal family of Austria Mr. Langes-Swarovski owns the Sparkling Hill Resort?
It is the ultimate spot for a weekend vacation, as inside the hotel, you can find a dazzling 3.5 million Swarovski crystals decorating everything from the walls to the ceilings.
Why You Need To Go: One of the most stunning spots to visit in France is Provence's famous lavender fields. Tourists come from across the globe to see the purple blossoms as far as the eye can see.
But, you don't need to fly to France to stroll through rows of lavender. Just a five-minute drive from Fulford Harbour, you can see the equally beautiful Sacred Mountain Lavender.
The best time to go is between June and September when their massive lavender fields will bloom in all shades of purple.
Why You Need To Go: While Victoria isn't the smallest of towns, it does pack a lot of old-world charm. If you long to see all the castles throughout Europe's cities and countrysides, Victoria is a must-see spot.
Chances are you've seen parts of Hatley Castle before, as it has been featured in so many movies. Fans of Deadpool can have fun recreating his pose of lying down in front of the entrance.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.