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5 Days in Victoria BC – Ultimate Travel Guide

Are you looking to spend 5 days in Victoria, BC and have no idea yet how? Then you are in the right spot!

There is much to do and see in this lovely city – so it can be hard to find the best things to do when you don’t know the place.

My friend Ashlea is an expert on all things Victoria BC, and for this blog post, she has given me all the deets.

Find in this post her verdict on the best things to do and everything else you need to know about this special place.

Let’s get to it!

amazing architecture in victoria bc with lots of sailboats and yachts in harbor

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About Victoria BC

Victoria BC is one of my all-time favorite cities. It is such a lovely city with beautiful architecture, sprawling gardens, welcoming locals, unique local shops, stellar restaurants, and breweries.

We found all the food to be amazing and the beauty of Victoria to be stunning.

It is a very clean city and we felt safe everywhere we walked – and we walked a ton! I am certain you will adore Victoria as we did and won’t run out of fun things to fill your time there. 

Some must-see activities in Victoria are Butchart Gardens, Chinatown, and Old Town Victoria. And of course, the food and beer scene is worth the trip alone.

Victoria is a great destination for all the foodies – you are in for a treat!

5 Days in Victoria BC – Overview

🏙️ Day 1: Old Town – China Town – Market Square

🏙️ Day 2: Rose Gardens – Butterflies – Tea Rooms

🏙️ Day 3: Museums – Totem Poles – Fisherman’s Wharf

🏙️ Day 4: Cathedral Cove – Craft Beer Market

🏙️ Day 5: Victorian Homes

Day 1: Old Town – China Town – Market Square

Old Town

Yay, you made it to Victoria BC! Drop off your bags at your accommodation and hit the ground running! 

First Head to Old Town. As soon as you arrive in Victoria you will be enchanted by the horse carriages, Victorian Buildings, and the beauty of Victoria.

And Old Town is the perfect place to admire this lovely city and where you will find most of the attractions in Victoria. I would recommend after you check into your hotel walk about Old Town and get a lay of the land.

This area will be close to Chinatown and Market Square as well.

beautiful rose in focus with famous buildings of victoria bc in the background

Chinatown

After you have wandered through Old Town you can walk to Chinatown for a bite to eat! Victoria’s Chinatown is the second biggest Chinatown in North America, only second to San Francisco.

Chinatown is a great place to explore, go shopping for unique finds, and of course, eat. You will find lots of different food options and you really can’t go wrong. Our favorite food spot was the Fantan Cafe.

While in Chinatown be sure to check out Fan Tan Alley. It is known as the narrowest alleyway in Canada leading to Chinatown.

There is also Dragon Alley, which is a historic alleyway in Chinatown. Both are a great way to enter into vibrant Chinatown and wander around.

picture of spring tree with cherry blossom in china town of victoria, canada

Market Square – Breweries

Now that you have had some delicious food head to Market Square. There you can find great local shops and some craft beer. 

For dinner head to The Drake. It is a cozy place with great food and craft beer.

Whistle Buoy is another great brewery right across the street from the Drake and it was my favorite brewery in Victoria. 

For more Victoria BC Brewery Recommendations, check out our Victoria BC Brewery Guide.

Day 2: Rose Gardens – Butterflies – Tea Rooms

Butchart Gardens

What’s a better way to start your day than in a rose garden in beautiful Victoria? You’re going to The Butchart Gardens today, which is the number one must-do thing while in Victoria BC.

Tip: Wear comfy shoes as you will be on your feet a ton. Dress cute because you will want to take some pics here, they are sure to be some of your favs.  

You will find enchanting gardens with the most beautiful variety of roses and some other flowers. This was paradise!

If you are a flower lover like me you will just adore roaming through the sweet smell of roses and admiring all the different types of roses. 

Address: 800 Benvenuto Ave., Brentwood Bay, BC

Hours:  Monday-Tuesday: 9 AM-10 PM, Wednesday-Sunday: 9 AM- 10 PM 

Victoria Butterfly Garden

The Victoria Butterfly Garden is another great stop near the Butchart Gardens.

If you have the time, stop by the Butterfly Garden before heading back to downtown Victoria. 

