Kelowna, set on a dramatic squiggle of lake, tucked among vineyards in the heart of the scenic Okanagan Valley, in British Columbia, is one of the most charming smaller cities in Canada. With provincial parks, forests and mountains at your fingertips, there is plenty for active travellers to enjoy. Home to some of the country’s best wineries, it also has a sophisticated edge. Spend days exploring the wilds, return for a gourmet dinner in a winery restaurant, then bed down in one of the top hotels in Kelowna – bookable on Culture Trip.
Handily located just off main artery Highway 97 – which whisks you off to winery visits or outdoorsy day trips in a flash – Coast Capri is a winner for families, thanks to its large alfresco pool. Once kids have cooled off in the afternoon heat (in summer Kelowna can get steamy), you can unwind on your room’s private balcony, sipping a large glass of local Okanagan vino. The onsite restaurant has plenty of child-friendly bites, including nachos and fish and chips.
If you’ve come to Kelowna to treat yourself, look no further than this lakeside hotel, complete with a rooftop infinity pool, indoor hot tubs and yoga mats for personal meditation sessions. All the bedrooms are decked out with gas fireplaces, jetted tubs and – just, in case you’re craving a home-cooked meal – a full kitchen with stainless steel appliances. (Less welcome, but very handy, is the in-suite washer and dryer.) Kick back outside and watch the sun shift over sparkling Lake Okanagan.
From the veranda-style balconies cladding the exterior, to the onsite alfresco restaurant strung with fairy lights, this lakeside resort channels classic charm. Bedrooms – some of which boast fabulous views – come with country house-style wooden furniture and wonderful watery views. Indoor and outdoor pools, plus a seasonal private beach, let you unwind on sweltering, lazy afternoons. Tennis, pickleball and basketball courts are on hand if you fancy working up a different kind of sweat.
We hope you’ve come hungry, because the Royal Anne is nestled right in the midst of Kelowna’s eatery-stuffed downtown – where offerings range from tacos to artisan chocolate, pastries to pizza. With such a central location it’s ideal for first-timer visitors itching to get out and explore, while classic rooms come at fair prices for regular business travellers. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things to enjoy on-site: sauna access and free continental breakfast come as part of the deal.
This adorable farmhouse is all old-world from the outside: clapboard blue walls, black painted shutters. Inside the B&B is more modern – big skylights keep things feeling bright – while still maintaining plenty of vintage character with polished wood floors, fluffy patterned duvets and distressed furniture. Quiet nooks provide a place to digest a book (or cup of coffee) and if you’re travelling with little ones, an atmospheric family suite sleeps up to seven. Planning on hanging around? It’s bookable for long stays, too.
Free newspapers in the lobby, free parking, free continental breakfast – this central Kelowna inn throws in the perks to keep holidays easy on the wallet. Classic, unfussy rooms are dressed in blue, green and sand, reflecting the local landscapes. If, after a long day hitting the local wineries, you’re too tired to head out for dinner, Ricky’s All Day Grill serves up Canadian favourites such as poutine, Caesar salad and maple bacon cheeseburgers.
For a friendly, local touch to your stay, look no further than Steve and Chrissy Marston’s B&B in West Kelowna. Just four pretty bedrooms keep this place, with its sink-in leather sofa and book-lined lounge, feeling intimate. Of course, the real highlight is built right into the name: the panoramic views of Lake Okanagan, a fringe of mountains and the city of Kelowna below. Rise for breakfast on the terrace, drinking in the vistas along with your OJ.
Perched right on Lake Okanagan’s watery banks in West Kelowna, these condos are a prime choice for families or groups of friends who want the freedom to cook for themselves, come and go as they please – or simply spend all day admiring those views, undisturbed. A dedicated kids’ pool lets adults enjoy their own swim in tranquillity, while a hot tub and private beach offers further opportunities for relaxation. Make the most of the lakeside BBQs, grilling up an alfresco feast on a warm summer evening.
Surrounded by a park and boat moorings, the Cove might be slightly further out of the city centre in Gellatly, but it makes up for this with its rambling green spaces, spectacular views and resort-style amenities. Suites tucked among gardens; terraces for sipping inky glasses of local red – you feel immersed in the natural beauty of the Okanagan here, and like you’ve left the crowds behind. Hire a boat, grab a kayak or wobble about on a stand-up paddleboard in the adjoining marina.
Should most of your time be spent out visiting wineries, or exploring the wilds of British Columbia, then you needn’t be right in downtown Kelowna – and here’s where Kanata comes in. Located east of the centre on handy Highway 97, it’s a natural place to stay when you’re not after a lot of bells and whistles (saying that, there is a pool with two water slides to keep you busy). Look forward to a proper Canadian breakfast, smothered in sticky maple syrup.
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meet our Local Insider
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WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.