Victoria for First-Timers

Make the most your time in British Columbia's historic capital

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Victoria is a walking city and you can get the flavor of the place by hanging around the Inner Harbour. A good pair of shoes also will allow you to discover alleyways and historic squares. If you’re happy to pedal, too, then you’re poised to find out why city’s sometime dubbed Canada’s Biking Capital.

Tour companies proliferate and you also can get around by horse-drawn carriages, tiny harbor ferries, double-decker buses and open air, vintage cars.

Victoria in 1 Day

Catch an early tour to Butchart Gardens in the morning.

Then return to the city and spend the rest of your time around the Inner Harbour. Here’s where to find the Provincial Legislature and the ivy-clad Fairmont Empress, both landmark buildings that conjure up the Victoria era of the city’s namesake.

Fun attractions, particularly if you’re traveling with children, include Miniature World, the Robert Bateman Centre and the terrific-at-any-age Royal BC Museum.

When your feet have had enough, hop into a horse-drawn carriage for a trip through Beacon Hill Park, or take a Kabuki Cab to Fisherman’s Wharf for just-caught fish-and-chips, served in newspaper with salt and traditional malt vinegar. In the evening head over to Aura Restaurant with its fabulous food and views.

Victoria in 2 Days

If you’re on a 48-hour getaway, spend day a full day exploring the city and save Butchart Gardens for your second day as part of a relaxed meander around the southern peninsula that also includes the Butterfly Gardens and visiting wineries along a pastoral drive to Sidney by the Sea.

Victoria in 3 Days or More

For longer stays, or if you’ve been to Victoria before, consider eagle-counting at Goldstream Provincial Park; whale-watching; golfing at Bear Mountain; cycling along the Galloping Goose Trail, or a hiking and tide-pool adventure day trip along the Juan de Fuca Trail to Botanical Beach. These suggestions are great excursions for all ages, especially for families.

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