Victoria, an old soul with youthful energy, is filled with culture, cuisine, and character. Find out why now is a great time to visit the province's capital.
Falling in love with Victoria is easy. With historic buildings and elegant gardens, the BC capital has an air of sophistication while maintaining an easygoing feel; as breezy as the ocean air that whispers through the Inner Harbour. Set against a backdrop of dramatic West Coast landscapes on Vancouver Island, Victoria is an old soul with a youthful heartbeat. Enough buzz to keep you energized without running you off your feet and close enough to nature to engage your adventurous side.
Wander the historic neighbourhoods; hit patios, galleries, and gardens; or venture to nearby beaches, mountains, and forests. Find out how to make the most out of your trip to this beloved oceanside city.
Connect With Nature
There are plenty of natural spaces within the Greater Victoria area, ranging from seaside promenades to rainforest trails—and just as many ways to experience them.
Victoria is surrounded by nature and there are numerous day hikes within a short drive of the city, including Thetis Lake and Mount Tolmie (tip: this is a great hike for panoramic views of the city). Get a taste of the wild coastline at Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, which is a 1.5-hour drive away.
Be sure to visit the spectacular Malahat SkyWalk, just 35 minutes north of Victoria. Embark along a 600m (1,968ft) elevated, wooden ramp spiralling 20m (65ft) through an arbutus and Douglas fir forest. At the top of the tower, enjoy 360-degree views of the islands, inlets, fjords, forests, and mountains of BC and Washington State.
Rent bikes and cycle the Galloping Goose Trail, a 60-km (37-mi) trail that connects Victoria to the Sooke Potholes. If you’re seeking an introspective experience, sign up for guided forest bathing in the temperate rainforest outside the city.
More Outdoor Activities
Tour the Town
Wander, cycle, or eat your way through Victoria to experience the city through a new lens. With the oldest brewpub in Canada (Spinnakers) and the highest number of restaurants per capita, Victoria is a haven for beer connoisseurs and foodies alike. Check out the historic Victoria Ale Trail to sample craft brews or indulge your taste buds along the Greater Victoria Flavour Trail, a tour of sweet treats, local wine, and farm-to-table dining. Off the Eaten Track food tours are a great way to get an insider’s view on the Victoria food scene.
Wind your way through Victoria’s vibrant neighbourhoods by hopping on a bike tour (some feature fun foodie stops along the way) or book a walking tour to uncover some of Victoria’s greatest mysteries and learn about the city’s history and culture.
More Nightlife Options
Take To the Sea
A visit to Vancouver Island isn’t complete until you’ve dipped your toes in the cool Pacific Ocean. You can do that and more when you traverse the shorelines by land or by sea.
Start with a beach stroll, gazing out at the tiny islands and distant peaks that dot the vast Salish Sea. There are plenty of beaches to choose from for fun in the salt and sand. Escape to the protected waters of Willows Beach for a serene swim or combine your beach combing with birding at Esquimalt Lagoon.
If you’re feeling even more adventurous, go beyond the beach and try a kayak or stand-up paddleboard excursion. Consider a guided tour to learn more about the coastal ecosystem and visit the best paddling spots. Head out on the Inner Harbour with Kelp Reef Adventures or explore the islands and inlets farther afield with Blue Dog Kayaking, departing from Sidney and the Mill Bay Marina.
For a less vigorous aquatic adventure, book a tour on the Victoria Harbour Ferry and enjoy a relaxing boat ride with views of historic architecture and sea life.
Experience Rich Culture
From deeply-rooted Indigenous culture to colonial architecture and diverse neighbourhoods, Victoria is home to a beautiful blend of art, culture, and heritage. Take a Songhees Canoe or Walking Tour with Indigenous guides to learn about the Lekwungen Territory or browse contemporary Indigenous art at Leaf Modern Gallery.
Continue your cultural journey at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, which holds one of Canada’s most important Asian art collections including some exquisite ivory and amber carvings. Fan Tan Alley might be known as the World’s Narrowest Street, but it is also a fascinating portal into Victoria’s Chinatown. Craigdarroch Castle, a National Historic Site, is an astounding restored castle that offers a glimpse into the city’s European heritage.
More Culture & History
Go Whale Watching
Victoria’s coastal waters are home to an abundance of marine life, including three northern resident orca pods. Book a whale-watching tour for a chance to see orcas, humpbacks, minkes, and grey whales. You may also spot sea lions, seals, porpoises, and marine birds along the way.
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View Spring Gardens Galore
Steal a quiet moment of reflection in one of the city’s serene and colourful gardens—the mild coastal climate makes for a gardening paradise. Coined “the garden that love built,” Abkhazi Garden is tucked away next to a heritage home that offers an intimate and tranquil tea service with patio views overlooking Greater Victoria.
Government House (the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor) is also home to formal gardens and a rare Garry Oak ecosystem. Royal Roads University, located on the Hatley Park National Historic Site, boasts 15 km (9 mi) of trails fringed by old-growth forest and fragrant rose, Japanese, and Italian formal gardens. Plan a day trip to peaceful Saanich, just 30 minutes northwest of Victoria, to visit The Butchart Gardens and enjoy the nine acres of gardens at the Gardens at HCP (Horticulture Centre of the Pacific).
More Parks & Gardens
Book A Stay in Victoria
Victoria has a range of accommodations including heritage hotels, boutique bed and breakfasts, and lavish inns. Stay at the luxurious Château-inspired Fairmont Empress Hotel, which overlooks the Inner Harbour. The nearby Inn at Laurel Point is a bright, contemporary space with floor-to-ceiling windows and a waterfront restaurant. A little farther out of town, the Oak Bay Beach Hotel offers expansive views of the Pacific Ocean and a tropical vacation atmosphere.