Things to do in
Victoria, British Columbia

Marvel at historical buildings, relax in green spaces, or even meet some whales in British Columbia’s capital.

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Our most recommended things to do in Victoria, British Columbia

Vancouver: Victoria, Gulf Islands Cruise, & Butchart Gardens

1. Vancouver: Victoria, Gulf Islands Cruise, & Butchart Gardens

View the spectacular British Columbia coastline by land and ship, followed by a stop at Butchart Gardens en route to the British-inspired city of Victoria. Board a BC Ferries vessel at Tsawwassen terminal for a 90-minute sail through the serene beauty of the Gulf Islands. Marine wildlife sightings from the outdoor ship decks are common, especially eagles, sea lions, and whales. Arrive at Swartz Bay terminal on Vancouver Island and continue to the enchanting botanical paradise of Butchart Gardens. Wander through a series of themed gardens, highlighted by the massive Sunken Garden complete with dancing fountain. The city of Victoria boasts many impressive architectural wonders, including the iconic Parliament Buildings and the waterfront Fairmont Empress Hotel. Visit the unique shops and cafes of Government Street and Chinatown. Stroll along the Inner Harbour for prime ocean views, and enjoy some free time to take in this culturally significant city. Return on the bus to Vancouver by ferry to conclude this diverse tour. Packed with ever-changing experiences of the Pacific Coast and Vancouver Island, this tour is a must-do for those who have not yet visited Victoria.

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Victoria: 2-Hour Food and History Tour with Tastings

2. Victoria: 2-Hour Food and History Tour with Tastings

Join your guide at the Victoria Public Market, an old department store from 1921. After the first tasting at this location, make your way to Canada's oldest Chinatown and discover the Chinese Public School, Gates of Harmonious Interest and Fan Tan Alley. Moving on after 3 tastings in Chinatown, you will discover Victoria's Old Town district with stops at Market Square, Johnson Street, Bastion Square, and the Government Street shopping district.  After 3 more local tastings, you will finish the tour at the Visitor Center in the beautiful Inner Harbour. Here, learn about the Empress Hotel and the British Columbia legislative buildings (Provincial Parliament).  From this location, you will be well-positioned to discover the rest of Victoria or access local transportation to the cruise ship terminal, ferry or airport.

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Victoria, BC: 3-Hour Ultimate Whale & Marine Wildlife Tour

3. Victoria, BC: 3-Hour Ultimate Whale & Marine Wildlife Tour

The waters off Victoria, British Columbia are known as the Salish Sea. Discover its wonders and rich marine environment with this ultimate whale and marine wildlife tour! Board a brand new high speed coastal explorer boat and set sail to look for orcas (also known as killer whales), humpbacks, harbor seals, California sea lions and over 127 species of marine birds!  Take a tour of the west coast aboard a luxurious coastal explorer, with two outside viewing areas and a fully heated cabin. Enjoy complimentary coffee and hot chocolate as you set off on an adventure to learn all about the local marine wildlife and important landmarks. From playful orcas to giant humpbacks, your experience is sure to be memorable. Discover the marine wildlife in the waters off Victoria with the help of marine biologists and learn about efforts to establish Victoria as a world renowned whale watching destination. 

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From Vancouver: Butchart Gardens & Victoria Sightseeing Tour

4. From Vancouver: Butchart Gardens & Victoria Sightseeing Tour

Meet in central Vancouver and take a 90-minute scenic cruise aboard the ferry to Vancouver Island. Sail through the Strait of Georgia and enjoy the scenery. Be sure to visit the outside decks as it’s not uncommon to see all kinds of sea life, including porpoises and whales. Arrive on Vancouver Island and first visit the beautiful Butchart Gardens. Explore this world-renowned botanical garden which was once a quarry, featuring the Japanese Garden, the Ross Fountain, an Italian Garden, and other floral displays. Continue the trip with a ferry ride to the city of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Discover the main sights of Victoria with your guide, starting at Mile O. See Ogden Point, Fisherman’s Wharf, Empress Hotel, and historic Chinatown, including the famous Fan Tan Alley. Later, enjoy some free time to explore on your own or book an additional optional activity. Your guide will be on hand to assist you with suggestions on the best restaurants, breweries, shops, and hidden gems. Relax as you cruise back to the mainland in the evening, arriving back in Vancouver at approximately 9:30 PM.

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Victoria: 3-Hour Whale Watching Tour in a Zodiac Boat

5. Victoria: 3-Hour Whale Watching Tour in a Zodiac Boat

This 3-hour whale-watching tour boasts sighting just about everything there is to see, including groups of predatory transient orcas and breaching humpback calves. Recently, a guest proposed to his girlfriend as a pod of killer whales cavorted in the background! Get suited up in a cozy cruiser suit, ensuring your comfort and safety for the duration of the trip. The tour departs from Victoria’s beautiful inner harbor. Your ride on one of the zipping Zodiac-style boats will be nearly as exciting as seeing the whales. Each of the boats seats 12, and there are great views from every seat. On the way out of the harbor, the boat passes the historic Victoria coastline. Once out of the harbor you’ll see a variety of different species of sea life, including orcas, humpback whales, grey whales, minke whales, porpoises, dolphins, sea lions, elephant seals, otters, and bald eagles. Every tour is guided by a Transport Canada-approved skipper, who will provide information and commentary on all of the wildlife you see.

