Victoria has a unique mix of old Canadian history, cool community events and chilled out island vibes. Victoria is the capital of British Columbia but is considerably more laid back than the big city across the water, Vancouver. Sitting at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Victoria has a busy inner harbour with daily ferries to Seattle, and sea planes to Vancouver.
Named after Queen Victoria herself, the city of Victoria has an obvious British influence. From the architecture of the Parliament Building and the Empress Hotel which dominate the harbour, to the picturesque Butchart gardens, you’ll feel British Columbia’s early colonial history.
Victoria is a quick 1.5 hr ferry ride from Vancouver and a popular holiday destination for many British Columbians. Victoria not only has a bustling harbour, but also a seaplane airport and cruise ship and ferry terminals.
Victoria embodies the aura of a little English town, but don’t be mistaken, this town has big personality. Take an afternoon to explore the harbour, ocean front, downtown, historic Chinatown and surrounding parkland.
You could spend hours sipping coffee and people watching from the oceanfront – but it’s not the only way to experience the breath taking views. If you’re looking for some adventure, jump on a scenic flight! There’s nothing better than a bird’s eye view of Victoria Harbour and it’s picturesque surroundings.
Rather unassuming is Victoria’s Chinatown, the second oldest Chinatown in North America after San Francisco. During the many gold rushes of the late 1800’s, tens of thousands of prospectors came through Victoria as one of the final supply stops. Canada’s narrowest street, Fan Tan Alley, also resides here. Meander through this historic area for some great food, cheap and cheerful trinkets and some quirky fashion.
Once the sun starts to drop in the sky you’ll no doubt be looking for somewhere for a bite and a brew, and luckily Victoria comes through with the goods. This town is serious about its beer and have some of the countries oldest breweries. Spinnakers, Canoe Club and Swans are all worth a sip (or three) and all serve good food as well.
Try another one of Vancouver Island’s passions, Seafood! One of the best places to grab it is Red Fish, Blue Fish, in a recycled shipping container in the Inner Harbour. If you’re after live music, check out The Bard and Banker or Lucky’s, and start the day properly with an early breakfast at The Blue Fox Cafe or Shine.
Highlights in Victoria
- Strolling the inner harbour past the iconic and historic buildings
- Try fish and chips at one of the waterfront cafes
- Take in some of the world’s best natural history exhibits at the Royal BC Museum
- Learn the history of Victoria’s Chinatown
- Sample some craft beers while listening to local live music