Victoria, BC is one of the most beautiful and diverse cities on the west coast. It is home to stunning ocean views, a thriving cafe culture, and friendly locals. And while it may be known as Canada’s Garden City, it has so much more to offer. Known for its vibrancy, creativity and culture, it’s the perfect destination for an unforgettable weekend getaway from Vancouver.
Victoria is a cosmopolitan city with cafes, pubs, bars, bistros, boutiques, galleries – all of which offer a vivid urban experience. Yet it’s also surrounded by nature so you won’t have to go far to get away from it all. You can take a quick stroll through Beacon Hill Park for incredible views of Juan de Fuca Strait or head down to Thetis Lake Park for some much-needed serenity in nature.
With its temperate climate and laidback island lifestyle, combined with plenty activities to keep you busy, spending 3 days in Victoria is the perfect amount of time to experience this fun-loving city.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or an action-packed trip, I’ve have put together the perfect 3 day itinerary to explore all that Victoria has to offer.
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Where to Stay in Victoria BC
Whether you’re looking for an opulent hotel or a more casual retreat, Victoria has plenty of accommodation options—each with its own unique atmosphere and amenities.
The Fairmont Empress: The Fairmont Empress Hotel is one of the most iconic hotels in all of Canada—and it recently underwent an extensive renovation project that has made it even more luxurious than ever before. Situated right on the harbourfront with breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains and Victoria’s Inner Harbour, this hotel is ideal for those who want to experience opulence and luxury during their visit. When staying at Fairmont Empress Hotel in beautiful Victoria BC, you can expect everything from luxurious accommodations and amenities to breathtaking views and easy access to local attractions.
Oak Bay Beach Hotel: The Oak Bay Beach Hotel offers guests unparalleled relaxation just minutes from downtown Victoria by car or bus. All guest rooms are equipped with private balconies overlooking beautiful Oak Bay Marina—the perfect place to relax after a long day exploring!
Zed Hotel: If you’re looking for something a bit more fun and funky, check out Zed Hotel. This colourful boutique hotel features unique décor and amenities such as ping pong tables in their lobby and complimentary bike rentals which make exploring the city easy and enjoyable.
Robin Hood Inn: For a more outdoorsy escape within the city limits, head to Robin Hood Inn located near the Galloping Goose Trail. Not only does this inn offer guests complimentary e-bike and kayak rentals so they can explore nearby parks and trails but they also have access to laundry facilities which come in handy after long days spent outdoors.
When to Visit Victoria
Victoria’s mild climate means that visiting any time of year is possible. With average summer temperatures in the mid-twenties Celsius (mid-seventies Fahrenheit), it can be quite pleasant during the day and cooler at night. For those who prefer fewer crowds and more temperate weather, spring or fall may be the ideal time to visit.
Many activities will depend on when you decide to visit Victoria. Summertime visitors can enjoy outdoor activities like kayaking around Fisherman’s Wharf or hiking up Mount Douglas Park; while winter visitors can explore downtown ice skating rinks or toboggan down snowy hills at local parks.
How Many Days to Spend in Victoria?
While Victoria makes for a great day trip from Vancouver, there is much more to explore further afield. There are lots of things to do in Victoria, so I recommend staying for at least three days—or even a full week if you want to really experience all that this beautiful city has to offer.
With 3 days or more in this amazing city you can really explore all that there is on offer here while still having time left over for relaxation too! Whether it’s peaceful walks through gorgeous parks or learning about local culture through museums, spending 3 days in Victoria will allow you see the top sights as well as explore Greater Victoria attractions.
How to Spend 3 Days in Victoria BC
Day 1 – Inner Harbour, Parliament Buildings & Mount Douglas
Breakfast at Blue Fox Café
If you only have time for one breakfast place in Victoria, make it the Blue Fox Café. You cannot spend three days in Victoria without stopping here.
This place blew me away and I can’t wait to return! It’s a really popular place, especially on the weekends so you’ll more than likely have a wait, but trust me when I say it is worth it!
The blue fox cafe has an extensive breakfast and brunch menu that it’s hard to choose. If you love eggs Benedict, their benny’s menu offers all kinds of variations.
