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Victoria & Vancouver Island Travel Guide

Canada

#4 in Best Places to Visit in Canada

Free Things To Do in Victoria & Vancouver Island

If you have extra time, Goldstream Provincial Park is worthwhile.

#1

#1 in Victoria & Vancouver Island

Free
The Inner Harbour is Victoria's primary tourist neighborhood. The harbor itself – home to various fishing boats and colorful floating homes – is framed by wide pedestrian streets, often frequented by street vendors and buskers. Numerous cafes and restaurants line the sidewalks and provide the perfect locale to savor an afternoon cup of tea while keeping your eyes peeled for whales playing in the open water. The Inner Harbour also hosts some of Victoria's most popular attractions, including the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Parliament Buildings. If you're embarking on a boat or ferry tour, this is where you'll likely start your journey.
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Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Inner Harbour
The Inner Harbour is Victoria's primary tourist neighborhood. The harbor itself – home to various fishing boats and colorful floating homes – is framed by wide pedestrian streets, often frequented by street vendors and buskers. Numerous cafes and restaurants line the sidewalks and provide the perfect locale to savor an afternoon cup of tea while keeping your eyes peeled for whales playing in the open water. The Inner Harbour also hosts some of Victoria's most popular attractions, including the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Parliament Buildings. If you're embarking on a boat or ferry tour, this is where you'll likely start your journey.
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#3

#3 in Victoria & Vancouver Island

Free
The British Columbia Parliament Buildings are hard to miss. These neo-baroque structures with their impressive blue dome face off against Victoria's famed Fairmont Empress Hotel and make an excellent backdrop for an Inner Harbour stroll, especially at night when the facade is dressed in lights. But if you want a closer look at the building (which dates back to 1898), the parliamentary process and the history of the province, many travelers recommend a tour, raving about the well-informed guides. Although you can take a self-guided tour, you should consider tagging along on a free guided tour, according to recent visitors.
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Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Parliament Buildings
The British Columbia Parliament Buildings are hard to miss. These neo-baroque structures with their impressive blue dome face off against Victoria's famed Fairmont Empress Hotel and make an excellent backdrop for an Inner Harbour stroll, especially at night when the facade is dressed in lights. But if you want a closer look at the building (which dates back to 1898), the parliamentary process and the history of the province, many travelers recommend a tour, raving about the well-informed guides. Although you can take a self-guided tour, you should consider tagging along on a free guided tour, according to recent visitors.
... more

#5

#5 in Victoria & Vancouver Island

Free
Located about 11 miles northwest of the Inner Harbour, Goldstream Provincial Park houses a stunning array of flora and abundant natural beauty across its nearly 1,000 acres. But the real reason to visit this public wildlife area is rather fishy: Spend some time by the Goldstream River from late fall to early winter, and you're bound to catch a glimpse of the annual salmon migration. Between October and December, chum, coho and chinook salmon can be seen leaping upstream to their ancestral spawning beds. The park's trails follow the river closely, allowing you to get a good look at the watery highway.
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Hiking Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Goldstream Provincial Park
Located about 11 miles northwest of the Inner Harbour, Goldstream Provincial Park houses a stunning array of flora and abundant natural beauty across its nearly 1,000 acres. But the real reason to visit this public wildlife area is rather fishy: Spend some time by the Goldstream River from late fall to early winter, and you're bound to catch a glimpse of the annual salmon migration. Between October and December, chum, coho and chinook salmon can be seen leaping upstream to their ancestral spawning beds. The park's trails follow the river closely, allowing you to get a good look at the watery highway.
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#11
Sooke Free

#11 in Victoria & Vancouver Island

Free
This little community on the southern tip of Vancouver Island makes for a quaint and quiet alternative to Victoria. Sooke's sheltered harbor is filled with fishing boats rather than tourists, and its numerous parks provide a scenic backdrop for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Recent visitors enjoyed the East Sooke Regional Park, citing its beauty and peaceful setting. You'll also find an assortment of water activities here – including fishing, sailing and whale watching – thanks to the town's location on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
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Neighborhood/Area Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
Sooke
This little community on the southern tip of Vancouver Island makes for a quaint and quiet alternative to Victoria. Sooke's sheltered harbor is filled with fishing boats rather than tourists, and its numerous parks provide a scenic backdrop for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Recent visitors enjoyed the East Sooke Regional Park, citing its beauty and peaceful setting. You'll also find an assortment of water activities here – including fishing, sailing and whale watching – thanks to the town's location on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
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Free
Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
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