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Things to do in Victoria

Things to do in  Victoria

Welcome to Victoria

Perched on the southeastern shores of Vancouver Island, Victoria—the capital of the Canadian province of British Columbia—has a rich colonial history dating back to the 19th century. Bus and walking tours take Garden City visitors to top attractions such as Antique Row, Beacon Hill Park, Craigdarroch Castle (a National Historic Site of Canada), Oak Bay Marina, and Mount Tolmie, while the famous Butchart Gardens delight travelers from across the world with their enchanting floral displays. Food tours showcase the region’s diverse cheeses, fine chocolates, craft beer, and divine seafood; while overhead, sightseeing seaplane flights offer bird’s-eye views over the coastal scenery. For many visitors to Victoria, though, one activity stands out among all the others: whale watching. Cruises depart from Victoria and head into the deep waters of the Salish Sea, where gray, humpback, killer, and minke whales can be seen breaching and crashing through the waves. Travelers also regularly spot other native wildlife such as marine birds, otters, porpoises, sea lions, and seals. For visitors with a little more time on their hands, three- to eight-day tours hit farther-flung destinations such as Barkley Sound; Strathcona-Westmin Provincial Park; and the snowy peaks—or summery hiking and mountain biking trails—of Whistler, where travelers can experience the best of the Canadian wilderness.

Top attractions in Victoria for Spring

#1
Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

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Butchart Gardens, established in 1904, treat visitors to an enchanting floral show that changes with the seasons. Covering 55 acres (22 hectares) on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, the botanical space is intricately laid out into separate themed gardens with landscaping that impresses and inspires gardeners and nature lovers alike.More
#2
Victoria Inner Harbour

Victoria Inner Harbour

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A trim wedge of water rimmed with top landmarks, Victoria’s Inner Harbour is the city’s bustling port. Whether you’re hopping a whale-watching cruise or enjoying a sea breeze, the Inner Harbour is an essential stop when exploring Victoria. Among its highlights are the elegant Fairmont Empress hotel and the narrow streets beyond.More
#3
Victoria Chinatown

Victoria Chinatown

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First established in the mid-19th century, Victoria Chinatown is among North America’s oldest. Now a National Historic Site, Victoria’s Chinatown is home to cafes, studios, herbalists, tea rooms, and shops, as well as the narrow Fan Tan Alley, which measures 35 inches (88.9 centimeters) wide at its narrowest point.More
#4
Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle

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In 1890 Scottish coal baron Robert Dunsmuir built Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, British Columbia, to showcase his inordinate wealth. This 39-room hilltop mansion is rich with opulent details, including multiple turrets and chimneys, a red slate roof, stained-glass windows, wood carvings, antique furnishings, and gold-framed paintings.More
#5
Beacon Hill Park

Beacon Hill Park

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Sheer natural beauty is just the start of the appeal of of Beacon Hill Park, which sprawls across the southern edge of Victoria, British Columbia. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, with a petting zoo, splash parks, playgrounds, sports fields, seemingly endless footpaths, and one of the tallest totem poles in the world.More
#6
Sidney (Sidney-by-the-Sea)

Sidney (Sidney-by-the-Sea)

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Life revolves around the water at this laid-back coastal community north of Victoria. The action centers on the seafront where you’ll find a sculpture-dotted walkway, a beach scattered with sea glass, and a pier where locals crab and cast fishing lines, as well as an aquarium housing marine life native to the Salish Sea.More
#7
British Columbia Parliament Buildings

British Columbia Parliament Buildings

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Constructed in the 1890s, the British Columbia Parliament Buildings still serve as home to the province’s legislature. Built according to the designs of young British architect Francis Rattenbury, the neo-Baroque complex’s imposing size, copper domes, turrets, and stained glass ensure a commanding and stately presence.More
#8
Royal British Columbia Museum

Royal British Columbia Museum

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From totem poles to ancient fossils, British Columbia’s history is on display at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria. Explore vast collections covering the natural world and human heritage, with dioramas that place historic artifacts in context. A soaring IMAX screen and special exhibitions add to the museum experience.More
#9
Fairmont Empress Hotel

Fairmont Empress Hotel

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The grand style of the Fairmont Empress hotel sets the tone for Victoria’s Inner Harbour, where boats tie up just steps from the city’s most historic landmarks. Visiting the Fairmont Empress is not just for overnight guests; afternoon tea here has been a Victoria tradition for more than a century.More
#10
Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf

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Fisherman’s Wharf is an eclectic combination of tourist shops and residential float homes. Although the fishing heyday has passed, at which time when a fishing vessel was tied to every slip at the Fisherman’s Wharf except the two “live aboard” docks, the atmosphere hasn’t changed much. Colorful characters still roam the docks, but now often rub shoulders with passing tourists rather than sea-hardened fishermen.The live aboard homes have been transformed into beautiful float houses, each as eclectic as the last and proudly carrying its own décor and charm.Seals are a near constant at the dock and they receive more than their share of bait from the local fish stores that aim to keep tourists happy and registers ringing. The small collection of shops includes an ice cream shop, BBQ grill, fish and chips stand, and a coffee house, alongside an excellent Fish Market and Crab Sales. There’s also some outgoing tourism, as whale watching and sea kayaking tours kick off from Fisherman’s Wharf and head out to sea through the harbor.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Victoria

