Victoria, BC

Photo of Victoria, BC

About Victoria, BC

Vancouver Island’s largest city, Victoria, is picture-postcard pretty with a delightful waterfront setting and handsome 19th-century buildings that have been shaking off their twee, English image to become trendy shops, coffee bars and galleries. It’s also a great base for whale-watching trips. The city’s museums, harbour and neighbourhoods are best explored on foot - though be aware there are hills! Alternatively, hire a bike; Victoria has more cycle routes than any other Canadian city and the best places to stay in Victoria can often arrange cycle hire for you.

To get a feel of the city, take a stroll around the harbour, the small Chinatown district and then explore further afield such as funky Fernwood - with its colourful boutiques, galleries and eateries - or Cook Street Village with pavement cafes and attractive wooden houses. The James Bay neighbourhood is the oldest residential neighbourhood with wonderful examples of Italianate, Queen Anne, and arts and crafts architecture. While you’re around the Inner Harbour, take a stroll - or short ferry-hop - to Fisherman’s Wharf, a series of floating boardwalks lined with houseboats, shops and eateries.

One absolute must is a whale-watching trip where you are almost guaranteed to spot orcas, humpback, minke and grey whales. Back on dry land, the waterfront Beacon Hill Park is a great place for ocean views as well as for strolling amongst exotic trees and birdlife. There’s also a Victorian cricket pitch and children’s farm. For more active walking, head to Goldstream Provincial Park, 20 minutes from the city, with its thick forests, hiking trails and wildlife-viewing (especially birdlife) opportunities. As it’s not a huge city, the best places to stay in Victoria are never far from the city's attractions.

What not to miss

  • Craigdarroch Castle, one of Canada's finest stately homes, showcases how rich Victorians once lived.
  • The Royal BV Museum - considered the state’s best - covers everything from woolly mammoths to a reconstructed colonial street complete with Chinatown and storefronts.
  • Two fun museums are Miniature Worlds, a resolutely traditional set of miniature dioramas - from train stations to Olde England - and the Victoria Bug Zoo, where you will surprise yourself at how exhilarating it can be to watch the antics of insects from atlas beetles to dragon-headed crickets.
  • And make time to call in at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria to admire the evocative nature paintings of Emily Carr, BC’s best-known painter.
  • Lastly, don't miss out on an unforgettable whale-watching experience.

The best places to stay in Victoria

For a smart B&B

  • The white, clapboard, Italian-style mansion of Fairholme Manor makes for a very smart B&B with huge bay-windowed rooms with wooden floors and pale colours - some with balconies. Expect in-room spa treatments and gourmet breakfasts, too.

For the waterfront

  • The stylish Oswego Hotel close to the waterfront, offers slick, modern apartments with kitchens and dining areas - some with private balconies - as well as a smart restaurant with live jazz.
  • Also close to the waterfront, the Magnolia Hotel & Spa offers classic-contemporary rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, a luxurious spa and a great cocktail bar - plus bicycles to hire.
  • Oak Bay Beach Hotel boasts gorgeous seaviews and smart rooms featuring neutral tones with fireplaces. Plus, it's located right next to the Oak Bay Islands Ecological Reserve.

For harbour views

  • As its name suggests, the Inn at Laurel Point, offers breath-taking Victoria Harbour views. Light and contemporary rooms make the most of the watery scenes, as does the restaurant, plus there is an indoor pool and gym.
  • Sooke Harbour House is a charming option overlooking the Juan de Fuca Straits. Individually decorated suites offer a range of elegantly draped fourposters, fireplaces and balconies commanding mesmerising views of the bay.

For romance

  • For an adults-only stay, Abigail's Hotel offers sophisticated accommodation with four poster beds, open fireplaces and luxurious marble bathrooms with deep tubs. Perfect for some couple-time!
  • Just out of town the Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa is the place to book if you're looking for a luxurious and pampering seaside stay. Large rooms offer private balconies and the sunset views from the dining room are simply divine. A spoiling stay.
  • The Villa Marco Polo Inn is a stunning 5-room country retreat - think elegant accommodation with hardwood floors, Egyptian linens and Persian rugs. Tuck into splendid breakfasts before heading off on long walks around the local area.

For an apartment or villa

If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner,

Travel Information

  • Fly into Vancouver International Airport before taking the bus to Swartz Bay ferry terminal and hopping on a ferry across to Victoria.
  • Victoria's far nicest in the summer months, with the average daily temperature rising to 20°C in July.
  • However, this is the busiest time of year - for a quieter and cheaper alternative, consider coming in spring or autumn.
  • If you'd like the freedom of having a car with you then check out the options with Rentalcars.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Victoria, BC

  • Fairholme Manor Victoria, BC (British Columbia) 6 rooms from £84

    Great walks  -  Take a stroll around Empress Hotel and the Parliament Buildings. Rest and recuperate with high tea at the Empress Hotel.
    Fishing  -  Fishermans Wharf is a beautiful part of town.
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Fodors

    1885 Italian-style mansion with high-ceilings, fireplace and garden views, the plushest hideaway B&B in the area. Oversized rooms with bay windows, spa baths and king size beds. The temptation of homemade jams & freshly baked breads will certainly kick start your day. A fantastic find! See More

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  • Villa Marco Polo Inn Victoria, BC 5 rooms from £95

    Romantic Break  -  With plush bedrooms, sumptuous sheets, hot tub baths big enough for two and a charming garden ideal for a stroll
    Sights nearby  -  Take a stroll down to the Inner Harbour and observe the sights and sounds of the town
    Restrictions on children  -  14 years or older
    Full of character

    An elegant and almost regal B&B in the picturesque Rockland district of Victoria. The rooms feature Persian rugs, hardwood floors, Egyptian linen, individual artworks and fabulous bathrooms. The breakfast is phenomenal, all locally sourced ingredients crafted into delightful French treats. Charming. See More

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  • Oswego Hotel Victoria, BC 80 rooms from £76

    Great walks  -  Come enjoy 22 hecters of breathtaking gardens year around at the world famous Butchart Gardens.
    Lively area  -  In the thick of the action.
    Barefoot Luxury  -  For total relaxation.
    Designer  -  Uniquely designed interiors.

