Things to do in Victoria, British Columbia

Marvel at historical buildings, relax in green spaces, or even meet some whales in British Columbia’s capital.

Our most recommended things to do in Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria, BC: 3-Hour Ultimate Whale & Marine Wildlife Tour

1. Victoria, BC: 3-Hour Ultimate Whale & Marine Wildlife Tour

The waters off Victoria, British Columbia are known as the Salish Sea. Discover its wonders and rich marine environment with this ultimate whale and marine wildlife tour. Board a brand new high-speed coastal explorer boat and set sail to look for orcas (also known as killer whales), humpbacks, harbor seals, California sea lions, and over 127 species of marine birds!  Take a tour of the west coast aboard a luxurious coastal explorer, with two outside viewing areas and a fully heated cabin. Enjoy complimentary coffee and hot chocolate as you set off on an adventure to learn all about the local marine wildlife and important landmarks. From playful orcas to giant humpbacks, your experience is sure to be memorable. Discover the marine wildlife in the waters off Victoria with the help of marine biologists and learn about efforts to establish Victoria as a world-renowned whale watching destination. 

Victoria: 3-Hour Zodiac Whale-Watching Tour

2. Victoria: 3-Hour Zodiac Whale-Watching Tour

Experience the awe and inspiration of seeing whales in their natural environment on this unique whale-watching excursion from Victoria. Cruise along in an open zodiac boat on the Salish Sea, and get the chance to spot orcas, humpback, minke, and gray whales, as well as porpoises and seals. After being collected from your downtown accommodation in a comfortable shuttle bus, you will venture down to the harbor where you will meet with your boat. After meeting your guides for the day, you will then depart from Victoria, setting off on your 3-hour whale-watching tour. Between April and October, you will have a greater than 95% success rate of spotting whales, including both transient and resident orcas, humpback, minke, and gray whales. Other wildlife you may encounter include Dall’s and harbor porpoises, harbor and elephant seals, and otters and marine birds such as cormorants and bald eagles. The zodiac vessels used on your tour are definitely recommended for the wild-at-heart. You can let the wind blow in your hair and be exposed to the true west-coast elements in an open-style, 12-passenger vessel. At the conclusion of your exhilarating tour, you will be returned back to the harbor, at which point you will be driven back to your accommodation in downtown Victoria.

Victoria and Butchart Gardens Christmas Tour

3. 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: 3-Hour Whale Watching Tour in a Zodiac Boat

4. Victoria: 3-Hour Whale Watching Tour in a Zodiac Boat

This 3-hour whale-watching tour boasts sighting just about everything there is to see, including groups of predatory transient orcas and breaching humpback calves. Recently, a guest proposed to his girlfriend as a pod of killer whales cavorted in the background! Get suited up in a cozy cruiser suit, ensuring your comfort and safety for the duration of the trip. The tour departs from Victoria’s beautiful inner harbor. Your ride on one of the zipping Zodiac-style boats will be nearly as exciting as seeing the whales. Each of the boats seats 12, and there are great views from every seat. On the way out of the harbor, the boat passes the historic Victoria coastline. Once out of the harbor you’ll see a variety of different species of sea life, including orcas, humpback whales, grey whales, minke whales, porpoises, dolphins, sea lions, elephant seals, otters, and bald eagles. Every tour is guided by a Transport Canada-approved skipper, who will provide information and commentary on all of the wildlife you see.

Victoria: Sunset Whale Watching Tour on Semi-Covered Boat

5. Victoria: Sunset Whale Watching Tour on Semi-Covered Boat

Set sail after dinner and enjoy the chance to see waters in the water with fewer boats and fewer people. Enjoy the unique atmosphere of a 3-hour tour that returns to Victoria's Harbor as the sun is setting. Head out to the Salish Sea, take in the spectacular scenery and look out for whales, seals, and eagles. Relax aboard a semi-covered catamaran, the high-performance vessel that is used for this whale watching tour. The comfortable catamaran features onboard bathrooms, and guests are provided with jackets, blankets, sunglasses, toques, gloves, and sunscreen.

Vancouver: Victoria, Gulf Islands Cruise, & Butchart Gardens

6. Vancouver: Victoria, Gulf Islands Cruise, & Butchart Gardens

Experience the Pacific Coast and Vancouver Island by land and ship on a guided day trip from Vancouver with hotel transfers included. View the British Columbia coastline from a sightseeing cruise, followed by a stop at Butchart Gardens en route to the British-inspired city of Victoria. Board a BC Ferries vessel at Tsawwassen terminal for a 90-minute sail through the serene beauty of the Gulf Islands. On the way, look out for marine wildlife from the outdoor ship decks, especially eagles, sea lions, and whales. Arrive at Swartz Bay terminal on Vancouver Island and continue to the enchanting botanical paradise of Butchart Gardens. Wander through a series of themed gardens, highlighted by the massive Sunken Garden complete with a dancing fountain. Marvel at the architectural wonders of the city of Victoria boasts, including the iconic Parliament Buildings and the waterfront Fairmont Empress Hotel. Visit the shops and cafes of Government Street and Chinatown. Stroll along the Inner Harbour for prime ocean views, and enjoy some free time to take in this culturally significant city. Return on the bus to Vancouver by ferry to conclude this diverse tour.

