Situated on the southernmost point of Vancouver Island is the lovely Victoria, which is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest. In this article, we want to share with you some of the top activities to do on Victoria Island in Vancouver.
1. Victoria Island in Vancouver
Don’t believe you can visit Victoria in its entirety in one day. If your schedule permits, we advise staying in Victoria for at least two days, ideally three.
In light of that, we’ve compiled this list of activities for your upcoming visit to Victoria.
2. Best Travel Months to visit Victoria Island in Vancouver
Visit Victoria & Vancouver Island between March and May and September and November for the greatest weather.
Plan on moderate temperatures in spring as well as fall despite the possibility of the occasional light shower because the region experiences some of the nation’s mildest weather & the driest summers.
Due to the numerous festivals that are held in Victoria and all around Vancouver Island, summer is by far the most favored season to travel.
Due to its proximity to Whistler, Canada’s premier ski resort, this area also welcomes a considerable number of winter visitors.
3. Customs & Culture in Victoria Island in Vancouver
Early inhabitants, particularly the First Nations people & the Brits, contributed significantly to the culture of Victoria. The First Nations people, who are indigenous Canadians who were neither Inuit nor Métis, settled in the southern part of Vancouver Island before Captain James Cook got there in 1778.
Even today, numerous First Nations groups still call Victoria & Vancouver Island home, and this has left its mark on Victoria’s aboriginal culture. Visit the Royal British Columbia Museum to learn more about native culture and traditions and to see an astounding collection of totem poles.
Enjoy some afternoon tea to experience a little bit of English tradition. There are many tea rooms in Victoria, but the afternoon tea service at the Fairmont Empress is arguably the most well-known (and pricey) in the city.
Wherever you go, you can get delicious pastries, scones, and dainty sandwiches to eat while drinking tea in a floral-printed cup.
American visitors won’t experience any problems exploring British Columbia’s capital city despite differences in cultural practices. The official languages of the nation are English and French, although the majority of people in Victoria speak English, so you are unlikely to require any to get by.
The Canadian dollar is Victoria’s official currency. Plan to research the current exchange rate before you travel because it can change.
By immediately withdrawing Canadian money from an ATM in Victoria, you can avoid exchange expenses. Expect to pay a premium when buying goods or services in Victoria (as well as the rest of the province).
If you’ve decided to rent a car, be careful to keep in mind that weight is measured in metric units, and distance is measured in kilometers.
4. Eating Schedule in Victoria Island in Vancouver
Victoria Island is a paradise for foodies due to its coastal setting and proximity to the farming areas of the Saanich Peninsula & Cowichan Valley.
Let’s start with afternoon tea, which tourists and residents agree is a must-do. You can make this custom, which the city received from the area’s European immigrants, as elaborate or straightforward as you choose. The Fairmont Empress is at the opulent end of the scale.
Once you’ve had enough tea & finger sandwiches, try Victoria’s fresh seafood to continue your culinary exploration of the city.
Visitors will love Red Fish Blue’s assortment of fish and chips served in a repurposed cargo container on the Inner Harbour shoreline.
Victoria excels in offering a wide variety of international cuisine in addition to its fresh seafood. Il Terrazzo is a favorite among locals and visitors for its typical Italian fare and cozy atmosphere.
Recent guests highly recommend Saveur for its modern French cuisine made with regional ingredients. If you’re in the mood for Mediterranean cuisine, visit the family-run Ithaka Greek Restaurant. (diners especially loved the lamb).
5. Touring Victoria Island in Vancouver
Bike or automobile travel is the best method to get to Victoria and Vancouver Island. You can easily explore Central Victoria on foot, especially the Inner Harbour, and bike lanes will take you to less popular areas.
Additionally, Victoria has a well-developed transit infrastructure, and ferries link the city to other Vancouver Island municipalities.
The best way to travel from Victoria to other attractions like Butchart Gardens and the Cowichan Valley without needing a strenuous workout is by vehicle.
6. Things to do in Victoria Island in Vancouver
There are many things to do on Victoria Island in Vancouver and nearby Southern Vancouver Island, like visiting the British Columbia mainland, northwest territories, and Canadian Pacific Railway and enjoying the ferry ride on this touristy Vancouver Island.
6.1. Inner Harbour
Victoria’s main tourist area is the Inner Harbour, and some of Victoria’s most well-known attractions, such as the Parliament Buildings and Royal British Columbia Museum, are also located on the Inner Harbour. This is probably where your excursion will begin if you’re taking a boat or ferry tour.
