With a population approaching 350,000 when you add in the suburbs, this picture-postcard provincial capital was long touted as North America's most English city. This was a surprise to anyone who actually came from Britain, since Victoria promulgated a dreamy version of England that never really was: every garden (complete with the occasional palm tree) was immaculate; every flagpole was adorned with a Union Jack; and every afternoon was spent quaffing tea from bone-china cups.
Thankfully this tired theme-park version of Ye Olde England has gradually faded in recent years. Fuelled by an increasingly younger demographic, a quiet revolution has seen lame tourist pubs, eateries and stores transformed into the kind of bright-painted bohemian shops, wood-floored coffee bars and surprisingly innovative restaurants that would make any city proud. It's worth seeking out these enclaves on foot but activity fans should also hop on their bikes: Victoria has more cycle routes than any other Canadian city. Once you've finished exploring, there's also BC's best museum, a park that's licked with a windswept seafront and outdoor activities that include whale-watching and kayak adventures.
Victoria destination guides
British Columbia’s capital charms
When Winter Olympic host Vancouver hogged the international spotlight in 2010, many people around the world believed they were seeing images of British Columbia’s capital.
Viator Exclusive: 2-day Victoria Tour from Vancouver including Butchart Gardens
Want to spend more than a day discovering the delights of the capital of British Columbia? This tour includes a ferry to Victoria, a float plane flight back to Vancouver, admission into Butchart Gardens and overnight accommodation at a 4-star centrally-located Victoria hotel; a great value that will allow you plenty of time to explore this beautiful city.
High-Speed Passenger Ferry Service From Seattle, Washington to Victoria, British Columbia
Hop aboard the high-speed ferry from Seattle in Washington State, to Victoria in British Columbia. Enjoy a scenic 2- to 3-hour cruise through Puget Sound as you travel between the USA and Canada by ferry. Upgrade and add the round-trip option. Meet the cruise at Pier 69 in the heart of downtown Seattle and relax as you travel in comfort and style to Victoria.
How to see Victoria, BC by bike
Vancouver Island's biggest city – Victoria, British Columbia – gets a positive knee-jerk reaction for those who've been, usually talking about its coastal beauty, retiree-filled hotels and a very very English air. But with that, the story too often stops. Yeah, there's plenty more than that.