The capital of British Columbia, Victoria lies on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and is known for its beautiful gardens, mild climate and bike friendly streets. With beautiful architecture, large amounts of greenspace and blossoming flowers, Victoria is a great romantic getaway or outdoor recreation spot.

WHAT TO DO

Every visitor to Victoria should head to the Butchart Gardens, which have given Victoria the nickname of Garden City. Park goers can stroll for hours through the maze of beautiful flowers, manicured lawns and stunning trees. Visitors can also enjoy nature in Victoria at the Undersea gardens and Beacon Hill Park, which offers spectacular views of the ocean and the Olympic Mountains.

Because of Victoria’s location on the water, visitors can also go on a what watching cruises, take a ferry or tour the San Juan Islands. The Inner Harbour in the city is also full of artists, music performers (including bag pipers), shops and restaurants. Close by, you can also visit the Emily Carr house, who is one of Canada’s most loved artists.

If you are interested in learning more about British Columbia’s history, head over to the Royal British Columbia Museum near the Inner Harbour. The museum has extensive and impressive exhibits with three permanent galleries hosting displays on European settlement, the first peoples of BC and Natural History. It is also one of only two museums in all of Canada with the designation of “Royal.”

GETTING THERE

Victoria International Airport (airport code YYJ) is located about 30 minutes north of the city and has regular flights from Seattle, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and San Francisco. However, getting a flight to Victoria can sometimes be pricey and difficult, which is why many chose to get a cheaper flight to Vancouver or a flight to Seattle and then take a ferry or floatplane to Victoria. There are ferries that regularly service Victoria from both Washington State and Vancouver and cost less than $50.

If you do fly into Victoria, there is poor public transportation to and from the airport, so getting an airport shuttle may be your best bet. If you are driving to the airport you can also reserve your airport parking in advance, which saves both time and money.

WHERE TO STAY

There are a wide variety of hotels in Victoria, which range from budget inns to mid-range bed and breakfasts to high-end, pricey hotels. There are also a few backpacker hostels in Victoria for those on a tighter budget. It is probably worth spending a few extra bucks to get a hotel close to downtown or the Inner Harbour, as that is not only the most scenic part of the city, but also where the majority of the sights in town are located.