Nanaimo travel guide

Nanaimo Tourism | Nanaimo Guide

You're Going to Love Nanaimo

With a population of 84,905, Nanaimo is a must-see destination in British Columbia, Canada. It is one of the most popular cities to visit in the country. We recommend you stay at least 2 days in order to fully appreciate everything Nanaimo has to offer.

Where to Eat in Nanaimo

If you’re looking for affordable options, The Discovery Room (900 Fifth St) and Beach Fires Pacific Grill (101-1240 Stewart Ave) are great picks.

When to visit Nanaimo

Nanaimo in January
Estimated hotel price
C$ 153
1 night at 3-star hotel
Nanaimo in January
Estimated hotel price
C$ 153
1 night at 3-star hotel

Looking for warm weather? Then head to Nanaimo in July, when the average temperature is 17 °C, and the highest can go up to 22 °C. The coldest month, on the other hand, is January, when it can get as cold as 0 °C, with an average temperature of 2 °C. You’re likely to see more rain in November, when precipitation is around 160 mm. In contrast, July is usually the driest month of the year in Nanaimo, with an average rainfall of 20 mm.

Data provided by weatherbase
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Nanaimo


Nanaimo is served by 2 airports: Nanaimo Harbour (ZNA) and Nanaimo Arpt (YCD). The closest to downtown Nanaimo is Nanaimo Harbour, which is located 0 miles from the city centre. Further away is Nanaimo Arpt, 8 miles from the centre of Nanaimo. Nanaimo Arpt is the most popular, with regular flights from Delta, KLM, Qantas Airways and other airlines departing from Canada.


Amtrak is the most popular train carrier serving Nanaimo, followed by VIA Rail Canada. The train journey from Nanaimo to Bellingham takes 1h 53m and costs around C$ 19 for a one-way ticket. When coming by train from Seattle, expect to pay about C$ 62 for a 3h 00m trip.


Another option to get to Nanaimo is to pick up a car rental from Vancouver, which is about 38 miles from Nanaimo. You’ll find branches of Discount Car & Truck Rentals and Hertz, among others, in Vancouver.


Several bus lines operate bus routes to Nanaimo, including Quick Shuttle, Amtrak and BC Ferries Connector. From Bellingham, the bus ride to Nanaimo takes 105 miles and will cost you around C$ 44. From Seattle, the ticket costs about C$ 44 for a journey of 190 miles.

Airports near Nanaimo

Airlines serving Nanaimo

Good (2,575 reviews)
Good (402 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,746 reviews)
Good (535 reviews)
Good (3,375 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,510 reviews)
Good (1,039 reviews)
Air France
Good (498 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (306 reviews)
United Airlines
Good (3,200 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,443 reviews)
Excellent (1,275 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (2,048 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (131 reviews)
Good (668 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (492 reviews)
Good (780 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (479 reviews)
Good (401 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (3,067 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Nanaimo

Average rates range from around C$ 372 per night for a double room in a 3-star hotel to C$ 127 and up for a 5-star experience. If you’re on a budget, well-reviewed accommodations include Harbour Light Motel and Painted Turtle Guesthouse.

Where to stay in popular areas of Nanaimo

Most booked hotels in Nanaimo

Kiwi Cove Lodge
Excellent (9, Excellent reviews)
C$ 203+
Coast Bastion Hotel
Excellent (8.3, Excellent reviews)
C$ 178+
Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Oyster Bay
Excellent (8.3, Excellent reviews)
C$ 190+
Best Western Dorchester Hotel
Good (7.7, Good reviews)
C$ 140+
Days Inn by Wyndham Nanaimo
Good (7.3, Good reviews)
C$ 164+
Harbour Light Motel
Good (7.2, Good reviews)
C$ 103+
See all hotels

Renting a car in Nanaimo

Renting a car in Nanaimo costs C$ 70 per day, on average, or C$ 140 if you want to rent it for 2 days. Enterprise, Budget and National are the agencies with the best reviews in the city. The most popular location to rent a car in Nanaimo is the Budget branch at 33 Terminal Avenue, which is 0 miles from the downtown.

You’re likely to save money by renting your car at the airport: locations in the city are, on average, 16% more expensive than at Vancouver Intl.

Expect to pay C$ 1.73 per litre in Nanaimo (average price from the past 30 days). Depending on the size of your rental car, filling up the tank will cost between C$ 20.71 and C$ 27.61. The most frequently booked car type in Nanaimo is Standard (Toyota 4Runner or similar). If you’re looking to save money, though, keep in mind that Intermediate rental cars (Jeep Cherokee or similar) are, on average, 17% cheaper than other rental car types in the city.