Victoria, British Columbia - Three nights
Victoria is the perfect pocket-sized city to stroll around and immerse yourself in for a few days.
Victoria is the capital of British Columbia and has recently been voted Canada's best small city, and we have to agree.
We arrived on a short 30-minute seaplane flight from Vancouver. Alternatively, you can catch a ferry, but if you are short on time, we recommend the seaplane experience.
This charming and colourful city sits on the southern end of Vancouver Island, is full of beautiful parklands, is known for outdoor activities, and is surrounded by coastline. The city's British colonial past shows its Victorian architecture, gardens and layout.
The city is bursting with fresh flowers and exudes a genuine warmth from all the people. We felt very welcomed and loved exploring and enjoying the laidback nature.
You are spoilt with the fresh farm-to-table dining options, and we enjoyed a very slow lunch with exceptional cocktails and service at The Courtney Room.
We loved all the wildlife as we roamed around the immaculate gardens. One morning we came across a turtle sunbaking, a heron nesting, a wild deer strolling along the pathway, and squirrels playing in the park. Later in the day, we saw a sea lion and otter playing around, hoping to be fed by a nearby restaurant, and caught a glimpse of a seal as we arrived across the harbour on our water taxi! Special moments!
We loved exploring Fisherman's Wharf Park, a pleasant stroll from the centre of Victoria, a quaint floating pier of food outlets and floating homes.
Be sure to catch one of the cute water taxis home from Victoria Harbour Ferry; you'll be smiling for days. If you are lucky, you will even see seals on your way back.
Victoria is home to Canada's oldest Chinatown and the second oldest in North America after San Francisco. You will love roaming around all the little alleyways full of lanterns.
We found a lovely Airbnb near Chinatown; it was the perfect location. We even found a cosy neighbourhood coffee shop called Bean Around The World. The cafe was full of locals sharing stories, and the coffee was in 8oz cups and was delicious. In most coffee shops in Canada, the smallest cup is 10-12oz!
We also had the most wonderful experience buying groceries on our first night. If you're staying near Chinatown, visit the local package-free grocery shop, Zero Waste Emporium. You bring your own containers to self-serve while minimising your impact on the environment, something unique; I genuinely hope this store grows in popularity. Don't worry; they offer free recycled containers for those new to the concept. The ability to gain the benefits of buying in bulk without wastage is a concept that needs to be taken worldwide.
Victoria is just such a pretty little town that we could have easily stayed longer if time permitted.