Whether you're in Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, or Quebec City, Canadian cities stand out for their beauty and vibrancy. Often filled with parks, greenery, impressive architecture, and long lists of things to see and do, these cities are perfect vacation destinations, ideal for everything from a family trip to a romantic getaway for young couples.
Vancouver is a perfect example. Sitting on the west coast of British Columbia, Vancouver is one of the most stunningly picturesque seaport cities in all of North America. It's home to Stanley Park and the amazing Capilano Suspension Bridge, with inner city districts like Gastown and Granville Island offering up plenty of great shopping and dining opportunities.
Vancouver is also a great place to organize some day trips, with many people choosing to head over the border and into the Washington State city of Seattle. Another very popular and highly convenient day trip from Vancouver will take you to the charming Vancouver Island city of Victoria.
The capital of British Columbia, Victoria is well known for its many flowers and parks, as well as its fascinating Victorian buildings and colonial-era architecture. It's a beautiful city and perfect for people who love to spend lots of time outdoors, and it’s only a short distance from Vancouver. Here’s how to plan the perfect day trip to Victoria from Vancouver.
Getting to Victoria from Vancouver
There are only about 100 miles separating Vancouver and Victoria, so the distance between these cities is relatively small, but the journey time can vary greatly, depending on how you choose to travel. If you choose to drive, take a tour, or rely on public transport to get from Vancouver to Victoria, you'll need to travel on the ferry at some point. If you'd prefer to avoid the ferry, you can also take a direct flight from Vancouver to Victoria.
Getting to Victoria from Vancouver by Car
Driving is one of the fastest ways you can get from Vancouver to Victoria, and the whole journey can be done in under three hours if you encounter minimal traffic along the way and plan out your trip in line with the ferry times.
You'll first need to head to the BC Ferries terminal is Tsawwassen, heading over the Granville Bridge and following the signs to get there. Then, you'll take the 90-minute ferry over to Vancouver Island and then only need to drive about half an hour south along the coast to get to Victoria.
Getting to Victoria from Vancouver on a Tour
Many different tour companies offer full guided day trips to Victoria from Vancouver, and this can be a good option for your day trip, especially if you just want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the day without having to worry about getting yourself around.
These tours are particularly popular with families and groups of friends, and you can compare prices and offerings from different tour companies to find a package that works for you. Some companies will provide sightseeing experiences or museum entrances, for example, while others might even include whale-watching as part of your day trip.
Getting to Victoria from Vancouver by Public Transport
If you choose to rely on public transport to get to Victoria from Vancouver for your day trip, you'll need to be prepared for a journey lasting around four hours, or maybe even longer depending on any possible traffic or delays, so it's wise to set off early in order to make the most of your day.
One of the most convenient options is to take the scheduled bus linking Vancouver and Victoria, as this actually includes the cost of the ferry in with the purchase of your ticket and takes you straight from Pacific Central Station to Victoria Bus Station. If you miss or are unable to take this bus, you can also use the SkyTrain and buses in Vancouver to get to the ferry terminal, use the BC Ferries crossing to get to Vancouver Island, and then take the number 70 bus to Victoria from there.
Getting to Victoria from Vancouver by Plane
There are actually several companies offering direct flights from Vancouver to Victoria on a daily basis throughout the year, including Air Canada and Westjet. The flight only takes about half an hour, but you do have to add on the time needed to get to and from each airport. Victoria International Airport, for example, is located quite close to the ferry terminal and about half an hour outside of Victoria itself.
Those who don't opt for a commercial flight can also consider taking a floatplane or helicopter, with services available direct from Downtown Vancouver over to Victoria. Flying can be one of the best and fastest ways to get to Victoria for a day trip, but prices will vary.
Important Information and Things to Do in Victoria
- Getting Around Victoria - Victoria is generally regarded as a very 'walkable' city, so you shouldn't need to worry too much about having to make use of taxis or buses to get around. You can see a lot of the main sights in the city on foot, and the main downtown neighborhoods are best enjoyed on foot. Those wishing to see a lot of the city in a short space of time could try hopping on board one of the sightseeing buses or renting bicycles.
- Best Time to Visit - Victoria is a beautiful city at any time of year, and the weather remains relatively mild and dry from spring through to fall. Like most cities around North America, Victoria can get quite crowded with tourists in the summer months, so if you'd prefer to see the city in a quieter and calmer state, visiting during spring or fall are the best options. If you'd like to be in Victoria for a special event, Jazzfest takes place in the summer and the ever-exciting Rifflandia Music Festival usually occurs in September.
- Things to Do in Victoria - Victoria is the sort of city where you'll want to be walking around and admiring the scenic beauty in every direction all day long. Some of the top sights to see include the breathtaking Craigdarroch Castle, Butchart Gardens, and the Parliament Buildings. There are many other impressive examples of architecture to be spotted all over the city, and lots of pretty parks like Beacon Hill as well. If you do want to spend a little time indoors, head to the Royal BC Museum or visit The Bay Centre to do some shopping.