We rented a car from Vancouver airport. The thing about renting a car in Canada is that they don’t give you good cars like Camaro or Ford Mustang if you are not going to drop them at the same location… So you know.
The other thing is that you can prebook your car online, for example any luxury car, but they can give you the car you want or a car of a higher standard right at the location where you rent depending on the cars they have available that day. They don’t list all the cars on their websites either, so the trick is to book the category (for example, luxury cars) and the dates.
The third thing is to book way ahead (you can all the time cancel your booking!) because of their public holidays – the sooner the better. As we found out, if it’s a public holiday and a long weekend, everyone rents a car, and no car rent dealer has any cars left (we experienced that in Toronto – we had to take a bus to Ottawa!)
The trip from Vancouver takes about 5 hours by car. Take it easy, make some stops, enjoy your holiday and the beautiful nature around you, buy a doughnut and a coffee at Tim Hortons, buy some fruit at the road stand and just enjoy!
It is for sure Beautiful British Columbia as it says on their car plates.
Okanagan Valley is wine, fruit, sun, magnificent landscape, lakes, and wine again. I just LOVE it! I’d like to go back, and I wish I had planned to spend more time there (we stayed there for two full days only!).
We stayed at the Maple Leaf Motel Inn Towne which is situated right in the center of the tiny Oliver. Of course, you can stay at a fancy vineyard like the Burrowing Owl, but I’m pretty sure you won’t experience the warm welcome of the motel owner and this motel atmosphere; you won’t have A&W ice-cold root beer coming in a frozen mug, right across the street; you won’t meet cute Sophie, who is the motel owner’s dog; and you won’t be in the center of Oliver from where you can rent bikes, go to the bakery or brewery, or supermarket.
The motel is of a very good standard. I wouldn’t even call it a motel, only the exterior gives out the title, motel. It’s clean, there’s free parking (though you need to mention that you will need it when you book), outdoor area with chairs and tables and even grill, and as I said the lady owner is awesome!
Oliver is a cute little town which you can walk through on your two in some minutes, but the area that surrounds it is the pearl that attracts a great deal of wine-lovers!
You definitely have to rent a bike! It’s fun! Start at around 10.00-11.00 a.m. before it gets too hot, so that by noon you are at a winery drinking cold Chardonnay!
The cheapest option is to rent a bike for 48 hours (2 days), so that you can take it easy and visit as many wineries as possible, if this is your goal. To be honest with you, we rented our bikes for two days, but we had to give them back at the end of the first day because we understood we couldn’t do it two days in a row. And they only took money for one day! And it’s good we gave up our original plan because my legs hurt so much that night (you know I’m not an athlete, hehe) I was screaming inside…
It’s easy to find the bike rent, it’s situated on the main street. You’ll find it!
This is basically it – it’s either wineries or driving around the lakes, enjoying the weather, hiking, shopping (the neighbor towns of Pentincton and Kelownas have good shopping malls), going to the beach (Pentincton) and a lot of other activities (like various water and hiking activities, which I’m not a specialist in, sorry).
Just drive around and get to know the area. It’s possible to pick your own berries on some farms for a sum of money. There’s a good deal of organic farms as well.
So the area is full of attractions, both natural and human-made.
However, I’ll focus on the latter one – wine. My next post is about the wineries I’ve visited in Okanagan and my thoughts about them. Don’t want to miss that, do you?
What’s your favorite winery in Okanagan?
P.S. If you want to skip all the hustle and bustle of many weeks of research and planning and get the elaborate plan I made for our Canada trip, with honest reviews and advice, keep reading my posts about Canada and you’ll be able to get a special deal on it in one of them. 🙂
P.S. My ultimate “secret” reasearch tool for Canada was Lonely Planet Canada (Travel Guide)
(Some links in this post may be affiliate links* meaning I get a small provision fee, without any extra costs for you, if you decide to buy the recommended resources.)