Kelowna – A Taste of Europe in Western Canada!


If someone picked you up and dropped you off in the height of summer at the lakeshore in downtown Kelowna, you’d probably be hard pushed to identify where you were; and I’m sure that Canada would be the last place you’d guess! The fact is, with its hot and sunny climate, lakeside setting, sophisticated caf├ęs and restaurants, mountains abound, and vineyards hugging the hillsides, Kelowna really is more European than Canadian!

So how come Kelowna
has ended up this way? Well, the climate is actually typical of the southern interior of BC, where you average around 2,000 sunshine hours per year and hot summer temperatures. The average high is around 27C in July and August, with actual daytime highs hitting well into the 30’s C on regular occasions. It’s also very dry in Kelowna with an average annual rainfall of just 380 mm, compared to over 1,500 mm in Vancouver, and with weather like this Kelowna and the surrounding Okanagan
region has become the perfect place for viticulture and fruit growing.

It’s also the perfect place for a summer vacation, because, after all, why spend the airfare to go to Europe when you can experience a similar climate and culture here in Canada?!

Seriously though, there are numerous waterfront parks with lovely beaches on the Okanagan Lake where you can swim, sunbathe, enjoy some sports or a splash park, and there are near waterside pubs and restaurants too, and a casino. Kelowna has numerous shopping centres and a larger mall with many of the popular stores included, a multiplex cinema, nightclubs and dozens of hotels, guest houses and B&Bs to stay at. And if you enjoy golf there are some fabulous golf courses to try out too!

If you’re not out enjoying the lake on a boat or swimming, you can take to hiking in the mountains, or mountain biking, as both are very popular here. The mountains provide wonderful views over the Okanagan Lake and beyond, towards Peachland a little to the south, and Summerland beyond that.

Wherever you are though, keep an eye out for the legendary Ogopogo lake monster that’s said to inhabit these waters. It’s not certain whether this is a fierce or friendly lake monster, but it has a huge lake to live in so the chances of seeing him are usually pretty slim! Still, it gives the kids something to talk about!

Photo and article copyright Claire Bolgil. Claire is a freelance travel writer based in Beautiful BC. Find out more about her at

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