Planning the PERFECT Vancouver to Victoria day trip
Planning a Vancouver to Victoria day trip itinerary? You are at the right place! In this detailed post, we will share all the transportation options to get from Vancouver to Victoria and sightseeing in both cities.
Vancouver and Victoria are both Canadian cities, located in the western part of the country – in the province of British Columbia. Victoria is the capital city of BC – beautiful, compact, and full of ‘Victorian and European vibes’.
Vancouver, on the other hand, is one of the coolest cities in Canada – fun, with lots of places to see, eat, shop, and just take in the waterfront vibes and mountains nearby.
Planning the PERFECT Vancouver to Victoria Day trip Itinerary
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Victoria is located on Vancouver Island. It is about 107 kilometres (76 miles) southwest of Vancouver.
The day trip by road (car or bus) will involve a ferry ride, and it will roughly take about 4 hours one way, from downtown Vancouver to Victoria.
Vancouver to Victoria by plane – FASTEST
Taking a flight from Vancouver to Victoria is the FASTEST way to get there. Flight tickets start at $99 CAD per person.
The airport in Vancouver (YVR) is located in Richmond, which is slightly away from downtown (city centre).
Victoria airport to Inner Harbour (city centre) is about 35 minutes. Also, keep in mind that you have to allot extra time for security and boarding, etc.
The flight from Vancouver to Victoria is just 35 minutes. There are a lot of companies that offer direct flights from both cities. You can check flight rates here and also get cashback
Vancouver to Victoria by Floatplane Ride – FAST
Want to cut all the checking and waiting times? Ride a floatplane and travel from Vancouver to Victoria in 35 minutes.
Floatplanes are a type of seaplane that floats mounted under the fuselage to provide buoyancy.
These floatplanes are operated by Harbour Air in BC, and there are two terminals from where you can board the plane in Vancouver – one is in downtown and another one is in YVR’s South Terminal.
You can board your floatplane from downtown Vancouver (seawall) and then arrive in Victoria (inner harbor).
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.
When you hop on the seaplane ride, you will be flying south over the Salish Sea, and take in views of the beaches, and forests of Gulf Island.
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!
Note: Do not forget to carry your passport or ID
Ferry from Vancouver to Victoria – CHEAP
Taking a ferry from Vancouver to Victoria is one of the cheapest ways to get there.
There are two terminals that are located very close to Metro Vancouver. They are – Horseshoe Bay and Tsawwassen.
To get to Victoria, the popular terminal is Tsawwassen in Delta BC.
Tsawwassen ferry terminal is located about 45 minutes drive from Vancouver city. (We will share both rental car and bus routes and pricing options later below).
Ferries between Vancouver and Vancouver Island are operated by BC Ferries.
In a nutshell, you will be heading to Tsawwassen Terminal (near Vancouver), and then arriving at the Victoria (Swartz Bay Terminal).
- From Downtown Vancouver, travel to Tsawwassen Terminal (takes 45 minutes by car. Buses are available)
- Take the ferry – from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal near Victoria (it takes an hour and thirty-five minutes)
- Travel from Swartz Bay to Downtown Victoria (it is another 40 minutes of travel time)
A single adult ticket reservation (18 to 64 years) costs $17.20 CAD, one way. You can buy a ticket online (which we recommend doing during the summer months) or at the terminal.
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
Read: Detailed guide to taking the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria BC
Vancouver to Victoria by shuttle/bus – CHEAP
One of the ways to get to Tsawwassen Terminal – Vancouver is by bus. There are multiple bus schedules available to suit your day trip.
These buses from Vancouver to Victoria are operated by BC Ferries, called the BC Ferries Connector. This is one of the efficient ways to get to the Tsawwassen Terminal to catch a ferry.
Tickets cost around $75 CAD per person (one way) for the bus and the ferry rides together.