While most recent visitors advised spending a few hours in the Inner Harbour to take in the view, there is always something intriguing to see and do, so some advised allocating at least half a day also, the Inner Harbour is open to the public all year round.
Taking a horse-drawn carriage tour in this old city is a novel experience. Visitors can experience the city’s sights in luxury while riding a horse-drawn carriage through historic neighborhoods, picturesque waterfront lanes, and the second-oldest Chinatown in North America.
Most operators let you open a bottle of wine while you explore the city at night if you want to ratchet up the romance.
Using Victoria Carriage Tours is something we advise. The horse-drawn carriage is going to pick you up just outside your hotel or dining establishment.
Additionally, you can arrange your journey directly with the horse-drawn carriage drivers at the Parliament Buildings.
6.1.1 Take a Harbour Ferry to Explore the Inner Harbour
Taking a small Harbour Ferry is a delightful way to navigate Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
The little ferries leave numerous locations throughout the harbor, allowing you to move about the harbor and transform this practical source of transportation into a fun activity.
A delightful pint of craft beer is available at Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub. Alternatively, go to Fisherman’s Wharf and eat at Barb’s Fish and Chips to experience the renowned fish and chips, the best place to visit in Victoria Island in Vancouver.
6.2. Butchart Gardens
Butchart Gardens, situated 55 acres approximately fifteen miles north of the Inner Harbour, on the site of her husband’s former limestone quarry, Jennie Butchart painstakingly built Butchart Gardens.
The grounds are said to be breathtakingly gorgeous, and visitors advise bringing a camera. Additionally, they suggested blocking off many hours to enjoy the experience fully.
6.3. Take a Whale-Watching Tour
Whale watching on Vancouver Island is among the greatest in all of Canada.
The Salish Sea is the ideal location to see orcas in their native environment. 95% of whale-watching cruises are successful because whales, seabirds, and other marine species are drawn to the area to eat.
And while whale sightings are possible throughout the year, the best time to see them in Victoria is from May to October, when the salmon migrate.
6.4. British Columbia Parliament Buildings
One of Victoria’s top attractions is the recognizable British Columbia Parliament Buildings. These structures have been described as combining Romanesque and Neo-baroque architectural styles.
The Parliament Buildings’ construction started in 1893 and wasn’t formally inaugurated until 1898. The Premier’s Rose Garden, Douglas Obelisk, Speak Chair, Front Fountain, and the Cenotaph (Bronze War Memorial to the Unknown Soldier), among other prominent structures on the grounds, are all worth mentioning.
The BC Parliament Building’s interior can also be viewed by visitors. Either take a regularly scheduled guided tour or go on your exploration of the structures.
6.5. Riding a Bicycle along Dallas Road
The BC Parliament Buildings & Inner Harbour, as well as the majority of Victoria’s prominent landmarks and tourist attractions, are accessible on foot.
Rent a bike and ride along Dallas Road for Beacon Hill Park & Ross Bay to discover what is beyond the downtown area. Dallas Road offers stunning seaside views, particularly around dusk.
Start your bike journey in James Bay’s residential section, and some of Vancouver Island’s exquisite heritage homes be found in this peaceful neighborhood.
Take a short break at Fisherman’s Wharf, then continue south on Dallas Road in the direction of Ogden Point. A seaside road should follow as it leads to Beacon Hill. You can cycle around the park or keep going to Ross Bay & Gonzales Beach.
You may walk along the Dallas Road Waterfront Trail and explore Holland Point Park, Finlayson Point, and Spiral Beach if biking isn’t your thing.
6.6. IMAX and Royal BC Museum
The Royal BC Museum, which focuses on the natural and human history of British Columbia, is situated between the Empress Hotel & the BC Parliament Buildings and is the best place to visit Victoria Island in Vancouver.
All ages and tastes will enjoy this museum because of the extensive galleries’ variety of settings. The First Peoples Gallery, Natural History Gallery, and several traveling exhibitions are also present.
The enormous collection of totem poles and the life-size replica of a woolly mammoth are among the favorites.
If you wish to see an IMAX film, schedule at least 3 hours at the museum.
6.7. Examine Victoria’s, Hill Park
The biggest and most beloved park in Victoria is Beacon Hill Park, which is situated beside the Juan de Fuca Strait. Most hotels in downtown Victoria are within walking distance of the 200-acre park, making it simple to get there on foot or by bicycle.
Beacon Hill Park offers a variety of activities, such as strolling through its immaculately kept gardens and past the weeping willows at Goodacre Lake, feeding the goats at the park’s children’s farm, taking pictures of the strange Moss Lady sculpture, and admiring the tallest free-standing totem pole in the world and is the best place to visit in Victoria Island in Vancouver.
Beacon Hill Park provides access to the Dallas Waterfront Trail and does explore the stony sands of Finlayson Point in search of little crabs.
Take a seat on the driftwood and look for whales and other marine creatures breaching in the distance.
Inhale deeply and enjoy the breathtaking sights of the Pacific Northwest!
6.8. Beach Volleyball at Rooftop Bar
Have you ever played beach volleyball on a city restaurant’s rooftop? Strathcona’s Rooftop Surf Club is home to the only rooftop volleyball beach courts in the world, so we think you haven’t.
If you have the time and inclination, The Sticky Wicket and Big Bad John’s, two of Victoria’s top dive bars, are great places to go if beach volleyball isn’t your thing. With origins in Victoria’s early 1900s gold rush history, Strathcona has become a well-known icon in the city.
Among the best places to visit in Victoria Island in Vancouver and after a day of sightseeing, this venue is the ideal spot to unwind with its seven venues, five storeys, five diverse restaurants, and 1,200+ seats. It’s also a fantastic spot to turn it up and make the city crimson.
6.9. Historical National Park at Hatley Park
The Hatley Park Historic Site is home to Hatley Castle (seen above), which is situated west of Victoria, as well as stunning gardens, including the Japanese Garden and Rose Garden.
Cameron attended Royal Roads University, which has been using the home and estate since 1995. (more on that story here).
You may explore the university grounds, trek through the forest, and take pictures with the local peacocks—just don’t get too close—by taking a tour of the castle & its gardens.
6.10. Lighthouses at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard
Visit adjacent Fort Rodd Hill and the Fisgard Lighthouse Historic Site, the first still-operating lighthouse on Canada’s west coast, after touring Hatley Park National Historic Site.
Visitors can see the 100-year-old coastal artillery batteries, disguised searchlight emplacements, control posts, guardhouses, and barracks at the Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site and the best place to visit in Victoria Island in Vancouver.
The location of both of these national historic sites in Victoria is the same.
6.11. Miniature World Victoria
Walk one block south after visiting the Victoria Bug Zoo to check in Miniature World, which is among the most well-liked tourist destinations in Victoria.
It is a trademark for Miniature World “The Greatest Little Show On Earth.”
There are more than 85 miniature exhibitions and dioramas there, including the smallest operational sawmill in the world and one of the longest model railroads.
Visit the Maritime Museum in British Columbia across the street after Miniature World. You can find historical artifacts, photographs, models, and works of art here that illustrate the maritime past of the Pacific Northwest.
After San Francisco, Chinatown Victoria was the oldest Chinatown in North America and the oldest in Canada.
6.12. Fisherman’s Wharf
It’s entertaining to spend an hour or two at Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria. On the pier, have some of Barb’s renowned fish and chips while you observe the playful seals swimming about the vibrant floating hamlet.
At the pier, you may choose from a range of stores and food stands with items like freshly caught fish, ice cream & milkshakes, sweet mini-doughnuts, pizza, and real Mexican food. The picturesque Harbour Pathway is also a great place to cycle or walk.
The BC Parliament Buildings and Fisherman’s Wharf are both within reasonable walking distance of one another.
6.13. The Victoria Bug Zoo
Consider paying for the Victoria Bug Zoo, often known as the Bug Museum, a quick visit if you’re visiting Victoria with kids and is the best place to visit in Victoria Island in Vancouver.
You have the chance to see and interact with live tropical bugs from all over the world at the zoo. About 50 different species can be found there, including huge walking sticks, praying mantises, and glow-in-the-dark scorpions.
This comparatively small city is still firmly steeped in its Colonial heritage and enjoys distinctly British customs. Long beaches and lush wineries are two more features of Vancouver Island.
Drive to Sooke, a bustling boating and fishing community, from downtown Victoria, or travel to the Cowichan Valley to see rows of grape-laden vines, just remember to bring your camera because the scenery is sure to wow even the most jaded of viewers.