If you are planning a trip to Vancouver Island in Canada, you might be wondering how to take the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria – as it is one of the cheapest and most popular ways to get to the capital city of British Columbia.
We will share a detailed guide to taking the ferry from Tsawwassen to Victoria BC, with transportation options to get to each terminal and sightseeing in the respective cities.
How to take the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria BC
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Taking the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria is one of the cheapest ways to get to either city.
From Vancouver to Victoria it will be about 4 hours of travel time – one way when using the ferry and bus ride or self-drive.
There are two terminals near Vancouver from where you can catch a ferry. They are – Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen.
To get to Victoria, you will have to arrive in Tsawwassen in Delta BC. Tsawwassen ferry terminal is located about 45 minutes drive away from Vancouver city. You can either drive or take a bus to get to the terminal.
In Victoria, you will arrive at the Swartz Bay Terminal, which is about a 40-minute ride to the Inner Harbour.
|Travel from Vancouver to Tsawwassen Terminal
|Ride the ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal
|Travel from Swartz Bay to Downtown Victoria
- Step 1: From Downtown Vancouver, travel to Tsawwassen Terminal (it takes 45 minutes by car. Buses are also available)
- Step 2: Ride the ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal near Victoria (it takes an hour and thirty-five minutes)
- Step 3: Travel from Swartz Bay to Downtown Victoria by car, or taxi (it is another 40 minutes of travel)
Ferries between Vancouver and Vancouver Island are operated by BC Ferries. And using the BC Connector you can also get to the terminals by bus/shuttle.
Ticket prices for Ferry rides
Now, you can book a ticket based on the duration of your stay and passenger type. Reservations are extra.
You can avail of discounts based on the passenger type. They are
- Adults and seniors (12 years or older) which is a Standard adult fare
- For children (5-11 years old), there is a Standard child fare
- Infants and children (Under 5 years old) travel for free
- BC Seniors (BC residents 65 years or older), identification is required
- BC Students (BC school students 18 years and under), identification is required
- BC persons with disabilities
- Group (groups of 10 or more passengers)
Tickets are priced as follows
- Pay at the terminal: $80 CAD for a car and driver (without reservation)
- Pay at the terminal with Reservation: $97 CAD for a car and driver
- Prepay reservation and ferry cost: $87.50 CAD for a car and driver
A single adult ticket (18 to 64 years) costs $17.20 CAD for reservation, one way. You can buy a ticket online (which we recommend during the summer months) or at the terminal.
With a Saver ticket, you can ride and get your vehicle transported. These are cheaper options for one-way travel,
- With a Saver ticket, you pay in full when booking
- You save reservation fee
- The savings vary – depending on the time of travel, and season (you can save the most when traveling early in the morning, or by riding the last departure)
Click to view Saver ticket information that can be only purchased online here
BC Ferries | Vancouver/Tsawwassen to Victoria/Swartz Bay Ferry schedule
Sailings from Tsawwassen include departures to Swartz Bay (Victoria), Duke Point (Nanaimo), and the Southern Gulf Islands.
Vancouver to Victoria Ferry Schedule
The earliest ferry trip from Tsawwassen Terminal (Vancouver) to Swartz Bay (Victoria) is at 07:00 am.
The last trip leaves at 09:00 pm. You can check current ferry schedules and maps here
Ensure you arrive 30 to 60 minutes prior to the scheduled departure with a reservation.
Your booking will not be honored and travel will be based on your order of arrival at the terminal if you arrive before the booking check-in has opened, or after the booking check-in has closed.
- Ticket sales and check-in for walk-in passengers close 10 minutes prior to the scheduled sailing departure.
- Ticket sales and check-in for vehicles close 5 minutes prior to the scheduled sailing departure.
- ***Plan for travel time from Vancouver city to the ferry terminal***
Taking a bus to get to the Tsawwassen Terminal
One of the ways to get to Tsawwassen Terminal from Vancouver is by bus. There are multiple bus schedules available to suit your trip.
Public transport to the ferry terminal
You can take a public transit ride – Canada Line of Skytrain to Brighouse then bus #620 to Tsawwassen/Bridgeport Station.
Tickets can be bought at the station.
BC Ferries Connector
Without public transit, you can book a shuttle/bus ride called the BC Ferries Connector. These tickets can be booked online, by phone, or in person at the terminal.
These buses from Vancouver to Victoria are operated by BC Ferries.
