Victoria, BC is a popular weekend getaway for people who live in Vancouver. After 6 years, I went back to Vancouver Island for a weekend visit to Victoria and it was as beautiful as I remembered it to be. Our 3 days, 2 nights itinerary was filled with good food and gorgeous scenery.
Most people have heard of Vancouver, but the relationship between Vancouver the city and Vancouver the island is not immediately obvious. For my non-Canadian readers, I’ll give a brief explanation. If you already know this then please read ahead!
Canada is divided into provinces and territories. British Columbia (BC) is a province in West Canada and Vancouver is its biggest city. Vancouver Island is an island located to the west of mainland BC. BC’s provincial capital, Victoria, is on Vancouver Island whereas Vancouver is on BC’s mainland.
Now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s move on to my relaxing 3 days, 2 nights itinerary in Victoria, BC.
We took Friday off work a few hours early to catch the 4PM ferry to Vancouver Island. To get to Victoria from Vancouver, you have a few options including: sea plane, passenger cruise and BC Ferry. BC Ferry is the most common and affordable method used by locals and tourists alike. You can view their schedules here.
The confusing part for tourists is the name when searching for schedules. The ferry routes are not labeled as Victoria or Vancouver specifically but by the names of the ferry terminals. Terminals near Vancouver include Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay. The nearest terminal to Victoria serviced by BC Ferry is Swartz Bay.
The route we took was Tsawwassen (Vancouver) to Swartz Bay (Victoria).
Crossing Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Distance: 24 nautical miles
We drove our car onto the ferry, so we had to pay for the vehicle fare in addition to the passenger fare.
Adult fare: $17.20 per person
Vehicle fare: $57.50 each
Check for the most updated fares here.
The ferry ride was smooth and enjoyable. We ate some food, walked around the ferry and watched part of a movie by the lounge. Departing from Swartz Bay, it was about a 40-minute drive to downtown Victoria. We actually didn’t go straight to downtown but went to Beacon Hill Park first since it was still early for dinner.
A short stroll later, we walked to a nearby wood fire pizza restaurant. Our mistake was not making a reservation on Friday night, so we had to wait an hour before we were seated and another 30 minutes before our food arrived. The food was delicious though!
After filling our bellies with scrumptious pizza, we drove into downtown Victoria. The great thing about Victoria is that street parking is free in the evening and on weekends! We found a spot quite nearby to our hotel and rolled our luggage to the Fairmont Empress. The iconic hotel completed renovations this year and is in the perfect location overlooking Inner Harbour. Our stay at the Empress was comfortable and the service was friendly.