Vancouver to Victoria: Your Simple Weekend Getaway Guide
Is traveling from Vancouver to Victoria really worth it? Heck yea!
If you are making a trip to Vancouver, you should also drop by Victoria for a day or two. You can’t go wrong with stopping by and seeing this majestic gem of British Columbia!
In fact, there are so many great things about Victoria that even attract Vancouverites to head over every weekend. Here is our in-depth guide that answers your most frequently asked questions about traveling to Victoria from Vancouver!
Is it Worth Going to Victoria from Vancouver?
Visiting Victoria from Vancouver on a day trip is totally worth it. Or even better, you should spend at least two days in Victoria to make the most of the city.
A trip from Vancouver takes you approximately four hours to reach Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. This city is like a dreamy weekend getaway for Vancouverites to have a bite of their favorite bagel or talk about beer notes with a craft brewer.
Victoria is a small whimsical town. All of the main attractions are close to one another and within walking distance. Shopping, brunching, bar crawling and many other experiences are ready to keep you busy.
To fully understand how attractive and interesting Victoria is, read on to find out the best places to hang out, stay and eat!
What is Victoria B.C. Known for?
6 Interesting Facts about Victoria BC
It’s not extravagant at all if you say Victoria is the city of records! Here are six titles proving that Victoria is totally worth a visit!
· City of garden
· Canada’s Best City to live in for women (by Condé Nast)
· Seventh best city in the world (by Condé Nast)
· One of the most bike-friendly cities in Canada (by Redfin).
· Home to the world’s tallest free-standing totem pole (Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park).
· One of the best cold-water diving destinations worldwide (by National Geographic).
6 Best Attractions in Victoria You Should Not Miss
1. Inner Harbor
The area of Inner Harbor is home to the most incredible buildings in Victoria. It’s an ideal place to just laze around the streets under the sun, capture the most Instagrammable angles, and listen to the buskers.
2. Beacon Hill Park
Another prominent attraction in Victoria you gotta visit is Beacon Hill Park. Encompassing 75 hectares, Beacon Hill boasts a wide range of activities and events which are held frequently throughout the year.
The most iconic point of interest at Beacon Hill Park is the world’s fourth-tallest totem pole, which can be observed if you partake in one of the seven walking trails. Other than that, you can wander around a petting zoo or hit the playgrounds if you visit the park with your little ones.
The collection of multiple landscaped gardens scattered around the park is a huge bonus point to enhance the attractiveness of Beacon Hill.
If watching wildlife while lazing on the grass field is your favorite leisure activity, nothing can beat Beacon Hill Park to become your best place to be for a Sunday picnic.
Address: 100 Cook St, Victoria, BC
3. Royal BC Museum
The Royal BC Museum today houses a huge collection of British Columbia’s Provincial Archives. It is one of the most prominent attractions in town for history buffs and families with kids.
There are three main compartments in the building, which are the galleries of modern history, natural history, and First Nations history.
Address: 675 Belleville St, Victoria, BC V8W 9W2
4. Fisherman’s Wharf
Imagine a lively scenery lit up with the mosaic patchwork of colors! That’s exactly what the Fisherman’s Wharf is all about!
There’re plenty of dining houses enclosing the colorful float homes to serve you from Mexican cuisine to Japanese delicacies.
Address: 12 Erie St, Victoria, BC V8V 4X5
5. Hatley Castle
This magnificent mansion is set peacefully on the outskirts of Victoria. Hatley Castle was once a military college and naval training facility. Nowadays, Hatley Castle serves as the National Historic Site and a gigantic garden paradise.
Fun fact: Smallville, X-Men, Deadpool 1 and 2 were filmed here!
Address: 2005 Sooke Rd, Victoria, BC V9B 5Y2
6. Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
We highly recommend the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria to anyone who is into fine arts. Art Gallery of Greater Victoria sits on a tranquil park-like setting and is known as the largest public art gallery in Victoria. This massive exhibition house is also known as a great display of outstanding Asian art.
Address: 1040 Moss St, Victoria, BC V8V 4P
Is Victoria BC Safe?
Victoria is one of the best cities to live in the world. A simple “Yes” is not enough to describe how dreamy and friendly Victoria is. Fun in the daytime and safe at night. You can freely take a long walk on the beach or dine out on the patio without any anxiety.
What is the Best Time of the Year to Visit Victoria BC?
March to May
Spring unfolds all the finest beauty of Victoria nature. Any month between March and May is an ideal time to visit Victoria. People hit the streets to admire the blossoms blooming on the branches, while the animals come back to life after a long hibernation.
They have a beer week which occurs every March where people get all the laughter while holding their icy cold glass and chit-chatting.
September to November
Victoria and Vancouver during Fall get us enchanted and may leave you speechless as well. Get ready to go leaf-peeping and make sure to bring an umbrella along to walk down the rainy streets. Fall is the season of festivals. Get ready to indulge in the big crowd at the Classic Boat Festival and the Art of the Cocktail Festival celebrated every year.
What Food Is Victoria BC Known for?
Seafood at Red Fish Blue Fish
It’s a huge mistake if you skip seafood when visiting the coastal city of Victoria! Amongst many seafood restaurants in town, Red Fish Blue Fish is the most iconic spot to serve your weekend hunger and of course – fish & chips!
This restaurant is a shipping container on a wooden pier in the area of Inner Harbour. Foodies love to have the classic combo whenever they drop by the restaurant. The classic combo allows you to choose one out of three types of fish. Other than seafood, you can also have chowder, sandwiches or tacos.
Victoria takes the lead in the Canadian craft beer scene. One of the most respected breweries in the West Coast is The Churchill. This place owns an extensive menu of over 50 taps of the best craft beer in the Pacific Northwest.