When it comes to coffee, you need to try the caramel macadamia nut latte. This coffee is to die for. It was by far one of the best I’ve ever tasted.
Don’t forget to try their mimosas! They have several varieties on offer but my favourite is their blackberry guava mimosa. It’s made with sparkling wine, blackberries, guava juice which is made in-house. The combination of flavours in this drink is nothing short of heavenly.
Explore Victoria’s Inner Harbour & Parliament Buildings
Start your day by exploring around Inner Harbour – one of the most iconic spots in Victoria. Here you can find historic architecture like The Parliament Buildings and The Empress Hotel – both architectural gems that are unique to this city.
The Parliament Buildings of BC are a must-see in Victoria when visiting this beautiful city. Designed by Francis Rattenbury and blending Baroque and Romanesque architectural styles, these buildings will take your breath away.
The Parliament Buildings are open to visitors from 8:30am to 4:30pm on weekdays. While admiring them from afar is definitely a sight to behold, they become even more special when you get an up close and personal look inside. Tours last approximately 30 minutes and cover topics such as the province’s history, Canada’s political system as well as fun facts about prominent historical figures.
BC Royal Museum
The Royal BC Museum is home to a wealth of cultural artifacts and educational programs that explore British Columbia’s natural history and cultural heritage. The museum is one of the best indoor activities in Victoria.
Visitors can learn about the province’s rich history through interactive activities and displays. The museum also features a variety of unique artifacts from around the world. And if you’re looking for a souvenir to take home with you, there are plenty of options in the gift shop!
Fisherman’s Wharf is a popular tourist destination located in the heart of Victoria Harbour. It is home to several seafood restaurants, souvenir shops and snack stands where visitors can enjoy traditional British Columbian eats such as fish tacos, chowder and smoked salmon sandwiches. You can also find a wide selection of local handmade crafts from the area’s First Nations communities here.
The real highlight of Fisherman’s Wharf however are its vibrant floating homes which have become something of an icon in this part of town. Brightly painted and charming, these floating homes make for some great photo opportunities along the waterfront.
Nearby Barb’s is a great spot for lunch; it offers some of the best fish and chips in town as well as amazing views of the harbour. And no visit to Fisherman’s Wharf would be complete without trying out Jackson’s Ice Cream – an iconic local ice cream shop serving up delicious homemade flavours like lavender honey and salted caramel.
Visit the Fairmont Empress Hotel
The Empress has been gracing the shores of Victoria’s Inner Harbour since 1908 and should be part of your 3 day Victoria itinerary. This majestic building is hard to miss in Victoria and worth a visit even if you are not staying at the hotel.
For those looking for a luxurious afternoon tea experience steeped in history and refinement, look no further than The Fairmont Empress. The hotel has been hosting afternoon tea for more than a century and is considered one of the most luxurious spots for high tea in Canada. With over 30 varieties of herbal teas and classic black teas to choose from as well as delicious food options prepared by their talented pastry chefs, it’s an experience that travellers won’t soon forget.
Q at the Empress is the perfect place to unwind after a day exploring Victoria. Its modern yet cozy atmosphere invites customers to relax and enjoy their time spent at the restaurant. The chefs use fresh, local ingredients to create mouthwatering dishes that are bursting with flavour.
The Q Bar menu features creative cocktails that focus on local ingredients and flavours. Many of these drinks contain their signature gin – Empress 1908 – which is inspired by the hotel itself.
Watch The Sunset From Mount Douglas
Mount Douglas or “Mount Doug” as the locals call it, is one of the top outdoor activities in Victoria. It is located in southeastern Vancouver Island on the Saanich Peninsula, and boasts spectacular views over Victoria and beyond. It is especially beautiful just before sunset when the sun hits the mountain peaks perfectly.
It is considered part of the Greater Victoria area and is a 20-minute drive from downtown Victoria. The mountain itself stands at over 600 metres tall with a total elevation of 1,190 metres. Its peak can be reached via one main trail that winds up through the forested slopes of the mountain.
Day 2 – Malahat Skywalk & Hiking
Day two of this Victoria 3 day itinerary explores some of Victoria’s best outdoor spaces. Lace up your hiking boots and get ready for a day spent in nature.
