Victoria, B.C.

the Leader

Get to know Victoria on these popular guided tours

By Sue Kernaghan

Download Victoria's 2019 Vacation Guide

By Foot

It’s no surprise that Victoria, one of Canada’s most pedestrian-friendly towns, boasts a wealth of walking tours.

Start with some salty tales of Victoria’s seafaring past on an Inner Harbour Walking Tour. These hour-long strolls, led by experts from the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, run daily all summer and include admission to the Maritime Museum—which is itself a fascinating stop.

Alternatively, join Discover the Past Walking Tours for a behind-the-scenes look at Victoria’s most intriguing neighbourhoods. On the Chinatown Walk, for example, you’ll visit an herbalist, sample the wares at a traditional bakery, and get the inside scoop on secret societies and hidden tunnels in Canada’s oldest Chinatown. Later, if you dare, step into Victoria’s dark side on one of Discover the Past’s evening Ghostly Walks.

Ocean beaches, lakes, mountains, and forest trails are also part of the Victoria experience. Go with on easy walks to the area’s best beaches and viewpoints, or on a more challenging hike to the top of Gowlland Tod—a moderate trek leading to sweeping views over Finlayson Arm and the Olympic Mountains.

The guides at The Natural Connection embrace the concept of forest bathing—gentle walks that support well-being by simply being in nature; half-day, full-day, and sunset walks cater to all fitness levels. A top choice is the company’s Taste the Coast Tour, which mixes trail time with sampling stops at farm stands, microbreweries, and more.

Victoria’s rich gastronomical history makes it a foodie destination. Learn about local history, food, and customs while exploring the heart of Victoria with Victoria Food Tours. In the mood for a culinary adventure? Feast Concierge & Tours has you covered with its many distinct tour offerings.

By Bike

Victoria—Canada’s cycling capital—has more bike commuters per capita than any other city in the country. It’s no surprise two wheels are a great choice for sightseeing.

If you haven’t been on a bike for a while, try Bike Tours Victoria. You’ll enjoy quiet side streets and make frequent stops at top sights and scenic spots on these leisurely rides.

With The Pedaler Cycling Tours and Rentals, you can sample local fare, visit brewpubs, and learn about key landmarks on a guided city ride or hop on an all-road bike to explore the trails and country lanes farther afield.

Fancy a road trip? North 48 Bikes offers longer bike tours through the forests and farmland north and west of Victoria.

Whether you’re travelling with a group or flying solo, experience the pubs of downtown Victoria on The Rolling Barrel, Victoria’s first pedal bike tour. Between stops, passengers are encouraged to dance, snap pictures, play games, and, most importantly, have fun!

For mountain bike trails, ask Alex. Join bike coach and guide Alex Jefthas of Alex’s Mountain Bike Tours on some of his favorite daylong adventures around southern Vancouver Island. Door-to-door transport and loaner bikes are available.

Prefer a little more rev? Experienced motorcyclists can join Cycle BC on a guided half-day adventure around the city, along the coast and up to a mountaintop viewpoint.

By Horse-Drawn Carriage

Clip-clopping through town in a traditional horse-drawn carriage is a delightfully old-school—and romantic—way to see the sights. You and up to five friends can sightsee in a classic open carriage pulled by a well-cared-for draught horse with Tally-Ho Carriage Tours (fun fact: they started as a stagecoach company in 1903) and Victoria Carriage Tours. A variety of 15- to 90-minute narrated tours take in Victoria’s top heritage districts, the Salish Sea waterfront, and the leafy pathways of Beacon Hill Park.

By Bus

On a hop-on, hop-off tour, you can sightsee at your own pace—stopping at any of more than a dozen attractions around town and rejoining the tour whenever you like—your ticket is good all day. Gray Line Sightseeing Victoria offers open-top double deckers. Gray Line’s double deckers also run evening city highlights tours.

For narrated coach tours of Victoria and trips to The Butchart Gardens, contact CVS Tours. Afternoon tea, whale watching, local food sampling, and evening tours are all on the menu.

By Boat

Victoria Harbour Ferry, the little foot passenger boats plying the Inner Victoria Harbour, are a great way to see Victoria from the sea. Choose from a 45-minute Inner Harbour tour or opt for a 75-minute cruise along the historic Gorge Waterway.

More seafaring? A 3-Hour Sail runs family-friendly sailing adventures on the Duen, a heritage tall ship from Norway. The ship explores the lagoons and islets of Victoria’s coastline from June to September.

One of the most exciting things to do in Victoria is see a variety of whale types and other wildlife on a whale-watching tour. Several local companies offer full-day and half-day trips.

By Air

Nothing wows like seeing the Salish Sea and Victoria’s skyline from the air. Choose from a small plane flightseeing tour with the Victoria Flying Club or a scenic seaplane jaunt with Harbour Air. Date night? Whisk away your date to The Butchart Gardens for a romantic meal in the famous gardens on Harbour Air’s Fly ’n Dine tour.

Better yet, arrive by helicopter from Vancouver with Helijet, or by seaplane from Seattle with Kenmore Air. These aren’t narrated tours, but the views are just as breathtaking. Once you land, Victoria’s local experts will be happy to show you around.

Download Victoria's
2019 Vacation Guide