- The ticket cost of the BC Ferries Connector is around $75 CAD per person (one way) for the bus and ferry ride together
- You can book a return trip to cover the entire route – ferry rides + shuttle/bus rides
- On the website, you will find details about pick-up and drop-off options for each location
- Full ticket fares here on the BC ferries site
- Rates are cheaper for children aged 5 to 11 years and for British Columbia seniors (65+) and students (ID required)
- BC Residents get 20% off the regular adult fare
Driving to the ferry terminal Vancouver to Victoria by Rental Car
If you are renting a car to get to Tsawwassen Terminal from Vancouver, then it will be a 35-minute drive. Right near the terminal, you can park your vehicle for convenient access when returning back home again!
Traveling with the vehicle on board:
Taking a vehicle on the ferry is an ideal way to explore Vancouver Island. Car rentals in Canada almost always permit you to take your car onto the ferry, making it easier than ever for all kinds of road trips from Vancouver.
To make sure that there’s space available at all times, be sure to book a reservation online through BCFerries
Keep in mind, there are terminal and vehicle-specific check-in times at your departure terminal, and advance booking is always recommended. We don’t advise doing this for a day trip though as there are other easier options available (such as a day tour or seaplane ride).
Facilities at the ferry terminal and onboard
Ferries are not only an affordable way to travel to Victoria and Vancouver Island, but it is also a very comfortable and convenient method.
At the terminal, you will find charging ports, a restaurant, a ticket desk, and a generous parking area.
On board, you will find a host of facilities that will make your ferry ride enjoyable and memorable.
First off, there is a gift shop (with books, souvenirs, and other knick-knacks available for purchase).
You will also find generous seating areas accompanied by large windows to take in the view of the water and the islands nearby.
When the weather is warm, you can also head to the dock area outside, read a nice book, and soak in the sun!
The ride from Vancouver to Victoria and vice versa is very picturesque!
If traveling with kids, you can let them enjoy and have fun in the children’s playroom.
One of the best things on the BC ferry is their cafe and food options onboard. Typically on the route from Victoria to Vancouver, you will find the Coastal Cafe.
You can order hot and cold food items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Depending on your day and time of departure you will have different meal options.
Plus coffee, and other warm beverages along with baked items are always available.
On certain select vessels, there is a special dining area, called the Pacific Buffet. You are offered a complete buffet meal on these trips. Prices typically are as follows
- $21.50 CAD for breakfast
- $22.75 CAD for lunch
- $26.95 CAD for dinner
Alcohol is also served at the Pacific Buffet dining room for an extra charge.
Victoria BC to Vancouver ferry
We have shared the steps to take the ferry from Tsawwassen to Victoria BC above. The route is the same as you make your way back to Vancouver from Victoria.
- Step 1: Arrive at the Swartz Bay terminal in Sidney BC from Victoria. Drive time is 40 minutes
- Step 2: Ride the ferry from Swartz Bay terminal to Tsawwassen (Vancouver). Ferries from Swartz Bay provide service to Tsawwassen, Fulford Harbour in Salt Spring Island, and the Southern Gulf Islands
- Step 3: Take the shuttle or drive from Tsawwassen in Delta BC to Vancouver
It will take about 4 to 5 hours to complete the trip from Victoria to Vancouver (with the ferry ride).
Victoria to Vancouver Ferry Schedule
The earliest ferry trip from Swartz Bay (Victoria) to Tsawwassen Terminal (Vancouver) is at 07:00 am.
The last trip leaves at 09:00 pm. You can check current ferry schedules here
Other ways to get to Victoria from Vancouver BC
Taking a ferry from Vancouver to Victoria is one of the cheapest ways to get there. But there are more options, and we will list out for you below,
Vancouver to Victoria by plane – FASTEST
Traveling from Vancouver to Victoria by flight is a convenient and relatively quick way of getting from one city to the other. It usually takes just 35 minutes for a direct flight, making it perfect for those who need to be there fast.
The first step in booking your flight is deciding which airline you would like to fly with. The main carriers that offer flights from Vancouver to Victoria are Air Canada, WestJet, and Pacific Coastal Airlines.
All three airlines offer competitive rates for both direct and connecting flights, so it is wise to shop around for the best deal before deciding on a specific airline. You can check flight rates here and also get cashback
Once you have chosen an airline, it is important to book your flight as early as possible in order to ensure availability and the best price.
Make sure that you are aware of all applicable fees and taxes, as these may vary depending on the airline and type of ticket purchased.
Keep in mind that YVR is located outside of downtown – in Richmond, so plan your commute accordingly.
When you arrive at the airport for your flight, make sure to arrive at least an hour before your scheduled flight time. This will give you enough time to check in and pass through security without feeling rushed or stressed.
Once you touch down in Victoria, it takes approximately 35 minutes to reach the Inner Harbour from the Airport.
Vancouver to Victoria by Seaplane Ride
Taking a seaplane ride from Vancouver to Victoria is an unforgettable experience that provides breathtaking views of the Strait of Georgia and surrounding areas.
