For one nice vacation spent outdoors under wonderful weather, with picturesque and scenic surroundings, you really won’t need to throw a fortune. There are many great destinations, small cities or islands, that provide great opportunities for one memorable and adventurous vacation.
Victoria is one of those cities where most of your time you’ll spend it like a local. The best things that this place can offer are practiced daily by Victorians. It’s their way of life and that’s why they exist in the first place today for us, the visitors to enjoy them as well.
Because of the mild winters and pleasant summers in this city and the surroundings, everything grows easily. One of the reasons why Victoria is known as the City of Gardens. As sensible as they are, the flowers and the gardens make Victoria that much attractive for a visit, especially by women becoming one of the best places to live for women.
Victorians simply adore their outdoor lifestyle developing kilometers of cycling trails available in the city. In the greenery of the nearest surroundings, you can enjoy activities in nature year-round. Except being proud of the love for cycling in Victoria a farm to table is what to expect. Victorians are great supporters of everything local. It’s no surprise that they are among the friendliest people in the world. With so many outdoor activities available on public open spaces it’s obvious that meeting people and having fun is what they like. The motto of the city always free it’s just right.
So, where is Victoria? Located in the Pacific Ocean on the southern part of Vancouver Island, Victoria is the capital of British Columbia, Canada’s third-largest province. The City of Victoria’s population is 83,000. The Capital Region population is over 370,000.
With so many parks, cycling trails, sandy beaches, and gardens the best time for a visit will be in summer.
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Where to go?
It’s a small city that can be best explored on foot or by bike. Comfortable shoes and a casual outfit are highly recommended. Where to go? Head to the downtown center to get familiar with the alleys, the oldest Chinatown in Canada and visit the shops in Fan Tan Alley that once was a gambling street. It does look mysterious and somehow hidden as well. Next, at Trounce Alley you’ll find shops, galleries, and bars. In downtown Victoria, most of the attractive events and shops are located. It’s the area that is rapidly developing and luckily everything is within walking distance.
Centennial Square is where in the summer days open to the public the free Lunchtime Concerts are performed with a special programme for the evenings as well. So, 3 days a week you can attend at one of these concerts, and enjoy your lunch under the pleasant summer sun. It’s one of the nicest meeting points in the city.
Speaking of lunch the place in Victoria for the freshest and seasonal products is the Public Market. Fresh and only fresh is what you’ll get and nothing less. Even the restaurants have their own farms with a seasonal and organic production of the food. Beside the organically grown products, salmon, and shellfish freshly caught from the Pacific Ocean are offered on a daily basis. Probably salmon bites here so good that even girls enjoy fishing. At Bastion Square you can find the finest restaurants and shops. It’s home to the Bastion Square Market where a wide variety of local and handmade products are offered.
Walking around the James Bay neighborhood you’ll probably find the most inviting stops to revel in and appreciate the nature and scenic views of Victoria city.
Overlooking the harbor the two examples of astonishing architecture stand, designed by the same architect Francis Rattenbury, the Parliament Buildings, and Empress Hotel. Take the advantage of the free tours offered and visit the Parliament inside. Millions of people will visit the Empress Hotel for the famous tea where hundreds of cups of tea are served daily. Get closer to the history and roots, pay a visit to the Royal BC Museum placed in the downtown. In meanwhile take a look at some of the online exhibitions in the museum.
What to do?
You’ll certainly won’t miss green spaces in Victoria. The area covers a lot of parks and trails to be enjoyed, where you can ride a bike or simply have more of a leisurely picnic afternoon. Among many of them, the Beacon Hill stands out as a signature park of Victoria city with large spaces of green grass enriched by flower beds situated on sides of the pathways to be strolled. Moreover, with its liveliness at this park so many activities can fulfill your day making it even more delightful regardless of the age. In the middle of this park, there is a stage open in the summer months for free cultural events and concerts. On the grass or on the benches, it’s up to you from which corner you’ll watch the shows. Moreover, water parks, tennis courts, cricket pitch, and playgrounds for recreation and sports are opened daily for the visitors.
Beside the gardens, another thing that Victoria is known for is the outdoor activities. There are dozens of parks to be strolled, and trails to be cycled. In the summer months, for the beachgoers, a visit to one of the sandy beaches will be a great choice for the day. You can just relax and loosen up or do the all of the water activities such as swimming, paddling, kayaking that are practiced here. Willows Beach, the local’s favorite, is where most of the Victorians will choose to spend their time on the sand. Except for being quite popular, it’s an excellent beach for kids and families where amenities like change rooms, picnic tables, and benches are available.
Head to Fisherman’s Wharf and visit the shops and restaurants in the colorful floating houses. Freshest fish and chips will be served to you where delicious ice cream flavors await for the youngest. Besides, you won’t like to miss out on spotting some of the adored visitors here like the otters, seals, and seabirds likewise. Kayaking and whale watching tours are one of the thrilling experiences waiting for you. Another excellent service provided in Victoria are the affordable water taxis giving you a chance to see the city’s beauty from the sea while taking you to the desired destination on the way. Private charters are available and historic educational tours as well.
The kids would simply love the Victoria Butterfly Gardens. In these tropical gardens, various species of butterflies fly around and tortoises, flamingos, iguanas, tropical birds can be seen living in harmony. Another thrilling and yet very educative experience that will be of a great surprise for the kids is the visit to the Victoria Bug Zoo. They’ll find out great things about the bugs wonderful world. Moreover, the bugs are all alive and touching them is allowed.
At last but certainly not least, one of the most visited places by the tourists is the popular Butchart Gardens. In these gardens, every season is good for a visit. Colorful and vibrant gardens that easily capture everyone’s senses. In spring, blooming bulbs cover the gardens while in summer among the beauty of it all Firework Shows on Saturdays can be enjoyed, and autumn is the best time for the gorgeous Japanese gardens. There is a wonderful restaurant where you can grab a snack, have a cup of tea or lunch, sit back and admire
The intention of these visits to the gardens is a quiet and relaxing walk through the pathways among the lush beauty of the gardens. It’s not a recreational park and running, jogging, Segways or biking are not allowed. Also, selfies and in general blocking the path to other visitors is considered inappropriate for which you may be asked to leave the gardens.
Gardening is very much cultivated in Victoria and you’ll probably get a chance to see some private properties with lavish gardens to admire. Likewise, the lights on the streets in the spring and summer months have very nice colorful baskets full of flowers giving it a very nice touch for even better and more enjoyable walks of the city.