Victoria

Victoria is small and easily explored. A walk around Downtown, starting with the museums and architectural sights of the Inner Harbour, followed by a stroll up Government Street to the historic areas of Chinatown and Old Town, covers most of the key attractions, though seeing every little interesting thing along the way could easily take two days. Passenger ferries dart across the Inner and Upper harbors to Point Ellice House and Fisherman's Wharf, while more attractions, including Craigdarroch Castle and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, lie about a mile east of Downtown in the residential areas of Rockland and Oak Bay. Most visitors also make time for the Butchart Gardens, a stunning exhibition garden 20 minutes by car north on the Saanich Peninsula. Free time is also well spent strolling or biking through Beacon Hill Park and along the Dallas Road waterfront, heading out to such less-visited sights as Hatley Castle and Fort Rodd Hill, or checking out any of the area's beaches, wilderness parks, or wineries.

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  • 1. Butchart Gardens

    Brentwood Bay | Garden/Arboretum

    This stunning 55-acre garden and National Historic Site has been drawing visitors since it was started in a limestone quarry in 1904. Highlights...Read More

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  • 2. Craigdarroch Castle

    Rockland | Castle/Palace/Chateau

    This magnificent and somewhat imposing mansion, complete with turrets and Gothic rooflines, was built as the home of one of British Columbia...Read More

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  • 3. Royal British Columbia Museum

    Downtown | Museum/Gallery

    This excellent museum, one of Victoria's leading attractions, traces several thousand years of British Columbian history. Especially strong...Read More

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  • 4. The Robert Bateman Centre

    Museum/Gallery

    Opened in 2013 in a historic waterfront structure, this small but impressive gallery displays more than 100 works—from etchings to paintings...Read More

  • 5. Abkhazi Garden and Teahouse

    Fairfield | Garden/Arboretum

    Called "the garden that love built," this once-private garden is as fascinating for its history as for its innovative design. The seeds were...Read More

  • 6. Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

    Rockland | Museum/Gallery

    Attached to an 1889 mansion, this modern building houses one of Canada's largest collections of Asian art. The Japanese garden between the buildings...Read More

  • 7. Bastion Square

    Downtown | Plaza/Square/Piazza

    James Douglas, the former colonial governor for whom Douglas Street was named, chose this spot for the original Fort Victoria and Hudson's Bay...Read More

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  • 8. Beacon Hill Park

    Downtown | Zoo/Aquarium

    This 154-acre park links downtown Victoria to the waterfront. Its rambling lawns overlook the Pacific Ocean, the Olympic Mountains, and the...Read More

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  • 9. British Columbia Aviation Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    Volunteers passionate about the history of flight have lovingly restored several dozen historic military and civilian airplanes, and even a...Read More

  • 10. Butchart Gardens Dining Room

    Brentwood Bay | Garden/Arboretum

    The dining room at the Butchart Gardens, in the Butchart family's former residence, serves traditional teas daily, year-round. Afternoon tea...Read More

  • 11. Cadboro-Gyro Park

    Saanich | Beach–Sight

    A long, sandy, driftwood-strewn beach backed by a grassy park with plenty of picnic tables and shade trees draws families to this sheltered...Read More

  • 12. Church and State Wines

    Brentwood Bay | Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    A vineyard-view bistro and tasting bar make this expansive winery a popular stop en route to nearby Butchart Gardens. Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir...Read More

  • 13. Cordova Bay

    Saanich | Beach–Sight

    Walkers, swimmers, and sunbathers flock to this long stretch of forest-backed sand, pebble, and driftwood beach, which is just north of Mount...Read More

  • 14. Emily Carr House

    Downtown | Museum/Gallery

    One of Canada's most celebrated artists and a respected writer, Emily Carr (1871–1945) lived in this extremely proper, wooden Victorian house...Read More

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  • 15. Fairmont Empress

    Downtown | Building/Architectural Site

    Opened in 1908 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Empress is one of the grand château-style railroad hotels that grace many Canadian cities...Read More

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  • 16. Fairmont Empress Hotel Tea Lobby

    Downtown | Restaurant–Sight

    Victoria's most elaborate and most expensive afternoon tea is served, as it has been since 1908, in the ornate lobby of the Fairmont Empress...Read More

  • 17. Fan Tan Alley

    Pedestrian Mall

    Mah-jongg, fan-tan, and dominoes were games of chance played on Fan Tan Alley, said to be the narrowest street in Canada. Once the gambling...Read More

  • 18. Fisherman's Wharf

    Downtown | Marina/Pier/Dock

    This favorite nautical spot is only a 20-minute walk from downtown, along a waterfront path just west of the Inner Harbour. Or you can get here...Read More

  • 19. Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites of Canada

    West Shore | Nautical Site/Lighthouse

    The world's best-preserved coastal artillery fort (it dates to 1895) and Canada's oldest West Coast lighthouse occupy a parklike backdrop 13...Read More

  • 20. Goldstream Provincial Park

    West Shore | Park (National/State/Provincial)

    Eagles, bears, and three species of salmon thrive in this 477-hectare (1,180-acre) wilderness park 16 km (10 miles) north of downtown Victoria...Read More

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