Welcome to the “City of Gardens”. If you are tired of the hustle bustle of the busy city and want an easy escape from this hurried world, Victoria, BC is the best place to be. Walk by the harbor, enjoy the amazing weather, exploring some mysterious stories behind the historical architecture and indulging yourself in some delicious devouring food, it is a place to be.
Undoubtedly, if you are a good driver and hold an international/Canadian driver’s license, renting a car would be the best and the most economical travel option for a visitor, to explore the city at ease.
Here are 5 things that you can do when you are in Victoria next:
1. EXPLORE THE STUNNING HERITAGE
Most of Victoria’s lasting charm stems from the unique collection of well-preserved historic buildings, from the earlier days of settlement of British Columbia. Their turn-of-the-century architecture is a sense of pride for its community.
Victoria is Western Canada’s oldest city and its roots have been carefully preserved, which is visible in all its historic and heritage sites.
The historic Empress Hotel and Parliament Building by the inner harbor are a must visit. Though all we could see was the Parliament Building from outside as it remains closed on weekends and on Public Holidays during winter, however that’s not the case in summers. I would strongly recommend to do a brief search of its operational hours as it would be worth the visit to be inside the Parliament Building. I still regret missing it!.
Another must visit is the hill top Craigdarroch Castle. Experience the lavish, Edwardian-era luxury which is also the former mansion of the local coal barron Robert Dunsmir. The castle’s architecture speaks of the fascinating tale of an intriguing family and gives a glimpse of the privileged life in 1890s
2. HOP ON FOR A VINTAGE CARRIAGE RIDE
Explore Victoria at a slower pace and in a royal way in the vintage horse-drawn carriages. You can have a guided tour of the downtown and surrounding areas specially around the Parliament Building. Either you can opt for an advance booking before you reach Victoria or else you will find booths around the parliament building taking bookings for the carriage tours. It usually starts approximately around $100.00 and hence varies, however worth creating a memorable experience if you are in the city which is enriched with its history and heritage.
3. WALK BY THE HARBOUR
An evening walk by the inner harbor and watching the sun go down goes without saying when you are in Victoria. There is abundance of activities like kayaking, fishing and whale watching while you are trying to wind up your day at the harbour.
4. AFTERNOON TEA ROOMS
Afternoon tea, that most quintessential of English customs is a must experience when you are in this city of Queen. Believe me there is no better place that Victoria for indulging in a pot of afternoon tea with decadent nibble. Victoria being named after the Queen is fittingly the best city in Canada for indulging in an afternoon tea service. It has tea rooms from the posh Fairmont Empress entertaining British Royalty to Hollywood celebs, which can be a pricey affair to some affordable yet offering the experience you looking for at the most economical prices.
No doubt I was too keen for the Fairmont experience, as it was my first, however wanted it to be a bit easy on the pocket too. So, we chose to go ahead with Venus Sophia Tea Room situated in the heart of Victoria’s edgy China town. The mismatched antique tea cups to vintage bicycles is worth the visit. They offer more than 30 varieties of teas with unlimited fills, you can have as many teas you want to which comes with three tiered tray holding assorted sandwiches, scones, tarts, macaroons and more.
5. FRESHLY BREWED BEER AT ISRISH PUB
After the long day, the best idea is to wind up with a pitcher of freshly brewed beer at any Victorian bar and pub. Victoria has an extraordinary assortment of cuisine ranging from fine dining to casual bistros to waterfront pubs and the city gets busier as it starts hitting dusk. The Irish Times Pub and The Bard and Banker Pub are few of the most popular hangout joints located in heart of the city and usually have some or the other night events going on. I would strongly recommend making an advance booking in case you planning to visit during busy hours.