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

    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


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

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  • 3. Royal British Columbia Museum


    This excellent museum, one of Victoria's leading attractions, traces several thousand years of British Columbian history. Especially strong is its First Peoples Gallery, home to...Read More

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  • 4. The Robert Bateman Centre


    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

    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


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

  • 7. Bastion Square


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

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  • 8. Beacon Hill Park


    This 154-acre park links Downtown Victoria to the waterfront. Its rambling lawns overlook the Pacific Ocean, the Olympic Mountains, and the Strait of Juan de...Read More

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  • 9. British Columbia Aviation Museum

    Volunteers passionate about the history of flight have lovingly restored several dozen historic military and civilian airplanes, and even a 1910-era flying machine, at this...Read More

  • 10. Cadboro-Gyro Park


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

  • 11. Church and State Wines

    Brentwood Bay

    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 are...Read More

  • 12. Cordova Bay


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

  • 13. Emily Carr House


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

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  • 14. Fairmont Empress


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

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  • 15. Fan Tan Alley

    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 and...Read More

  • 16. Fisherman's Wharf


    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...Read More

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

    West Shore

    The world's best-preserved coastal artillery fort (it dates to 1895) and Canada's oldest west coast lighthouse occupy a parklike backdrop 13 km (8 miles) west...Read More

  • 18. Goldstream Provincial Park

    West Shore

    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. Picnic areas, easy...Read More

  • 19. Government House Gardens

    Rockland | Garden

    Take a stroll through the walled grounds and 35 acres of formal gardens at Government House, residence of British Columbia's Lieutenant Governor...Read More

  • 20. Legacy Art Gallery Downtown


    Rotating exhibits from the University of Victoria's vast art collection, as well as contemporary installations, are displayed in this airy Downtown space. Shows in the...Read More

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