Discover the best things to do in and around Victoria!
(+ Neighbouring Sooke & Cowichan Valley)
Adventure, food, sun, sea, beer, people- if you’re on Canada’s West Coast, your trip will not be complete without a stop in British Columbia’s capital! Victoria is a great place to find relaxation, exhilaration or both! We recently spent some time in this awesome city and got the inside scoop from our Locals. Read on for what to do, where to go and where to stay in and around Victoria, BC!
What To Do In Victoria
To truly experience the magic of Victoria, we recommend getting outside with a Local who can share their secret spots and hidden gems on an Adventure in and around Victoria. The city has no shortage of things to do, but it’s the outdoor culture and natural landscape that make it a must visit destination.
Explore the city by bike
Vancouver Island itself is a great spot for cycling around, with plenty of historic and unique neighbourhoods surrounding the downtown to explore. Discover the many sights, local restaurants, and breweries to stop at along the way – no matter which route you take, you’re in for a truly remarkable day! If you’re new to the city or are looking for a true local experience, book a guided by tour with a qualified guide. Yervana Local Charles will supply everything you need including safety gear and bike rental. Learn the history of Victoria on his Victoria Castle, ‘Hoods, & Legends Bike Tour or try the best local breweries on his Victoria Hoppy Hour Bike Tour.
Hike Sooke’s Coastal Trails
Experience the West Coast wilderness in East Sooke- a premier hiking destination! Hike part of the West Coast Trail, along the windswept rocky shore and into a lush green rainforest. Discover hidden gems along this stunning trail, and take in the spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains while you enjoy a picnic filled with local produce.
Brew Your Own Tea in The Trees
Venture further outside Victoria to enjoy a day in Sooke Potholes Park. Located on the Sooke River, this is the 2nd largest river system on Vancouver Island. If you’re visiting during summer, the crystal clear waters will be hard to resist, so remember to bring your swimmers! For one of the more unusual things to do around Victoria, learn how to identify edible plants and pick enough to brew a pot of tea. Head out on an Adventure with Yervana Local, Ryan, to learn about Sooke’s rich history and landscape while enjoying your fresh pot of steeped tea and a handmade muffin beside the river.
The Ultimate Cowichan Summer Experience
For the ultimate summer experience, let Yervana Local, Erika show you around the Cowichan Valley! Start the day off by visiting one of Cowichan’s renowned wineries, then spend the afternoon floating down the Cowichan River. By far the best summer experience in the Cowichan Valley. End the evening off at a local farm-to-table restaurant with scenic summer views! What are you waiting for?
Local Favorites: Eating & Drinking
We wanted to give you a quick breakdown of where to go when you’re in Victoria- or Sooke, if you make the stopover. Our Locals provided us with some of their favorite spots to hang out at for food or drink!
- This Italian style restaurant serves delicious dishes in a live music atmosphere. They don’t take reservations and there is often a line-up to get in, but it’s worth it once you sit down and begin to enjoy the experience!
- The Tapa Bar
- Make sure you bring a friend or two along with you as this restaurant serves Spanish inspired food designed to share.
- Bad Dog Brewery
- A craft, micro-brewery sitting in a remote location and ran out of a two car garage. A good way to end the day post-Adventure!
- Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery
- “We help adventurous connoisseurs rediscover an ancient libation with hand crafted meads made from our own Wildflower Honey. Our carefully tended beehives are put out to forage the wild flowers in [the] hills behind Sooke for the purest honey.” What more can we say? Yum!
- Road to Sooke Cafe
- With amazing cinnamon buns and Chagga coffee (mushroom coffee) this cafe offers both local and organic choices. Perfect for a pre-Adventure stop.
- Visit the Wineries
- The Cowichan Valley is home to 10+ local wineries. Enjoy farm-to-table eats and drinks after your day of Adventuring! For a truly local experience, explore the wineries with Yervana Local, Erika!
- Enjoy a Local Brewery
- Sit back, relax, and enjoy a locally brewed beer at one of the Cowichan Valley Breweries! Explore the breweries with Yervana Local, Erika, for a good time!
- Genoa Bay Cafe
- With amazing views of the ocean and a menu filled with fresh seafood options, the Genoa Bay Cafe makes for the perfect evening dinner location.
Where to Stay
Victoria, Sooke, and the Cowichan Valley all offer a variety of accommodation choices. If you’re interested in camping, there are some amazing campgrounds to set-up at. There are also interesting hotels and bed and breakfast spots to look into. Make sure you do some research before booking to ensure you get the best accommodation for your needs.
Private cabin rentals near Sooke. With its own network of private trails, you can look for humpback whales while you wander and eat your lunch!
How to Get Around
Getting to Victoria is easy! If you’re travelling within Canada, the drive is scenic. Take the ferry across from Tsawwassen just outside of Vancouver. Services run hourly, and with approximately an hour and a half of sailing, it’s a great opportunity to spot marine life. Check BC Ferries for up to date schedules and fares. And if you’re feeling like a treat, look into taking a float plane over! If coming from elsewhere, consider flying to YVR – the Vancouver International Airport – as this may be the quickest option. Once you arrive, there are public transit options, taxi cabs and car rentals to help you get to and from the ferry.
There are great public transit or car hire options available on the island. Many of our Locals will also be able to advise on best transport options if you’re not bringing a car over.