Home Top Day Trips from Vancouver The Capital City of Victoria

The Capital City of Victoria

Boats in Victoria's Inner Harbour in front of the Legislature

The capital city of British Columbia, Victoria, is a lovely place. It’s a day’s journey by car and ferry from Vancouver, or just 30 minutes by Seaplane.

Victoria is well worth visiting! It’s quaint, beautiful and wonderfully “British.” If the weather is good, the journey from Vancouver to Victoria is an experience in itself.


Victoria’s Best Places to Visit

Some of Victoria’s best places to visit include the following:

  • Beacon Hill Park (very nice, and free).
  • The Empress Hotel (the city’s most famous landmark and a fancy place for afternoon tea).
  • The Inner Harbour (Victoria’s beautiful harbour where yachts dock and the seaplanes land).
  • The Royal BC Museum (a top-rated museum and a must see, assuming you like museums, and especially on a rainy day. Even if you aren’t normally a fan of museums, chances are you’ll still be impressed with this one).
  • Butchart Gardens (a world-class garden definitely worth seeing, although expensive. The garden is especially breathtaking in the winter with its evening Christmas lights and in the summer on Saturday evenings when there are fireworks).

To learn about other top attractions in BC’s capital city, see the website VictoriasBestPlaces.com.


Butcharts Sunken Garden in Summer
Butchart Gardens in Victoria


Festivals & Events in Victoria

The same as in the Lower Mainland, lots of festivals and events happen in BC’s capital city. Examples in the spring include the St. Patrick’s Day Festival, Victoria Highland Games and Victoria Day Parade.

In the summer in Victoria there is the Canada Day long weekend in July and Symphony Splash in August. In autumn there is the Victoria Marathon and Wicked Victoria. Signature Christmas events are Light Up the City, the Santa Light Parade and Magic of Christmas at Butchart Gardens.

To learn more about the above and other great events in the city, see the Calendar of Events on the VictoriasBestPlaces.com website.


How to Get to Victoria

If traveling from Vancouver to Victoria, most people go one of three main ways. You can travel by BC Ferries via Tsawwassen, by ferry via Horseshoe Bay, or by flying by seaplane (or helicopter).


By BC Ferries via Tsawwassen

This is the most common way, with a one-way adult fare costing around $20, plus an extra $60 or so for the average vehicle. Advance reservations are extra, but can be worth the premium at the start and end of holiday weekends, plus peak times in the summer. The ferry from Vancouver docks in Swartz Bay which is still a 40-minute or so drive into downtown Victoria.


By BC Ferries via Horseshoe Bay

This options involves driving the 90 minutes or so from Nanaimo to Victoria. This is a nice way to go if you want a change from the usual Tsawwassen route, or if you plan to head somewhere in central or northern Vancouver Island instead of going south to Victoria. It’s also a good option if you live on the North Shore and want to avoid driving through Vancouver during rush hour.

The cost for the ferry via Horseshoe Bay is close to the same as via Tsawwassen. The views are different, but equally spectacular on a sunny day.


Taking the Harbour Air Seaplanes

With Harbour Air you can go from downtown Vancouver to Victoria’s Inner Harbour. This is the fastest and most expensive of the three main ways to get to and from Victoria. It’s also the most spectacular (provided that it’s a clear sunny day and you get a window seat).

If the weather is nice, definitely try to get a window seat if you can. If you don’t, it’s just a flight, but with a different sort of takeoff and landing. For folks who do get a window seat, they’ll get a spectacular view of Vancouver, the Coastal Mountains and the Gulf Islands. Flights take about 30 minutes and they are fun, assuming you don’t mind small planes that land and take off from the water.

Other less common ways to get to Victoria from Vancouver are to fly via Vancouver Airport (as there are small planes that do this), or, if you have lots of money and want to go in style, flying by Helijet from downtown Vancouver.


Victoria's Lower Causeway


Other Information

To learn more about the city, see the website VictoriasBestPlaces.com.

TIP: A good time to visit Victoria can be during the last week of February. Weather-wise this isn’t a good season, as there is often lots of rain and the trees look bleak without their leaves. However, February is also when Victoria attractions and restaurants offer their Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown program, where you can get a book of tickets for cheap and get discounted access to dozens of attractions.

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