Welcome to Vancouver Island

The locals are a friendly bunch, proud of their region and its distinct differences. You'll find a wide range of attractions, experiences and activities that feel many miles from the bustle of mainland Vancouver. Which reminds us: to make a good impression, don't mistakenly refer to the place as 'Victoria Island.'

While the history-wrapped BC capital Victoria is the arrival point for many, it shouldn't be the only place you visit here. Food and wine fans will love the Cowichan Valley farm region; outdoor-activity enthusiasts shouldn't miss the surf-loving, wild west coast radiating from Tofino; and visitors venturing north will find an uncrowded region of independent communities fringed by rugged wilderness.

Top experiences in Vancouver Island

Recent articles

Vancouver Island activities

$56.18 Day Trips & Excursions

Butchart Gardens Tour from Victoria

You're sure to see an amazing floral display at Butchart Gardens, whatever the time of year you visit, from the emerging green leaves and bulbs of spring to summertime's perfumed flowers and fall's brilliant red and gold colors.Butchart Gardens' highlights include the Sunken Garden, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, Italian Garden, and the magnificent Ross Fountain. An experience to savor while in Victoria.Evening Illuminations TourDuring the summer months, don't miss Butchart Gardens' spectacular illuminations, when garden staff use the play of light and shadow to cast a magical glow upon the shrubs, trees, and flower beds. Thousands of lights, of varying intensity and color, bring out a different look and feel to the gardens. In addition, Saturday night visitors in July through to Labour Day weekend will be thrilled by the pyrotechnic marvels of one of the most extravagant firework displays in North America at no extra charge.

$36.11 Tours & Sightseeing

Victoria City Sightseeing Tour with Craigdarroch Castle

Start your tour with pickup from Victoria's spectacular Inner Harbour in front of the Empress Hotel. Driving through the stately downtown core, your driver-guide discusses notable landmarks while you pass through Government Street in Old Town, see Canada's oldest Chinatown, and view the last remnants of Fort Victoria. Your coach tour follows a route along Antique Row before arriving at Craigdarroch Castle. Your guide will fill you in on the eccentricities of this Victorian-era Scottish Baronial mansion, which is designated a National Historic Site of Canada. Enjoy an hour to explore Craigdarroch Castle at your leisure. Discover the heritage museum, considered a key piece of British Columbia history, built in the early 1900s and designed with exquisite stained glass windows and elegant woodwork. Learn about its wealthy former residents and the many functions of its subdivided estate, including as a military hospital and music school.Continuing your drive, stop at the summit of Mt Tolmie for a photo opportunity high above the city. Then it's on to Oak Bay, Uplands and along Marine Drive, offering vistas of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Stop at Oak Bay Marina to feed the seals or grab some coffee (own expense), then travel along scenic Marine Drive and the Victoria waterfront past Beacon Hill Park, the largest of its kind in the city. Your morning or afternoon sightseeing tour ends at the starting point.

$48.15 Cultural & Theme Tours

Victoria History and Food Walking Tour with Tastings

After meeting your guide at the Victoria Public Market, begin by tasting three local establishments within this historic building. Following this, you will learn about the historic sites of Chinatown including the Chinese Public School, the Harmonious Gates of Interest, and Fan Tan Alley. Victoria's Chinatown is the oldest in Canada and dates back to the early days of the Caribou Gold Rush in the 1860s, when Victoria was used as a staging point for miners heading north. There will be another tasting in Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest street in Canada, and a chance to see the areas where illegal opium was traded in a shadier time of Victoria's history.From Chinatown the tour moves to Victoria's Olde Town where there will be tastings in Market Square. Vibrant Market Square is a three level shopping area with activities going on within its inner courtyard on a regular basis. From Market Square, the tour will head to the shopping area of Lower Johnson Street or "LoJo" as the locals call it. The colorfully painted Victorian era buildings are a flashback to the time when this part of the city was the Red Light District in the late 1800s. Continuing in Olde Town, the tour visits Trounce Alley and Bastion Square for two more tastings.  These pedestrian-only areas have a lot of exciting stories, some which include ghosts, public executions and intrigue.From here the tour will follow historic Government Street into the Inner Harbor where the two final tastings will take place.  The beautiful Inner Harbor of Victoria is flanked by the Empress Hotel and Parliament Buildings, both designed by a Victorian legend, Francis Rattenbury.  Stories of early exploration, Victoria's political importance, and the draw of the city as a modern tourism center will be discussed as we wrap up the tour at a local food favorite in the harbor.

