Planning Your Time
- Best of Vancouver and Victoria
- Vancouver Island: High Tea to Low Tide
- Vancouver’s Totem Poles
- Vancouver’s Best Hiking
- Family Fun in Vancouver & Victoria
- Focus on Vancouver and Victoria
- Vancouver Weekend Getaway
- Victoria Weekend Getaway
- A Tour Through Time
- Inside Passage Cruises
- Outdoor Adventures
- Winter Fun in Vancouver & Victoria
Many visitors to Victoria spend a few nights in the city as part of a longer vacation that includes the rest of Vancouver Island. At an absolute minimum, plan on spending two full days in the capital, preferably overnighting at a character-filled bed-and-breakfast. Regardless of how long you’ll be in the city, much of your time will be spent in and around the Inner Harbour, a busy waterway surrounded by the city’s top sights and best restaurants.
At the top of the must-see list is the Royal British Columbia Museum, which will impress even the biggest museophobes, and the ivy-draped Fairmont Empress hotel. Victoria’s most visited attraction is Butchart Gardens, an absolutely stunning collection of plants that deserves at least half a day of your time. Goldstream Provincial Park and the scenic waterfront drive between downtown and Oak Bay are two outdoor destinations you should figure into your schedule.
Exploring Vancouver Island beyond Victoria requires some advance planning, as well as an idea of where you want to end up. If you have just a day to spare, you can take the oceanside drive west from Victoria or travel north as far as Nanaimo, but to explore the island further you should schedule at least two days and preferably more.
The island’s northern reaches provide a jumping off point for ferry travelers heading to Prince Rupert, but are also worth visiting to take a whale-watching trip from Telegraph Cove and to immerse yourself in native culture at Alert Bay.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition