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Know Before You Go
- Victoria still honours the British tradition of afternoon tea. The most famous spread is at the Fairmont Empress, but you'll find cheaper alternatives scattered throughout the town.
- If you want to see whales without paying for a tour, take a ferry ride on the Juan de Fuca Strait. You'll have loads of photo opportunities as you sail past gorgeous views and spot a whale or two.
- In early March, Victoria sees more than 2 billion flowers bloom. The best place in town to see the city's green thumb is at the Butchart Gardens.
- If you are planning to eat out at restaurants, the standard for tipping is 15-20%. But if you are a group of eight or more, restaurants will automatically add an 18% gratuity onto your bill.
- You won't find Uber's in Victoria. The B.C. Ministry of Transportation voted against them, despite online petitions to bring the service to the city.
Getting Around Victoria
With most of Victoria's highlights clustered around the city's Inner Harbour, it's easy to explore the city on foot. But if you want a faster way of getting around, there are a variety of options.
The best way to get around Victoria is on a bike. The city has more bicycle routes than any other Canadian city and a bike trail that goes past most of the top attractions. A full day rental costs CAD 30, and you can even take your bike on the ferry.
The city's bus system has extensive routes throughout the Victoria metropolitan area. One-way rides cost CAD 2.50, but if you are planning on using the system a lot, you can buy ten tickets for CAD 22.50 or a day pass for CAD 5.
For day trips, the best way to get around is by car. You'll be able to reach the more off-the-beaten track destinations, and it will free you from bus schedules. But keep in mind that gas is sold by the litre, and it's not cheap to fill up.
Taxis are sparse in Victoria. If you want to use one, you'll need to phone for a pick up as you'll struggle to flag one down from the side of the curb.
When is The Best Time to Visit Victoria?
The most popular time to visit Victoria is during summer. From June to August the city experiences its peak tourism season, and prices start to skyrocket. But if you plan your budget around this increase, you'll be able to enjoy the city's many outdoor excursions and festivals. To ensure availability at hotels, book at least three months in advance.
Victoria's shoulder season from March to May is a good time to go if you want to avoid the summer crowds. The city is in full bloom, and the chilly weather starts to retreat.
From September to November, the city experiences another shoulder season. Temperatures start to drop, but as long as you pack some warm layers, you can still enjoy what the city has to offer. The autumn chill drives away the summer crowds, so you'll have the city to yourself and find some great deals on accommodation.
Despite Victoria's freezing temperatures, the city isn't empty from December to February. Winter travellers descend on the town to take advantage of its proximity to Canada's ski destination - Whistler. It's also a great time to visit for budget travellers; you'll still find cheaper room rates despite the slight tourist boom.
Airports in Victoria
Victoria International Airport
Victoria International Airport is 22 km from the city centre. It's Canada's tenth busiest airport and the second in British Columbia. The airport flies to destinations around Canada and to key destinations around the United States. There are also seasonal flights to Mexico with WestJet and Sunwing Airlines.
Getting To and From Victoria International Airport
The best way to get from the airport into the city centre is with the YYJ Airport Shuttle. It's a comfortable ride, with ample space for legroom and luggage. A single journey costs CAD 25, but if you ride between 9:00 pm and 12:00 pm the fare is reduced to CAD 15.
If you don't want to take the shuttle, or if you fly in after midnight your only other option is to take a taxi. Fares from the airport into Victoria are around CAD 55, and it takes about 30 minutes to get to town.
Alternatively, you can rent a car straight from the airport.