You can book a coach transfer from Vancouver to Victoria and a ferry ride here
Without the BC Ferries Connector, you can take a public transit ride – take the Canada Line of Skytrain to Brighouse then bus #620 to Tsawassen.
This trip could be longer depending on the time of day, but it is one of the cheapest ways to get there.
Vancouver to Victoria by rental car – SELF DRIVE
If you are planning to rent a car and get to Victoria, then you will have to get to the
Tsawwassen Terminal from Vancouver first, and then take the ferry.
Drive from Vancouver to Tsawwassen Terminal, and you will be there in 35 minutes.
Book a car rental!
Discover Cars partners with 380 car rental companies worldwide and gives you very competitive prices. You will surely find a vehicle that meets your needs.
You can either park the car near the terminal for a day trip to Victoria.
Or take the vehicle on the ferry. Most car rentals in Canada allow you to take it on the ferry. This is convenient if you are planning to go on a road trip to Vancouver Island from Vancouver.
We recommend booking a vehicle reservation online on BCFerries here
Keep in mind, there are terminal and vehicle-specific check-in times at your ferry departure, 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).
The law on hitchhiking in British Columbia is complex and while it is not illegal, it is not endorsed by the Ministry of Transportation.
Day tour from Vancouver to Victoria with Butchart Gardens (13 hours)
Want an even easier way to explore Victoria from Vancouver, BC? Then book this guided tour.
This is a full-day tour, departing from Vancouver – it covers Government Street, Chinatown, and the Inner Harbour attractions
Moreover, you will also get to visit the stunning Butchart Gardens, which is slightly difficult if you are not renting a car, and just visiting Victoria on a day trip.
What is included in this day tour?
- Round-trip transportation from Vancouver to Victoria – includes hotel transfers
- Ferry ride included
- Full day 13 hours with a guide (with free time)
- Explore the Butchart Gardens first before arriving in the city centre of Victoria. Entry tickets are included. You will see all the pretty themed gardens, massive Sunken Gardens, fountains, and other floral displays
- In Victoria, you will explore the iconic Parliament Buildings and Fairmont Empress Hotel. Step into shops and cafes of Government Street and wander Chinatown
On this tour, you don’t have to navigate the transportation or a new city by yourself – a local tour guide will be there to help you out.
The tour will give you enough time to see Victoria’s Inner Harbour with its ocean views and the city highlights!
Free Google Maps – Things to do in Victoria in one day
Things to see on a day trip to Victoria from Vancouver
For a short day trip, we recommend using the seaplane or the ferry (in the earliest hours) and then concentrating on the Inner Harbour area for sightseeing.
Here are some of the amazing things to do in Victoria in one day
Visit the Parliament Buildings
The British Columbia Parliament Buildings in Victoria is a must-see for any visitor to the city. Built in 1898, this iconic building showcases beautiful architecture, artwork, and sculptures.
The grounds feature several gardens filled with flowers, trees, and other greenery throughout the year.
You can take a free guided tour of the Parliament Buildings, including a visit to the Legislative Chamber and viewing galleries.
During the tour, you can learn about the architecture and history of the building as well as see artifacts related to British Columbia’s past.
The British Columbia Parliament Buildings are a great place to experience history and culture in Victoria BC. And they are open all year round.
- Address: 501 Belleville St., Victoria, BC V8V 2L8
- Costs: Free
Royal BC Museum
Located just a 3 minute walk from the Parliament Buildings, the Royal BC Museum in Victoria is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the city. This world-renowned museum showcases art, artifacts, and specimens related to British Columbia’s history and culture.
You can explore the many exhibitions on display at the Royal BC Museum which cover topics such as natural history, First Nations culture, and colonial history. They also organize temporary exhibits all year round!
The museum also offers several programs for school groups and adults such as lectures, workshops, and special events. One of the largest iMax theatres is located here.
Outside of the museum, you can enjoy the beautiful grounds and gardens surrounding it.
