Known for its beautiful natural scenery, Victorian architecture, and world-famous gardens, Victoria is one of Canada’s top places to visit. It’s also one of the few places in Canada that gets little snow and is the capital city of British Columbia.
We toured Victoria during our 150-day road trip across Canada and instantly fell in love. We’ve even considered moving there. It’s such a beautiful city and so close to many outdoor adventures around the island.
While you could easily spend weeks soaking in the atmosphere of BC’s capital city, this itinerary below will help you make the most of two full glorious days in this beautiful Canadian coastal city.
Day 1 of Exploring Victoria, BC
It’s your first day in beautiful Victoria. Wake up early, eat a hearty breakfast, and get ready to explore!
Start with Victoria’s Inner Harbour
Voted as one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, Victoria’s Inner Harbour is the perfect place to start your visit of Victoria. This is where you’ll find some of the cities best views, the legislative buildings, a variety of whale watching tours and ecotourism businesses, floatplanes and an international ferry terminal. We enjoyed walking around all of the outstanding buildings and different flower gardens that decorate the city. However, if you want to sample the food while learning about the history, we recommend taking a 3-hour foodie tour from A Taste of Victoria Food Tours.
This was the first thing we did and it was so interesting to learn about Victoria and its early beginnings. It was also great to hear some of the various stories, not only of the history and the buildings but also of the people and restaurants that we visited along the way. We tried a variety of food including Italian baked goods, homemade ice cream, perogies, an array of balsamic vinegar and olive oils, and quite possibly the most delicious meatballs we’ve ever had.
One of our favourite parts was walking through a small alley in the second oldest Chinatown in North America, where we learned about its tumultuous history as a gambling district with opium dens. Now, it’s a tourist attraction and a beautiful place to live, not to mention a great photo op.
Stroll Along Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the coolest little neighborhoods we’ve ever seen. Not only is this a great place to eat but it’s also a really cool way to see a floating neighborhood where beautiful houseboats enjoy some of the best views of the city. It was amazing to walk along docks instead of paved streets and find small floating eateries and shops. It’s also walking distance to Victoria’s Inner Harbour, making it a great addition to your day.
Get an Education at the Royal British Museum
If you still have time and you’re feet aren’t too sore, pay a visit to the Royal British Columbia Museum, which aims to broaden the understanding about British Columbia and inspire curiosity and wonder. The Royal BC Museum includes three permanent galleries: natural history, modern history, and local First Nations history. There are over 7 million objects to browse but even if you’re feet are too tired to explore the facilities, the museum is also home to an IMAX theatre where you can sit down, relax, and enjoy some incredible educational or commercial entertainment.
End the Day with Delicious Beer and Gourmet Food
Last but not least, finish off the day by enjoying a delicious gourmet meal and beer sampling at Spinnakers Brewpub, Canada’s first in-house brewpub of the modern era. Not only is it a great place to enjoy extremely tasty beer, it also has a lovely atmosphere and great food. We were very surprised by the gourmet dining and equally surprised (and delighted) by the delicious beer and chocolate truffle pairing. Not only was it delicious but both the beers and truffles are made in-house!
Day 2 of Exploring Victoria, BC
Yesterday was a long day. Sleep in a little but not too much. Grab a hearty breakfast once again and get ready for more Victoria-only beauty.
Visit a Victorian Mansion
If you are someone who enjoys looking at the beauty and detail of historical mansions, you shouldn’t miss the Craigdarroch Castle, a National Historic Site that provides an example of Romanesque architecture and privileged life in the 1890’s.
Smell the Roses at Butchart Gardens
A trip to Victoria wouldn’t be complete without visiting the world-famous Butchart Gardens, an impressive result of a woman’s passion and hard work who turned a closed limestone mine into a National Historic Site, where a selection of more than 800 flowers and plants have bloomed every year for the last 100 years.
If you love flowers, this might become your favourite place in the world, but even if you’re not particularly interested in flowers, this place is impressive to see. It really is a work of art. It felt so peaceful walking around the different pathways and enjoying the different colours and aromas of each garden. Whether we were admiring the jaw-dropping view of the Sunken Garden, enjoying the tranquility of the Japanese Garden, or romanticly walking around the Rose Garden, this is an absolute must-visit, not only for British Columbia but for Canada as well.
Finish the Day with Dinner and Drinks
This time we’re leaving it up to you. By now, you’ll have visited and/or walked by a variety of pubs and restaurants. Now is the time to go back to the one that attracts you the most. Maybe choose somewhere for a meal and somewhere different for a drink. Perhaps you’ll find some live music. Enjoy!
There are so many things to do in Victoria and this really just scratches the surface. However, if you’re short on time, this is the best itinerary for truly getting a taste of the city!
Where to Stay
If you want your accommodation to actually add to your experience, consider staying at Marketa’s Bed & Breakfast. Not only is it in a beautiful Victorian-era home but it’s also in the best location, just walking distance from Fisherman’s Wharf. The breakfast is also delicious and will set you up for a wonderful day.
Note: Some of the tours and activities mentioned above were sponsored during our visit, either by the companies themselves or through Tourism Victoria. However, we always remain truthful and honest. If something is good, we say, and if something is bad, we’ll also say so.