Sitting on the southern end of Vancouver Island, Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia. There’s an ocean or mountain vista around every corner, which makes Victoria one of the most romantic cities in Canada.
With a mild climate year round and an abundance of lush trails and parks, it’s the perfect destination for those who want to experience Canada’s West Coast charm – even if you only have a weekend to explore. That’s why Expedia.ca asked me to share my favorite ways to enjoy 36 hours in beautiful Victoria.
A great way to save money on hotel rates is search for affordable hotel rates on Booking.com. This is my go-to site for finding cheap accommodation.
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Experience the lush tropical jungles at Victoria’s Butterfly Gardens. Perfect for all ages, the Victoria Butterfly Gardens gives visitors a unique opportunity to see the beauty of up to 75 different butterfly species from around the world represented in their tropical jungle. The gardens are also home to a variety of rescued animals including ducks, rare tropical birds, flamingos, iguanas, turtles and more!
Ready to experience more beautiful gardens? Head over to The Butchart Gardens, which is just a 5-minute drive away from the Butterfly Gardens. With nearly a million visitors per year, it’s no wonder The Butchart Gardens is ranked one of the top gardens in the world.
Marvel at this tranquil oasis as you wander through the famous Sunken Gardens and Japanese Gardens. If you have time, grab a gelato inside the Italian Gardens or enjoy afternoon tea which is served in the spring and summer months.
For dinner, grab a table at Canoe Brewpub in downtown Victoria, which features an inviting waterfront patio. Enjoy one of their handcrafted beers and kick back with live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
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Did you know that Victoria is the official brunch capital of Canada? Start your morning off right by enjoying breakfast at one of the city’s most popular brunch spots, the Blue Fox Café.
Walk off your breakfast by touring Craigdarroch Castle, just a 15-minute walk away on Fort Street. Built during the reign of Queen Victoria by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir, the castle is a National Historic Site which gives visitors a taste of privileged life in the 1890s. A visit to Craigdarroch Castle is the classic Victoria, BC experience.
After exploring Craigdarroch Castle, walk along Government Street, which is a popular street lined with restaurants, shopping, hotels and tourist attractions.
Grab a quite bite or enjoy an ice cream cone from Fisherman’s Wharf, just around the corner from Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Check out the colorful float homes and unique shops. You might even get lucky and see seals swimming in the harbor.
Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring one of Canada’s cultural treasures, the Royal BC Museum. Enjoy touring their permanent galleries where visitors can learn about British Columbia’s natural history, First Nations’ history and modern history. End your trip at the museum by watching an exciting film on the largest IMAX screen in British Columbia.
For dinner, head to the eclectic Rebar Modern Food restaurant. Here you can enjoy a delicious meal which celebrates real local flavor from local suppliers, grown from seed to table.
Get an early start at the Jam Café, which is a popular breakfast spot in Victoria. I highly recommend their pancakes or eggs benedict.
After breakfast, take a walk through Canada’s oldest Chinatown, where visitors can browse through colorful shops and drink bubble tea. Don’t forget to check out Fan Tan Alley, which is a very narrow lane that runs between Fisgard Street and Pandora Avenue. Containing a small number of businesses, this is a fun spot for both tourists and locals alike.
Just mere steps away from Chinatown is Johnson Street, which is one of the best places for shopping in Victoria. Here you can find vintage clothing, cosmetics, local designer fashions and hip coffee shops.
Ready to spend the perfect weekend exploring Victoria? Dine at some of the best brunch spots in the city, relax in Victoria’s beautiful gardens and discover what makes British Columbia such a scenic place.
Have more than a weekend to spend in Victoria? Hop on the BC Ferry and take a quick ride over to Vancouver.
Ready to start your adventure in Victoria? Below you can find local hotels deals thanks to Booking.com.