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Things to do in Victoria

Things to do in  Victoria

Welcome to Victoria

Perched on the southeastern shores of Vancouver Island, Victoria—the capital of the Canadian province of British Columbia—has a rich colonial history dating back to the 19th century. Bus and walking tours take Garden City visitors to top attractions such as Antique Row, Beacon Hill Park, Craigdarroch Castle (a National Historic Site of Canada), Oak Bay Marina, and Mount Tolmie, while the famous Butchart Gardens delight travelers from across the world with their enchanting floral displays. Food tours showcase the region’s diverse cheeses, fine chocolates, craft beer, and divine seafood; while overhead, sightseeing seaplane flights offer bird’s-eye views over the coastal scenery. For many visitors to Victoria, though, one activity stands out among all the others: whale watching. Cruises depart from Victoria and head into the deep waters of the Salish Sea, where gray, humpback, killer, and minke whales can be seen breaching and crashing through the waves. Travelers also regularly spot other native wildlife such as marine birds, otters, porpoises, sea lions, and seals. For visitors with a little more time on their hands, three- to eight-day tours hit farther-flung destinations such as Barkley Sound; Strathcona-Westmin Provincial Park; and the snowy peaks—or summery hiking and mountain biking trails—of Whistler, where travelers can experience the best of the Canadian wilderness.

Top 10 attractions in Victoria

#1
Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

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Butchart Gardens, established in 1904, treat visitors to an enchanting floral show that changes with the seasons. Covering 55 acres (22 hectares) on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, the botanical space is intricately laid out into separate themed gardens with landscaping that impresses and inspires gardeners and nature lovers alike.More
#2
Craigdarroch Castle

Craigdarroch Castle

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In 1890 Scottish coal baron Robert Dunsmuir built Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, British Columbia, to showcase his inordinate wealth. This 39-room hilltop mansion is rich with opulent details, including multiple turrets and chimneys, a red slate roof, stained-glass windows, wood carvings, antique furnishings, and gold-framed paintings.More
#3
Victoria Chinatown

Victoria Chinatown

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First established in the mid-19th century, Victoria Chinatown is among North America’s oldest. Now a National Historic Site, Victoria’s Chinatown is home to cafes, studios, herbalists, tea rooms, and shops, as well as the narrow Fan Tan Alley, which measures 35 inches (88.9 centimeters) wide at its narrowest point.More
#4
Beacon Hill Park

Beacon Hill Park

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Sheer natural beauty is just the start of the appeal of of Beacon Hill Park, which sprawls across the southern edge of Victoria, British Columbia. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, with a petting zoo, splash parks, playgrounds, sports fields, seemingly endless footpaths, and one of the tallest totem poles in the world.More
#5
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

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Encompassing 15 islands, scattered around the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands National Park is one of Canada’s most recently established National Parks and among the top attractions of British Columbia’s Gulf Islands.Reachable only by boat, the larger islands of Mayne, Saturna and Pender serve as the main basecamps for holidaymakers, but it’s easy to hop between the islands by boat or kayak, and there are ample opportunities for hiking and cycling. Highlights include the sandy beaches of Sidney Island, the historic Mahoi House on Russel Island and the abundance of Orca whales, sea lions and waterfowl that can be spotted around the coast, while adventurous types can enjoy climbing the summit of Mount Norman on Pender Island or exploring the hidden coves of Portland Island.More
#6
Miniature World

Miniature World

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Miniature World contains more than 85 dioramas that depict historical, factual, and fantasy scenes in miniature scale. Watch tiny trains chugging along tracks; see a small working sawmill in action; observe a scaled-down circus in full swing; and inspect Lilliputian versions of Camelot and Dickensian London.More
#7
Royal British Columbia Museum

Royal British Columbia Museum

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From totem poles to ancient fossils, British Columbia’s history is on display at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria. Explore vast collections covering the natural world and human heritage, with dioramas that place historic artifacts in context. A soaring IMAX screen and special exhibitions add to the museum experience.More
#8
British Columbia Parliament Buildings