- Address: 675 Belleville St., Victoria, BC V8W 9W2
- Costs: $22 CAD per person
Afternoon Tea at Fairmont Empress Hotel
The Fairmont Empress Hotel is a grand landmark in the heart of Victoria. Located on the waterfront, this iconic hotel offers guests luxurious accommodations and stunning views of the Inner Harbour.
One of the hotel’s main attractions is its afternoon tea service, which serves traditional teas, scones, pastries, and homemade delicacies.
You can enjoy a selection of teas such as Jasmine, Pu’er, and Oolong. The afternoon tea also features scones with clotted cream, finger sandwiches, and an assortment of freshly-baked pastries.
The Fairmont Empress Hotel is a must-see destination for any visitor to Victoria. With its luxurious accommodations, stunning views, and afternoon tea service, it’s sure to provide an unforgettable experience.
We recommend making a reservation for your afternoon tea session ahead of time!
- Address: 721 Government St, Victoria, BC V8W 1W5
- Costs: Starts at $89 CAD per person (afternoon tea)
After experiencing afternoon tea, you may stay back in Victoria’s Inner Harbour before taking the seaplane (or exploring more attractions closer to downtown).
The harbor features a charming waterfront with many shops, restaurants, and attractions throughout. You can take a stroll along the picturesque walkway and admire the stunning views of the iconic buildings.
Located in the downtown area is the Market Square – full of shops, quirky restaurants, and clubs. It is next to Chinatown – so it makes for a natural next attraction as you make your way out from Market Square.
Market Square is a nice place to grab a drink or ice cream to cool off on a warm summer day after sightseeing.
Address: 560 Johnson St, Victoria, BC V8W 3C6
Chinatown or Fisherman’s Wharf Park
Depending on how much time you have before returning to Vancouver, you can either explore Chinatown or the Fisherman’s Wharf or both locations.
Victoria’s Chinatown is a vibrant and colorful neighborhood, and it is Canada’s oldest!
Located near downtown Victoria, Chinatown offers plenty of shops and restaurants to explore.
You can take a stroll along or visit Fan Tan Alley – the narrowest alley in Canada!
Chinatown is also home to the classic Chinese gate and some of Victoria’s oldest restaurants. Foodies should take a walk along Fisgard Street to sample the delicious local cuisine, including dim sum and roast duck.
The Fisherman’s Wharf is a bustling hub of activity.
Find seafood restaurants, retail stores, galleries, and specialty food vendors in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. This vibrant floating community also offers plenty of activities to enjoy.
Kayaking and fishing tours are available as well as boat rides on the harbor. Whale-watching tours also depart from here.
Fisherman’s Wharf is also home to several unique eateries such as Barb’s Fish & Chips and The Lobster Man Seafood Market, which offer a taste of the freshest seafood in town.
More things to do in Victoria BC
If you have more time in Victoria, you will absolutely love it! With its beautiful scenery, mild climate, and several trails, parks, and beaches to explore, Victoria is the perfect place for a walking or cycling tour.
One such place is Beacon Hill Park. Beacon Hill Park is a beautiful green space in the heart of Victoria. You can explore the peaceful gardens and natural ponds which are home to various species of birds and other wildlife.
There is also an abundance of outdoor activities such as walking, running, and cycling here. Beacon Hill Park also features several playgrounds for children to explore.
You can also take a stroll along the picturesque pathways that wind through the park’s wooded areas or relax in one of the many grassy areas.
You can also go on whale-watching tours in some of the areas around Victoria or take a ferry ride to see some of the nearby islands. There are 2 to 3-day tours to the Gulf Islands available.
Victoria city is also full of historical attractions, cultural sites, and other interesting places to explore.
Craigdarrock Castle is a stunning 19th-century castle in Victoria. This majestic estate features Victorian-era Scottish Baronial architecture style with lush gardens. It was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
You can explore the castle’s grand halls and chambers which are filled with antiques and artifacts from days gone by. You can also take a guided tour of the castle and learn about its fascinating history.