How to Spend 1 Day in Victoria

How to Spend 2 Days in Victoria

How to Spend 2 Days in Victoria

Top activities in Victoria

Victoria Panorama Seaplane Tour

Victoria Panorama Seaplane Tour

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Victoria to Vancouver Seaplane Flight
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4-Hour Grand City and Butchart Gardens Tour
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Grand City With High Tea At Butchart Gardens Tour
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Victoria Wine Tour with Private Tastings and Samples
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3-Hour Butchart Gardens and City Tour
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2-Hour Grand City Tour
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2-Hour Grand City Tour

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Private Saanich Peninsula Wine Tour
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Vancouver Island Rainforest Guided Hike with Private Guide
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Recent reviews from experiences in Victoria

star-5
A Must DO.
Colleen_H, May 2022
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
Perfect way to see the city and suitable for any activity level.
star-5
Victoria. Princess cruise April/May 2022
bankerbabe50, May 2022
Hop On Half Day Sightseeing Victoria
We really got to see the whole city.
star-5
Great way to know the city
zvia_a, Apr 2022
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
It’s a great way to see the city and the tour guides were knowledgeable and super friendly.
star-4
I recommend!
Hege_S, Mar 2022
Victoria Guided Food and History Tour
A Great way to see a Good part of downtown in two hours.
star-5
Sailing with the Prince!
Debbie_M, Apr 2022
Half-Day Whale Watching Adventure from Victoria
We were lucky enough to see about ten Orca whales that put on quite the show for us.
star-5
Fantastic experience!
Jackie_R, Aug 2021
Hop On Half Day Sightseeing Victoria
This is a fantastic way to see the city, very enjoyable, fun and informative!
star-5
Fast and fun
JeanDenis_B, Jul 2021
Victoria to Vancouver Seaplane Flight
I wanted to visit Victoria and Vancouver on the same trip, so the flight option was the fastest and more fun way to do it.
star-5
A fantastic way to see Victoria! The...
Pamela M, Aug 2017
Victoria Panorama Seaplane Tour
A fantastic way to see Victoria!
star-5
This was a fun and very worthwhile...
Robert J, Aug 2017
Victoria Guided Food and History Tour
Great way to see Victoria eateries at the beginning of your trip.
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Highly recommend
Rosetta_P, Oct 2021
Vancouver Island Rainforest Guided Hike with Private Guide
We saw beautiful greenery, waterfalls, gardens, and some wildlife - countless photo-worthy views.
star-5
Magical trails, beautiful coast- and Seals!
Emma_K, Aug 2021
Vancouver Island Rainforest Guided Hike with Private Guide
We got to know historical facts about Victoria on our way to the hiking locations, got to see magical forest trails and beautiful views of the open waters.
star-5
Great experience, highly recommend...
Anna M, Jun 2016
Zodiac Whale Watching Adventure from Victoria
Great experience, highly recommend it while in Victoria, definitely the highlight of our trip, we got to see a humpback whale the only down size is we were a bit sore the next day but it was well worth the few aches and pains!
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Loved the tour!
Chantel_T, Jul 2021
Hop On Half Day Sightseeing Victoria
We have been coming to Victoria to visit family for years and have never done the bus tour.
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Really get to see the neighborhood!
Richard_S, Sep 2020
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
A great way to see the city, and Chuck gives a great running commentary when we visit the different places, and really conveys his respect and knowledge for Victoria and its neighborhoods.
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See Victoria
trayc177, Sep 2019
Hop On Half Day Sightseeing Victoria
GREAT WAY TO SEE VICTORIA.
star-5
I would highly recommend this bike...
Janice F, Jul 2017
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
They were well organized and it is a great way to see the city.
star-5
Fantastic! A highlight of our trip.
Lisette_B, Sep 2021
Victoria Guided Food and History Tour
Our tour with Andy made us fall in love with Victoria!
star-5
Cruise options for Victoria were...
Shannon D, Jul 2016
Vancouver Island Rainforest Guided Hike with Private Guide
I got to see a lot of sea life we dont have here in Florida and it was a great photo spot.
star-5
This was a wonderful bike tour. Not...
Ken P, Jul 2016
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
Our guide was great and we got to see more of Victoria than just the downtown area.
star-5
Great way to see some of the gems of...
Lynn D, Mar 2015
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
Great way to see some of the gems of Victoria.

All about Victoria

When to visit

Summer is peak season in Victoria, with dry, sunny weather perfect for harborside events including the Symphony Splash and Victoria International JazzFest. If you don’t mind crowded paths, it’s also the best time to catch Butchart Gardens in full bloom. Fall has fewer tourists and discounted hotel rooms, though watch out for closed attractions around Canadian Thanksgiving in mid-October.

Frequently Asked Questions
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