If you didn’t arrive in Victoria from a cruise on the Pacific Ocean, you may think you’d inadvertently sailed to England. But while the city is known for its historical downtown architecture and European-like cafe culture, it’s decidedly Canadian with its friendly natives, local foodie restaurants and access to British Columbia’s great outdoors.
Adventure- and nature-enthusiasts will be thrilled with shore excursions like whale watching and ziplining, but if you want a more relaxing day in port, Victoria’s gardens, shops and eateries will keep you entertained.
How to Get to Victoria
Cruise ships dock at Ogden Point, about a 20-minute walk from downtown; grab a cab if you don’t want to walk, but you’ll be missing out on a pleasant stroll along the waterfront.
One Day in Victoria
Most of Victoria’s top sights can be seen in the walkable inner city, but one of its most famous attractions requires transport, so start your day by hailing a taxi and heading 13 miles (22 km) north to the Butchart Gardens.
Spend a couple of hours at this National Historic Site, wandering the myriad of gardens including rose, Japanese, Italian and Mediterranean. Take a boat tour or greenhouse tour before returning to Victoria by cab.
Ask the driver to drop you off at Bastion Square, where you can have lunch at Rebar, a favorite local restaurant that serves up fresh, seasonal dishes. Then walk off lunch as you wander through downtown, making your way to the Fairmont Empress Hotel, the crown jewel of Victoria’s skyline. Go inside for its traditional afternoon tea if you wish, or just admire the Edwardian architecture and elegant interior.
The Canadian dollar is the currency and is typically about equal with
the US dollar (of course, check rates on the day you arrive). You’ll
find ATMs along Douglas Street, one of the main downtown drags. Pack a
raincoat; drizzle is common all year (the city is very green for a