The tour hours are very limited, so we recommend checking and reserving a spot ahead of time. If tours are not available you can still visit the castle grounds.
Butchart Gardens tour is also one of the must-add activities to your Victoria itinerary. Located just a short drive from the city centre, this 55-acre garden offers visitors stunning floral displays and a variety of activities to enjoy.
The gardens feature over 900 plant varieties, as well as a wide range of fountains, sculptures, and artifacts.
There are also plenty of activities available, such as guided tours, outdoor performances, etc. You can take a stroll along the Sunken Garden or explore the Japanese Garden.
Other than landmarks and activities, Victoria also offers exciting nightlife and delicious restaurants for foodies. Gastronomes should take a stroll along Government Street for some of Victoria’s best restaurants serving everything from seafood to barbecue.
No matter what your interests are, Victoria BC has something for everyone to enjoy. From outdoor activities and historical attractions to nightlife and cuisine, plan a trip to Victoria for an unforgettable experience. You won’t regret it!
Where to stay in Victoria BC
Love hearing all about Victoria and wish to stay there overnight? Here are some of the best places to stay in Victoria BC in the downtown/harbourfront
- The Fairmont Empress: Stay at one of the city’s upscale hotels like The Fairmont Empress. This hotel dates back to the year 1908 and is set in the heart of everything that Victoria is known for. Book your stay here
- Hotel Grand Pacific: Hotel Grand Pacific is another lavish property with gorgeous suites, an indoor pool, and a spa. The restaurant onsite is also wonderful. Check out availability here
- Huntingdon Manor Hotel: Huntingdon Manor Hotel is a short walk from Royal British Columbia Museum, British Columbia Parliament Buildings, and the Emily Carr House. The property is very pretty and Victorian with a lovely garden and afternoon tea house. You can view photos and current availability here
Things to do in Vancouver BC
Victoria is a good day trip from Vancouver. You can also explore Whistler and the Grouse mountains on day trips from the city.
When in Vancouver, we recommend the following attractions and activities.
You must explore the stunning Stanley Park which is one of the largest urban parks in the world, and it features vast forests, gardens, and beaches as well as plenty of outdoor activities such as cycling and kayaking.
You can also take in breathtaking views of the city skyline from one of its many viewpoints such as the Prospect Lookout Point, or relax on its many beaches.
Vancouver is home to several cultural attractions such as the Museum of Anthropology, which showcases a variety of First Nations artwork, and the Vancouver Art Gallery which features an extensive collection of Canadian art.
The Museum of Vancouver showcases the civil history of the city.
Enjoy shopping on Robson Street, or stop and pay a visit to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.
Located slightly away from the downtown Vancouver area is the beautiful Capilano Suspension Bridge. Spend half a day there, and enjoy treetops adventure, large totem poles, and cross the 140 metres long suspension bridge.
We have detailed content on itineraries here: One day in Vancouver | 3 days in Vancouver itinerary
Where to stay in Vancouver BC
After sightseeing in Vancouver, relax and stay at one of these beautiful hotels.
- Fairmont Hotel Vancouver – This 4-star property is located near many of the Vancouver attractions. They offer beautiful suites, with downtown views as well as a spa and a lavish restaurant on site. Click to view hotel prices and availability here
- Sheraton Vancouver Wall centre – Another 4-star property located downtown, this Sheraton hotel is located just 10 minute’s walk from the Burrard light-rail station, and 2 km from the waterfront Stanley Park. You can ditch the car, and easily commute using LRT or walk to the waterfront area. View photos and room availability here
- Residence Inn by Marriott Vancouver Downtown – This is a 3-star mid-range hotel property located in the downtown area. You will be within walking distance of many attractions and also get free breakfast on-site. Click to book a room here
We hope you found our travel tips and resources useful in planning your Vancouver to Victoria day trip itinerary!