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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.

Our most recommended things to do in Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria: 3-Hour Zodiac Whale-Watching Tour

1. Victoria: 3-Hour Zodiac Whale-Watching Tour

Experience the awe and inspiration of seeing whales in their natural environment on this unique whale-watching excursion from Victoria. Cruise along in an open zodiac boat on the Salish Sea, and get the chance to spot orcas, humpback, minke, and gray whales, as well as porpoises and seals. After being collected from your downtown accommodation in a comfortable shuttle bus, you will venture down to the harbor where you will meet with your boat. After meeting your guides for the day, you will then depart from Victoria, setting off on your 3-hour whale-watching tour. Between April and October, you will have a greater than 95% success rate of spotting whales, including both transient and resident orcas, humpback, minke, and gray whales. Other wildlife you may encounter include Dall’s and harbor porpoises, harbor and elephant seals, and otters and marine birds such as cormorants and bald eagles. The zodiac vessels used on your tour are definitely recommended for the wild-at-heart. You can let the wind blow in your hair and be exposed to the true west-coast elements in an open-style, 12-passenger vessel. At the conclusion of your exhilarating tour, you will be returned back to the harbor, at which point you will be driven back to your accommodation in downtown Victoria.

From Victoria: Whale Watching 3-Hour Trip on Covered Boat

2. From Victoria: Whale Watching 3-Hour Trip on Covered Boat

Join certified marine naturalists on a cruise from Victoria to spot whales, including both transient and resident orcas, humpbacks, minke, and gray whales. Benefit from hotel pickup and drop-off and relax with guaranteed whale sightings and a conservation fee included in the tour price. After meeting at the pier, begin your carbon-neutral tour led by certified marine naturalists who will share their knowledge and passion for Vancouver Island’s marine wildlife with you. Whilst on the boat, enjoy complimentary coffee and tea, onboard bathrooms, and indoor and outdoor viewing areas.  You may also encounter Dall’s and harbor porpoises, harbor and elephant seals, otters, and marine birds such as cormorants and bald eagles.  Make the best of peak whale watching season in Victoria which runs from April through October. In the event of an unlucky tour, you will be invited to join again for a complimentary second whale-watching tour to bring your dreams of seeing these magnificent animals to life.

Vancouver: Victoria, Gulf Islands Cruise, & Butchart Gardens

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

Experience the Pacific Coast and Vancouver Island by land and ship on a guided day trip from Vancouver with hotel transfers included. View the British Columbia coastline from a sightseeing cruise, 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. On the way, look out for marine wildlife from the outdoor ship decks, 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 a dancing fountain. Marvel at the architectural wonders of the city of Victoria boasts, including the iconic Parliament Buildings and the waterfront Fairmont Empress Hotel. Visit the 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.

Victoria Panoramic Seaplane Tour

4. Victoria Panoramic Seaplane Tour

Fly high above scenic Victoria BC and explore its beautiful scenery by seaplane. This thrill-a-minute tour will reveal a spectacular landscape and unforgettable aerial views. The Panoramic Seaplane Tour of Victoria will glide over the Olympic Mountains and along the Victoria waterfront to the white sand beaches of James and Sydney Islands. From here the tour heads north to the Saanich Peninsular and over the famous Butchart Gardens before returning back to Victoria Harbor. It is an experience not to be missed, especially if time is limited in Victoria and the photo opportunities just cannot be bettered. A fantastic day out for aviation lovers.

Whale Watching Tour in Victoria, BC

5. Whale Watching Tour in Victoria, BC

Have the chance to witness the area's diversity of whale species including humpback whales, Bigg's orcas, minke whales, and gray whales. The spotting network and years of experience in locating the whales ensure a high success rate for tours. The area of operations in the water surrounding Southern Vancouver Island, Victoria, the Gulf Islands, and Juan de Fuca Strait is a critical area for multiple species of whales, including other marine animals like seals, sea lions, sea otters, and marine birds. You may even spot more rare species such as elephant seals and dolphins. Listen as your crew introduces you to these magnificent animals and share with you the myriad of other natural wonders abundant in this pristine marine environment. The Salish Sea, the water off Victoria, is home to an abundance of marine wildlife. During the tour, explore various feeding areas that attract whales to local waters. Have the opportunity to see orcas and humpback whales in their natural habitat.  Other possible encounters include minke and gray whales. The Salish Sea is also home to seals, sea lions, porpoises, otters, and many more sea animals. Let five-star whale watching introduce you to the wonders of the Salish Sea.

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

6. 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. 

