10 Must-Do Things To Experience in Victoria, BC

Hey, so you’re considering spending a long weekend or so in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada? Well then consider no more, and make it happen. Vancouver Island, home to the quaint yet cosmopolitan city of Victoria, is a beautiful spot on Canada’s west coast, just a stone’s throw (ferry or flight) from Vancouver. So then what to do in beautiful Victoria? Along with some travel tips, here are 12 bomb-ass things to make your trip to the Island memorable:

  1. Beer! Victoria is great for breweries. Take a brewery tour at Phillips Brewing, among others, and visit one of the many Island beweries (including tons in Victoria) and pubs. Phillips comes highly recommended. Others include Driftwood, Hoyne, Vancouver Island Brewing, et al. Victoria is definitely a beer destination, if that’s your thing. And why wouldn’t it be. Great detailed list here.
  2. The Harbour & The Parliament – Speaks for itself. Must visit area. The Parliament is next to the esteemed Fairmont Empress and the Royal BC Museum, and right near the water of the Inner Harbor. Make sure to go to the Ogden Point Breakwater for a stroll and watch the action on the harbor. At the Parliament Building, which lights up nicely at night by the way, you can stop in a for a free tour.

    The Victoria Harbour Waterfront.

    The Victoria Harbour Waterfront.

  3.  Cider or Wine! Cider at Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse is a great experience that was one of the highlights of our trip, which surprised me as it was sort of a last-minute addition to the itinerary. Great views, close to Victoria, a nice orchard atmosphere, and some interesting nibbles to enjoy with your ciders. Just tasting them all is a drunken good time. I definitely loved the Rumrunner cider — t’was magical. There are numerous wineries to visit near Victoria (perhaps not on the level of the Okanagan Valley much further east in BC, but still notable) — check out the area wine route.
    Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse

    Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse

  4. Biking – Victoria has some good biking trails. We used the free bike rentals from our hotel, Hotel Zed (great funky place for a low low price, by the way) and hopped onto the Galloping Goose trail, right onto the Selkirk Trestle (which was quite fun to ride on and offered some nice scenery), right into downtown. Riding back in the dark at night offered quite a bike riding adventure. Tourism Victoria writes that “The Lochside and Galloping Goose Trails connect the entire region from Sidney to Sooke”, which is quite an adventure if you have more time.


    Biking the Galloping Goose trail

  5. The Peaks (Hike or Drive). Just do it. Beautiful photo ops, great exercise, and a mountaintop view of the Island. We can recommend both Mt. Tolmie and Lone Tree Hill. Both can be driven up to by car (or walked/hiked) and offer great views and strolls at the top.

    View from Lone Tree Hill

    View from Lone Tree Hill

  6. Fish & Chips – Trying the fish & chips is a must in Victoria. Tourists flock to Barb’s Fish & Chips at Fisherman’s Wharf, and Red Fish Blue Fish. Both are good but the latter is best. Lineups can get long but if you come at the right time it shouldn’t be an issue. Delicious.
  7. Hiking – There’s a few cool hikes in the area, but definitely visit Goldstream Provincial Park. Highly recommended, especially in the fall. One hike I can recommend for adventure seekers (though technically illicit in nature) is the Goldstream Railway Trestle hike, which also stops by a beautiful waterfall. Glorious, great photo ops, and a bit of a thrill.

    Goldstream Provincial Park

    Goldstream Provincial Park

  8. Sidney-By-The-Sea – A short drive from Victoria, and right near the airport, is this cool little town right on the water. If you’re in Victoria for a few days we’d highly recommend a stop here, as the waterfront is pretty, there’s some decent restaurants, and you can visit Victoria Distillery (for a drink or a tour & tasting). Much enjoyed watching people fishing for crab on the pier.
  9. Drive the Scenic Marine Drive – we spent part of our day driving this little-known route. Not highly publicized but a great way to spend some time and experience the real Victoria outside the Butchart Gardens (notice we didn’t even include that on our list?) and the Harbour. See the coast, beautiful homes, UVic, and more. Check out more details here.

    Somewhere along the Scenic Marine Drive on the coast near Victoria.

    Scenic Marine Drive

  10. Tofino, Ucluelet, and Nanaimo (and more). Some would say we saved the best for last? We could write a whole article or three about these places further on the Island but unfortunately we didn’t have the time to experience them! Next time we visit Vancouver Island we’ll make a week of it and will definitely be visiting Pacific Rim National Park.

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