Victoria Butterfly Gardens is located in the Greater Victoria region in Brentwood Bay, BC. It is a 30-minute drive from downtown Victoria.

Victoria Butterfly Garden is like exploring a jungle up close with thousands of tropical butterflies, tropical birds, flamingos, iguanas, poisonous dart frogs, and more.

You will be able to walk through the lush wonderland of tropical plants, and fruit plants, and even see carnivorous plants! There is a waterfall, a pond with tropical fish, and a stream to admire. You may just forget you’re not in a jungle after all. 

Address: 1461 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, BC

Hours: Everyday (10 AM- 6 PM) 

Tickets: Child- 7.50, Senior/Student- 14.50, Adult- 18.50, kids under 4 are free

Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel

For Tea Time, go to the Empress Hotel. It is one of the most famous buildings in Victoria.

 It is over 100 years old and it is simply stunning. The Empress Hotel is a Victorian-style hotel, that is known for its tea room. Victoria is in British Columbia after all – and enjoying tea in a tea room is a very quintessential Victoria BC experience. 

At the Empress Hotel, you can enjoy afternoon tea, where you will be able to pick from a variety of teas and small bites

The menu includes tea sandwiches, cakes, tarts, macarons, and more. They even offer a kid’s menu for all the princes and princesses in your life.

The Fairmont Empress Hotel is one of the world’s most famous places to have tea. So when in Rome? It comes with a higher price tag starting at $95 CAD per person. In my opinion, it is totally worth it. 

Be sure to make reservations in advance to guarantee a seat for afternoon tea. They fill up quickly. 

Tip: For a more affordable Tea Room Experience you can enjoy tea at the Butchart Gardens Tea Rooms with a great view of the roses. The tea room is located in the old residence of the Butchart Family and is just beautiful. Be sure to make reservations and be there before 3:00  because at 3:30 they stop serving tea. 

Address: 721 Government St., Victoria BC 

Hours: Everyday (11 AM- 4 PM)

Dinner at Victoria’s Public Market

For dinner check out Victoria’s Public Market. You can on a self-guided food tour in Victoria at the Victoria Public Market at the Hudson.

Located in the beautiful historic Hudson building, you will find local cheese, fresh flowers, local meats and produce, coffee, pasta, a French bakery, gourmet foods, and so many more delicious options to taste. 

Address: #6 1701 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC, V8W 0C1

Hours: ​​Everyday 11 AM- 6 PM 

Day 3: Museums, Totem Poles, and Fisherman’s Wharf

Today is a busy day with some stellar museums, totem poles, and a visit to the quirky Fisherman’s Wharf. 

Royal BC Museum

Let’s start our day off by visiting Victoria’s most famous museum, the Royal BC Museum. 

The Royal BC Museum is the perfect place to learn all about British Columba’s history. Royal BC Museum is a natural and human history museum. You can immerse yourself in Canadian history from wooly mammoths to totem poles. 

The wooly mammoth’s exhibit is so lifelike that it makes you feel like you went back in time. You can explore the Language Forest and hear 34 different languages spoken by Indigenous Peoples.

Admire the totem poles and other fascinating cultural artifacts. You could spend a whole day exploring the Royal BC Museum, but I recommend at least 1-2 hours. 

Address:  675 Belleville St., Victoria, BC

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 10 AM- 6 PM, Friday- Saturday 10 AM- 10 PM 

The Parliament

After you are done exploring the Royal BC Museum, head to the Parliament Building. This is a must-visit place on this 5-day Victoria BC itinerary.

The Parliament Building is a historic ornate building. I think it’s worth a stop. even if you are not super interested in history. If you are a lover of old buildings you will enjoy admiring the detailed features of the Parliament Building. 

Important: You can easily do this in 30 min or less. But you do have to go through security.

You will be able to get in for free. You can wander at your own pace or go on a guided tour.

We opted to walk around on our own, which was a great way to explore at our own pace. There are some displays with information to read and learn about the history and function of both the Parliament and British Columbia.

Address: 501 Belleville St., Victoria, BC

Hours: Everyday 8:30 AM- 4:30 PM 

stunning ceiling of the capitol building in victoria bc

Thunderbird Park

Head to Thunderbird Park to see the beautifully carved Totem Poles. Thunderbird Park was the home to the original totem poles from First Nations Peoples. 

