Victoria, British Columbia, is a city brimming with laid-back charm, natural beauty, and a rich cultural tapestry.
Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, this Canadian gem offers an abundance of amazing attractions to keep you entertained, no matter what type of traveler you are.
From stunning gardens and picturesque waterfalls to historical sites and delicious cuisine, there are plenty of things to do in Victoria.
In this guide, we share our insider travel tips and knowledge for those looking for the best places to see, eat, stay, drink and visit in Victoria British Columbia.
Let’s get stuck into it!
Is Victoria B.C. Is it worth watching?
‘A little piece of England’? For the newly married and almost dead? No! I hate those nicknames.
Victoria is a city with plenty of nooks and crannies to see beyond the obvious tourist traps. It’s a great little piece of the ‘Pacific Northwest’; Also the oldest city, with a cooler climate than Vancouver and Seattle (I know, is that possible?!) but with less rainfall.
It’s big enough to have some great pubs and restaurants and yet small enough to easily get around in the main part of the city. It is truly beautiful and surrounded by water on three sides, making it a perfect place to take a dip in the Pacific Ocean.
Victoria is absolutely worth a visit, renowned for its natural beauty and access to some of the most beautiful parts of Canada, as well as its sub-Mediterranean climate and relaxed atmosphere.
Victoria is the capital of the province of British Columbia. It is located on Vancouver Island, 107 kilometers (76 mi) Southwest of Vancouver. Travel by car and ferry, or bus and ferry, takes about 4 hours each way from downtown Vancouver.
Victoria BC things to do in
Now you know why Victoria is such a great place to visit, let’s take a look at some of the top attractions so you can plan your itinerary…
1. take a pub tour
There is a craft beer scene in Victoria, so you should 100% make sure to include a pub tour on your list of things to do there.
start with lunch spinachCanada’s oldest brewpub, which deserves pole position.
A wide selection of fine, home-brewed beers and great food coupled with one of the best views in the city seals the deal.
Insider Tip: Take the passenger harbor ferry from the main dock in the port; A fun little ride on boats often captained by ex-Marine officers. Buy a return ticket… you’ll be back.
take the boat back and make your way Darcy’s At the foot of Bastion Square. A pretty nondescript Irish pub, this is the patio you’re here for.
Sit back and have a pint while watching the seaplanes land in the harbour. It’s best to do this on a windy day, as they seem to fall out of nowhere from over the rooftops into the water at your feet.
A quick walk to Bastion Square takes you to Irish Times, a favorite place of tourists and locals. Pull up a stool at the bar (my favorite spot) and strike up a conversation with the people around you; They may be from near or far but it’s always a good time.
Head back towards the water and follow Wharf Street down to Pandora Street; here you will find Swan’s Brewpub,
Housed in an old warehouse and boasting one of the best art collections in Victoria, it’s worth a try for one of their hand-crafted pints; I like Buckerfield’s Bitter.
Try the local beer; Stay away from big brands. One of the best things about Victoria is the great beer revolution it has been a part of.
Ask what’s local and try a sample tray: Phillips, Driftwood, Vancouver Island Brewery, Lighthouse, etc.
travel ideas:Drinking beer for nothing!
1. 3 Hour Guided Craft Beer Tasting Bike Tour: Enjoy three tasting sessions while riding the car-free Selkirk Trestle. Book your place here,
2. Tour two breweries and a distillery with a guide with extensive knowledge of the local craft beverage scene, and sample plenty of beer and spirits throughout the tour. Book your place.
2. Visit Waterfront Drive
Driving the beach in Victoria is amazing and the best way to do it is by scooter.
you can rent a scooter Disembark at Victoria’s Inner Harbor and then make your way, scooter, down to the beach. Just keep the water on your right side and it’s much harder to get lost.
You’ll walk through several neighborhoods; Stop whenever you feel like.
- Take a walk at the Ogden Point Breakwater
- Admire the gardens (and views) of Beacon Hill Park
- Walk through history at Ross Bay Cemetery
- Keep an eye out for ghosts through the Royal Victoria Golf Course
Turn around here and go back along Cadboro Bay Road and Fort Street. Just try and wipe the smile off your face.
3. Take a Ginery/Cider House/Winery Tour
We did this tour a few years ago and it is still one of my favorite days.
Victoria Spirits Located in an old farm house on Old West Saanich Road. I say it’ginnery‘Cause that’s what they make; Flavored, Herbed Gin (And because I don’t know what its real name is ginnery Is),
They make tastings of all their products available upstairs but the magic happens downstairs.
