Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia in Canada located on the south side of Vancouver Island.
For many people known as the city of gardens. It was also one of the first connotations that local people shared with me when talking about Victoria.
For me, Victoria is always related somehow with the unique experience of a few hours' boat trip from Vancouver to Victoria through the calm waters of the bay separating Vancouver Island from the mainland.
We spent two intense days in Victoria last June, however, because of nature, history, and architecture, I would definitely visit the city more often and for a longer time. Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest (1843). The British Columbia Parliament Building and the Empress Hotel are among the most recognizable historical monuments here. Also, in Victoria, there is the second oldest Chinatown in North America. Being the first one in San Francisco.
I'm impressed by both architecture and nature in the city of Victoria. However, it seems nature here is slightly different than in other parts of British Columbia. In parks and gardens, there are many varieties of flowers, and the peacocks greet you in the parks. Victoria is located by the ocean, the beaches are long and sandy, and walks through the cliffs are always too short.
Due to its Victorian architecture and botanical gardens (hallmarks of the city), Victoria is known as the most romantic city in Canada. Also, Victoria ranks as one of the best cities to live in the world. The port of the city, historic monuments, modern restaurants, and craft beer markets, houses on the water and sunsets that illuminate everything that the city has to offer - all of those impact the overall image of Victoria as a place highly recommendable to visit, no matter of length of stay.
Top things to do in Victoria, BC in Canada
1. Beacon Hill Park
Beacon Hill Park is a park in Victoria with many gardens, bridges, and ponds. When you reach the hill located in the park you will notice spectacular views of the city and the ocean. In Beacon Hill Park, you can encounter the peacocks, and various species of birds will fly over your head. In the park, the world's tallest totem can be found, and just in front of the entrance to the park, there is a building of the Royal British Columbia Museum (1886).
2. Clover Point Park
Just behind Beacon Hill Park, you can notice the coastline - start here a few hours walk through the rocky coast.
In addition to Clover Point Park, you can also take Spiral Beach or Holland Point Park as your destination. However, I'm sure that a lot of other small beaches or paths that you can find along the coast will offer many memorable experiences too.
3. The Butchart Gardens
Recognized as one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world, Butchart Gardens are located in a 50-acre country setting on the southeast corner of Vancouver Island.
The Butchart Gardens are located about an hour by public bus from the center of Victoria, and you need about 2-3 hours to walk through all the paths available in the park.
In Butchart Gardens, I especially recommend stopping for a while in the Japanese garden. It's a beautiful area, very similar to those well-known from the frames of Japan.
4. Downtown Victoria
The central part of the city in Victoria, Downtown, is known for its historical monuments, beautiful architecture, and some tourist attractions. While walking through the streets, look carefully for some interesting discoveries on the way - old tenements, cafes and bookstores can be found in the most surprising corners. The majority of places to stay in Victoria are located in Downtown. To find accommodation in Victoria (including hotels and apartments), compare prices from different websites including Booking.com, and Airbnb (click here to grab an additional discount for your first stay on Airbnb).
Stop at Russell Books, a bookstore with new and used books at great prices. At lunchtime, visit Tacofino - a well-known brand in British Columbia for their delicious tacos (a very first Tacofino food truck was launched on the other side of Vancouver Island, in Tofino). Habit Coffee is a place to grab a coffee or tea, and if a bit further from the center, go try Picnic Too for breakfast or lunch.
The inner harbor in Victoria is located close to the British Columbia Parliament Buildings, and at the same time is the gateway to Downtown, the city's central district. There are seaplanes that operate for instance between Vancouver and Victoria.
5. Chinatown and Fan Tall Alley
Chinatown in Victoria is known for its unique architecture, but also many local stores, restaurants, and hip bars can be found in the area.
Fan Tall Alley is a small, narrow street (supposedly the narrowest street in the country) decorated with lanterns. The alley connects Chinatown with Downtown.
While walking along the Fan Tall Alley in Chinatown, you will small handicraft shops. Stop at the local Kid Sister ice cream store known for its from-scratch approach.
6. Fisherman's Wharf Park
Walking from Victoria's inner harbor just off Downtown, take a stroll down David Foster Way, which is right next to the harbor and leads straight to Fisherman's Wharf Park. Here you will see the colorful houses on the water, which Victoria is famous for. It's also a good place for Fish & Chips.
7. The Ogden Point Breakwater
The Ogden Point Breakwater is a walk in the James Bay neighborhood of Victoria. The walk takes about 15-20 minutes and will take you far into the ocean. At the very end of the breakwater, there is a lighthouse. Expect a strong wind, lots of seagulls above the heads, and many opportunities to capture an amazing sunset over the ocean. The Breakwater Cafe. Bistro. Bar is located nearby. It's a good place to stop before or after a walk with the patio overlooking the ocean.
What are your favorite places in Victoria? If you have any questions about Victoria, BC, don't hesitate to send me a message or leave a comment below.
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