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Victoria Travel Tips - Planning Your Vacation to BC's Capital City

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Victoria combines a rich heritage with contemporary cool. You can stroll past colourfully painted, century-old homes and pause for traditional afternoon tea, then browse cutting-edge design in independent boutiques and finish off the day with a pint of craft ale. Victoria's temperate climate brings blooming flowers nearly year-round, while the city's coastal location makes it a hub for whale watching and kayaking.

Best time to travel

 

Summer is Victoria's busiest season, when high temperatures average around 22 degrees C (72 F) and daylight stretches past 9 PM. Spring is quieter and is the time to see the city's rhododendrons in flower. Dry, sunny weather often continues into early October. Winter brings storms with heavy rainfall, but hotel rates are much lower at this time, and snow is rare. If you're planning to go whale watching, your best chance of spotting resident orcas is between April and November.

Not to miss

 

Victoria's busy Inner Harbour, with its elegant Edwardian architecture overlooking the water, is a must-see for any visitor. Other highlights include exploring the scenic coastline, ambling around world-class gardens, and heading out on a whale-watching tour. All things Scottish take over town during the annual Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival in May. Then in July, the Victoria International Buskers Festival sees top street performers entertaining crowds for 10 days. The run-up to Christmas brings the Lighted Truck Parade, Festival of Trees, and National Gingerbread Showcase.

 

Getting around

 

Victoria International Airport (YYJ) is about 25 km (15.5 miles) north of Victoria and receives flights from mainly Canadian and western US destinations. Airport shuttles, public buses, and taxis connect the airport with downtown. Alternatively, there is a direct bus-and-ferry service from Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Downtown Victoria is compact and easy to explore on foot. BC Transit runs an efficient network of buses if you're travelling farther afield, including services to The Butchart Gardens and Sidney. You can save money by purchasing day passes or books of saver tickets. Car rental and taxi services are also widely available.

 

Cuisine

 

Victoria offers an impressive selection of restaurants serving a variety of tempting cuisines. Downtown, you have your pick of seafood specialists, steakhouses, and Asian fare, as well as tapas bars and Italian-style trattorias. Beyond the centre, you can try out intimate neighbourhood bistros, waterfront eateries with mountain views, and local pubs serving belly warming fare. Or you might grab fish and chips from a food truck and catch sunset on the beach.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Canadians are polite, friendly, and welcoming to visitors. Victoria has a laid-back vibe, and its residents are environmentally conscious. Dining out is usually casual, and you need to dress up only if you're heading to a fine-dining restaurant or high-end bar. Diners typically tip 15 percent or 20 percent for exceptional service. It's customary to leave a couple of dollars per night for hotel room attendants and a dollar or 2 per bag for porters. If taking a taxi, a tip of 10 percent is usual.

 

Fast facts

 

  • Population: 345000
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  • Spoken languages: English
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  • Electrical: 120 volts, 60 Hz, plug type A, B
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  • Phone calling code: +1 250
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  • Emergency number: 911