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Things to do in Victoria

Things to do in  Victoria

Welcome to Victoria

Perched on the southeastern shores of Vancouver Island, Victoria—the capital of the Canadian province of British Columbia—has a rich colonial history dating back to the 19th century. Bus and walking tours take Garden City visitors to top attractions such as Antique Row, Beacon Hill Park, Craigdarroch Castle (a National Historic Site of Canada), Oak Bay Marina, and Mount Tolmie, while the famous Butchart Gardens delight travelers from across the world with their enchanting floral displays. Food tours showcase the region’s diverse cheeses, fine chocolates, craft beer, and divine seafood; while overhead, sightseeing seaplane flights offer bird’s-eye views over the coastal scenery. For many visitors to Victoria, though, one activity stands out among all the others: whale watching. Cruises depart from Victoria and head into the deep waters of the Salish Sea, where gray, humpback, killer, and minke whales can be seen breaching and crashing through the waves. Travelers also regularly spot other native wildlife such as marine birds, otters, porpoises, sea lions, and seals. For visitors with a little more time on their hands, three- to eight-day tours hit farther-flung destinations such as Barkley Sound; Strathcona-Westmin Provincial Park; and the snowy peaks—or summery hiking and mountain biking trails—of Whistler, where travelers can experience the best of the Canadian wilderness.

Top 10 attractions in Victoria

#1

Butchart Gardens

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The Butchart Gardens put on a sensational floral show year-round, in some of the most magnificent landscaped gardens on the planet. Gardeners and lovers of beauty alike will be inspired and enchanted by these gardens, first established in 1904. Covering 22 hectares (55 acres), make your way through different garden ‘rooms’, from the dramatic sunken garden to rose-covered walkways, springtime bulbs, the summertime dahlia walk, amazing fall colors and the Japanese-inspired winter garden. There are several restaurants within the gardens, so it’s easy to make a day of it at the Butchart Gardens.More
#2

Victoria Inner Harbour

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A trim wedge of water rimmed with top landmarks, Victoria’s Inner Harbour is the city’s bustling port. Whether you’re hopping a whale-watching cruise or enjoying a sea breeze, the Inner Harbour is an essential stop when exploring Victoria. Among its highlights are the elegant Fairmont Empress hotel and the narrow streets beyond.More
#3

British Columbia Parliament Buildings

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Built overlooking Victoria’s Inner Harbor, the British Columbia Legislature Buildings form an impressive architectural and historical landmark within a few steps of downtown. When the provincial legislature outgrew its former home, the provincial government hosted an architectural competition to build the new legislative buildings. Francis Rattenbury, a then 25-year-old recent arrival from England, won with his three-building neo-baroque style plans, but construction didn’t go without its woes; the project soared beyond its original budget, but the new British Columbia Parliament Buildings did open their doors in 1898. The white marble, massive central dome, and lengthy façade combined to make an innovative and impressive monument for what, at the time, was a relatively young Canadian province. The building remains equally impressive, today, and a few new landmarks exist on its property.More
#4

Beacon Hill Park

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Sheer natural beauty is just the start of the appeal of of Beacon Hill Park, which sprawls across the southern edge of Victoria, British Columbia. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, with a petting zoo, splash parks, playgrounds, sports fields, seemingly endless footpaths, and one of the tallest totem poles in the world.More
#5

Craigdarroch Castle

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It’s hard to believe that this opulent Scottish-Gothic fairy-tale castle was built as a family home. Now open to the public, take a tour and pretend you’re in Bonny Scotland. The four-story turreted castle was built in the late 1880s for Scottish coal millionaire Robert Dunsmuir. He died before the home with its 39 rooms was completed, but his family lived there until 1908. A self-guided tour of this incredible property reveals its stained-glass and carved balustrades, rooms furnished with period details, and the lookout tower with fabulous views over the city.More
#6

Victoria Chinatown

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First established in the mid-19th century, Victoria Chinatown is among North America’s oldest. Now a National Historic Site, Victoria’s Chinatown is home to cafes, studios, herbalists, tea rooms, and shops, as well as the narrow Fan Tan Alley, which measures 35 inches (88.9 centimeters) wide at its narrowest point.More
#7

Government Street

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Running through the heart of Downtown Victoria, Government Street is home to plenty of shopping and local history. Along the Victoria Harbour front, the British Columbia Legislature Buildings and the Fairmont Empress are important historical landmarks, both designed by the untrained British architect Francis Rattenbury.More
#8

Fairmont Empress Hotel

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The grand lady of Victoria, the Fairmont Empress Hotel was built in over-the-top French chateau style by the Canadian Pacific Railway company, opening in 1908. Victoria’s first hotel is still the grandest, and one of the most highly awarded hotels in the country. Over the last 100 years, all manner of famous people have stayed here, including Edward Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth and Shirley Temple. Taking afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel is an experience not to be missed, complete with Edwardian style service, clotted cream, scones and pots of tea. Bookings are essential. The style is more subcontinental colonial in the Bengal Lounge restaurant, where the menu features a curry buffet.More
#9

Gulf Islands

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#10

Fisherman's Wharf

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Fisherman’s Wharf is an eclectic combination of tourist shops and residential float homes. Although the fishing heyday has passed, at which time when a fishing vessel was tied to every slip at the Fisherman’s Wharf except the two “live aboard” docks, the atmosphere hasn’t changed much. Colorful characters still roam the docks, but now often rub shoulders with passing tourists rather than sea-hardened fishermen.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Victoria

How to Spend 1 Day in Victoria

How to Spend 2 Days in Victoria

How to Spend 2 Days in Victoria

Top activities in Victoria

Victoria Panorama Seaplane Tour

Victoria Panorama Seaplane Tour

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42
From
US$104.09
The Ultimate Group Package Tour of Victoria

The Ultimate Group Package Tour of Victoria

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2
From
US$582.91
per group
2-Hour Grand City Tour

2-Hour Grand City Tour

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From
US$100.00

Recent reviews from experiences in Victoria

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Really get to see the neighborhood!
Richard_S, Sep 2020
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
A great way to see the city, and Chuck gives a great running commentary when we visit the different places, and really conveys his respect and knowledge for Victoria and its neighborhoods.
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See Victoria
trayc177, Sep 2019
Hop On Half Day Sightseeing Victoria
GREAT WAY TO SEE VICTORIA.
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This was a wonderful bike tour. Not...
Ken P, Jul 2016
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
Our guide was great and we got to see more of Victoria than just the downtown area.
star-5
Cruise options for Victoria were...
Shannon D, Jul 2016
Vancouver Island Rainforest Guided Hike with Private Guide
I got to see a lot of sea life we dont have here in Florida and it was a great photo spot.
star-5
Great experience, highly recommend...
Anna M, Jun 2016
Zodiac Whale Watching Adventure from Victoria
Great experience, highly recommend it while in Victoria, definitely the highlight of our trip, we got to see a humpback whale the only down size is we were a bit sore the next day but it was well worth the few aches and pains!
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Great way to see some of the gems of...
Lynn D, Mar 2015
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
Great way to see some of the gems of Victoria.
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The best way to tour Victoria!
Quest40651321926, Jul 2019
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
We got to see parts of the city that we wouldn't have if we hadn't taken the tour.
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I would highly recommend this bike...
Janice F, Jul 2017
Victoria Castles and Neighborhoods Bike Tour
They were well organized and it is a great way to see the city.

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the top things to do in Victoria?
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What are the top activities in Victoria?
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What are the top things to do near Victoria?
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