Breakfast at Floyd’s Diner
Start your day by fuelling up at Floyd’s Diner, one of the best brunch spots in Victoria. This cozy diner has been serving up classic comfort food since 2004 and has become a beloved local spot.
It’s an incredibly popular spot in Victoria with locals and tourists, so you’ll most likely have a wait ahead of you. We waited somewhere between 20 to 30 minutes on a Sunday during a long weekend in BC, and I really don’t think that was long at all considering. It was definitely worth it!
The staff here are some of the friendliest you’ll find in Victoria, while we were waiting we were offered complimentary coffee to stay warm.
The menu is really extensive which makes it hard to choose – the chicken and waffles benny is probably one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, highly recommend! If you’re feeling adventurous try The Mahoney, a dish where the kitchen gets to choose what they cook you – then you choose whether to pay the mens price or flip for it.
The Malahat Skywalk provides a chance to explore nature at its finest, plus interactive experiences about biodiversity conservation in British Columbia’s coastal rainforest.
Located 20-minutes north of Victoria, the Malahat Skywalk is an exciting new attraction that provides easy access for everyone – including strollers and wheelchairs. Your journey begins by walking the 600-metre elevated walkway through a west coast forest of Arbutus and Douglas Fir trees.
After your exploration along the walkway comes time for your ascent up the 10-story spiral tower which stands 250 meters above sea level with some of best views on Vancouver Island. Here you will have sweeping panoramas of Mt. Baker, Finlayson Arm, Saanich Peninsula. You can even witness views of islands in two countries – Canada and USA!
The Kinsol Trestle offers a great opportunity to get outdoors and is one of the top things to do near Victoria. This magnificent structure stands 44 meters high and spans 187 meters across the Koksilah River. Hiking the trestle is a great way to take in the stunning scenery of the region, as well as get some exercise!
The Kinsol Trestle was built in 1920 by the Canadian Pacific Railway. At that time, it was considered one of the most spectacular engineering feats of its kind. Over time, however, it fell into disrepair and became unsafe for use. In 2011, a restoration project began with $14.9 million in funding from all levels of government and donations from local businesses and individuals. Today, it is one of Canada’s most impressive heritage sites.
Niagara Falls in Goldstream Provincial Park
You’ve probably heard of the majestic Niagara Falls that sits on the border of Ontario and New York, but did you know Vancouver Island has its very own Niagara Falls? The thing I love about the Vancouver Island Niagara Falls is that it couldn’t be more different that it’s Ontario counterpart.
Niagara Falls is located in Goldstream Provincial Park, just 15 km from downtown Victoria and is one of the easiest hikes in Victoria. The trail to the falls is well-maintained and winds through lush forest and creeks. Once you reach the destination, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Niagara Falls cascading down into a deep pool below. It’s a sight to behold and one that shouldn’t be missed during your 3 days in Victoria.
There are several access points to choose from depending on your desired route. The easiest route is from the small parking lot on Highway 1/Malahat Drive. On busy days you can also do the longer trip from the Goldstream Visitor Centre.
Dinner at Irish Times Pub
The Irish Times Pub has been around since 1994 and provides an atmosphere that is both relaxed and inviting. The pub itself is located on historic Government Street in downtown Victoria, making it easy to get to by foot or car.
The Irish Times is everything you expect from a traditional Irish pub and more. The decor is super quaint and really transports you back in time. As for the food, you won’t be disappointed – my favourite items on the menu are the brie and bacon burger, the mac & cheese (it’s amazing with added pulled pork) and the mushroom truffle dip! End your meal with their iconic sticky toffee pudding.
There’s also an extensive selection of beer, wine, spirits, and cocktails so you can enjoy your meal with a refreshing drink. The pub often hosts live music events so you can enjoy your meal with some toe-tapping tunes!
Day 3 – Butchart Gardens, Chinatown & Shopping
Breakfast at Jam Café
Jam Café has been serving up quality food and drinks since 2012. The atmosphere is fun and inviting, with an emphasis on local ingredients.
