This post is all about Victoria – the capital of British Colombia – on Vancouver Island in Canada. The guide to Victoria Canada was compiled by my friend Elizabeth who lives on the island and in the city itself so will give you a truly comprehensive guide to things to do in Victoria BC.
Background – a little bit about the writer
Where do you live? Victoria Canada
How long have you lived there? I moved here in 1999
What do you do? I am an artist/art teacher.
What do you love most about where you live? I love the mild weather and the liberal politics. I love the medical system that provides for all citizens.
What activities and attractions would you recommend to visitors?
There are many fine activities to engage in in Victoria. The very best, cheapest and world famous would be things that involve getting out in nature. BC is known as Supernatural British Columbia and it has many beautiful forests and mountains and Vancouver island has an abundance. A day trip up island from Victoria will take you to an old growth forest called Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park.
On the way back down to Victoria there is a winder ski resort at Mt. Washington with lodging and restaurants. In the summer it is a great venue for walks and bike trails ( bikes and equipment for rent). Closer to Victoria there is Goldstream National park with mountain and river hikes/ walks to chose from. In and around Victoria itself there are plenty of pleasant walks that can take anything from 30 mins to most of the day.
A favourite activity for tourists ( and occasionally locals) is High Tea at the Empress, our local heritage hotel on the inner harbour. After tea there are many pleasant walks around the city/harbour. There is the Royal BC Museum, parliament buildings, shops, Carriage rides, harbour ferries, pubs, Kabuki cabs, whale watching and many fine restaurants. If you want to start your day early there are at least 5 places specializing in out of this world breakfasts, worth getting up early for. For fear of this turning into a guide book (or a wiki page) I shall mention one more ‘must visit’, Butchart Gardens, world famous botanical gardens, quite rightly and beautiful at any time of year.
What is the best way to get around Victoria?
Victoria no longer has a train although the residents are campaigning to bring it back. Public transport is the bus service and taxis. There is a bus to the ferry at Swartz Bay which is the main route off the island to Vancouver . The ferry trip is a site seeing tour in itself . There is another option, float planes, super expensive but perhaps worth at least one trip because of the spectacular birds eye view of the islands.
Renting a car and driving is probably a cost effective option because the public transport system doesn’t always link conveniently with all the best walks etc. the traffic is fairly light and slow on the island and we drive on the right hand side of the road. Bike rentals are available. Victoria is a cycle friendly city and as it is small and contained an excellent way to get around.
[bctt tweet=”Arrive at Victoria on Vancouver Island by seaplane! What a great entrance! Check out an insider’s guide to this Canadian city!” username=”tracystravels10″]
Where would you recommend to eat in Victoria?
My favourite places to eat are mostly breakfast places.
- Jam Cafe, 542 Herald Street 1 778.440.4489.
- The Blue Fox Cafe, 919 Fort Street. 1250.380.1683.
- Willie’s Cafe and Bakery, 537 Johnson Street. 1250,381.8414.
- Prima Strada Pizzeria 230 Cook Street 1250.590.8595( dinner)
When is the best time of year to visit Victoria?
Victoria and Vancouver island has something to offer at every time of the year. Summer is mild with a few hot days for swimming in the many lakes and lying on the beaches. Winter has a ski resort within a few hours drive and it doesn’t get too cold for out door activities as long as you wrap up warmly.
Are there any must-see events for visitors in Victoria?
There are always live concerts at venues around town, there are two large theatres, a resident symphony, a ballet company, an opera company and a musical theatre company. In summer there is a rodeo and Western Speedway (fast cars racing) Something for everyone. There are music festivals in summer and a Fall Fair for those who have always wanted to see the islands biggest pumpkin.
Are there any places near you that you recommend to visit?
A day or a few days trip to Seattle in the Clipper or a ferry trip over to Vancouver are fab places to go to fill up holiday time and get the most out of a flight all the way over to this side of the world. Saltspring island accessed by ferry from Swartz bay is also an excellent day trip.
Thank to Elizabeth for this great post all about Victoria Canada! Are you planning a visit to Vancouver Island? If so don’t forget to check out some of the great places recommended in this post!!
PIN FOR LATER – Things to do in Victoria BC
Tracy is your expert expat!
She has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)
Through down-to-earth stories, tips and advice (based on her own extensive knowledge and experience of life as an expat) she aims to support new and prospective expats to survive and thrive in Australia.
With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, she is also able to share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help you travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.