Ask if you can take a tour downstairs – they are proud of their work and are more than happy to show you the German-made beauty that creates magic Nectar,
My favorite (and easily packable) takeaway is Twisted & Bitter Aromatic Bitter; Beautiful in gin and tonic.
Also located in an old farmhouse with spectacular views over farmland and sea C Cider Farm and Cider House A delightful place for an afternoon break.
Their ciders are made by pressing and fermenting a variety of apples on site. In fact, it is impossible to choose just one among the many options; I suggest a tasting flight to sample them all!
The last stop is the Church and State Winery.
A beautiful location in Brentwood Bay and a great place to end the afternoon. Sample some of their in-house wines, take some photos and then head back into town for dinner.
4. Watch Salmon Spawning
Salmon return to their home rivers in the fall to give birth to the next generation, so if you visit this time of year, checking out the salmon spawning in Victoria BC in the fall is one of the best things to do.
One of the best places to see it is Goldstream Park in the north of the city.
There are also nature trails and an interpretation center. Head to the estuary to see bald eagles feeding too.
5. Climb Mount Finlayson
Accessed through Goldstream Park, this hike up Mount Finlayson takes you through forest and rocky terrain, where you’ll climb to the top for some of the best views of the area.
Although it is not very difficult, it is not for the faint of heart who are afraid of heights.
You should be able to complete the entire walk in two hours – remember to take water with you and maybe even a snack for the top.
Once you reach the top the views are incredible. On a clear day you get a panoramic view of the Victoria and Olympic Mountains in the distance.
6. Visit Lake Thetis
A local swimming hole, Lake Thetis offers a small sandy beach and several other hidden spots around the lake.
The path around the lake is great for a good, fast run (about 4 km) or a brisk walk.
7. Surf the Jordan River
Head west through the souk and you’ll hit the actual Pacific Ocean where the water reaches Japan.
The surf here is some of the best and local surfers flock to it at the slightest sign of a storm. There are burger shacks and coffee houses to warm up while you watch the talent on the waves.
8. Explore neighborhoods in Victoria, BC
The best way to get to know a city is to walk around the neighborhoods. I love the look and feel of the Fairfield. It is one of the older parts of the city but has undergone considerable redevelopment and character.
Some other nice neighborhoods worth checking out are:
- Cook Street Village It’s a favorite haunt with a few coffee shops, a bakery, a pizza place and a local pub.
- Ross Bay Cemetery Some of Victoria’s historical figures are; Moss-covered cemeteries and often foggy weather make it a photographers’ dream.
- Moss Street Market Takes place every Saturday at the corner of Moss and Fairfield streets; Great organic food, crafts, knick-knacks, music and a hippie vibe are the highlights.
9. Explore Victoria Market and Shopping Street
Victoria is a great city to shop and is home to many boutiques, indie stores and vintage thrift shops, as well as well-known high street brands.
For shopping, we recommend you to visit Lower Johnson StreetOr Lozo, as they have rebranded themselves, becoming a shopping mecca for fashionistas and those looking for something different.
Lined with independent shops (along with some big names) it’s a great place to pop up shop or find something for yourself.
Downtown Market is Held every Sunday from 11 to 5pm on Government Street (between Pandora and Fisgard). It’s a funky, hippie-ish market with stalls filled with crafts, psychics, clothes, food carts, and music. A little something for everyone; It’s a fun walk and a great way to spend an afternoon.
Moss Street Market is Held every Saturday at the corner of Moss and Fairfield Streets. It’s a beautiful walk from the city center to here.
Insider Tip: Stay away from lower government roads; It’s a tourist trap there, the closer to the port the worse.
10. Victoria BC attends a festival in
Moss Street Paint-In is one of my favorite events in the city.
The road is closed from the top of the hill down to the sea and is lined with artists creating their masterpieces and selling their wares along the way.
You can spend hours looking at all the art, interacting with the artists, and enjoying the great weather.
Insider Tip: In the afternoon, stop at the art gallery at the top of the hill for a hot dog and beer in the beer garden. There’s a band after dark and it’s always a good time.
symphony splash Held in the Inner Harbor the first weekend of August. A barge is brought in, a crowd gathers around the shore, and the Victoria Symphony puts on a memorable show.