The original totem poles have now been moved inside the Royal BC Museum and replaced with replicas carved by expert First Nations Carvers.

There are 11 totem poles and one long hose in Thunderbird Park. They are just beautifully carved and painted. I loved strolling around there and enjoying the atmosphere.

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf was such a fun thing to do while in Victoria!

You can wander through the colorful boat houses on the dock, eat some great food, and shop.

Be sure to try the fish and chips. We ate at The Fish Store and loved it!

You will find local pizza, ice cream, and other food options as well. You can book whale-watching tours here as well. 

Address: 12 Erie St, Victoria, BC

Hours: 11 AM – 6 PM daily

Day 4: Cathedral Cove – Swift Brewery

Cathedral Cove

You are going to take a drive today to Cathedral Grove, located in MacMillan Park. It will be about 2 hours from downtown Victoria. 

Cathedral Grove is straight out of The Chronicles Narnia. It is a majestic forest with giant Douglas fir trees.

It is a beautiful place to walk around and enjoy the beauty of the forest. The Cathedral Grove is also where Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was filmed. And you can see why, it is the absolute perfect setting.

Get there early to find parking and explore the majestic forest! 

Located in: MacMillan Provincial Park, BC-4, Nanaimo, BC V0R 1G0, Canada

Swift Brewery & Good Times

Head back to Victoria for a stop at Swift Brewery & Good Times.

Here you will find a brewery decorated like a 70’s basement with great craft beer and such a fun ambiance. It is so funky and a great way to end your day in Victoria exploring. 

For Dinner continue the craft beer crawl and grab some great eats at the Craft Beer Market located right by the water. They have a great food selection with almost anything you could want with a great patio area to enjoy those fresh water breezes. 


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Day 5: Victorian Homes

Today you will be exploring more of that famous Victorian architecture that makes Victoria so picturesque. 

But first things first, food. Go to Jam Cafe, which is a great brunch place. They offer any item you can imagine! Fill up and get ready for your day! 

Emily Carr House

The first stop is the Emily Carr House. The Emily Carr House is the birthplace and home of the famous writer and artist Emily Carr.

It’s a historic Victorian home and gardens that is open to tours of the home and learn more about Emily Carr and her legacy.

Reserve in advance to save your spot. 

Address: 207 Government Street, Victoria, British Columbia V8V2K8

Hours: Friday- Saturday 10 AM- 3 PM

Craigdarroch Castle

Next up on our 5 days in Victoria itinerary, let’s see a castle! Craigdarroch Castle is more of a Victorian-era mansion, but it sure does look like it popped straight out of a fairy tale.

The Craigdarroch Castle was home to a Scottish immigrant who made his fortune in coal during the Industrial Age.

 It is a home with stained glass windows, intricate woodwork, and Victorian-era furnishing. What a perfect way to spend a rainy day in Victoria. You can wander through an old Victorian house that overlooks Victoria’s charming downtown. 

You can even walk 20 minutes up to the castle from downtown if you want to take a stroll. 

Address: 1050 Joan Crescent, Victoria, BC

Hours:  Wednesday-Sunday: 10 AM- 4 PM, Monday & Tuesday: Closed 

Self-Guided Tour Tickets: Adults- 20.60, Seniors- 19.50

cute craigdarroch castle in victoria something that needs to be on every person's 5 days in victoria itinerary

Last Dinner in the City

For Dinner head back to Market Square Chinatown or a local brewery for your last meal in Victoria!

Some great picks would be Driftwood Brewery, which has great dumplings and bao buns among other great food!

Lighthouse Brewery is another great pick for small bites, such as empanadas and queso with delicious beer.

Glo is a great waterfront restaurant with incredible views and amazing food to boot! Old Town has a ton of great restaurants to choose from as well!

Happy eating! 

amazing waterfront in victoria bc with boats and yachts

How to Get to Victoria BC?

Depending on where you are departing from there are lots of different ways to get to Victoria. 

Coming From Seattle

The ferry will be the easiest way to get to Victoria. You can easily take the ferry from Seattle and get to Victoria in just under 3 hours. The ferry to take is the Clipper Ferry. If you have a car you can also take your car via the ferry. 

