Recognizable by its unique harmony and peaceful scene, the famous Victoria's Inner Harbour is an iconic landmark. You can walk along the waterfront, pass by the Empress Hotel, watch street buskers perform on sunny days, or stop in at restaurant for a bite to eat. This is also where whale watching tours depart and where float planes land and take off.
Undoubtedly one of the most sumptuous gardens in Victoria, the Butchart Gardens can be visited in whatever seasons to view and feel various impressive colors. The Italian garden, rose garden, Japanese garden, and sunken garden are among the loveliest. Open spaces among the pools, fountains, and the many exotic plants are used for artistic and musical performances.
Dominating the south side of the Inner Harbour is the imposing seat of British Columbia's provincial government, the Parliament Buildings! The imposing stone buildings have neat, orderly gardens and are very attractive in appearance - especially in the evening when lit by festoons of lights.
Beacon Hill Park
Green and well tended, Beacon Hill Park is a favorite outdoor area close to the city center. From its highest point, lovely views look across Juan de Fuca Strait to the snowy peaks of the Olympic Peninsula. The park features gardens; walking trails; and recreational areas for baseball, tennis, cricket, and lawn bowling.
Victoria's fairy-tale mansion, Craigdarroch Castle, is considered a gem of Victorian architecture and is a National Historic Site . The Castle weaves a fascinating tale of an intriguing family – their achievements, their relationships and even their quirks.
Hiking Trails and Scenic Areas
For coastal scenery, the Coastal Trail in Sooke is a wonderful seaside trail looking out to the distant mountains. The Mount Work hiking trail is another great hiking trail and good workout, leading to a highpoint with views to the Olympic Mountains and down Sanich Inlet.
For a little history, check out the Trestle Bridge Hiking Trail in Goldstream Provincial Park, and along the way, stop at Niagara Falls. Or, for something a little easier, try the Kinsol Trestle Bridge Trail, perfect for all abilities.
Hatley Park National Historic Site
Hatley Park National Historic Site consists of Hatley Castle, built in 1908 by former British Columbia Premier and coal baron, James Dunsmuir. This Edwardian estate also showcases Japanese, Italian, and rose gardens. The castle has also been featured in several films. Most famously, it was a filming location in the X Men movie series, as the School for Gifted Youngsters run by Professor Xavier.
It may not be as well known as its San Franciscan counterpart, but Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf is a must-visit. The area is a short walk from the city center and is home to many colorful float homes and dining options.