Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island in Canada, lies the aptly named ‘Garden City’, Victoria. Known for the mildest winters in Canada and an abundance of green parks and spaces, Victoria boasts a myriad of attractions. This beautiful, artsy and charming ode to British architecture is home to museums, English-style pubs and some of the finest locations you should visit if you want to see Canada’s finest attractions. There are award-winning gardens, incredible museums, and mouth-watering cuisine.
The Butchart Gardens get over a million visitors every year. You will see, the Sunken, Rose, Japanese, Mediterranean, and Italian gardens. The best thing about these gardens is that they always look magnificent, even in winter. The Sunken garden is an especially amazing site because it is located in a quarry. This 100-year garden is a must-see.
Dubbed ‘The Greatest Little Show on Earth’, this is a feast for the eyes and the mind. You may not be a fan of intricate, impossibly detailed and carefully crafted models of things but, when you see Miniature World, it will blow your mind. After millions of visitors and 46 years in the business, Miniature World has remained an iconic destination to see in Victoria.
Right across from the Parliament Buildings and the Fairmont Empress, is the Inner Harbor. It is home to floating homes and beautiful fishing boats. The streets have vendors if you want a quick snack and there are numerous cafes and restaurants, from which you can see the whales if you time it right.If you visit at night, you can see the Parliament Buildings when they are lit up and it is breathtaking.
This site offers 45-minute tours that are free. You can even eat there, sit in on a parliamentary session and probably meet some important people. This landmark, which dates back to 1989, is built in a baroque style with a blue dome that is visible from the causeway of the Inner Harbor. You should see it at night when it is lit up.
It is claimed that Victoria brought beer to Canadians with the first brewpub. On the Ale Trail, you will find Spinnakers Brewpub, Swans Brewpub, Canoe Brewpub and Vancouver Island Brewery, which have been there for decades, plus some new places with quality ale. Sip, savor and appreciate the heritage that goes all the way back to 1858.
Whale Watching at Prince of Whales
This marine wonder is North-America’s #1 whale-watching destination. You can see whales anytime between April and October. In March and April, you can see migrating whales and in May and June, there are humpbacks. You will be spoilt for choice because there are orcas, mink whales, sea lions, porpoises, dolphins and harbor seals.
Red Fish Blue Fish
You are not going to a fishing town and not eat fish are you? The Red Fish Blue Fish is the most famous fish and chips joint in Victoria. They serve sustainable seafood and are big on environment conservation. You will find everything delicious from the seas, on the menu. Sometimes you have to wait a while for the meal but it is totally worth it.
Cook Street Village
Victoria is a city full of charm and nothing shows that more clearly than Cook Street Village. It has gourmet groceries, British-looking pubs, quaint stores, boutiques, a lot of eateries and a very European air to everything. You can rent and ride bikes in Cook Street Village if you want an experience where the eyes never stop roving and the uniqueness never stops washing over you.
This impressive castle was built in the 1800s for Robert Dunsmir and now, it is a historical monument where you can see how Victorian-era tycoons lived. If you have mobility issues, it may not be easy to tour the upper floors because there are no elevators or ramps. The castle looks like a set stolen from Disneyland. It transports you back in time.
Right across from the Parliament Buildings, you will see this impressive hotel that was built at the dawn of the 20th century. The prime reason for going here would have to be the tea. The teatime affair at this hotel is something worth participating in. It may be a bit pricey to drink tea here but the experience is worth the money.
Just So You Know:
- Victoria has the second-highest number of restaurants per capita in Northern America, San Francisco has the highest.
- The Parliament Buildings is lit up by about 3000 lights at night.
- Victoria is the Cycling Capital of Canada because of the impeccable cycling trails that lead to places like Gulf Islands and the Cowichan Valley area among many others.
- The city has over 70 city parks.
Get Some Culture:
- Visit the Royal BC Museum – With over 7 million artifacts (including woolly mammoth displays), a state-of-the-art IMAX experience (one of the 35 systems in the world) and millions of visitors, this museum is one of the best in North America. The experience is meant to bring you into what natural and human history is like and by the time you walk out, you will have a deeper appreciation for everything you will see.
Grab A Bite:
- Red Fish Blue Fish (Obviously)- For outdoors dining.
- Saveur Restaurant- For the fine dining experience.
- Jam café- If you want a moderate price and a delicacy to remember.