Fairmont Empress Hotel

Fairmont Empress Hotel: Our most recommended tours and activities

Victoria and Butchart Gardens Christmas Tour

1. Victoria and Butchart Gardens Christmas Tour

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel in downtown Vancover, and then board the boat at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to take a scenic 1.5-hour cruise around the Gulf Islands. Look for marine wildlife on the outdoor deck as you make your way to Schwartz Bay on Vancouver Island. Drop anchor to explore the provincial capital of British Columbia. Get a short introduction to Victoria and enjoy some free time to look inside the unique shops of Government Street and Chinatown. Stroll along the Inner Harbour and get amazing ocean views. Take souvenir photos of the festive decorations of the Victoria Parliament Building and Fairmont Empress Hotel. Continue to the botanical paradise of Butchart Gardens and wander through a series of themed gardens to see the Christmas lights and holiday wreaths. Hear carols being sung and much more to experience the Magic of Christmas. Return to Schwartz Bay for the bus and ferry journey back to Vancouver.

Victoria: Downtown Food and City Tour

2. Victoria: Downtown Food and City Tour

Get out and about in downtown Victoria for an artisan food guided walking tour. Meet up with your local guide and get the in-the-know secrets of the foodie scene. Make several stops as you sightsee around the town, tasting delicious snacks and sampling local wines. First, meet inside the Steamship Terminal Building to begin your tour with a light snack. Stroll past the most iconic building of Victoria's inner harbor, and learn the history of the Empress Hotel and Legislature building. Make stops at 7 different foodie locations, and taste anything from Artisan wine from British Columbian wineries to unique Korean corn dogs. Try the halloumi kale salad, and sample some delicious cheese samples from the infamous cheese bistro. Don't worry, at the end, delight in a local dessert of decadent chocolate paired with fresh macarons.

Victoria: Scavenger Hunt and City Highlights Walking Tour

3. Victoria: Scavenger Hunt and City Highlights Walking Tour

Solve riddles and find clues on a self-guided scavenger hunt and walking tour through Victoria. Explore the city at your own pace and see iconic highlights like Parliament Building, Fairmont Empress, and many more.  You will receive the download instructions after booking the tour. After downloading the app to the Steamship Terminal and use the code to unlock the game in the app.  Use the hints to find the best sights and hidden gems throughout the city. During the adventure, you can also expect exciting photo tasks with a lot of creativity. You will get points if you master the snapshots. Along the way, you can stop for a coffee or a break at any time. Stroll through the picturesque streets and discover the real Victoria on this fun tour while working as a team. 

Vancouver to Victoria and Butchart Gardens

4. Vancouver to Victoria and Butchart Gardens

Visit Victoria, British Columbia’s capital city, on this full-day guided tour from Vancouver city. Try to spot marine life on the ferry to Vancouver island, walk among the flowers in the Butchart Gardens, and admire the Victorian architecture in Victoria.  Start from downtown Vancouver and travel south through the city aboard a climate-controlled bus. Hop aboard a BC Ferry for a 90-minute voyage across the Georgia Strait through the scenic Southern Gulf Islands. Keep an eye out for orcas along the way. Once docked on Vancouver Island, the tour continues to the world-famous Butchart Gardens, a National Historic Site of Canada. See millions of bedding plants in over 900 varieties. Enjoy 2 leisurely hours to fully explore the 50 acres of stunning gardens. Head to downtown Victoria and pass through Canada’s oldest China Town and the scenic Victoria Harbor, including the Inner Harbor. Once downtown, you will have free time to explore the local area. Spend your time going for a stroll the Inner Harbor, taking in the thriving arts and cultural scene, or visiting the historic Empress Hotel or the Royal BC Museum. Take the ferry and bus to return to your meeting point in Vancouver. 

From Vancouver: Butchart Gardens & Victoria Sightseeing Tour

5. From Vancouver: Butchart Gardens & Victoria Sightseeing Tour

Discover Victoria, the capital of British Columbia on a guided tour from Vancouver. See the Empress Hotel, the Parliament buildings and beautiful Butchart Gardens. Upon leaving Vancouver, take a scenic ferry ride from the mainland through the Gulf Islands to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island. From here, you will embark on a driving tour to Victoria. Discover Victoria’s downtown area featuring the Fisherman’s Wharf, the Inner Harbour, The Fairmont Empress Hotel, Mile 0 and the historic Chinatown. Enjoy some free time to explore downtown Victoria at your own pace. Next, visit the internationally renowned Butchart Gardens. This National Historic Site began with an exhausted limestone quarry that was transformed into the now picturesque Sunken Garden. Explore 55 acres of themed garden displays, including a Japanese Garden, Italian Garden and Rose Garden. Wind down your day with the scenic return sailing trip aboard BC Ferries, and then back to where your tour began.

Victoria Harbor: Smartphone Audio Walking Tour

6. Victoria Harbor: Smartphone Audio Walking Tour

Begin in the heart of Victoria's Chinatown where you can check out Fan Tan Alley before making your way through the colorful and historic downtown center. Listen to information about some of Victoria's heritage buildings in the Market Square. Check out some unique architectural features like Waddington Alley and the Johnson Street Bridge. Stop for a bite at Murchie's Tea & Coffee, Garrick's Head Saloon, or Rogers Chocolates before heading to the beautiful inner harbor. Stroll along the water while you marvel at sites like the Grand Empress Hotel, the Royal BC Museum, the Parliament Buildings, and the Steamship Terminal. Walk David Foster Pathway and listen to the facinating commentary. Explore Thunderbird Park and Songhees Point and hear about the different people and creatures that call Victoria their home. Visit as many sights and attractions as you like at your own pace. Save your data with an offline tour.

Other Sightseeing Options in Fairmont Empress Hotel

Want to discover all there is to do in Fairmont Empress Hotel? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Fairmont Empress Hotel

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 223 reviews

This was a filled day, not only are the gardens amazing also the ferry ride is very interesting on both trips and Victoria is also nice to see. I just wished I could spend a bit more time in the gardens so I could really appreciate them and not keep looking at my watch.

We had great fun doing this scavenger hunt. Even though we have visited Victoria numerous times we found the tour took us to new spots and interesting new facts about the area. I would absolutely recommend this tour and will look for similar in other cities.

It was a long day trip from Vancouver but was really worth it. We had lovely weather & the scenery during the ferry ride over was beautiful. Rene was an extremely entertaining guide & we had plenty of free time to explore on our own.

Great experience! The tour guide Zac was great, very knowledgeable and couldn’t do enough for the group.

Great trip, friendly and knowledgable guide and very enjoyable day.