Three-Day Getaway: Victoria

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First-timers to Victoria fall in love with its historic soul and coastal charm, but locals know there’s even more to this vibrant city. Here are a few ideas to help you rediscover Victoria on a three-day getaway.

Inner Harbour | Tourism Victoria

DAY 1: Taste the Town 

You may have wandered through the historic districts of Chinatown, Old Town, and the Inner Harbour, but did you know about Victoria’s flourishing food scene? Delight your senses with a tasting tour through the city. On the menu? Breads, olive oils, meatballs, perogies, craft beer, and chocolate—with a local twist.

Sip drafts at craft beer parlour The Drake Eatery. Nibble on fried avocado tacos at  Taco Justice food truck, or enjoy margaritas and authentic Mexican cuisine at La Taqueria. Sample fresh-caught seafood to go from Red Fish Blue Fish, an outdoor eatery in an up-cycled shipping container. The Courtney Room, located in the Magnolia Hotel and Spa, offers an elevated Pacific Northwest dining experience with craft cocktails, fresh-shucked oysters, and brasserie delights.  

Build in time to visit the Royal BC Museum and Robert Bateman’s haunting wildlife paintings at his gallery in the refurbished Steamship Terminal. Rent a kayak or SUP and discover Victoria’s harbour by water. And after you’ve worked up an appetite, end the night with drinks and dinner at Ferris’ Oyster Bar and Grill

The Butchart Gardens | @a.spargo

DAY 2: SAVOUR THE SAANICH PENINSULA

Start the day with a pain au chocolat and coffee at Fol Epi, and tuck a wood-fired baguette in your bag for later. 

Head north on Blanshard Street, which becomes Highway 17 and leads to both the Swartz Bay ferry terminal and the airport. Within minutes, you’re on the Saanich Peninsula, an agricultural area that feeds Victoria’s appetite for farm-fresh fare.

Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse is a must-do stop (a pretty one, too). If you’re not picnicking in one of Saanich’s more than 170 parks, opt for fish and chips at the casual The Surly Mermaid in Sidney, then make your way to The Butchart Gardens. This former stone quarry—a National Historic Site—is home to one of the world’s most glorious floral display gardens.

Stay on the peninsula for dinner and enjoy the farm-to-fork experience at the Roost Vineyard Bistro & Farm Bakery, where almost everything they serve is grown on their four-hectare (10-acre) farm. Even the wheat they mill to make their daily bread!

If you’re the picnicking sort, swing by Nourish Kitchen and Cafe to pick up goodies to go, and find a nearby park or waterfront spot to dine al fresco. 

Cycling Victoria | Reuben Krabbe

DAY 3: EXPLORE THE NEIGHBOURHOODS

On your final morning, get out of the downtown core and explore some of the city’s charming neighbourhoods. Consider a trip with The Pedaler, who offers both bike rentals and cycling tours, including a “hoppy hour” brewery tour.

Check out the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Rock Bay, a little community tucked amid industrial lands in a corner of the Inner Harbour. Here you’ll find Wheelies, an old chopper shop turned cafe, as well as Driftwood Brewery, and the sweet and savoury Saltchuck Pie Company.

Or venture over to leafy Fernwood, home to many of the city’s artists. Wander through streets of historic homes and lush gardens, and explore Fernwood Square. Drop by Mesa Familiar for a vegetable-forward Latin American dinner of tacos and ceviche, or try Stage for French-style dining and a great drink selection. 

Fairmont Empress Hotel | Fairmont Empress

Where to Stay

Victoria’s many neighbourhoods—with their waterfront views, historic buildings, and gardens—offer plenty of varied accommodation options.

Plan a stay at the famed (and recently renovated) Fairmont Empress Hotel overlooking the harbour. While it’s best known for its high tea service, you can also enjoy an evening cocktail in the opulent lounge. Soak up the fun and funky atmosphere (and play a game of lobby ping pong) at the colourful Zed Hotel. The Robin Hood Inn is situated near the the Galloping Goose Trail, and it offers guests complimentary e-bike and kayak rentals.

For a retreat within the city limits, stay at the luxurious Oak Bay Beach Hotel, located a short drive from the heart of Victoria and just minutes from the Victoria Golf Club.

Relive the past with an overnight at Marketa’s Bed & Breakfast, a 1912 heritage building in the seaside neighbourhood of James Bay. With comfortable quarters and a European flare, this is the perfect home base for exploring the city’s many shops and restaurants. See more accommodation options in Victoria.

Getting There

Victoria is a 95-minute BC Ferries trip from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, followed by a 30-minute drive into the city. Several major airlines fly into Victoria International Airport. Coming from Vancouver? Fly direct to Victoria’s Inner Harbour with Harbour Air and HeliJet

Featured Image: Inner Harbour | Reuben Krabbe

Spas & Wellness, Hotels

Magnolia Hotel And Spa

Downtown Victoria's Favourite Boutique Hotel, awarded 2017 Top City Hotel in Canada by Travel + Leisure Magazine. 64 Elegant rooms with...

Phone: (250) 381-0999

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Museums & Heritage Sites, Attractions, Indigenous Culture, Accessibility

Royal BC Museum

See all of British Columbia at the Royal BC Museum, a world-class museum of natural and human history. Explore our core galleries and immerse...

Phone: (250) 356-7226

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Breweries, Distilleries & Cideries, Farms & Markets, Accessibility

Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse

Phone: (250) 544-4824

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Attractions, Accessibility

The Butchart Gardens

Come enjoy our breathtaking 22 ha (55 acres) of gardens year around. In Spring, countless tulips, daffodils and hyacinths will give you a buffet...

Phone: (250) 652-4422

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Hotels, Accessibility

Fairmont Empress

Regarded as a Condé Nast Readers' Choice and Gold List hotel, and honoured with the Travel + Leisure distinction as a top Canadian hotel,...

Phone: (250) 384-8111

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Hotels

Hotel Zed

We're a ridiculously fun & eclectic hip hotel in Victoria BC that is so completely awesome your mind will be blown! Ok, slight exaggeration, but...

Phone: (250) 360-1511

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Spas & Wellness, Hotels, Accessibility

Oak Bay Beach Hotel

The Oak Bay Beach Hotel is a spectacular five-star boutique resort and spa. Enjoy fine dining in The Dining Room, pub fare in The Snug (a local...

Phone: (250) 598-4556

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Bed & Breakfasts

Marketa's Bed and Breakfast

Marketa's Bed and Breakfast offers a unique taste of traditional hospitality mixed with European flair. As soon as you walk into this heritage...

Phone: (250) 384-9844

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