Other than the distilled persuasion, you can also go for some cocktails and relax in the beautiful live music. Everything used in the drinks is fresh and the service is top-notch!
Address: 1140 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1Y2.
It’s time to get some pretty pies! At Ruth & Dean, you will be mesmerized at the collection of creative desserts. At the lovely luncheonette, you can sample Earl Grey and lavender or pair vanilla with macerated blackberries. All of the items are too pretty to eat and that’s exactly what builds the reputation of Ruth & Dean.
If you’re in the mood for some Mediterranean delicacies when in Victoria, don’t forget to check out Fig Deli! At Fig Deli, they offer a wide range of cuisines from the Mediterranean Basin region such as feta cheese, olives, or Turkish delight.
Other than that, their home-made goodies set them apart from other restaurants in town. Feel free to bring home some red peppers or cumin-scented Egyptian Koshari and feel the Mediterranean vibe by yourself!
Address: 1551 Cedar Hill Cross Rd, Victoria, BC V8P 2P3
How about some yeasty bread to take away for a morning sightseeing trip? Mount Royal Bagel Factory is a hot spot in Victoria where you can find classic Canadian bagels.
Mount Royal Bagel Factory is not only a bakery but also a house filled with history! The bagels coming from this store is a perfect example of an authentic Jewish recipe with a Canadian twist. Imagine feeling that schmear of cream cheese melted on your tongue while munching on a toasted onion bagel!
Victoria’s downtown is a small and lively place where you can walk around the historical buildings during the day and get some booze at a pub when night falls. This area is home to the famous Market Square, Bastion Square street shopping complex and many other recreational spots like cinemas, shops, and restaurants.
Here is an interactive map of the best Airbnb accommodations in Downtown Victoria.
2. James Bay
The residential neighborhood of James Bay brings you to the typical English culture such as Parliament or the Royal British Columbia Museum. James Bay is home to lots of historical apartments that deliver a mixture of maritime and colonial ambiance.
You can choose to stay at a gorgeous hotel with a stunning city view, enjoy sunsets on the pier, and chit chat with your friends by a glass of cocktail when night falls.
An interactive map of the best Airbnb accommodations in James Bay.
Known as the oldest Chinese district in Canada, Victoria’s Chinatown is a tourist hub with the world-renowned attractions like the Bay Centre Mall and Fan Tan Alley. The Fan Tan Alley is such a gem in the heart of the city where you’ll be amazed at the stunning galleries, beauty centers, and restaurants.
An interactive map of the best Airbnb accommodations in Chinatown.
4. Inner Harbor
Inner Harbor is famous for the colorful boat houses and fishing boats that lend the maritime feeling to the atmosphere.
If you stay at Inner Harbor, you can enjoy the incredible sea view from one of the cafes and restaurants. Thanks to the excellent location, Inner Harbor provides easy access to other tourist hotspots such as James Bay or the Royal Museum.
An interactive map of the best Airbnb accommodations in Inner Harbor.
5. West Shore
West Shore is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Victoria. This neighborhood has a special connection with nature, which makes it an ideal place for families or couples to spend their days during the visit.
You can cycle around Fort Rodd Hill or the Fisgard Lighthouse before getting cultured at the Coast Collective Arts Centre. West Shore is also a shopping paradise for the ladies who want to bring home some souvenirs.
An interactive map of the best Airbnb accommodations in the West Shore.
5 Different Ways to Travel to Victoria from Vancouver
1. Get Aboard BC Ferries
BC Ferries is a great way to travel from Vancouver to Victoria while absorbing the breathtaking seascape. If you’re staying in Vancouver and making a weekend getaway to Victoria for a day or two, opt for BC Ferries to fresh out on the deck and spot the marine wildlife.
The fare to ride the ferry is $17.2 (visit BC Ferry site for most up-to-date price) for an adult. It departs every hour and lasts for an hour and 35 minutes. You need to arrive at Tsawwassen to catch the sailings which drop you off at Swartz Bay.
Once you arrive at Swartz Bay, line the bus No. 70 to downtown Victoria. The bus fare is only $3 and the ride takes 53 minutes.
This is also the cheapest way from Vancouver to Victoria.
Another option to travel to Victoria from Vancouver is joining a day tour organized by Prince of Whales. The trip operates from May to September. You will start from the dock of Vancouver Harbor, cruise amongst the Gulf Island, and end up at Victoria’s Inner Harbor.
This whale-watching voyage only lasts for four hours. Once you arrive in Victoria, spend a bit of time leisurely wandering around the best attractions in town before taking a ride to Butchart Gardens and head back to Vancouver by dinner time.
Flying with Helijet takes you only 35 minutes to get to Victoria from Vancouver. This is a great alternative to admire the vista from up high. Daily flights are available multiple times a day between the two cities.
Until August 2020, Kabu Ride and Lucky To Go are the only ride-hailing companies permitted to operate their services in Victoria BC.
Meanwhile, Uber and Lyft are available in Vancouver.
Passport Requirement for Victoria Visitors
Many travelers are wondering if they can go to Victoria BC without a passport. The answer is no if you are not a Canadian resident.
If you enter British Columbia from the States, Central – South America, the Caribbean or Bermuda by plane, you need to bring along a valid passport book. Remember that passport cards are not accepted!
If you arrive in British Columbia by train, cruise or ferry from the States, you must present either a valid passport book, FAST card, or NEXUS card. For Washington state residents, the Enhanced Driver’s License is accepted.
This article is all you need to know before traveling from Vancouver to Victoria. Don’t forget to check out this ultimate food bucket list in Vancouver before making your way to Victoria!