Victoria: Whale Watching Cruise by Covered Boat

7. Victoria: Whale Watching Cruise by Covered Boat

Experience the majesty of the Salish Sea and its wildlife, from whales surfacing in unison to bald eagles soaring overhead. Cut through the Strait of Juan de Fuca’s currents in search of orcas and humpback whales, and listen to our marine mammal experts bring the animals’ stories to life. Climb aboard the new Salish Sea catamaran-style boat, custom-designed for whale watching. Push through the waves with ease as you search for whales and other marine species. Stop at different points of interest within the protected waters of the Haro Strait and Strait of Juan de Fuca, where your captain will position the boat parallel to the animals for great photo opportunities. Learn more about the wildlife from up to 3 top marine naturalists. Enjoy the heated indoor cabin and 2 open air sundecks that are ideal for photography, or immerse yourself in this experience while we take free high-resolution photos of the wildlife, the landscape. and your loved ones.

Victoria: Downtown Food and City Tour

8. Victoria: Downtown Food and City Tour

Get out and about in downtown Victoria for an artisan food guided walking tour. Meet up with your local guide and get the in-the-know secrets of the foodie scene. Make several stops as you sightsee around the town, tasting delicious snacks and sampling local wines. First, meet inside the Steamship Terminal Building to begin your tour with a light snack. Stroll past the most iconic building of Victoria's inner harbor, and learn the history of the Empress Hotel and Legislature building. Make stops at 7 different foodie locations, and taste anything from Artisan wine from British Columbian wineries to unique Korean corn dogs. Try the halloumi kale salad, and sample some delicious cheese samples from the infamous cheese bistro. Don't worry, at the end, delight in a local dessert of decadent chocolate paired with fresh macarons.

Vancouver to Victoria and Butchart Gardens

9. Vancouver to Victoria and Butchart Gardens

Visit Victoria, British Columbia’s capital city, on this full-day guided tour from Vancouver city. Try to spot marine life on the ferry to Vancouver island, walk among the flowers in the Butchart Gardens, and admire the Victorian architecture in Victoria.  Start from downtown Vancouver and travel south through the city aboard a climate-controlled bus. Hop aboard a BC Ferry for a 90-minute voyage across the Georgia Strait through the scenic Southern Gulf Islands. Keep an eye out for orcas along the way. Once docked on Vancouver Island, the tour continues to the world-famous Butchart Gardens, a National Historic Site of Canada. See millions of bedding plants in over 900 varieties. Enjoy 2 leisurely hours to fully explore the 50 acres of stunning gardens. Head to downtown Victoria and pass through Canada’s oldest China Town and the scenic Victoria Harbor, including the Inner Harbor. Once downtown, you will have free time to explore the local area. Spend your time going for a stroll the Inner Harbor, taking in the thriving arts and cultural scene, or visiting the historic Empress Hotel or the Royal BC Museum. Take the ferry and bus to return to your meeting point in Vancouver. 

Victoria: Half-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour

10. Victoria: Half-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour

Experience Victoria in a unique way on board an open-top double-decker bus. Depart from right outside the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel then set off on a hop-on-hop-off tour to explore this charming city. From China Town to Oak Bay there is something for everyone.  As you ride the bus, listen to the fully narrated tour and gain an in-depth understanding of Victoria's local history and best attractions. Feel free to hop-off the bus at 15 different stop destinations - giving you an array of options to explore the city further.  Stops include Empress Hotel, Chinatown (Old Town), Bastion Square, Steamship Terminal, Fisherman's Wharf, Ogdeon Point (Breakwater), Beacon Hill Park, Mile 0 / Terry Fox, Christ Church Cathedral, Craigdarroch Castle, Oak Bay Municipal Hall, Oak Bay Marina, Oak Bay Hotel, Cook Street Village, and Chateau Victoria / Marriot / Dbl Tree.

Available activities

  • Canadian whale watching
  • Butchart Gardens tours
  • Victoria from above
  • Victorian craft beer, food, & more
  • Horse & carriage rides
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Frequently asked questions about Victoria, British Columbia

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What people are saying about Victoria, British Columbia

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,649 reviews

The tour was so interesting and informative. It was a really great way to experience many different types of food while seeing so many hidden gems in Victoria. I was traveling alone and this was a great way to see some sites, eat some amazing local food (which I went back to later!) and meet really cool travellers at the same time!

Our guide was really friendly and attentive, and we saw four pods of whales! Which is apparently very rare. An amazing day.

We had an amazing time on whale watching tour, seen many hump backs, a pod of orcas and a ton of sea lions. A great time!

Excellent trip. Saw lots of wildlife including two different whales.

Great experience! Knowledgeable staff. Very enjoyable.