Seaplanes are a great way to get to the island city quickly, as the flight time is around 30 minutes, plus you can avoid all the time-consuming processes attached to a typical international airport (and Vancouver International Airport is one of the busiest in Canada!)
Secondly, a seaplane ride will welcome you to stunning views of both cities from above.
Seaplanes and floatplanes are operated by Harbour Air in BC. In Vancouver, there are two terminals from where you can board the plane
- one in downtown and
- another one in YVR’s South Terminal.
You can board your floatplane from downtown Vancouver (seawall) and then arrive in Victoria (inner harbor).
You will arrive at Victoria’s Inner Harbour in 35 minutes, and as soon as you land you will be welcomed to the majestic view of the Fairmont Empress hotel and the BC Parliament Buildings.
It is super easy to just walk from the Harbour Airport and then explore the city in 6+ hours, and then take a flight back to Vancouver after enjoying the day trip!
Facilities at the Harbour Airport in Victoria and Vancouver
At the airport, you will have access to washrooms, charging ports, a small cafe, etc. and it cuts down the time that you will need when navigating the international airport.
Once you arrive at the seaplane terminal, head to the customer desk to show your ID and ticket. The agent will verify the ticket, and provide you with boarding details and gate number.
Ensure you have your valid passport or ID (driver’s license, resident card, or PR card) upon checking in.
Vancouver to Victoria by Tour
If you are planning to visit Victoria for a day, we recommend booking this day tour that helps you navigate the ferry ride and provide transportation to and from Vancouver.
This is a full-day tour that departs from Vancouver. You can opt for a hotel pick-up as well. On this guided tour you will explore the following
- BC Parliament Buildings
- Fairmont Empress Hotel
- Step into shops and cafes on Government Street
- Wander Chinatown
- Visit Butchart Gardens
By booking this day tour, you will receive round-trip transportation from Vancouver to Victoria. It also includes ferry tickets and a local guide.
What we like about this day tour is that you can explore the stunning Butchart Gardens, which is slightly difficult if you are not renting a car, and just visiting Victoria on a day trip.
Things to do in Victoria BC
Victoria, BC is a stunning city filled with incredible things to do. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, there is something for everyone in this beautiful part of Canada.
If you love nature, Victoria has plenty of outdoor activities. Some popular options include exploring the Butchart Gardens and visiting nearby parks such as Beacon Hill Park.
Victoria is also home to some amazing cultural attractions. Spend an afternoon exploring the Royal British Columbia Museum, wander through Craigdarroch Castle, or take a tour of one of the city’s many lively neighborhoods.
The BC Parliament Buildings is a must-visit on any trip to Victoria. It is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks and home to British Columbia’s Legislature. You can tour the building, explore beautiful gardens, and learn about Canadian history.
Another must-see in Victoria is the historic Fairmont Empress Hotel. Located downtown, this heritage hotel features luxurious rooms, exquisite dining options, as well as renowned spas. It’s also located close to many of Victoria’s main attractions such as the Royal British Columbia Museum and Parliament Buildings.
If you’re looking for shopping and dining options, downtown Victoria has plenty to offer. You can shop at the Victoria Public Market, explore unique boutiques on Government Street, or enjoy delicious cuisine in Chinatown.
One of the best things to do in Victoria is to go on a whale watching tour. With its stunning coastline, Victoria offers visitors an incredible view of whales, dolphins, and other marine life.
Victoria has no shortage of unique food experiences either. Whether you’re looking for craft breweries and wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, or specialty coffee shops and afternoon teas, there’s something for everyone in this city.
No matter what brings you to Victoria, be sure to take some time to explore this wonderful city. From beautiful parks and outdoor activities to cultural attractions and unique food experiences, Victoria is a must-visit destination in Canada.
Final words: Taking a ferry from Vancouver to Victoria
Taking a ferry from Vancouver to Victoria is a convenient and enjoyable way to travel between these two cities.
Ferry services run year-round, with multiple sailings leaving daily. They take about 1.50 hours to get to either city (one way) and come with the added bonus of providing stunning views of the Strait of Georgia along the way.
Additionally, ferry services offer plenty of amenities on board, such as delicious food and drinks, entertainment options, and even Wi-Fi access so you can stay connected. It is almost like a mini-cruise!
With ferries departing from both Vancouver and Victoria’s inner harbor locations, it is easy to get to where you need to go – no matter which city you are traveling from.
Whether you decide to take a ferry, seaplane, or commercial flight from Vancouver to Victoria, you are sure to have an enjoyable travel experience.
With so many options for getting between these two cities, you can easily explore the sights of British Columbia’s breathtaking coastal regions.
Read our other British Columbia resource guides