The lovely, clean, and well-tended city of Victoria is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, just off the coast of British Columbia. Unlike most cities on the west coast of North America, Victoria boasts a truly exceptional collection of British colonial architecture, as well as many British inspired traditions. When you arrive in Victoria, get a sense of the city's history by visiting its famous architectural landmarks, such as the Point Ellis House and Gardens and the Parliament Building. You may even consider hiring a horse-drawn carriage to explore the scenery downtown. For a distinctly Victorian experience, gather the family for a traditional English high tea in a place like Gatsby Mansion or the White Heather Tea Room.
In addition to its traditions, Victoria has developed a rather modern flair, partially gleaned from its cosmopolitan cousin, Vancouver. Today, you can find Asian seafood restaurants, trendy cafes, and French-inspired bistros along the streets of Victoria. In the evenings, head out for a live theater performance in one of Victoria's many venues, or catch a classic film in the city's independent cinemas.
A coastal city, Victoria is an excellent place to visit in the summer months, when the days are long and sunny. The walkways around the harbor are one of the city's greatest attractions, offering shops, restaurants, and beautiful views of the water. One of the nicest ways to enjoy Victoria's natural beauty is by hopping on the ferry to tour the harbor. For those who love the wilderness, the pristine coastline is a perfect setting for an eco-adventure, such as canoeing, fishing, kayaking, scuba diving, or boating. Wildlife observation, particularly whale watching, is another major attraction of the region. The waters just off the coast are home to a large pod of killer whales, drawing hundreds of visitors to Victoria year-round.
Here are some of the best things to do in Victoria:
-Butchart Gardens: Just a bit north of Victoria, these perfectly manicured gardens are a huge attraction. During the summer months, there are fireworks at the gardens every weekend.
-Craigdarroch Castle: Built by a former coal magnate, this massive residence is a Victoria landmark and open to the public.
-Royal British Columbia Museum: This small but interesting museum chronicles the history of British Columbia.
-Art Gallery of Greater Victoria: Located in a restored historic home, this small museum features work by the famous British Columbia artist, Emily Carr.
-Mount Douglas Park: Hike through lush landscapes of ferns and flowers at this lovely Vancouver Island state park.
-Gulf Islands: Located just off the mainland, this gorgeous chain of small Pacific isles is a picturesque destination for sailing, fishing, and hiking.
If you are planning to visit Victoria, look for a lovely condo or luxury apartment near the city center or the harbor. Snagging a spacious villa by the coast can make your trip to British Columbia all the more relaxing. Ideal for a family, a vacation rental offers the space and privacy you can rarely find in a hotel.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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