Swiftsure The regatta is the premier regatta in the Pacific Northwest and attracts sailors from throughout the region. It is advisable to disembark near Clover Point on the Dallas Road in the early morning; It’s something else entirely to see hundreds of boats sailing in full sail as they fight for position on the starting line.
However, not just for sailors… there is always a big party at the ship point in the port. Hey Matty!
11. Have afternoon tea at Butchart Gardens
If you’re looking for something special to do in Victoria, enjoy afternoon tea at Butchart Gardens taking in the refined beauty and splendor of the flowers.
This enchanting botanical garden offers more than just stunning flora – it also boasts a delightful afternoon tea tradition.
You will be mesmerized by the serene beauty of the gardens as you sip aromatic tea and taste delicious dishes.
Next, explore the gardens, which began as a converted limestone quarry by Jenny Butchart in the early 1900s.
Today, visitors can explore 55 acres of wonderland, including the stunning Rose Garden and Japanese Garden, enjoy vibrant flower displays and relax amid the tranquil surroundings.
12. Take a whale-watching trip
For those nature lovers, a popular thing to do in Victoria is to visit the Strait of Juan de Fuca and watch whales.
Throughout the months of May and October, get the opportunity to see majestic orcas and humpback whales in their natural habitat while exploring the stunning coastal waters.
The thrill of seeing these gentle giants up close is unmatched and will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
Furthermore, tourism in Victoria is known for its responsible and sustainable approach, ensuring minimal disturbance to the whales’ environment.
13. Admire the Victoria Butterfly Garden
This picturesque attraction in Victoria has become one of the most popular tourist destinations on Vancouver Island.
This family-friendly attraction offers an immersive experience with flamingos, ponds, rescued parrots, turtles, and even a macaw.
As you wander through this indoor wonderland, marvel at the stunning koi fish, goldfish, and other creatures that call these gardens home.
If you love wildlife and the natural world, you might also want to visit the Victoria Bug Zoo if you have more time. Get your tickets for the Butterfly Garden.
14. See the Totem Pole at Thunderbird Park
If you’re interested in learning about Canada’s rich Indigenous heritage, be sure to visit the awe-inspiring totem poles at Thunderbird Park.
These beautiful sculptures stand as a testament to the vibrant culture and history of the region.
Established in 1941, Thunderbird Park houses a remarkable collection of eleven traditional totem poles from various First Nations communities, including the Kwakwaka’wakw people.
Each totem pole tells a unique story, reflecting ancestral legends and sacred symbols.
15. Check out Hatley Castle
This iconic National Historic Site is filled with both history and beauty. Once a grand residence, Hatley Castle now serves as the administrative center of Royal Roads University.
With its grand architecture and stunning seaside property, the palace is an ideal spot for photography enthusiasts or those looking for a relaxing place to visit.
Stroll through the vibrant gardens, explore peaceful forest paths, or immerse yourself in the site’s rich history.
16. Take the kids to Beacon Hill Children’s Farm
Beacon Hill Children’s Farm, located within the picturesque Beacon Hill Park, is a charming farm that allows visitors to get up close and personal with a delightful array of farm animals.
From playful goats and adorable pigs to majestic llamas and colorful peacocks, this adorable farm brings the joy of the countryside to the heart of the city.
For a truly enjoyable sight, be sure to check out the daily goats’ stampede at 10:10 a.m. and 4:10 pm.
17. Explore Canada’s Oldest Chinatown
Victoria is home to Canada’s oldest Chinatown, established in 1858. It is also the second oldest Chinatown in North Americaright after San Francisco,
Located on Fisgard Street, this bustling community offers a kaleidoscope of colors, flavors, and traditions. Explore a diverse range of shops, from herbal medicine shops to unique trinket shops, that offer a glimpse of the rich Chinese heritage.
Sample delicious dishes in authentic restaurants or indulge in dim sum delights, as well as admire the ornate architecture and visit the Gate of Harmonious Interests and the infamous gambling den of Fan Tan Alley, Victoria’s narrowest street and now a lively street with tea Visit places like Shops and drugstores.
18. Fisgard Lighthouse and Fort Rod Hill are both worth a visit
Transport yourself to a bygone era by visiting the picturesque Fort Rod Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Landmarks.
Fort Rod Hill, an artillery fort active from 1895 to 1956, overlooks Canada’s west coast and offers incredible views.
You can explore the interesting military history of the fort, and then visit the nearby Fisgard Lighthouse, Canada’s oldest west coast lighthouse.
