With its impressive colonial architecture and picturesque harbor setting, Victoria sure is postcard worthy. But that's only half its appeal: the city is home to a quality restaurant scene, great shopping, a cosmopolitan and easy-going populace, and more bike paths than any other metropolis in Canada.
Today, Victoria continues to draw visitors from around the world - tourists, students and business travelers. Home to several well-regarded institutions of higher education, the city is developing a reputation as a center for learning and research. Fueled by an increasingly younger demographic, a quiet revolution has seen lame tourist pubs, eateries and stores transformed into the kind of brightly-painted bohemian shops, wood-floored coffee bars and innovative restaurants that would make any city proud.
Victoria is also a popular springboard for adventure travelers, who can kayak the Inner Harbour, dive the clear waters along the southern coast, and hike the West Coast Trail.
Featured Victoria Hotel
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This charming hotel is located in Victoria's beloved cultural city center. Enjoyed by royalty, celebrities and dignitaries, unwind, relax and enjoy the celebrated teatime experience.
From the enchanting Butchart Gardens to the regal Fairmont Empress Hotel, Victoria is the crown jewel of British Columbia. Located on lush Vancouver Island, British Columbia’s capital city is bordered by the deep blue Juan de Fuca and Haro straits. The Pacific Northwest’s forested San Juan Islands stretch out in the east, and the mountainous Saanich Inlet lies in the west. Myriad cruise ships and ferries sail these magical waters, criss-crossing between the United States and Canada.
Downtown Victoria provides the perfect respite from the wilderness, with its high teas, grand restaurants, friendly pubs and colorful shops. Vacationers will want to stay awhile on this enchanted isle. Expert chefs from farm-to-table restaurants create masterful meals sourced from local farms on the Saanich Peninsula and Cowichan Valley, along with fresh ocean delicacies, such as Pacific salmon and shellfish, plucked right from the sea. Visitors can peer out at the boat-lined Inner Harbor as they dine alfresco; or stroll through the seasonal market at bustling Bastion Square at the original site of Fort Victoria; which, in 1849, was transformed into the Colony of British Columbia.
What To Do
You won’t believe your eyes the first time you view the incredible 55-acres of flowers, statues and water features of Butchart Gardens, elegantly laid out in the style of a formal English garden. Breathe in the fresh air and take a bike ride around one of the country’s most bike-friendly cities. Vacationers who can tear themselves away from the glorious scenery can view man-made creations at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria or Coast Collective Art Centre on the West Shore; or trace the natural history of the region at the Royal BC Museum.
Go whale watching in the glorious waters surrounding Vancouver Island. Kayak across the Inner Harbor, or hike the renowned West Coast Trail.
Enjoy afternoon tea with friends and family at the very British Fairmont Empress Hotel. Toast the town at one of the nearby pubs with some locally crafted beers, wines, and spirits. Take a culinary or wine tour and meet some of the best chefs, vintners and local farmers of the region. View some of the masterpieces at Vancouver Island’s largest public art gallery, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, housed in the quaint 1889 Spencer mansion.
Watch a unique dance performance at the Ballet Victoria. Visit the impressive architecture of the Parliament buildings overlooking the harbor in British Columbia’s charming capital city of Victoria.
When to Go
Victoria enjoys a moderate climate. Summers are warm, but offshore breezes ensure it's never too hot; winters are mild, and rarely include snow (even so, it is Canada - pack your woollies).