Victoria has seen a significant rise in tourism over the last few years, and it is not hard to see why. This small but metropolitan city has a lot to offer whether you are a city lover, a nature love or both.
Located on the west coast of Canada, Victoria enjoys a moderate climate all year round, which means if you’re not accustomed to freezing cold winters, Victoria is the place for you. With that said, summer time is when the city truly comes alive and the possibilities of things to see and do are endless.
No matter what time of the year you visit Victoria though, you will be not run out of stunning ocean views, delicious dining or friendly faces.
Here is our city guide for Victoria, Canada:
Explore the Inner Harbour
This is the heart of the city, and this is where you will find the famous parliament buildings (beautifully lit up at night), the historical Empress hotel, museums, harbour boats and much more.
Royal BC Museum
Interested in learning about the local culture and history? Visit the Royal BC Museum where you will see artifacts such as totem poles, native masks, even a woolly mammoth! Worth the visit, especially on a rainy day.
Johnson Street Shopping
If you love to shop then Victoria is the place for you. Make your way to lower Johnson street where you will find tons of boutique style shops selling all kinds of interesting clothes and unique products.
Victoria’s China town is the oldest China town in Canada and second oldest in North America, after San Fransisco’s. There is a lot to explore here, including the famous Fan tan alley, various shops and Chinese cuisine; Dim Sum anyone?
Double Decker Bus Tour
Take a tour on the double-decker buses to explore downtown and the surrounding areas and beaches. This is a great option if you don’t have a car but want to see more of what Victoria has to offer, including the Oak Bay and Cook street Village.
Kayak in the harbour
Rent Kayaks and casually paddle along the inner harbour. A fun experience for those who want to experience Victoria from the water.
A short walk (or taxi boat ride) away from the inner harbour you will find fisherman’s wharf. Here you will find colourful boat houses, seals playfully swimming around, ice cream stands and other delicious food options.
Take a whale watching tour to experience BC wild life close up. You will get the chance to see different species of whales, birds and other marine life; a truly memorable experience.
Beacon Hill Park (Petting Zoo)
Beacon Hill Park is the most famous park in the city, and conveniently located next to the downtown core. In this park you will also find the Beacon Hill petting zoo, where by donation, you can observe and pet some cute farm animals; baby goats and all.
Explore the Castles
Believe it or not, Victoria has castles. A short drive outside of the downtown centre, you will find Craigdarroch castle, built by Robert Dunsmuir in the late 1800’s. The second castle, The Hatley castle, is a little but further out of the centre but it has gained some recognition due to its appearance in the X-men series. Both have historical connections to the city and both are beautiful in their own way, so if your a castle lover, you will want to check them out!
Visit the Butchart Gardens and admire one of the world’s premier floral show gardens. It is especially charming in the winter time during the christmas festivities; skating and all!
In the summer time Victoria is like the California of Canada; it gets warm! You might want to get out of the centre and just lounge on the beach. If you make your way along Dallas road you will find a few nice beach options.
Do as the locals do
*Rent a scooter, bike or drive along Dallas road, which offers stunning views of the ocean and Washington state. Stop at Clover point, a popular destination for the locals, where you will see people flying kites, walking their dogs or just breathing in that fresh ocean air.
*Go to Mount Doug Park and hike up to the top where you will find an amazing view of the surrounding islands, Washington State and the north of the island.
*Island hop: Take a day trip to Saltspring Island or one of the smaller islands
Where to Eat?
Victoria is a food lovers dream. Seriously, for such a small city Victoria offers some of the best dining found on the west coast. No matter what kind of food you prefer, Victoria has something for everyone.
Victoria was recently given the title of ‘Brunch Capital’ of Canada and it is not hard to see why. With so many great options of breakfast restaurants it is hard to decide where to go but here are a few of our favourites.
Located by the ocean , seafood is a popular food of choice amongst the locals. Whether you are looking for Fish and Chips, Clam Chowder or Sushi, there are a plenty of restaurants to explore.
*For the sushi lovers out there:
More Good Eats
*Check out our food blog for more, here.
There are a few major airlines that fly into the Victoria airport (located about 20 minutes outside of the centre). The main airlines include: Air Canada, Delta,West Jet and United airlines.
Depending on where you are flying from, you will most likely want to fly to either the Vancouver airport or the Seattle airport first, and then catch a connecting flight. The flight from Vancouver is around 20 minutes while the flight from Seattle is a little under one hour.
If you are already in Vancouver and rather not head to the airport, you can look at taking a seaplane which leaves from Vancouver harbour and takes your right into Victoria’s inner harbour. The flight is around 15 mins and it is a very beautiful and scenic experience. Worth the trip!
Check out Harbour Air
If you choose to arrive to Victoria by bus then here are your options:
This bus leaves from the downtown bus terminal in Vancouver. From Vancouver the bus drives onto the ferry at Tsawwassen, and then straight into to downtown Victoria. This is a great option if you have heavy luggage or you just want to relax and enjoy the scenery. WiFi is also located on the bus.
*Public Transit Bus
From Vancouver you can take the Skytrain (the Canada line) to Bridgeport station. Once you get here, you will catch the bus number 620 which will take you to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, where you will then walk on as a foot passenger.
Once you arrive in Victoria, you will walk outside and see the main bus stop. You can catch the express bus (Number 70) into downtown Victoria.
Although flying or taking the clipper is a faster option, there is a bus that goes from Seattle to Vancouer. You can get off at the River Rock Casino and then walk across to the Bridgeport bus station which is right behind the casino. From Bridgeport you will catch the number 620 bus to the Tswwassen ferry terminal.
Victoria is on an island, therefore if you are not flying you will have to travel by boat. The boat journey is part of the west coast experience, and you will get the chance to see some stunning views along the way.
The ferry service from Vancouver to Victoria is run by BC Ferries. The ferry schedule changes throughout year but depending on what time of the year you are visiting, the ferry generally leaves every hour. On the ferry you will find a restaurant, cafe, gift shop and comfortable seating areas. You also have the option of going outside onto the ship deck which provides some nice photo opportunities.
If you are travelling by boat from Seattle, you can take the Clipper, which leaves from downtown Seattle and conveniently takes you into Victoria inner harbour. If you decide you want to visit Victoria just for the day, the clipper leaves early in the morning from Seattle and leaves Victoria later in the evening.
Victoria is one of the most beautiful Canadian cities. One visit to this island city and you will leave wanting more! The people are friendly, the weather is moderate and the views are breathtaking. For a true west coast experience, there is no better option then Victoria.