$115.56 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Victoria Whale and Wildlife Cruise

Watch whales and many other diverse marine species aboard either a covered or open boat, both with onboard washrooms. Many types of whales grace the Salish Sea, including humpback whales, killer whales, minke whales and gray whales. Your expert captain and crew are excited to share everything these waters have to offer. Whale sightings are guaranteed!You'll make several wildlife viewing stops to learn about local wildlife from the onboard naturalist. Wildlife identification kits, binoculars, gloves, hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and blankets are available for your use, plus a hydrophone to hear the whales underwater.

$183.78 Tours & Sightseeing

Victoria in One Day Sightseeing Tour

Your Best of Victoria tour begins at the city’s most famous hotel, The Fairmount Empress (721 Government Street), this is where you will meet your tour guide and board our Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van.The tour starts with a tour going through Downtown Victoria, Chinatown, Beacon Hill Park and the Cook Street Village, and visit the Mile 0 Monument. The tour will also head to Mount Tolmie where you will be able to get off the van for a panoramic view of the city and surrounding areas. After the tour you will be dropped off at the beautiful Craigdarroch Castle, a National Historic Site of Canada, you will have one hour to explore the history of the mansion.After the Castle, enjoy a short drive to the small coastal town of Sidney where you will have the opportunity to dine on the lunch provided by The Empress Hotel. After everyone is finished lunch you will go on tour of Victoria Distillers and learn about the Gin making process before getting a taste of the Gins.After the tasting, you will have the opportunity to choose between the Butterfly Gardens, which is an indoor tropical jungle environment with birds, poison dart frogs, an insectarium and, of course, butterflies, or a wine tasting at Church and State Winery.Once you are finished at your choice the guide will come back and take you to the stunning Butchart Gardens. This garden is over 50 acres and home to over 900 species of flowers and plants, you will be able to explore the gardens at your own pace.The tour ends with a 40 minute drive back to the Empress Hotel.Itinerary9:00AM – Depart the Empress Hotel9AM - 1 hour and 30 minute City tour10:30AM – Arrive at Craigdarroch Castle11:30AM - Depart Castle and start drive to Victoria Distillers12:10PM - Arrive at Victoria Distillers1:00PM – Depart Sidney1:25PM – Approximately arrive at your choice of Butterfly Gardens or Church and State Winery2:10PM – Depart Butterfly Gardens/ Church and State Winery2:15PM – Arrive at Butchart Gardens5:00PM – Depart Butchart Gardens (Guests travelling between June 15 – September 2 will have the option to catch our 6:00PM, 8:00PM or our 10:00PM returns for the gardens on our regular shuttles)5:40PM – Arrive back in front of the Empress HotelSample lunch menu Savory tea sandwiches: • Locally smoked wild BC salmon • Whole-grain mustard and maple-glazed smoked ham • Cheddar scone • Cowichan Valley chicken, curry spices, toasted cashews • English cucumber, fresh ginger cream cheeseHomemade sweets: • Signature candied ginger scone • Strawberry jam • Poppy seed orange loaf • French meringue • Battenberg cake • Chocolate Irish cream truffleBeverage: • Iced tea-Unsweetened

$87.47 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Victoria Whale Watch Tour

Head to the Victoria wharf to board your 61-foot (19-meter) motor yacht, the Marauder IV, which holds up to 84 passengers and features comfortable seating and a smooth, quiet ride. Meet your naturalist guide and head out from the harbor, cruising into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the body of water separating Canada's Vancouver Island from the United States.As you cruise, your guide will help you spot the variety of whales that live in these Pacific waters, including orcas, gray whales, humpback whales and minke whales. Keep your eyes open for other marine life, too, like sea lions, elephant seals, harbor seals and sea birds. You may even catch sight of a bald eagle. During your journey, listen to your guide's informative, expert commentary about the biological and ecological features of the whales and their ocean environment. If you have any questions, ask away! And if the conditions are right, the boat's hydrophones can pick up and amplify the beautiful sounds of the orcas as they communicate with each other, giving you the amazing opportunity to hear the song of the whales.If you get chilly, head inside the spacious heated cabin and warm up with a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. You can keep watching for whales through the windows. Your tour ends with return to the wharf.

Vancouver Island in detail