The Ferry will run around 100-160 per person depending on your dates and how far in advance you book your ferry. The further in advance the better your prices will be. 

Coming from Washington or Oregon

Coming from Washington or Oregon, you can drive to Seattle and catch the ferry or take a short flight to the Victoria International Airport.

A ferry or flight will be the most convenient and quickest way to get to Victoria. 

Check out our Seattle Guide, Portland Guide, and Oregon Coast Guide for more travel tips and guides! 

Coming From Vancouver

If you are coming from Vancouver you can easily hop on a ferry for a very short and easy ride. It is only a 1.5-hour ferry ride!

And the trip is just gorgeous. I would highly recommend sitting outside and soaking in the scenery. 

If you are coming from anywhere on Vancouver Island you can easily drive into Victoria.

Tip: For budget-friendly car rentals I recommend using turo, this is where you rent a car from someone. It is like the Airbnb for cars and they are much more affordable. You still have insurance to help you drive with peace of mind. 

Others

If you are coming from further away no problem! Victoria BC has an international airport and you can fly into the airport and grab a cab to downtown Victoria once you arrive – it is only a 25-30-minute ride. 

stunning capitol building of victoria bc in fall with fall foliage and boats in front

Where to Stay in Victoria BC?

We always recommend staying at local accommodations to best support the local community. You can find a wide range of rentals such as a Vrbo or Airbnb. If possible, try to book a rental from a local vs. a rental company. 

Tip: You can look at the profile to see how many rentals they have. We usually try to rent from a local with 3 or fewer rentals, this usually helps us weed out large companies so we know our money is going into the hands of locals.  

A great budget-friendly option is trusted housesitters which is completely free outside of the annual membership fee which easily pays for itself after your first free night of accommodations! 

Trusted Housesitters are locals who need someone to stay at their home to take care of their pets and home. This is a great way to get a free place to stay while also helping someone out by taking care of the furbabies! We love being around animals so this is always our top pick when picking accommodations. 

Some other accommodations include beautiful Victorian-style hotels that are so ornate and charming. The Fairmont Empress Hotel and Abigail’s House are both located in historic buildings that showcase the lovely Victorian architecture Victoria BC is known for. 

When to Visit Victoria BC?

Spring and Fall are the best times to visit Victoria due to the terrific weather.

We visited in the summer and thought it was wonderful weather as well! 

cute little houses in victoria bc on the water built

How to Get Around Victoria?

Downtown Victoria is very walkable. If you are planning on staying in the downtown area you can walk almost everywhere.

If you want to explore Victoria further, I would recommend getting a car. It is very convenient but not essential.

When in Victoria you have to see the Butchart Gardens, which are about 30 minutes from downtown. You can get here via a tour bus or ride-sharing app as well.

We did not rent a car and were able to get by on ride-sharing and walking whenever possible.

How Many Days Do I Need in Victoria BC?

Victoria is just a dream and you are going to want at least 3 days to explore the top attractions in Victoria.

If you have the availability I would suggest you spend 5-7 days in Victoria, giving yourself time to explore areas further away from downtown as well as the top attractions.

Victoria was one of my favorite cities of all time and you won’t want to rush this trip. 

Conclusion: 5 Days in Victoria BC

This brings us to the end of our 5 days in Victoria BC itinerary. Stunning houses, impressive gardens, and a lovely afternoon tea were on our itinerary.

We visited breweries and museums – and one thing is for sure: Victoria BC has a lot to offer. Make sure to stay at least three days – ideally you have up to a week in Victoria.

Want to remember your trip forever? One of our favorite things to do on a trip is to grab some postcards and write down a memory from the day. Not a list of what you did that day but a special moment, these are the sweet memories you’ll forget as your trip fades and these are the memories we want to capture. 

Victoria, British Columbia is sure to be an unforgettable trip! Have a wonderful trip and take the time to explore and find your own adventures. 

Lastly, support local businesses and the local communities when possible to help give back to Victoria BC.

If you are interested in more inspiration, why not check out the best Northern American Bucket List Destinations or take a road trip through Alaska?

blonde girl pink dress in front of blue door santorini

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, originally from Austria. She spends most parts of the year abroad at various destinations with her husband.

She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.