Marvel at its charming architecture and panoramic views of the ocean.
19. Visit the Royal BC Museum
If you love learning about natural and human history, be sure to visit the famous Royal BC Museum.
Established in 1886, this iconic museum offers a fascinating journey through time.
Explore permanent collections and rotating exhibitions featuring authentic artifacts telling stories from the Ice Age to modern times, while learning about British Columbia’s rich heritage.
Where to eat in Victoria, BC
When it comes to finding a place to eat, there are a lot of options. Some of my favorite places to eat in Victoria are budget-friendly…
Pig BBQ Joint It started as a small hole in the wall, but is now said to be one of Victoria’s hottest new buildings. It still serves the best pulled pork sandwiches and you can even get the local Phillips beer on tap. Perfection.
red fish blue fish My favorite budget eatery in Victoria. Housed in an old cargo container at Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria’s Inner Harbour, it is the epitome of fresh, sustainable, seafood.
There is often a line, but getting in line early is worth the wait! The funky, hipster staff will help you choose but, for me, there is no choice; this is tuna heel every time.
First Street Pizzeria is Another mid-priced favorite. This small, local eatery has a wood-fired oven that produces chewy, thin-crust pizzas that require minimal toppings to finish. The staff are friendly, the alcohol is cheap and we always leave full and happy.
Insider Tip: If the line is too long just leave your name and tell the wait staff you’re crossing the street for a drink at the Beagle Pub. Your table will be ready when you return.
For something a little more advanced I present two of my favorites…
Brasserie L’Ecole is One of the best date places in town. Casual and warm it has a hint of its French bistro brothers in both food and wine, serving up the best steak and Potato With great French wines.
upper level ferris A great, intimate spot for cocktails, small plates, and sharing.
Victoria BC, is the Best time to visit
The best time to visit Victoria in British Columbia is spring and fall, as they are outside the peak of the tourist season, but still have incredible weather.
Summer is the best season, but you’ll find the most crowds, which can make finding affordable accommodation a headache.
I don’t recommend going in winter, which can be dreary and wet.
Victoria BC goes to and around
Victoria has one international airport, served primarily by Air Canada and WestJet.
Victoria is on an island, so if you don’t fly, you’ll have to take the Victoria Harbor Ferry.
BC Ghat Operates from Tsawwassen just outside Vancouver. It is a bit expensive but the scenery is stunning as it passes through the Bay of Islands.
coho ferry In the United States, it runs from Port Angeles to downtown Victoria, right across the harbor.
The best way to get around Victoria BC is on foot. Victoria’s downtown area is quite small and even nearby neighborhoods are within walking distance.
However, the bus system is very good; You can call the Transit Info Line and a real person will help you get from point A to point B.
Where to Stay in Victoria, BC
Finding a place to stay can be overwhelming, so to help you out, here are some top-rated suggestions for where to stay in Victoria BC.
- Tortoise Hostel There is a small hostel located in a Victorian house on the edge of town. It makes everything convenient and the prices can’t be beat! Minimum $50/night for two visitors in a small private room in the summer. This is about as good as it gets here so I wouldn’t recommend sleeping on the beach (It’s very cold and rocky, believe me),
- Ocean Island Inn There’s a funky hostel just outside town. an old apartment building; It has many features and features that are not commonly seen. It’s one of my favorite buildings in the city and knowing it accommodates travelers brings a smile to my face. It has a lounge/café and is well decorated. This would have been my choice if I didn’t live here.
- Hi Victoria The location can’t be beat; Right in the middle of the city, with everything happening right on the doorstep. And as part of the Hostelling International group you know it has to meet certain standards.
- swan’s (See Pub Crawl above) There is also a guesthouse, which will eliminate the need for a taxi at the end of the evening…just crawl upstairs and go to bed. Although it is rather upscale than budget, I would recommend it if you have the dough as it is a very nice place.
- Fairmont Empress Hotel It is an ideal location for those looking for a special place to stay during their visit to Victoria. It is an award-winning hotel that is also listed on the National Historic Landmark list due to it being built in 1908.
I want to share my final thoughts on things to do in Victoria, Canada.
Victoria is a charming and enchanting destination that is a seamless blend of natural beauty and cultural wonders.
Whether you want to explore the rugged wilderness, learn about indigenous culture, or dive into the craft beer and culinary scene, there is so much to see and discover here.
We hope this guide helped you plan a trip to Victoria and gave you some inspiration for what to do there.