Jam Cafe’s menu offers classic breakfast dishes like omelettes and eggs benedict, as well as more unique items like huevos rancheros and chilaquiles. They also offer vegan and vegetarian options, so everyone can find something they enjoy.
The Butchart Gardens are a world-renowned botanical garden that draws thousands of visitors each year. Located in Brentwood Bay, BC, just outside of Victoria, the gardens offer spectacular views and beautiful displays.
Butchart Gardens is known as one of “the most spectacular gardens in North America” – and rightfully so! With its world-famous displays of vibrant flowers and lush vegetation spread across 55 acres of land, these stunning gardens are definitely worth visiting.
There are more than 900 varieties of plants here, including tulips, roses, lilacs and rhododendrons—all of which are meticulously maintained by experienced gardeners. The vast variety of flora ensures that no matter what time of year you visit Butchart Gardens, they’ll be something new and exciting to experience. Make sure not to miss the Butchart Gardens during your weekend in Victoria.
Victoria is home to the oldest Chinatown in Canada and the second oldest in North America after San Francisco. If you’re looking for a unique and culturally rich experience, this should be your go-to destination. Designated a National Historic Site in 1995, Chinatown is a testament to the traditions and culture of the Chinese people that immigrated to Canada over 150 years ago.
It has since become a vibrant corner full of restaurants, shops and cultural attractions. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Victoria during your trip, make sure to check out Fan Tan Alley—a narrow alleyway filled with independent boutique stores from vintage pop-ups to music stores.
As you walk into Chinatown, you’ll find yourself welcomed by the iconic Gate of Harmonious Interest. Decorated with vibrant colours, this archway serves as an entrance into this part of town.
Shopping on Government St & Lower Johnson St
Lower Johnson Street (LoJo) is the epitome of picture-perfect shopping. Located in downtown Victoria, LoJo is lined with boutique shops that offer unique fashion and accessories. Also known as the epicentre of fashion, LoJo provides a great opportunity to explore some of the best independent stores that Victoria has to offer.
If you’re looking for a great place to find some rare or hard-to-find books, then ‘Munro’s Books’ on Government Street is your go-to spot. Munro’s has been around since 1963 and has earned a reputation as one of the top independent bookstores in Canada.
Beacon Hill Park
Spanning over 200 acres, Beacon Hill Park is one of Victoria’s most beloved outdoor spaces. With its tranquil ponds, lush gardens and winding pathways, this park is perfect for an afternoon stroll or a morning jog – especially during the winter months when it’s less crowded than usual. If you are on a budget and searching for free things to do in Victoria, Beacon Hill Park will tick all your boxes!
Dinner at Café Mexico
Victoria has an extensive food scene so make sure to take advantage of the restaurants on offer during your visit. Café Mexico was recommended to me by some local bartenders, and the food really is incredible!
The menu at Café Mexico is packed with a variety of Mexican dishes including tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, salads and much more. They also offer a wide selection of specialty dishes like Queso Fundido—a delicious blend of melted cheese served with chorizo sausage or grilled veggies on top (this is my favourite and I highly recommend!)
Watch the Sunset Along Dallas Road & Ogden Point
End your 3 days in Victoria by walking the iconic Dallas Road at sunset. Stretching from Ogden Point all the way to Clover Point, Dallas Road features lush green spaces and incredible coastal sights.
The Breakwater is a long sea wall that extends out into the ocean from Ogden Point. From its beginning at Dallas Road, it stretches over 400 meters out into the harbour and serves as both an island breakwater and harbour entrance.
At the end of the Breakwater lies an iconic landmark—the Breakwater Lighthouse. This structure dates back to 1914 when it was built by Captain Herbert Huddart for marine navigation purposes. In recent years it has been decommissioned but still serves as an important reminder of maritime heritage in Victoria BC.
After you have explored the area around the lighthouse head back towards land and follow Dallas Road until you reach Clover Point Park. This beachfront promenade is lined with benches and offers unbeatable views of Juan de Fuca Strait from sunrise to sunset (plus everything in between). There are also a few picnic tables here if you want to stop for lunch or dinner during your walk along Dallas Road.
Explore More of British Columbia!
Want to explore more of BC? Check out these other detailed travel guides!
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