As an avid traveler, I have to say that Victoria, BC has to be one of the most romantic places in all of Canada. The spring and summer weather is amazing, with warm temperatures mixed with a fresh sea breeze and flowers that have bloomed everywhere! Victoria is a dreamy vacation destination for couples.
Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada, Victoria is one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest. Also known as the “City of Gardens”, Victoria makes the perfect getaway for couples. I’ve tallied some of the best things to see and do, places to eat and where to stay that delivers stunning views of this picturesque city on your first visit to Victoria, BC.
First thing’s first. You need to drop off your luggage. I recommend staying at one of the VRBO Victoria vacation rental properties. There are two lovely heritage-modern loft condo units that are ideally located in the heart of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. You’re within walking distance of everything, so you and your travel partner will not have to mess around with figuring out transportation.
One of the main things you’ll want to see on your first visit to Victoria is the Inner Harbour. It is such an attractively scenic place for couples to stroll along the docks and walkway, hand-and-hand and take in the sights. Some notable places you should visit while in the Inner Harbour are the art displays, the Empress (afternoon tea is a memorable experience, fancy and romantic, but pricey), Parliament Building (free tours and beautifully lit up at night), street performers, restaurants, pubs, and retail stores. Skip the Undersea Gardens, it is unfortunately quite run down now and overpriced. If you’re looking for a casual seafood lunch, a not to miss is Redfish-Bluefish. Any of the restaurants along the lower wall of the inner harbour are a great spot to enjoy the sights and sounds of the boats from all over the world docked in the harbour too.
After all that walking you may want to rest your feet while still sight-seeing. You are in luck because you can catch a horse drawn carriage from the Inner Harbour that will take you through Victoria’s James Bay. Snuggle in the carriage as it takes you past the Harbour, heritage homes, Beacon Hill Park, and more sights. This is a great place to take pictures or just soak up the magical views of the Juan de Fuca Straight and Olympic Mountains. These tours usually depart near the Parliament Building and can be done either during the day or under the magical stars during the night. This is a great way to cap off the evening before you head back to your VRBO loft where you’re sweet partner makes you a lovely dinner. Don’t feel like cooking? Then head to Il Terrazzo, a hidden little gem and a romantic spot to share a bottle of wine and amazing Italian fare. Located down Waddington Alley just behind the Leiser Building where you’re staying.
If you enjoy nature and gardening or flowers, make your way over to Butchart Gardens. Now recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada, Butchart Gardens offers 22 ha (55 acres) of beautiful floral displays for all four seasons. In the summer there are nightly firework displays too! The most unique and special way to get there is by sea plane, with a boat tour a close second. If you're planning on going whale watching while in Victoria, Prince of Whales offers a tour that combines whale watching with a trip to the Butchart Gardens. You will board a Prince of Whales boat in Victoria's inner harbour where you will go on a whale watching cruise before being dropped off at the Butchart Gardens dock in Todd Inlet. After your time at the Gardens, you will return to Victoria by Cruise Victoria bus. You can choose what time you want to leave with the benefit of multiple departure times. The cost is $145 (+tax) during the off-season, and this option can be cheaper than doing a whale watching tour and Butchart Gardens bus tour separately. Believe it or not, you can even fly to Butchart Gardens! Harbour Air Seaplanes offers a tour from downtown Victoria to Butchart Gardens. You can enjoy a scenic flight over Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula before coming in for a landing at Todd Inlet where you will get off at the Butchart Gardens dock. You will return to downtown Victoria by limousine. Harbour Air offers a variety of tours, some which include dinner.
Want a bit more history and grandeur? Other enjoyable activities for couples include touring the 19th century Craigdarroch Castle, the attractions at the Royal BC Museum and you should definitely schedule a whale watching tour. So, whether you are booking a quick weekend getaway or a full week’s vacation, Victoria BC is one of the most romantic places for couples to enjoy one another and relax in the laid back vibe of Vancouver Island.
Like shopping? All the best shops are right out your front door of Central Victoria Vacation Rentals VRBO units. Stroll along the various Yates Street shops for clothing, unique furniture, and more set amongst the restored heritage buildings, each with its own unique history. The Leiser Building where you’re staying was a former grocer, and various other merchant and shipping services scatter the area. Look for the plaques like th one on the right. Lower Johnson Street, known as "Lo Jo", is a district of exclusive fashion and design boutiques, just a block west downs the historic Waddington Alley.
Bastion Square is a unique shopping plaza with a rich history, once the site of Victoria's Court House, Law Chambers, a brothel and several hangings. Today it’s filled with all sorts of unique items, crafts, clothing, food and more by local artists. Their Sunday markets are best, and in the Festival of the Arts in the summer is great fun. Just across Government Street you’ll find one of Victoria’s best kept shopping secrets – Trounce Alley, filled with European fashions and gifts.
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There is so much to experience in Victoria BC for couples with various interests on a romantic getaway. Once you’ve had a taste for what Victoria has to offer, checkout our blog post for your return visit adventure by bike! Happy travels.