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Vancouver: Floatplane Transfer between Vancouver & Victoria

6. Vancouver: Floatplane Transfer between Vancouver & Victoria

Make your way to Coal Harbour, part of Burrard Inlet near Canada Place, and board a seaplane to take you to your next journey in Victoria, BC. Located right along Vancouver’s iconic seawall, the terminal features a passenger lounge with panoramic views of Stanley Park and the North Shore mountains, a gift shop, and the fully licensed Cockpit Café. From Burrard Inlet, ascend for bird’s-eye views of the green towers of Lion’s Gate Bridge and the Brockton Peninsula of Stanley Park. Flying south over the Salish Sea, look down on a cluster of the Gulf Islands dotted with beaches, forests, and fields of gold and green. After 35 minutes in the air, your pilot will land in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Along the harbor, visit the majestic ivy-covered Fairmont Empress hotel and pass the BC Parliament Buildings which, at night, twinkle with thousands of lightbulbs. Victoria's floating terminal boasts some of the city’s best waterfront views and is located beside The Flying Otter Grill and its new extended outdoor patio (the Otter Deck), serving fresh west coast cuisine for lunch and dinner. This journey is also available in the opposite direction, from Victoria to Vancouver.

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Victoria: Carriage Tour by the Sea

7. Victoria: Carriage Tour by the Sea

Relax as you glide through the tranquil streets of James Bay, a diverse neighborhood that is host to unique shops and community. Feel a burst of fresh air before meeting the stretch of coastline along the Dallas Road waterfront. While following the coast, take in views of the Salish Sea and the magnificent Olympic Mountain range. Clip-clop back through the historical district of James Bay and enjoy an unforgettable horse-drawn carriage experience.

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Telegraph Cove: Half-Day Whale Watching Tour

8. Telegraph Cove: Half-Day Whale Watching Tour

After gathering at the Telegraph Cove Resort, you will embark on your 3-hour, fully-guided whale watching and wildlife viewing adventure. In true comfort and style, your crew will be excited to take you to Johnstone Strait, in search of the majestic wildlife that floods the local waters here in the summer months. You can take advantage of the opportunity to view killer whales and humpback whales in the wild, as well as an assortment of seabirds and other species of marine wildlife. The Ocean Magic II is a custom designed marine marvel, which combines the practicality of a semi-covered vessel with the speed and maneuverability of a Zodiac. With three naturalists on board and two different viewing elevations, this is the only purpose-built whale watching vessel of its size in the industry. Sip your coffee, feel the wind in your hair or keep cozy under cover while you explore the pacific northwest.

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Vancouver to Victoria and Butchart Gardens

9. Vancouver to Victoria and Butchart Gardens

Enjoy an extended 13-hour tour of Vancouver Island and Victoria, with return transfers from Vancouver or drop off in Victoria if you prefer. Once at Vancouver Island’s Swartz Bay on the Saanich Peninsula, drive by air-conditioned coach to Butchart Gardens and walk among the 50 acres of magnificent foliage. Then head to downtown Victoria, traveling through quaint Chinatown and the Inner Harbour. Take free time to explore the Inner Harbour, admiring heritage sites such as the Empress Hotel, the Royal BC Museum, and BC Legislature. Depart from downtown Victoria for your return journey to Vancouver in the late afternoon. Your return journey to the mainland will be on board a BC Ferry, where you can watch for whales, dolphins, sea lions, and other magnificent marine mammals. Arrival in Vancouver is scheduled for approximately 21:30, where you can be dropped off at your downtown hotel or disembark at the terminal.

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Victoria: 2-Hour History and Highlights Bike Tour

10. Victoria: 2-Hour History and Highlights Bike Tour

Embark on a fun and unique tour experience as you explore Victoria on a segway. See more of the city in less time, visit famous locations and enjoy entertaining commentary from your local guide along the way. Meet your guide, receive your bike and helmet, and then head off to discover some of Victoria's most iconic landmarks, including Chinatown, Craigdarroch Castle, and Beacon Hill Park. The itinerary includes a ride along the scenic Dallas waterfront and a visit to unique neighborhoods like Moss Rock, Cook Street Village, and artistic Fernwood. As you discover the city, learn why Victoria has earned the moniker of Most Livable City in Canada.

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Frequently asked questions about Victoria, British Columbia

What top attractions are a must-see in Victoria, British Columbia?

Planning Your Visit

  • Getting Around Victoria

    The best way to traverse Victoria is by taking one of 80 bus lines to your destination. You can also take one of several ferries to cross the waterways within the city.

  • What to eat in Victoria?

    Go for a farm-to-table brewpub, where you can sample truly local cuisine. Pair the gastropub fare with a Canadian Indian Pale Ale for the ultimate sensory experience.

Good to know

  • Language
    English
  • Currency
    Canadian Dollar ($)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (-08:00)
  • Country Code
    +1
  • Best time to visit
    Victoria's weather is warmest and sunniest from June to August. To avoid the rain, you really have to come in the summer time. See the city at its most vibrant and enjoy the best of Victoria's offerings when you come in the warmer months.

Other Sightseeing Options in Victoria, British Columbia

Want to discover all there is to do in Victoria, British Columbia? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Victoria, British Columbia

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 793 reviews

The crew had clearly told us that the chances of seeing whales were very small, as they had hardly seen any animals in the past 14 days. But luck drove with us, after a few minutes 3 humpback whales appeared. Later other conspecifics came and even orcas, which came up to the boat. The crew always kept their distance to the animals. We received a lot of information and the crew took photos that we could download after the trip. So you didn't have the stress of taking great photos and you could just enjoy the sight.

Would highly recommend this as an activity if you're traveling here. Lots of fun, great locations during the tour, wonderful tour guide! 10/10 recommended ☺️

Very nice staff and expert driver Andre We managed to see the Whale Recommended

We enjoyed our driver, Hanna and the lovely Tommy. It was a special adventure.

Our tour guide Alex was fantastic. So friendly, funny and informative!