British Columbia Parliament Buildings

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Built overlooking Victoria’s Inner Harbor, the British Columbia Parliament Buildings form an impressive architectural and historical landmark within a few steps of downtown.When the provincial legislature outgrew its former home, the provincial government hosted an architectural competition to build the new legislative buildings. Francis Rattenbury, a then 25-year-old recent arrival from England, won with his three-building neo-baroque style plans, but construction didn’t go without its woes; the project soared beyond its original budget, but the new British Columbia Parliament Buildings did open their doors in 1898.The white marble, massive central dome, and lengthy façade combined to make an innovative and impressive monument for what, at the time, was a relatively young Canadian province. The building remains equally impressive, today, and a few new landmarks exist on its property. A statue of Queen Victoria stands on the front yard, while a figure of George Vancouver sits atop the central dome. There is also a statue of a soldier to commemorate the province’s fallen heroes from WWI, WWII, and the Korean War.More
#9
Victoria Inner Harbour

Victoria Inner Harbour

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A trim wedge of water rimmed with top landmarks, Victoria’s Inner Harbour is the city’s bustling port. Whether you’re hopping a whale-watching cruise or enjoying a sea breeze, the Inner Harbour is an essential stop when exploring Victoria. Among its highlights are the elegant Fairmont Empress hotel and the narrow streets beyond.More
#10
Fairmont Empress Hotel

Fairmont Empress Hotel

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The grand style of the Fairmont Empress hotel sets the tone for Victoria’s Inner Harbour, where boats tie up just steps from the city’s most historic landmarks. Visiting the Fairmont Empress is not just for overnight guests; afternoon tea here has been a Victoria tradition for more than a century.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Victoria

How to Spend 1 Day in Victoria

How to Spend 2 Days in Victoria

How to Spend 2 Days in Victoria

Recent reviews from experiences in Victoria

star-5
Fast and fun
JeanDenis_B, Jul 2021
Victoria to Vancouver Seaplane Flight
I wanted to visit Victoria and Vancouver on the same trip, so the flight option was the fastest and more fun way to do it.
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Highly recommend
Rosetta_P, Oct 2021
Vancouver Island Rainforest Guided Hike with Private Guide
We saw beautiful greenery, waterfalls, gardens, and some wildlife - countless photo-worthy views.
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Fantastic! A highlight of our trip.
Lisette_B, Sep 2021
Victoria Guided Food and History Tour
Our tour with Andy made us fall in love with Victoria!
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Magical trails, beautiful coast- and Seals!
Emma_K, Aug 2021
Vancouver Island Rainforest Guided Hike with Private Guide
We got to know historical facts about Victoria on our way to the hiking locations, got to see magical forest trails and beautiful views of the open waters.
star-5
Really get to see the neighborhood!
Richard_S, Sep 2020
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
A great way to see the city, and Chuck gives a great running commentary when we visit the different places, and really conveys his respect and knowledge for Victoria and its neighborhoods.
star-5
This was a fun and very worthwhile...
Robert J, Aug 2017
Victoria Guided Food and History Tour
Great way to see Victoria eateries at the beginning of your trip.
star-5
A fantastic way to see Victoria! The...
Pamela M, Aug 2017
Victoria Panorama Seaplane Tour
A fantastic way to see Victoria!
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I would highly recommend this bike...
Janice F, Jul 2017
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
They were well organized and it is a great way to see the city.
star-5
Great experience, highly recommend...
Anna M, Jun 2016
Zodiac Whale Watching Adventure from Victoria
Great experience, highly recommend it while in Victoria, definitely the highlight of our trip, we got to see a humpback whale the only down size is we were a bit sore the next day but it was well worth the few aches and pains!
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This was a wonderful bike tour. Not...
Ken P, Jul 2016
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
Our guide was great and we got to see more of Victoria than just the downtown area.
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Cruise options for Victoria were...
Shannon D, Jul 2016
Vancouver Island Rainforest Guided Hike with Private Guide
I got to see a lot of sea life we dont have here in Florida and it was a great photo spot.
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Great way to see some of the gems of...
Lynn D, Mar 2015
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
Great way to see some of the gems of Victoria.
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The best way to tour Victoria!
Salvador_M, Jul 2019
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
We got to see parts of the city that we wouldn't have if we hadn't taken the tour.

All about Victoria

When to visit

Summer is peak season in Victoria, with dry, sunny weather perfect for harborside events including the Symphony Splash and Victoria International JazzFest. If you don’t mind crowded paths, it’s also the best time to catch Butchart Gardens in full bloom. Fall has fewer tourists and discounted hotel rooms, though watch out for closed attractions around Canadian Thanksgiving in mid-October.

Frequently Asked Questions
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