With three days in Victoria, there’s time to experience the city’s highlights, from historic landmarks in the Old Town to the wild coast, Vancouver Island vineyards, elegant mansions, and manicured gardens. Whether you’re looking for whales or ready for high tea, use these tips make the most out of a three day escape to Victoria.
Day 1: History Lessons
Head to Old Town Victoria to start exploring the compact heart of the city the old fashioned way—narrow lanes and walkways mean traveling by car isn't idea. Opt, instead, for a tour of the historic center on foot, by bicycle, or even in a horse-drawn carriage; you’ll have flexibility to snap photos and check out interesting spots along the way. Since many guided excursions in Victoria feature the city’s historic landmarks, you can double up with a tour that combines a trip through the center with food stops, elegant neighborhoods, breweries, and even a trip to a castle that locals claim is haunted. Whichever you choose, make your way back to Old Town to catch sunset at the edge of the harbor. It’s the perfect time to enjoy views of the water as you sip locally produced wine or a steaming cup of tea.
Day 2: Whales and Wildlife
Its location at the edge of the Salish Sea makes Victoria an ideal base for sighting animals— orca whales, humpback whales, bald eagles, and other wild creatures—both above and below the waves. As whale watching is a highlight for many visitors to Victoria, there are many ways to get out on the water, from spray-soaked speedboat trips to cozy cruises in an enclosed cabin for an all-weather, year-round activity. If boats just aren’t your thing, hop a seaplane for aerial views of whitecaps and whales. Whichever you choose, keep your eyes open and your camera ready as you explore.
Day 3: Take a Deeper Dive
Now that you’re covered Victoria’s must-see history and wildlife, take the third day to explore Vancouver Island and British Columbia. Top day trips from Victoria include tasting tours through the Cowichan Valley wine region and guided tours of Butchart Gardens. It's possible to experience Butchart in a half-day, but flower fanatics should set aside a full day to explore 55-acre (22-hectare) grounds. For a glimpse of British Columbia’s landscapes beyond Vancouver Island, take a ferry to the vibrant city of Vancouver or hop a sightseeing plane for a journey into the high peaks that surround Whistler. After a day of blooms, bottles, or BC peaks, head back to where you started, watching one last Victoria sunset from the heart of the atmospheric Old Town.