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Reconnect with the best B.C. experiences in culture and nature in Greater Victoria

Greater Victoria offers unforgettable cultural experiences and wide open spaces for exploration this summer.
Greater Victoria Matt Shannon Photography
Friends enjoy a meal on the Veranda at Fairmont Empress, overlooking the Inner Harbour on a sunny day.

With its prime location on Vancouver Island and mild climate in the summer, Greater Victoria offers local visitors an outdoor lifestyle with wide open spaces for exploration. 

Whether you’re meandering through refreshing rainforests or paddling around the Victoria harbour, you can rediscover extraordinary B.C. experiences at your own pace.

Here are some activities to do and sights to see when you visit Greater Victoria this summer.


The Fairmont Empress in downtown Victoria. Photo provided by Destination Greater Victoria.

GET THE ROYAL TREATMENT AT THE EMPRESS

An iconic landmark along the Inner Harbour, the Fairmont Empress is a castle-like grand railway hotel with rooms and suites that offer unbeatable views and amenities that will let you truly live like royalty during your stay. 

Served daily since 1908, the world famous Afternoon Tea at the Empress is served in the sophisticated Lobby Lounge. Throw your pinkies up and enjoy petite sandwiches and fluffy pastries, paired with a selection of premium teas poured in royal china sets that were a gift from King George VI and Queen Elizabeth during their royal tour in 1939.

Tea at the Empress is currently served on Saturdays and Sundays, with service expanding to Thursdays to Sundays beginning July 1, with afternoon tea served daily as of August 2.

STROLL DOWN CANADA’S NARROWEST STREET

Tucked away in the oldest Chinatown district in Canada is the narrowest street in the country — Fan Tan Alley. Once a thriving gambling district with restaurants and opium dens, this narrow lane is full of fascinating architecture and over twenty unique and curious shops and eateries. 

Spend an afternoon in Fan Tan Alley as you discover vintage vinyl records at the Turntable and locally-made jewellery at Whirled Arts. Then, enjoy eats and craft beer at local favourites Whistle Buoy Brewing and The Drake Eatery at the nearby Market Square.


A couple takes a guided kayak tour on the Gorge Waterway on a summer afternoon. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria.

GO ON A GUIDED KAYAK TOUR

A trip to Greater Victoria isn’t complete without embarking on an experience on Vancouver Island’s waterways. 

Departing from Fisherman’s Wharf, paddle through the Inner Harbour, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the narrow tidal intel of Gorge Waterway with Kelp Reef Adventures. You can enjoy spectacular views and have encounters with the resident seals and otters — all while getting a good arm workout in. 

TRY OUT WHALE WATCHING

The ocean waters that surround Vancouver Island are swimming with majestic marine wildlife. In fact, there are three orca pods totaling over 80 whales in Victoria’s waters alone!

Breathe in the salty sea breeze as you spot whales and other oceanic species while out on a whale watching tour with Prince of Whales. Guided by certified naturalists for a floating classroom experience, you can learn about these creatures while observing them up-close. 

After your whale watching excursion, you can learn even more about B.C.’s whales at the Orcas exhibit at the Royal BC Museum. Even better, Prince of Whales is offering FREE admission to the exhibit for their tour guests so you can check out Orcas on your own time!


Visiting The Butchart Gardens on a sunny day. Credit: Destination Greater Victoria.

SEE THE BEAUTY OF GREATER VICTORIA’S GARDENS

Known as the City of Gardens, Victoria is home to an abundance of flora-focused green spaces, from local parks to manicured gardens. 

With 900 plant varieties across 55 acres of gardens, The Butchart Gardens is an oasis flowing with colourful blooms and lush greenery, showcasing both local and international plants, flowers, and roses from B.C., Japan, and the Mediterranean.

Created by Prince and Princess Abkhazi of Georgia in 1946, Abkhazi Garden is known for its elegant Teahouse, where guests can enjoy lunch and afternoon while admiring the garden’s majestic plants and trees. At the Hatley Park National Historic Site, visitors can venture into the Edwardian estate’s stunning Japanese, Italian, and Rose gardens.

TAKE A HIKE IN THE RAINFOREST

For a breath of fresh air from the city, escape to nature and go on a hike through the scenic trails and lush ecosystem of Greater Victoria’s breathtaking rainforests, such as those found in Goldstream Provincial Park, where you’ll uncover massive trees, majestic waterfalls, and a meandering 

Make the most of your hiking experience by going on a small and intimate tour with an experienced hiking guide. Rainforest Tours can ensure you have the ultimate West Coast experience as you explore parts of the Juan de Fuca.  Looking to immerse in and rejuvenate yourself with forest bathing? Mystical Rainforest Tours can guide you through this ancient healing practice.

This summer is the perfect time to make memories with your family and friends while exploring the natural beauty of Vancouver Island’s Greater Victoria region together!

For a limited time, you can receive a $75 VISA rewards card when you reserve two or more consecutive nights at participating hotels in Greater Victoria. Build your trip itinerary and book your stay now at tourismvictoria.com/reconnect.