    An upscale hotel and spa just minutes from the Inner Harbour waterfront of Victoria. Stylish studios come with a range of extras such as kitchens, private rooftop balconies, dining rooms and in room spa services. The hip restaurant hosts weekly jazz nights. City chic. See More

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  • Inn at Laurel Point Victoria, BC (British Columbia) 200 rooms from £100

    Romantic Break  -  With in-room massages and stunning water views, this is a perfect setting for a city romance weekend.
    Special Offer  -  If you are an organised soul and are planning in advance, this could mean a discount in your favour.
    Back to Nature  -  The gardens of Victoria are stunning and gardening enthusiasts will have a fantastic time here.
    Great walks  -  With kilometres of walking paths and countless flowers, Beacon Hill Park is a beautiful place to relax.

    Contemporary, airy rooms with marble bathrooms and private balconies offer a fantastic base. Romance-seekers will love the Victoria Harbour views and local explorers will appreciate the proximity to almost everything. The indoor pool and Aura Waterfront restaurant complete the picture. See More

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  • Abigail's Hotel Victoria, BC (British Columbia) 23 rooms from £106

    Romantic Break  -  This adults only hotel oozes romance, with plush red velvet drapes, deep soaking tubs and champagne and strawberry room service.
    Sights nearby  -  Explore the Royal BC Museum, just down the road and packed with fascinating exhibitions.
    Great walks  -  Along the river or canal makes a great leisurely place to stroll and explore the city.
    Restrictions on children  -  Adult only

    Adult only 1930 boutique in a quiet residential area of Victoria, offering access to the historical past and garden city. Antiques decorate the cozy rooms, Italian marble makes up the bathrooms and a gourmet breakfast is worth getting out of bed for. A relaxing stay for romantic weekend city breaks. See More

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  • Magnolia Hotel & Spa Victoria, BC 64 rooms from £136

    Kayaking  -  Victoria Kayak, a naturalist guide will introduce you to the rich historical background of Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
    Great walks  -  Discover Victoria’s rich historical past on guided walking tours, stories compiled by local historian, John Adams.
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.
    Lively area  -  In the thick of the action.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    A grand hotel just minutes walk from downtown Victoria's Inner Harbour. The sophisticated suites feature traditional dark wood furnishings, bold carpets and floor to ceiling windows. The spa provides pampering luxury organic treatments. Ideal location for exploring the city by foot, bike or kayak. See More

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  • Oak Bay Beach Hotel Victoria, BC 100 rooms from £151

    Beach Life  -  The hotel sits right on the coast with fantastic views and beachfront trails for the whole family to enjoy
    Theatre  -  The hotel's theatre holds screenings of movies and cult shows as well as live performances and music
    Wildlife Area  -  The hotel sits right on the migratory path of local Orca whales, a magnificent spectacle to behold
    Other Activities  -  The Boathouse Spa offers great treatments using local seaweed and their eucalyptus steam room
    Recommended by  -  Kiwi Collection

    A recently refurbished seaside manor house with all the bells and whistles of a modern hotel, on the edge of the Oak Bay Islands Ecological Reserve. Spacious and comfortable rooms with neutral tones, fireplaces and ocean views. A charming spot for the whole family to enjoy. See More

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  • Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa Victoria, BC (British Columbia) 33 rooms from £154

    Private Hot Tub
    Sights nearby  -  Craigdarroch Castle was built in the 1890s and through restoration is back to its former glory.
    Great walks  -  Take a leisurely stroll around the 55 acres of The Butchart Gardens.
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.

    Perfect for the luxury traveller seeking a seaside getaway with spa facilities & delicious food and wine. Large, modern rooms overlook the water from private balconies and sitting rooms. Catch a fabulous sunset from the dining room, or admire the view, sitting by the firepit at the popular pub. See More

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  • Sooke Harbour House Victoria, BC 28 rooms from £126

    Fishing  -  Sooke Salmon Charters is a long established and successful charter fishing company located on Southern Vancouver Island.
    Great walks  -  There are many wonderful beaches and hiking trails in the Sooke area, just ask at the front desk for details.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery.
    Full of character
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, Kiwi Collection

    A charming hotel overlooking the Juan de Fuca Straits. Individually decorated suites offer a range of elegantly draped fourposters, fireplaces and balconies commanding mesmerising views of the bay. An onsite garden provides seasonal best for the fine dining restaurant. Beach chic! See More

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  • Fairmont Empress Victoria, BC 464 rooms from £155

    Local exploring  -  With the harbour, attractions and stylish restaurants and bars steps away, book this hotel as a base for your local exploring
    Hotel Entertainment  -  Kid's will love the hotel's child-friendly activities, from scavenger hunts to marmot and honey bee watching
    City Style  -  With opulent interiors and an unbeatable location, book this hotel for chic city style in Victoria, BC
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.

    This luxury hotel overlooks the glittering Inner Habour in Victoria, British Columbia. Elegant guestrooms are dressed in hues of regal purple and blue with gilded accents and sea views. Check into the hotel's Willow Stream Spa for a rejuvenating treatment after dinner at Veranda restaurant. See More

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