Oozing old-school elegance with its plentiful high tea offerings and grand hotchpotch architecture, Victoria – Vancouver Island’s southern-most city – is certainly quaint. It’s been repeatedly dubbed “Canada’s most British city”, which isn’t without reason. Union Jacks make a solid appearance here and a tour of the British Columbia Parliament Buildings will give more than a couple of nods to England’s royal traditions. Including an appearance from Queen Vic herself – ok, not really, but the impersonator is good.
But, you haven’t travelled all this way just to be transported back home. Thankfully, of late, Victoria has shaken its theme-park-esque little Britain feel and received an injection of personality in the form of boutique shops, hip coffee houses and stylish eateries. So, with its newfound cool, oh-so-pretty harbour, world-class museums and picturesque parks, you’ll be glad that you made the trip to British Columbia’s provincial capital.
And despite its steady influx of tourists, this city remains a relaxed and sophisticated stop – this is Canada after all, a laid-back atmosphere is pretty much guaranteed. Hemmed in by thick, old-growth forests on one side and the cobalt waters of the Pacific on the other, Victoria offers just the right mix of urban charm and outdoor adventure. Think an eclectic downtown, spectacular surrounds and an ever-warm welcome – it’s a city that packs quite a punch for its small, seven-square-mile size, that’s for sure.
Unlike the majority of Canada, Victoria’s mild weather means that whichever season you choose to make your visit, wandering the myriad delights is not just possible but pleasant. Which is good to know because city strolls are the best way to explore – amble arm-in-arm down to the harbour for sunset and the ‘most romantic city in Canada’ will live up to its moniker. The rest of its romance? Well, that’s up to you to find.
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Pair whale watching and hiking in Victoria’s spectacular surrounds with perfectly-planned urban parks, elegant architecture and hip downtown delights – this compact city offers a whole heap of enticing contrasts.
Want to tailor your holiday around your own interests? Simply add an experience pack to your trip. Have a look at our Itinerary Builder to see what else you could be doing!
Pretty as a picture and packed to the brim full of humble Canadian history, the beautiful Butchart Gardens aren’t just an attraction but a work of floral art. For over 100 years these gardens have been one of Vancouver Island’s most prized gems – a trip here will not disappoint. Think five themed gardens, weekly summer firework displays, tranquil boat trips and concerts on the manicured lawns.Discover more
This oceanfront, Victorian-era urban park charms locals and tourists alike with its manicured gardens, postcard-perfect lakes and interesting Native Canadian history.
When you’re done exploring its plethora of pretty paths, visit the petting farm’s adorable animals, indulge in a horse and carriage tour and look out for the wild peacocks that roam the lawns.Discover more
A dash of rich – literally – history in the heart of Vancouver Island’s Victoria, Craigdarroch Castle tells the story of a bygone era. With its fairytale-like facade, opulent interiors and all-round restored splendour, this is one of Canada’s finest examples of a public stately home making it the perfect insight into how the mega-rich of Victoria lived in the late Victorian era.Discover more
Rudyard Kipling described Victoria’s picturesque waterfront as a “Brighton Pavilion with the Himalayas for a backdrop” – intrigued by British Columbia’s capital of contrasts? Have a read of our blogs to find out more.
Buckle up and discover the best of what Canada has to offer with a self-drive holiday.
Gushing waterfalls, tick. Sweeping mountainous views, even bigger tick. Sparkling emerald lakes..you get the picture. An Icefields Parkway road trip is where it's at.
Two weeks of exploring Canada’s greatest glories, does it get much better than this? Nope, we don’t think so.
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