Victoria: 2-Hour Food and History Tour with Tastings

7. Victoria: 2-Hour Food and History Tour with Tastings

Join your guide at the Victoria Public Market, an old department store from 1921. After the first tasting at this location, make your way to Canada's oldest Chinatown and discover the Chinese Public School, Gates of Harmonious Interest and Fan Tan Alley. Moving on after 3 tastings in Chinatown, you will discover Victoria's Old Town district with stops at Market Square, Johnson Street, Bastion Square, and the Government Street shopping district.  After 3 more local tastings, you will finish the tour at the Visitor Center in the beautiful Inner Harbour. Here, learn about the Empress Hotel and the British Columbia legislative buildings (Provincial Parliament).  From this location, you will be well-positioned to discover the rest of Victoria or access local transportation to the cruise ship terminal, ferry or airport.

From Vancouver: Victoria Whale Watching Adventure

8. From Vancouver: Victoria Whale Watching Adventure

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see killer whales with your own eyes! Become a real explorer on this full day air safari including a 3-hour whale-watching trip. Guests meet at the Vancouver Seaplane Terminal. From here you will fly from Vancouver Harbor to Victoria. This is an opportunity to see the mesmerizing views of the Gulf Islands from above. With over 50 aircrafts, Harbor Air Seaplanes operate the largest all-seaplane fleet in the world. Guest will take part in a unique whale watching expedition from Victoria's Inner Harbour. Led by expert guides, you will learn about this ecologically diverse area and the whales that inhabit it. See these magnificent creatures in their own waters. This is an experience that no aquarium can provide. You can also spot seals, birds and the spectacular vistas of Southern Vancouver Island. Don’t forget to bring a camera!

Telegraph Cove: Half-Day Whale Watching Tour

9. Telegraph Cove: Half-Day Whale Watching Tour

After gathering at the Telegraph Cove Resort, you will embark on your 3-hour, fully-guided whale watching and wildlife viewing adventure. In true comfort and style, your crew will be excited to take you to Johnstone Strait, in search of the majestic wildlife that floods the local waters here in the summer months. You can take advantage of the opportunity to view killer whales and humpback whales in the wild, as well as an assortment of seabirds and other species of marine wildlife. The Ocean Magic II is a custom designed marine marvel, which combines the practicality of a semi-covered vessel with the speed and maneuverability of a Zodiac. With three naturalists on board and two different viewing elevations, this is the only purpose-built whale watching vessel of its size in the industry. Sip your coffee, feel the wind in your hair or keep cozy under cover while you explore the pacific northwest.

From Victoria: Whale Watching Marine Wildlife Excursion

10. From Victoria: Whale Watching Marine Wildlife Excursion

Experience the world’s most beautiful coastline on a 3-hour marine wildlife tour from Victoria, British Columbia, and immerse yourself in the majestic beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Juan de Fuca and Haro Strait are renowned for their ample wildlife, including animals such as Steller and California sea lions, humpback whales, sea and river otters, Minke whales, harbor seals and many marine birds to name a few. You will travel on-board an open-top Zodiac boat to race across the seas. In a smaller, open style 12 passenger vessel, you can be on scene with the wildlife faster and get once in a lifetime exposure to the true west coast elements. Helping to protect the environment, the Zodiacs are powered by eco-friendly Yamaha 4-stroke outboards renowned for their ultra-low emissions and quiet operating levels. Modeled after fast-response coast guard rescue vessels, the zodiacs combine speed with stability, cruising at 25 to 35 knots. They are also equipped with well-padded bench seats and cushioned backrests for added comfort.

Frequently asked questions about Victoria, British Columbia

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Other Sightseeing Options in Victoria, British Columbia

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What people are saying about Victoria, British Columbia

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,649 reviews

Richard, Pat, Scott and Carol looked after us perfectly and gave us a few exciting and fun hours despite the cold, rainy weather. Carol took photos and we were sent the photos to download after the tour. Super photos, great service, so you can enjoy yourself. Oh, and we also saw a few whales and some other animals :-).

Brent was an excellent guide for our day and we appreciated the history of the region he shared. Would recommend Land and Sea to others wholeheartedly!

We had an amazing time on whale watching tour, seen many hump backs, a pod of orcas and a ton of sea lions. A great time!

Excellent trip. Saw lots of wildlife including two different whales.

Great experience! Knowledgeable staff. Very enjoyable.